How SF 49ers shook up their defense in Week 2 vs. Jets

K'Waun Williams #24 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
K'Waun Williams #24 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Chris Herndon, K'Waun Williams, NY Jets, SF 49ers
Chris Herndon #89 of the New York Jets and K’Waun Williams #24 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers showed off how they will play behind a blitz with man coverage taking center stage.

The SF 49ers can’t just play Cover 3 or Cover 4 behind a blitz, so Robert Saleh has added more man coverage to the playbook. This is a wise decision with the Niners having one of, if not the best nickel cornerback in the NFL, K’Waun Williams.

San Francisco also has Jimmie Ward at free safety who can stick with anyone, allowing Saleh to get creative with the matchups and who he is going to blitz.

On this 3rd-and-3 play on the 49ers 45-yard line, the Jets have a bunch set to their left side.

The Niners have man coverage on the receivers, but the Jets had a man beater called, and Sam Darnold hit one of his receivers in the flat for a first down. However, Saleh created a one-on-one matchup for linebacker Kwon Alexander against the Jets running back in pass protection.

Saleh’s play call created a wide-open lane for Alexander in the B-gap, however, the Jets running back did an excellent job to pick Alexander up.

Saleh did this by calling for the two defensive tackles, rookie Javon Kinlaw and Kevin Givens, to line up in the A- and B-gaps on the left side of the Jets offensive line and push the two guards and center to the SF 49ers’ left. With EDGE Kerry Hyder keeping the left tackle occupied, Alexander had a massive gap to blitz through.