Originally Posted by patfanken
No team is "nearly as good" when they lose 3 starters to injuries. Hell, Niner fans are claiming that the Pats comeback, and the Seattle disaster never would have happened if Justin Smith was available. That's just ONE guy. This season, if the Pats haven't lost 3 starters to injury for a game, it was a good week. We really haven't had our starters healthy since week 1.
Well at any rate, you win the "keen sense of the obvious" award for this thread, MG.
The 49ers had 10 of 11 starters play 92% or more of the snaps for the entire season going into the Pats game. It's kind of easy to have a good defense if you can have that kind of continuity from a talented bunch. The only guys the Pats have had play over 90% of the defensive snaps all season are Mayo and McCourty. It's been a constant juggling of injuries and a defense of moving parts.
Imagine how good our defense would be right now if we could have fielded the following line up healthy for the entire season, playing the vast majority of the snaps (subject only to coaching substitutions, not injuries):
DL: Ninkovich-Wilfork-Love-Jones (subs: Cunningham, Deaderick, Francis)
LB: Hightower-Spikes-Mayo (coverage LB: White)
S: McCourty-Gregory (big nickel: Wilson)
CB: Talib-Dennard (slot: Arrington; dime: Cole)
We might not be as good as San Francisco or Seattle, but we'd be a heck of a lot better than we currently are.
The only time Aldon Smith was even mentioned last night was when Seattle ran right over him. Without his personal bodyguard to tie up (read: hold) offensive linemen so that he could stunt around them unimpeded to the QB, he did nothing. That's 2 games in a row with 0 sacks, and not much pressure. So much for a potential MVP. Meanwhile Richard Sherman totally dominated the game. But if Seattle loses him for the playoffs, their chances are going to take a rather big hit.
I said 2 months ago that the Pats need to move McCourty to FS and keep him there, keep Chung off the field, keep Arrington out of the outside CB position, promote Dennard, trade for Talib, and play press-man with Talib-Dennard outside and McCourty playing an Earl Thomas kind of FS role. That worked rather well when we did it. We need to get those guys healthy and get back to it, or we aren't going anywhere.