Cosell’s Watching: 49ers Must Keep it Simple for Alex Smith

From the Desk of Greg Cosell, Greg Cosell, Inside the Game, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks

NFL Matchup’s Executive Producer shares notes from his study of Week 16 coaching tape: the 49ers offense vs. the Seahawks defense.

  • Seahawks at times matched up to 49ers “12” personnel with “big nickel” personnel – 3 safeties; Bigby was the 3rd safety, S Chancellor aligned at LB
  • 49ers more of a scheme pass game than an execution pass game, Defined throws for Smith out of specific personnel packages v. anticipated defenses
  • RT Davis continued to struggle in pass protection, He’s had an up-and-down season

  • Smith has shown the ability to make plays outside the pocket,A necessary part of his game since he has some limitations as a pocket passer

    49ers offense vs Seahawks defense (AP)

  • Gore looked quick given how late it is in the season, He’s an excellent inside runner
  • 49ers not very multiple with their use of personnel in normal down and distance situations, Predominantly “12” and “21” with some snaps of “22”
  • Smith a much better decision maker this season, Definitely plays conservatively and certainly does not attempt to make many stick throws into tight windows but also rarely throws interceptions
  • Smith at his best when the throws are defined quickly, Still not a quick progression reader and decision maker in the pocket
  • Seahawks matched S Chancellor on Davis in their man coverage concepts
  • Lewis remained the Seahawks nickel slot corner, Has filled that role the 2nd half of the season
  • Crabtree 27 yds was 1st play of the 2nd half, Play action out of “21” personnel with Crabtree slot to the field – A well designed and defined throw for Smith, Kind of 1st + 10 passing 49ers need to do to generate explosive plays in the pass game
  • Hunter used more in this game, A lot of his carries came out of the shotgun; Also effective on toss plays with Smith under center
  • Smith ability to sustain drives on 3rd down with his running, especially v. man coverage concepts; An important part of 49ers offense
  • 49ers OL more of a run blocking OL, It’s not a strong pass blocking unit
  • Once Walker left the game the Seahawks went away from their “big nickel” and played base 4-3 with Davis and Peelle at TE, Peelle not the receiving threat Walker is
  • Hunter gives the 49ers offense some perimeter explosiveness in the run game
  • Smith not a confident downfield passer
  • Smith left a number of designed big play opportunities on the field by not pulling the trigger
  • Smith best throw of the game was Crabtree 41 yds on winning 4th quarter FG drive, He showed trust in Crabtree and gave him a chance v. man coverage – It was the kind of throw Smith had not made all game, when the receiver was not open when he pulled the trigger
  • Harbaugh played to limitations of Smith and strength of his defense when he called 3 consecutive running plays with 1st + 10 on the Seahawks 28 with 5:06 left and trailing by 1 point – Did not put the ball in Smith’s hands
  • 49ers team profile: Run game, defense, special teams – Smith is part of the puzzle not a foundation

Later today, the rest of Greg’s notes from 49ers vs. Seahawks.

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