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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NY Jets, SF 49ers
Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers also created pressure by showing a blitz but only rushing four, and this is called simulated pressure.

Another page added to the SF 49ers defensive playbook by Robert Saleh is simulated pressure. This is when the defense shows blitz but only rushes four. The aim is to create confusion along the opposition’s offensive line, leading to one of the four rushers having a free shot at the quarterback.

Normally the free rusher comes from the second level, meaning a linebacker or a safety playing in the box.

The SF 49ers were playing Cover 4 behind the simulated pressure.

Arik Armstead, again, found himself in pass coverage as does Fred Warner. But Warner initially showed blitz by taking a few steps towards the center after the snap before dropping back into coverage.

With the center distracted by Warner and defensive tackle D.J. Jones slanting to the inside and taking the Jets left guard with him, this left the Jets rookie left tackle with a two-on-one situation. This was because linebacker Dre Greenlaw was blitzing from his second-level position and Kerry Hyder came off the edge.

Offensive lines are taught to block the inside most threat to the quarterback. Greenlaw was therefore the one who was blocked, with Hyder having a free run at Darnold.

Creating pressure with only four rushers was the SF 49ers’ strength last season. Without Nick Bosa, however, Saleh will need to be more creative in only rushing four this season.