Speed vs Muscle
September 19 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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While the 49ers were being run over, in the most literal sense, by the Broncos running backs and offensive line on Sunday, particularly late in the game, the thought occurred to me, that although the 49ers defense is extremely fast they are much lighter across the defense. The extra speed is certainly a help in the protecting the pass, but the team can be worn down by the run, as the Broncos proved in week two.
Despite holding the Giants to a wimpy two yards a carry in the 49ers opening game, the team proved it could be run on, especially late in the game, by giving up over 200 yards to the Broncos. Yes, the added speed meant that the 49ers could get more bodies around the ball, but that was often once the back had already cleared into the defense.
I canít help but wonder if the 49ers would have been better off keeping another defensive tackle, like Reggie McGrew who is big and can run stuff to add to their rotation. I also canít help but wonder, if despite having a very fast linebacking core, if the team would be better served to have a little more size at the position.
The debate of size versus speed is truly never ending. Truth of the matter is you need a mix of both. I donít think the 49ers defense will give up anywhere near 200 yards on a regular basis - still I am a firm believer that the 49ers need another defensive tackle in the rotation, and could certainly benefit from having a depth linebacker with a little bit more size.