Scouting Report: San Francisco 49ers

The gameplan is focused on where a team is weakest. If a team has a lackluster secondary, the 49ers often will be pass bias. If a team is weak against the run, then they will be run bias. Obviously, the committee backfield with Kevan Barlow and Garrison Hearst plays into strategy, and San Francisco does a good job of using both backs. [In-depth 49ers scouting report inside]

Starters

QB- Jeff Garcia
RB- Garrison Hearst
FB- Fred Beasley
LWR- Terrell Owens
RWR- Tai Streets
TE- Jed Weaver
LT- Derrick Deese
LG- Kyle Kosier
C- Jeremy Newberry
RG- Ron Stone
RT- Scott Gragg
LDE- John Engelberger
LDT- Travis Kirschke
RDT- Bryant Young
RDE- Andre Carter
LOLB- Julian Peterson
LILB- Derek Smith
RILB- Jeff Ulbrich
LCB- Mike Rumph
RCB- Ahmed Plummer
SS- Tony Parrish
FS- Zack Bronson
P- Bill LaFleur
K-Owen Pochman
KR- Cedrick Wilson
PR- Jimmy Williams
LS- Brian Jennings

Offense

Strategy
The gameplan is focused on where a team is weakest. If a team has a lackluster secondary, the 49ers often will be pass bias. If a team is weak against the run, then they will be run bias. Obviously the committee backfield with Kevan Barlow and Garrison Hearst plays into strategy, and San Francisco does a good job of using both backs. New head coach Dennis Erickson has brought along with him plenty of changes, a couple I have noticed are they like to roll Jeff Garcia out alot more often and they like to use more spread out type formations. On Sunday, I would look for the 49ers to pass the ball more than they run. Obviously Detroit has one of the most vulnerable secondaries in the league, and Frisco' will look to get up early, and not let Detroit hang around.

Strength
Jeff Garcia is one of the leagues best dual threats, using his arm and legs, Garcia can be a real playmaker. Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow are two productive backs, and the offense benefits espically at the end of games when they can get fresh legs in at tailback. Fred Beasley, is the most versatile fullback in the NFL, whether its blocking, running, or receiving, Beasley can do it all. Obviously there are few wide outs as talented as Terrell Owens. When he wants to be, he is the best receiver, and possibly player in the NFL. His ability to physically dominate corners, catch the deep ball, and create after the play, make him a special player. The Offensive line is equally dominating in pass protection and run blocking. Tackles Derrick Deese and Scott Gragg are experienced and effective. The interior is very tough with standout center Jeremy Newberry and guard Ron Stone, who both went to the pro bowl last year.

Weakness
The 49ers have struggled to find a way to keep attention off Terrell Owens not only in the public eye, but on the field. Tai Streets is a speedster who can stretch a defense, but he is not productive enough for opposing defenses to pull defenders off Owens. The lose of tight end Eric Johnson was huge for this offense. He is a dominant receiving tight end who can control the middle of the field and stretch defenses. New starter Jed Weaver is mainly a blocker, and only a marginal receiver. Obviously Owens selfishness and sideline tirades plays in the mind of his teammates, and Owens himself. Will Garcia force more throws? Will Owens go 100%? Will his teammates morale decline? These are dangerous questions the 49ers can ill afford to ask themselves.

Defense

Strategy
The 49ers like to use different schemes with their linebackers, and will often switch personnel up there to account for their nickel package, or when they blitz. Like other teams, the 49ers like to use their athletic linebackers as edge rushers, and as defensive ends. Defensive Coordinator Jim Mora Jr. loves to bring Tony Parrish and Zack Bronson up in run support, and how often he does it will depend on how well the opposing team is running the ball.

Strength
A very dominant pass rushing team, leading the league so far with 15 sacks. Its a team effort pass rushing rather than just one guy. John Engelberger and Derek Smith lead the team with 2.5 sacks each, with linebackers Jamie Winborn and Julian Peterson not far behind with 2 each. This group is also very good at stopping the run, opposing teams only average 3.2 yards a carry against them. On the line, defensive tackle Bryant Young has been dominant for many years, and is a solid force in the middle of this line. Ends Engleberger and Carter are young, but still have the ability to rush the passer consistently. The linebackers are very good against the inside run and blitzing up the gut. Julian Peterson is the do it all type guy, he can pursue sideline to sideline, cover any tight end, and blitz from the edge. He is the leader of this defense. In the secondary, Ahmed Plummer is solid, and does a good job containing most teams #1 receivers. Safeties Zack Bronson and Tony Parrish are very good against the run, and have the speed and range to be effective up top as well.

Weakness
Defensive Tackle Travis Kirschke may be a decent pass rusher, but he is a liability against the run. The defensive ends will struggle at the point of attack if teams run at them. Inside linebackers Derek Smith and Jeff Ulbrich lack the range and pursuit skills to chase down outside plays. Corner Mike Rumph is struggling to find himself, and is still a liability in his learning process.

Special Teams

The 49ers straight up are horrible on special teams. New kicker Owen Pochman has decent leg strength but is inaccurate and has sloppy mechanics. Punter Bill Lafleur is no better, he lacks accuracy in his punts and is very inconsistent. Returner Jimmy Williams is decent, isn't an experienced returner. Cedrick Wilson is fast but hasn't proved much so far. The coverage teams are decent at best.

Injury Report

OUT - Tight end Eric Johnson (clavicle); cornerback Jason Webster  (knee) DOUBTFUL - Guard Eric Heitmann  (ankle)QUESTIONABLE - Linebacker Saleem Rasheed (quad) PROBABLE - Offensive tackle Derrick Deese  (ankle) offensive tackle Kwame Harris   (shoulder); center Jeremy Newberry  (ankle) safety Tony Parrish  (knee); cornerback Ahmed Plummer  (back); linebacker Derek Smith  (ankle/elbow)


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