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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Can the 49ers improve on a minor slow team against an elite Rogers-Adams combo?

The 49ers have a pretty good idea where Aaron Rodgers is going to throw the ball on Saturday night at Lambo Field.

Okay, maybe they don’t know where Rogers will throw the ball, but they do know the target. Davante Adams can line up for the Green Bay Packers just about anywhere in an NFC divisional playoff game, and it will take more than one cornerback to keep one of the NFL’s highest-scoring goals under control.

“He doesn’t stay in one place,” 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said Wednesday. “He can enter the slot, he can play outside. He is everywhere. We know he’s the best guy.”

A quick look at the statistics makes this clear. Adams leads the Packers with 169 hits in 16 games (he missed one on the COVID-19 list) and finished with 123 receptions for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns. The next most targeted receiver is Alan Lazard with 60 and he has 40 catches for 513 yards.

In a 30–28 win over the 49ers in Week 3, Rodgers had 33 passes, 18 of which went to Adams, who caught 12 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.

The biggest of these was a 25-yard first and 10-of-25 catch with 37 seconds to play after the 49ers had a 28-27 lead. Two plays later, Rodgers hit Adams again, hitting from 17 yards in the 49ers’ No. 33.

Mason Crosby hit a 51-yard field goal with a handgun.

18 goals scored by Adams is the second most in his career in the game. And that number doesn’t even include a 32-yard pass to Emmanuel Moseley, who helped land in Green Bay.

Adams, a Palo Alto school product, has been linked to Rodgers since 2014, making him harder to defend than Dallas’ Amari Cooper and CD Lamb with Dak Prescott, or even the Rams’ Cooper Kupp with Matthew Stafford.

“He’s a big guy who can always create an advantage over a quarterback, and if you can create an advantage wherever he is, then you can separate to explode,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday. “When you pair him with a quarterback who doesn’t take long to get the ball where he wants it, it’s a very deadly combination.”

While the Packers and Adams will have all 11 on defense, the cornerbacks will be under the microscope. Moseley returned to the lineup in the last two games from a high ankle sprain and has played well. The second seed at cornerback was Embry Thomas, a third-round pick from Michigan, who started off slow but had a lot of success in his last three games.

Emmanuel Moseley (4) started the last two games for the Photoniners at quarterback, returning from a sprained ankle. AP Photo

However, Thomas walked out of the game in Dallas with a bruised knee, limping earlier in the week, and was placed on the list of questionable players.

If Thomas can’t get away, the 49ers are counting on either Donte Johnson, a veteran who has played all the minor stages, or Josh Norman, who was signed early in the season after Jason Verrett dropped out with a knee injury.

Norman tended to force fumble but struggled with the lighting. He never played defense in either of his last two games. When asked directly about Norman, Ryans gave a vague answer that did not mention his name.

Shanahan didn’t say anything either.

“It’s going to be one of those two guys,” Shanahan said. “I hope he goes. I think he will be fine, but it all depends on how he behaves on game day.

If Johnson and Moseley were to open as outside corners (K’wawn Williams was the mainstay in the nickel-root), it would be the seventh combination of starting players – Deommodore Lenoir and Verrett, Norman and Lenoir, Norman and Moseley, Johnson and Dre Kirkpatrick. , Thomas and Norman and Thomas and Moseley others.

Not quite the continuity the 49ers had hoped for.

Whoever deals with Adams will get help and it’s clear the 49ers are a much better team than when they played the Packers in Week 3.

“The way we move, the way we swarm now looks different, it feels different on film,” Ryans said. “We had different guys, and they are active and playing. Our pass rush is definitely better.”

Passing pressure went hand in hand with a rushing defense that has been solid over the past five games. During that time, the 49ers only allowed 379 yards on 122 carries – an average of 3.1 yards per attempt. The longest wins in that period were Ryan Tannehill’s 23 yards, Cooper Kupp’s 18 yards, and Prescott’s 17 yards in the final game against Dallas—two quarterback runs and a wide receiver.

In Game 1 in Green Bay, the Packers ran for 100 yards with 25 carries, with Aaron Jones leading with 19 carries or 82 yards. After this week, AJ Dillon, a 250-pound power quarterback, was given a big role. He led Green Bay with 803 yards and Jones added 799 yards.

Slowing the two down and keeping Rogers on second and third, as well as third and long, would go a long way in preventing the Rogers-Adams connection from getting into a steady rhythm.

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World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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