No. 2: SF 49ers need speed from their pass-rushers
The SF 49ers have actually done a decent job getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. Their 24.4-percent pressure rate is actually tied for 10th best in 2020, and one figures that number is a prime reason why the Niners’ overall pass defense has been so good.
The problem, though, is this pressure hasn’t corresponded to sacks. Through 10 games, San Francisco has just 18, which is 11th fewest.
A primary reason? The lack of speed off the edges.
Granted, EDGE Kerry Hyder has been a nice storyline with his team-leading 5.5 sacks. But he’s not a prototypical speed rusher. Now, the SF 49ers do have two faster pass-rushers within their ranks, Dion Jordan and Jordan Willis, who recorded 4.60 and 4.53 40-yard times at their respective NFL Scouting Combines. The on-field results for both players haven’t exactly translated over towards sacks, as both have a combined 16 career sacks between them.
But speed could easily end up flushing Jared Goff out of the pocket.
When Goff is under pressure, at least according to Pro Football Focus, his passer rating drops all the way to 43.6 compared to 112.6 when facing a clean pocket.
Neither Willis nor Jordan have to get home, necessarily, rather they just have to apply that pressure on Goff to force him to make errant throws.
Which he’s capable of doing in such circumstances.