This week we have a lot of writers answering questions for out #AskNB9ers segment, so we will only be answering 3 of the questions we received! The writers that will be answering questions will be Mike A, Stefan, Matt, Zach, and Stewart. LET’S BEGIN!

Mike A. (Image result for twitter logo png@49ersMike_NF) –

“Bust” seems like a strong word, but given the talent we’ve seen so far, I do question why he was drafted 3rd (would’ve been 2nd) overall. Even if Thomas performs to his fullest potential and is used properly, I don’t think where he was drafted makes sense. That said, he could still be a solid piece on this defense if utilized properly (and that’s a big “IF”).

Stefan (Image result for twitter logo png@Jav95_) –

I honestly don’t know. Thomas’ best trait is rushing the passer from the interior. He does not get a chance to do that. It is less about Thomas’ talent than the way he is used by DC Robert Saleh.

 

Matt (Image result for twitter logo png @Atax1s) –

There’s no doubt that Solomon Thomas was over-drafted. That being said, he should exclusively be positioned on the interior for maximum effectiveness and often he’s lined up outside. It’s a case of not putting him in position to succeed. He also has a problem with maintaining his grip which is likely due to his small hands.

 

Zach (Image result for twitter logo png @Zachhernan) –

Solomon Thomas has largely looked like a bust since he came into the league last season, and at first we all chalked it up to him adjusting to the NFL, but now it’s starting to become extremely alarming. However, Thomas shouldn’t be held responsible for all of the blame, as DC Robert Saleh is completely misusing him in my opinion. I’d love to see him in a strictly pass-rusher only role and then pass judgement.

 

Stewart (Image result for twitter logo png @SoLockedIn) –

There’s no hiding the fact that Solomon Thomas has not performed to the level of the third-overall pick in 2017. As a player who dominated college guards by rushing inside, Thomas has found difficulty doing that in the NFL. He is not helped by the fact that the 49ers inherited a team with two former first-round picks on the defensive line who carry a similar skill set, so they line him up outside while they’ve added more talent to the interior of that defensive line. It appears like John Lynch went for the safe pick in his first draft but it hasn’t paid off at this point in time.

 

Mike A. (Image result for twitter logo png @49ersMike_NF) –

I think it’s a little bit of both but less about the scheme. Often times in a game, you see the scheme has players in position to make plays but the players aren’t taking advantage of the circumstance. As far as a wildcard run if they got it together, it’s not impossible to win 9 games if the defense steps up. The offense seem to be capable of scoring 27 points per game and yet, the defense just continues to give up more than that.

 

Stefan (Image result for twitter logo png @Jav95_) –

The 49ers defensive woes have come mainly because of inconsistencies. The scheme itself is sound and the players are often in a position to make a play, but don’t execute. They are fundamentally not sound. I believe a big part of that is coaching and discipline. However, should the 49ers start putting together some full games defensively, they can definitely be competitive in any game. Sitting at 1-3 though, I don’t see them winning 9 games. I don’t see a wild card run.

 

Matt (Image result for twitter logo png @Atax1s) –

There will be no wild card run. The defense can’t tackle and are very predictable in the coverages and scheme they run. I also think that they won’t be able to win track meet, shootout type games. I would be surprised if the Niners win more than 4 games the rest of the way, realistically.

 

Zach (Image result for twitter logo png @Zachhernan) –

While at the end of the day it comes down to the players executing on the field, I do believe the scheme they’re running is constantly putting them in positions that they cannot win consistently. For example, dropping defensive linemen like Earl Mitchell and Solomon Thomas into coverage — they’re not going to be able to successfully win that match up enough times for the scheme to work. Also, this scheme is extremely dependent on pass-rushers getting to the QB quickly, and that is just simply not happening. There’s no way in hell this team makes the playoffs, sadly.

Stewart (Image result for twitter logo png @SoLockedIn) –

I think the defensive woes are down to a number of issues. First and foremost, this is a very young defensive group of players who will make mistakes — which is part of their development and growth. Secondly, I believe the players need to take more pride in their tackling, it appears that way to many players are tackling high or not wrapping up the opposition players. It could be the players aren’t at peak strength, it could be a lack of discipline, it’s hard to tell from the outside looking in. The third thing that stands out is the number of players that are playing hurt or nursing injuries on this team, it’s scary to think the 49ers have had so many injured players over the last four seasons. One thing I do know is that this has to be cleaned up soon, with expectations already reduced with the loss of Jimmy Garoppolo, this staff has one more year to iron out deficiencies. As for wild card spot, that’s out of the question, I can see them winning 2-5 games at best.

 

Mike A. (Image result for twitter logo png @49ersMike_NF)  –

I think winning has a way of masking things and the play of the defense is one of them. The team was never that good on defense, especially last year. Turnovers were rare (still are), teams seemed to put up 20 or more on this defense (still are) and outside of that game against the Rams’ backups, they were never truly dominant. However, there does seem to be a bit of decline this year and I attribute that to even more missed tackles this season. Why tackling has declined? I don’t know, but my eyes tell me that the scheme has taken a step forward while the players have seemed to regress despite the talent on the field appearing to be better.

 

Stefan (Image result for twitter logo png @Jav95_) –

The defense last year did not play at an elite level to begin with. However, last year they played with a different kind of to confidence and swagger. It seems that this year they are missing some of that. Also, fundamental techniques were better last year. Maybe it was not much of a coaching point since? That said, the potential to put it all together is there. I don’t expect the defense to be this bad throughout the entire season.

 

Matt (Image result for twitter logo png @Atax1s) –

I think it’s the fact that they don’t blitz at a high rate and they also don’t disguise their coverage. With this being year 2 in Saleh’s system, other teams have tape on us and if they can’t fool offenses through different looks, the defense becomes extremely predictable and they lack the high end talent to overcome that.

 

Zach (Image result for twitter logo png @Zachhernan) –

Let’s get one thing straight, this defense has not been elite (or anywhere close to elite) in at least three years. The mass exodus the 49ers roster experienced after Jim Harbaugh was let go is still affecting the team today. The 49ers front office is still trying to fill all of the holes that were left by quality starters leaving so suddenly. The players on the roster today are either young and still growing, or journeyman players filling the position until someone better comes along. It’s still going to take some time before this defense is a strong suit for the team.

Stewart (Image result for twitter logo png @SoLockedIn) –

The defense is still not giving up big plays, which should be praised at least somewhat. Last year, a few young players stepped into the lineup and played well — which gave them a nice boost heading into the offseason. This season, those players have either been banged up and or going through a slight sophomore slump. The major issue plaguing this defense is the ability to rush the passer successfully — this scheme needs multiple guys who can turn it loose on third down, and they currently don’t possess one of those. Atlanta has McKinnley and Vic Beasley, the Chargers have Ingram and Bosa, Seahawks have Frank Clark, Jacksonville has Campbell, Ngakoue and Fowler. Most of the teams running a similar defense to the 49ers have either have elite or at least good pass-rushers and corners. It’s time for the front office to solve those issues.