Attacking the 49ers: Bowen breaks it down

Former Packers safety and current ESPN analyst Matt Bowen has some ideas on how the Packers should attack the 49ers on both sides of the ball.

Great stuff here from Matt Bowen on how the Packers should try to attack the 49ers on both sides of the ball:

1. They occupy the safeties in the Niners' quarters coverage

We know the 49ers are a zone-heavy team, playing Cover 3 on 31% of opponent dropbacks during the regular season, the fourth most in the league. Green Bay will look to clear that out with deep crossers to wide receiver Davante Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham. But it can't forget about quarters coverage, which the 49ers played on 17.4% of offensive snaps, the second most in the league. Packers coach Matt LaFleur has to attack quarters by occupying (or removing) the safeties to put quarterback Aaron Rodgers in positive positions.

Look for LaFleur to scheme some quarters-beaters that create inside voids for Adams on deep in-breakers, along with flood concepts that clear over the top while putting pressure on the underneath defenders. Yes, the 49ers will play both single-high and split-safety man coverage, too. But the key here is to develop a plan that allows Rodgers to attack coverage voids in rhythm from the pocket.

2. The defense cuts San Francisco's crossers -- but replaces in the post

The Packers will use their safeties in Cover 3 to cut crossing routes. Smart. That's how Green Bay can take away the play-action throws that target 49ers tight end George Kittle or wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel. But here's the thing: If you do that, you'd better replace over the top with the backside cornerback.

During the 49ers' win against the Packers in Week 12, they used play-action to show a boot flood concept. Green Bay cut the crosser with the post safety, but with Kittle running a nasty corner-post route -- and the Packers failing to close the middle of the field -- quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a wide-open toss for an easy six points. And I would bet that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan dials this up again, albeit out of a different personnel grouping and formation, to see if the Packers get the backside cornerback over the top.

Be sure to check out the entire piece where Matt breaks down a few concepts for each team to utilize during Championbship Sunday. 

4 points

Comments (21)

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albert999's picture

January 16, 2020 at 09:46 am

AWESOME ARTICLE

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Houndog's picture

January 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Good article with good clarity of what they'd done, and what they might or should do this time around.

I've been hoping all week that LaFleur gets creative, with some new wrinkles like the first half against the Seahawks.
Also hoping that Pettine chooses to dial up a few blitzes at opportune times, Garapolo has shown a tendency to turn the ball over when rattled and SF will be very conscious of stopping the Smith Bros. Go after him!

The "Same old - Same old" won't win this for the Pack. Time to be creative, on the "O" and the "D".

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

January 16, 2020 at 02:53 pm

Houndog, I guess I misunderstood your reply to my post. What did you mean?
LVT

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albert999's picture

January 16, 2020 at 01:43 pm

Kittle caught just three passes for 16 yards in the 49ers' 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. But Kittle was a huge factor in the run game, as the 49ers gained 186 yards rushing on 47 attempts.
That’s gonna be hard to defend
GO PACK GO

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Cubbygold's picture

January 16, 2020 at 02:15 pm

"According to the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN), Sunday's game will be the 37th time in the Super Bowl era that there will be a playoff game involving two teams that played each other in the regular season in a game that saw one of those two teams win by 25-plus points. In the rematch, the team that won the first time around is 22-14"

I'll take those odds...

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/2020-nfl-playoffs-picks-chiefs-blast-...

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CAG123's picture

January 16, 2020 at 03:24 pm

I just realized the Packers haven't done too well in playoff rematches especially against the NFC West.
2012-lost to the 49ers 30-22 in the reg season got smoked 45-31 in the playoffs
2013-lost 34-28 to the 49ers in the reg season lost a close one 23-20 in the playoffs
2014-got spanked 36-16 to the Hawks in the reg season lost 28-22 in the playoffs
2015-got smacked 38-8 against the Cards in the reg season lost 26-20 in the playoffs
Now I get it different teams, different times, different coaches blah blah blah but man that division has been a real pain in the ass.

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murf7777's picture

January 17, 2020 at 07:52 am

Cag....So, you’re saying the odds are in our favor:)

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Tundraboy's picture

January 17, 2020 at 11:04 pm

Yeah but in two of those if MM went for the win, instead of coaching not to lose,there would have been 2 less losses.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 17, 2020 at 08:47 am

So the team that got flattened in the regular season won 14 times out of 36 games in the playoffs. So, that's almost 39%. Better odds than I've seen in most places.

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ricky's picture

January 16, 2020 at 02:30 pm

This game will be won or lost on the line of scrimmage. If the Packers OL and helpers can keep their front four at bay, and pick up any blitzes, this could be a good day. Similarly, if the Packers can get to Garoppolo without blitzing, then it will be a good day. If neither of these happen again, it'll be a long day for Packers fans.

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Demon's picture

January 16, 2020 at 03:43 pm

Im just going to come out and say it. The Pack will win sunday. I predict the Pack 20 -16. If you wonder why, ill ask you, why not?

This is a different Packers team than some of the cream puff teams of MM. This Packers team is tough, gritty, they hit hard and most importantly they WIN.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 16, 2020 at 06:25 pm

I now have some hope.

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Sol's picture

January 17, 2020 at 03:39 am

I tend to agree that the game will be won in the trenches. But the way our guys are deployed on the back end on defense will most likely determine the turnover battle, which could also lead to victory. Thanks for all your great insight, it really helps that we have a guy like Matt he makes games so much more interesting with his knowledgeable analysis of game situations.

Go Pack

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Lphill's picture

January 17, 2020 at 07:09 am

The Smith brothers are gonna earn their own commercial is my prediction , wearing new t shirts saying the NFC is not enough!

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SterlingSharpe's picture

January 17, 2020 at 11:57 am

I like that!

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Cheesey51's picture

January 17, 2020 at 09:18 am

What is the status on Ravene Greene? have you heard if he's active?

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SterlingSharpe's picture

January 17, 2020 at 12:01 pm

While we all have our guesses, our hopes, for Sunday. What we do KNOW for sure is this:

When the Packers rallied last year at home to beat the 49ers (and their 3rd string QB) on the last play of the game, the net result was the 49ers went from drafting #5 or 6 overall to #2 overall, landing All-Pro stud Nick Bosa. Which is BS. There were 4 teams that were 4-12 & the Niners got to pick before the other ones.

The win also moved us from picking 8th & in front of Detroit, to 12. We would have been able to get Devin Bush unless the Steelers would have traded with Jacksonville at 7 to get in front of us to take Bush. In that case, we would have had edge rusher Josh Allen who had slid down.... he was great this year and would be so much better than Rashan Gary. Still, Bush with Blake would have made our run defense so much better.

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CAG123's picture

January 17, 2020 at 01:03 pm

I can definitely say as I watch this team what a difference that 3 down coverage LB would make just certain plays a more athletic and faster LB probably makes I refer to BJ Goodson’s whiff on Russ last week yeah it still resulted in a sack but I think a Devin Bush or Roquan Smith or Wagz makes that play did you guys see Isaiah Simmons in the National Championship game? My goodness the kid was everywhere imagine him in this defense. I think a 3 down coverage LB and another good dlinemen (like a Javon Hargrove for instance) are the missing pieces to taking this def to next level.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 18, 2020 at 09:44 am

On obvious passing downs, we go with 4 pass rushers, 6 DBs,and Martinez. That got us to 14-3.

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CAG123's picture

January 18, 2020 at 11:53 pm

Always room for improvement. The TT "ehhhh good enough" mentality is what lead to the decline of the roster Martinez is a fine LB but he's a liability in coverage I don't know you're just okay with that. But once again not surprising seeing as you thought the Smiths weren't needed and the Packers were good with Nick Perry and Kyler Fackrell.

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Slim11's picture

January 18, 2020 at 10:22 am

I have always enjoyed Matt Bowen's analysis and this is no exception.

Pettine will chose his battles but must do so carefully. The Alexander blitz against Seattle was a perfect call. Should he do that again, the timing must be as good as it was against the Seahawks. I won a friendly wager with my first officer thanks to that call.

As Bowen said, clearing out " ...with deep crossers to wide receiver Davante Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham..." will be effective. Doing so would be more effective if MVS or Allison were more credible deep threats. Lining Aaron Jones or Tyler Ervin out wide (empty backfield look) might work for this purpose.

I look forward to watching this game...GO PACK, GO!

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