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The 49ers 2017 Defense – Robert Saleh Press Conference

We learned a number of things from 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s press conference yesterday. You can watch the video here on 49ers.com, and read the transcript here on ninersnation.com. Here are the top-ten take-aways:

  1. As we predicted in our first segment on the 49ers 2017 Defense, the 49ers will run a Carroll-style 4-3 scheme, with two MIKE and WILL “middle linebackers,” an OTTO/SAM on the LOS, and a SS in the box.
  2. The OTTO/SAM will stay on the field to rush the passer on passing downs.
  3. Brooks is the front-runner for the OTTO/SAM.
  4. Buckner and Armstead can play multiple positions on the line, but between the two, Saleh views Armstead as more of a DE.
  5. Lynch is only seen as a pass-rusher, and not an OTTO/SAM with coverage responsibilities.
  6. Look for the 49ers to draft/sign a LEO. Saleh doesn’t have the one he wants.
  7. As expected, Reid will play SS, not FS.
  8. Saleh has yet to determine if Ward will play FS or CB.
  9. Bowman could move to WILL if Saleh thinks Smith has a better understanding of the defense, or if Smith, “can communicate the best.”
  10. The 49ers 2017 defense will be based on Saleh’s past defenses, but won’t be identical, due to personnel differences.

A number of people had questions about Saleh’s comments regarding Tank Carradine playing the 6-technique. Here is one of the examples from our first segment which includes a 6-tech DE. Jacksonville often utilized a 6-tech DE when the OTTO/SAM pass-rushed from the open side of the formation. They also sometimes moved the strong side LEO into a 6-tech or 7-tech position, which makes particular sense when the open side of the formation flips due to TE motion.

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