Do the Chiefs have a good run defense? This Sunday will be the ultimate test. After going up against a Rookie and a two headed monster named Harrison and Hills (yes, i remember last year), the Chiefs will now be facing the best RB arguably in the league. Gore is a multi-faceted weapon capable of gaining 3 ypc on his heart alone. His biggest threat, screen passes.
Haley mentioned how the 49ers are good after the catch and if Gore sees open field, it could be a long day for the Chiefs. The linebackers have been great at shooting the gaps and teaming up with our line to stop the run. But here comes the real test. We all saw how Hali is not the best pass covering LB ever and he probably never will be at least average. Cribbs proved that. He simply is not built for pass coverage. DJ is playing like a pro bowl and has made some nice shoe string tackles before a big gain. Now we will see if DJ is worthy of "pro bowl" talk after this game.
On the other side, Vrabel will have to use his smarts because if Gore gets loose on the flat, Vrabel might look like Hali in coverage at his age. The wild card here is Belcher. Now is the time for him to "keep" his starting position if he can shoot the gaps and break up a screen or two. I always knew that when Jake Plummer played the Chiefs, all he had to do was the bootleg and we would lose, and we did. Now comes Alex "checkdown" Smith and I see screen passes to Gore coming all day. And why not? Can the wheels of Vrabel and Hali compare to the elusiveness of Gore? I'm afraid I would take Gore in that one.
Then we have the emergence of Vernon Davis who is playing like a top 10 draft pick. Every linebacker on the Chiefs will probably have the task at least once of covering this guy. Jimmy Raye is going to use these two weapons all day against our LBs. They must cover Vernon Davis and must limit/shut down Gore. The reason being, we know our offense isn't going to blow up the scoreboard so it's up to the defense to make it close. Brandon Carr and Flowers will be one on one a lot during this game so hopefully our LBs can get a pass rush on to hurry a throw or force a sack.
Stop the screen, cover Davis, get QB pressure, all of that falls on the LBs execution. I hope Crennel realizes this because if our LBs don't step up and show this nation they are a worthy defense, the Arrowhead magic can go away by the time they return in 3 weeks possibly with a 2-3 record. This game is huge for our momentum and the linebackers better know it.