No. 3: SF 49ers can’t get too happy with blitz packages
San Francisco’s shortage of elite, fast edge rushers this season has prompted defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to rely more on manufactured pressure, notably by blitzing extra defenders. To date, the SF 49ers are blitzing just over 33 percent of the time to help make up for the absence of EDGEs Nick Bosa (ACL) and Dee Ford (back).
It sometimes works, although this approach can be a proverbial “double-edged sword” when it comes to mobile quarterbacks like Russell Wilson.
Per Pro Football Focus, Wilson isn’t necessarily on fire when facing blitzes this season, boasting a passer rating of 91.8 when blitzed compared to 136.0 when he’s not. At the same time, though, those contain lanes for San Francisco’s second-level defenders are what prevent Wilson from evading pressure — something he’s done regularly over his entire career — and picking up chunk yardage on the ground.
The occasional blitz on 3rd-and-long might work out OK, but Saleh and Co. may be better served by relying more on their coverage efforts while hoping a standard four-man pass rush at least frustrates Wilson enough on Sunday.