In his latest positional instalment, Jason Cole has the 49ers Linebackers as the 4th best group in the NFL. In his analysis, Cole compliments the team’s run defense, but also mentions their weak pass defense.
If you like good run defense, this group is excellent. Starting with stud Patrick Willis, the 49ers linebacking corps is very much in the image of coach Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker, in his playing days. They don’t miss a lot of tackles, and they play with great intensity. With Willis and fellow inside linebacker Takeo Spikes playing behind a line that does a nice job of holding the point against the run, the 49ers are very much a classic 1980s-style defense. Too bad it’s 2010, and you have to play a lot more pass defense. That’s where the 49ers need to get a lot more out of outside linebackers Manny Lawson (who had a career-high six and a half sacks last season) and Parys Haralson(five sacks). If Lawson can finally overcome the injuries he has suffered, this group can be very good. The depth is excellent.
Personally, I am satisfied with this corps and could not expect any better from them. Coach Singletary has them playing at a high level in every game. To me, the real concern is the secondary, which I expect to improve greatly this coming season.
Atop the 49ers were the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers.
Seattle, Arizona, and St. Louis came in at 14th, 31st, and 32nd.