Talking Touchdowns – Grading the Defense, Special Teams: The 49ers Bye Week Report Card

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Ok, so yesterday I covered the offense. Today, it’s time to give out those defensive and special teams grades.

The Front Seven

The 49ers’ defensive front seven has been a massive bright spot on the season. When he’s been healthy, Reuben Foster has proven to be an absolute steal for this team. He’s played in four games, only three of them full games, and already has 32 total tackles. He has led the team in tackles the last two weeks, and he just has that special something when he’s out there. Leger Douzable, DeForest Buckner, Ronald Blair (now that he’s back), and Elvis Dumervil have done an incredible job of keeping the 49ers in games, for the most part. This group gets a B.

Secondary

There has been so much shuffling here due to injury that it’s hard to grade. But rookies Ahkello Witherspoon and Adrian Colbert have shown some splash and Eric Reid continues to dominate. Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt were having great seasons before heading to IR, but the 49ers need a #1 corner like stat, and until they find him, the secondary will struggle. So, C+.

Special Teams

Guess what guys?! The special teams unit has been good all year, consistently good! Perfect. No. But good. Robbie Gould has made 19 out of 21 field goals, and 15 of 16 extra points. Punter Bradley Pinion has proven to be value added ranking in the top several punters in the league. Trent Taylor was averaging almost 10 yards a return, so his injury will hamper this group but still, they get an A-. Someone had to.

Coaching

Robert Saleh is working with a lot of young talent, A LOT of injuries, and with an entirely new system. But, we are seeing a vision, a glimpse of what the future will be, and we are seeing a team that fights, that stays close, and that doesn’t give up on both sides of the ball which is a testament to Kyle Shanahan and Saleh. B+ here guys.

It has not been an easy year, or three in Santa Clara, and though the red and gold may be going to be without TV this season, I’m seeing honor roll in their future. Go Niners!

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Check out my “Grading the Offense: The 49ers Bye Week Report Card”

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Tracy Sandler

Bleeding gold and staying Niner faithful, I bring you the latest news
features & commentary on my beloved San Francisco 49ers.

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