No 2: Clean up missed tackles on defense
Overall, San Francisco had a really solid defense in 2023 despite key injuries up from on the defensive line with Arik Armstead and in the secondary with Talanoa Hufanga tearing his ACL.
The addition of Chase Young on the defensive line was a huge addition that has aided the 49ers, who already had a fearsome pass rush with Nick Bosa.
However, we have seen some cracks in the defense as of late. The Niners gave up over 200 rushing yards against the Arizona Cardinals a few weeks ago, and they also allowed Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens to have their way with them for much of the game on Christmas.
Part of this has been due to missed tackles. This is uncharacteristic for the 49ers defense as it is usually a sound tackling team, especially with two of the best linebackers in the league, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.
There is reason to believe that the team will improve on this front, though. During the three-game losing streak, the defense was missing tackles as well. But after the bye week, the Niners came out against the Jacksonville Jaguars and had arguably their most sound defensive game of the season, limiting Jacksonville to just three points.
The fact that many of the defensive starters will likely get two weeks of rest is massive at this time of the year. It’s possible that the missed tackles were just due to guys who are exhausted after the grind of a long season.
Having those two weeks off should give their defense plenty of time to be rested, locked in, and ready to go by the divisional round.