By HCR Staff | Nov. 1, 2019
Here are our coaching observations of the San Francisco 49ers victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Even though they got the victory, the 49ers defense showed some cracks. The 49ers defense had their first rough outing of the 2019 season in last night’s victory, and you can bet their future opponents will be studying this game. Some of their performance can be chalked up to the short week, but much of it cannot. First, the Cardinals running game was effective. The Cardinals aren’t known for having a particularly stout offensive line, so this was surprising. Second, the 49ers defense struggled significantly when the Cardinals went up-tempo on offense to start the second half. Finally, the 49ers defensive line simply did not feel the screens and draws, as they were gashed repeatedly. 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has some work to do before their Monday night game against Seattle.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has some work to do on his clock management. While Kingsbury did a pretty good job with his play-calling and personnel usage in this game (especially with working in three new running backs who literally joined the team a week ago or less), his clock management was far less than stellar. Kingsbury just doesn’t seem to have a good feel for using his timeouts, and the play clock. On top of that, he burned a timeout with a very questionable challenge of a first down spot in the fourth quarter.
49ers offensive line coach John Benton deserves much credit for the team’s performance. Once the 49ers starting offensive tackles went down with injuries, we felt that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan would have to scale back some of the offense, and that tight end George Kittle’s production might be affected. Unfortunately, we demonstrated how little we know! 49ers offensive line coach John Benton has done a remarkable job getting rookie left tackle Justin Skule and Alliance of American Football journeyman right tackle Daniel Brunskill ready and productive each game. Skule and Brunskill have largely avoided drive-killing mistakes like false starts and holds.
While we are not fans of the Air Raid offense, we must give Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury credit for quarterback Kyler Murray’s development thus far–he looks terrific. Kingsbury has properly molded the Cardinals offense around Murray’s skills, and Murray will be a very serious candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. We’d love to see what Murray is capable of if he’s given a quality offensive line in front of him. That should be priority number one for Cardinals GM Steve Keim in the 2020 Draft.