In this series of 49ers Film Room, we break down the “Wide Nine” technique and its effect on the San Francisco 49ers’ 2019 defense. In Part 3, we review how Nick Bosa and Dee Ford will attack the quarterback — with the assistance of DeForest Buckner — from “Double Wide-9” defensive alignments.
This is the third installment in our latest 49ers Film Room series analyzing the wide-9 technique the San Francisco 49ers will implement during the 2019 NFL season. You can check out the first two articles here on Lockedon49ers.com:
In our second segment, we broke down how defensive tackle DeForest Buckner is able to dominate as an interior pass rusher when the San Francisco 49ers utilize two “Wide-9” or “Ghost Nine” defensive ends on obvious passing downs. Today, we’ll demonstrate how Buckner’s presence will help the 49ers’ new premier edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford attack opposing quarterbacks during the 2019 season.
Per Pro Football Focus, Bosa was the top edge defender in the 2019 NFL Draft and Ford was the highest-graded pass-rusher in the NFL last season. With both players slated to rush from the outside on passing downs, San Francisco should be able to get after the quarterback in 2019. But even with journeyman edge defenders last season, the 49ers found success — thanks to Buckner wreaking havoc from the inside.
49ers’ Double Wide-9 When Offenses Focus on Buckner
In order to protect against inside running plays on probable passing downs, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has used wide-9 or ghost-9 technique defensive ends on the outside paired with a modified 3-tech defensive tackle and a larger DT or nose tackle on the inside. As we discussed previously, the job of DT Sheldon Day is to occupy the opposing center and right guard to allow San Francisco’s three remaining pass rushers to attack the quarterback. Here, Buckner lines up wider than a traditional 3-technique DT — in what we’ll call a “Wide-3 Technique” since it’s not a true 4i-tech — with his body angled toward Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr:
By lining up far to the outside, EDGE Cassius Marsh is able to quickly get upfield and engage Raiders offensive lineman Ian Silberman, who is isolated, off-balance and ill-prepared for contact. On the left side of the formation, running back Doug Martin purposefully sidesteps defensive end Ronald Blair in order to make contact with Buckner. Meanwhile, left tackle Kolton Miller is so concerned with Buckner — lined up directly in front of him — that his first move is toward the DT, which allows Blair to bull rush him back into the middle of the pocket, forcing Carr to the ground for the sack:
49ers’ Double Wide-9 With Buckner as a Decoy
Knowing the Raiders are focusing on stopping Buckner, Saleh calls another variation of his standard “Double Wide-9” pass rush on the following play. Here, EDGE Dekoda Watson lines up wide next to Buckner, with Blair — as opposed to a larger DT — in a 4-tech inside Marsh.
On this play, Buckner takes the inside route toward the center, who is expecting a pass rush from his right side. Instead, Blair fires down the line toward Miller, which surprises guard Gabe Jackson, who attempts to force the defender farther outside. With Blair occupying both linemen, Marsh is able to avoid Martin and cut back inside toward Carr. Jackson’s recovery is too late to stop the pass rusher as Marsh and Watson meet at the quarterback for the combined sack:
If “Double Wide-9” or “Double Ghost Nine” defensive fronts can be this effective with EDGEs like Marsh and Watson, the 49ers’ new elite pass rushers Bosa and Ford should make these alignments lethal against opposing passing offenses in 2019. Unfortunately, like any defensive scheme or alignment, 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek‘s favored front is far from perfect — particularly against the run. In our next segment, we’ll discuss the downsides of the Wide-9, and break down why the 49ers are unlikely to use the Double Wide-9 alignment as their base defensive front this season.
PODCAST: Seahawks Snap 49ers Unbeaten Streak in Overtime Thriller
- 49ers fall to the Seahawks 27-24 on Monday Night Football
- Russell Wilson gets three chances to win it in overtime for Seattle
- Rookie emergency kicker nails three field goals, but misses game-winner for SF
- Niners defense strong again, but offense stumbles
- Game notes and game balls
49ers Film Room: Breaking down QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s Top 5 Passes
After reviewing each of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s passes during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, we selected Jimmy G’s top 5 plays, and then broke each one down for this edition of 49ers Film Room.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo brought a great deal of excitement — and a number of impressive plays — to the Bay Area since general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan acquired the signal caller from the New England Patriots two years ago.
Jimmy G completed 333 passes over roughly 16 games since he was traded to San Francisco during the 2017 NFL regular season. After a tweet by Locked on 49ers Podcast host Brian Peacock during last week’s game sparked a debate about Garoppolo’s best throw as a Niner, we decided to participate in the enjoyable task of watching — and ranking — each of those 333 completions.
In the end, we concluded the following five plays are Garoppolo’s finest to date, and then we broke each one down [credit goes to Aaron Wilson of Insidethe49.com for the time-consuming video editing work] for today’s edition of 49ers Film Room:
No. 5: Garoppolo and Taylor Improvise for the Score
Like many of Jimmy G’s top plays, this one comes on a key third down in the fourth quarter of the contest. Garoppolo’s improvisational side-armed touchdown throw to wide receiver Trent Taylor extends the 49ers’ lead to two scores over the Jacksonville Jaguars — owners of the NFL’s best defense in 2017.
This play makes our list not because the pass was thrown with pin-point accuracy, but because Garoppolo did everything he could to give Taylor an opportunity to score: he extends the play, properly sets his base, changes his throwing motion to fit the pass between three defenders and puts the ball where only his receiver can make the play:
No 4: Garoppolo’s Perfect Touchdown Pass in his 49ers Debut
When Garoppolo was thrust into action against the Seattle Seahawks due to injury in 2017, he wasted no time making his mark despite his limited knowledge of Shanahan’s playbook. After moving the sticks with an 8-yard completion on fourth down, Garoppolo rushes the 49ers to the line with just two seconds remaining on the clock. Again, Jimmy G gets flushed to his left side, but makes sure to quickly set his feet before throwing the pass into the tightest of windows for his first touchdown as a member of the Niners:
No 3: Garoppolo Shows Grit on Third Down
Garoppolo is best on the money down — third down — and his willingness to stand tall in the pocket is on clear display during this third down completion to tight end George Kittle. The quarterback feels the heat of the Kansas City Chief’s pass rush, but despite the free blitzer bearing down on him, delivers the perfect pass needed to move the sticks:
No 2: The Garoppolo-Sanders Connection Is Real
The play that began this conversation comes in on our list at No. 2. On third down, Garoppolo recognizes man coverage, but is forced to release the pass to WR Emmanuel Sanders before his new wideout makes his break, trusting Sanders to run his route to perfection. Despite stepping on his lineman’s foot, Jimmy G throws a perfect pass to Sanders, who gets his head around in time to find the ball within his grasp:
No 1: Garoppolo and Pettis Kick off the 49ers’ 2018 Season
While it’s difficult to top the previous pass, Garoppolo’s first touchdown of the 2018 season comes in at No. 1 on our list. This play has checks all the boxes: Jimmy G correctly reads the defense, spins away from pressure, and then has a fraction of a second to find WR Dante Pettis streaking downfield before lofting a perfect 40-yard pass into his receiver’s hands in the back of the end zone for the score:
PODCAST: Shanahan Practice Report, Niners Add Gould Insurance
- First injury report for Week 10
- Kyle Shanahan speaks on who was in/out of practice Thursday, Russell Wilson and Monday Night Football
- Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey itching to get back on the field
- George Kittle and RObbie Gould not practicing
- 49ers sign kicker Chase McLaughlan