It's a tall task, but the 49ers will need to face one of most fearsome secondaries in the NFL on Sunday Night. The Seattle Seahawks have been known to be more physical at the CB position from the 6-4, 221 pound Brandon Browner to the 6-3, 195 pound Richard Sherman. Both are excellent at their position in covering receivers.
Browner is doubtful for Sunday's game and the 49ers will need to take advantage of his side of the field. Reserve CB Walter Thurmond is undersized even though his coverage is adequate. Third-year player Byron Maxwell will also take his spot
Safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are also two great players who are dangerous. Not only is Thomas one of the best, but he is also angry when he reiterated his words on Jim Harbaugh honking his horn as a sign of taunting last season. Both players are effective hitters as the last line of defense in the secondary.
Greg Roman said he expects to see man to man defense in the upcoming game. He has prepared the offense to expect man defense with a reaction to zone when the play develops.
"They're going to do what they do and they'll definitely play some man [defense]," Roman said on Thursday. "You almost always have to expect man. You have to go into the game expecting man [defense] all the time."
With the highly-touted secondary being a factor for this game, the best way to counter the opposition is route effective route running. The 49ers will need to be physical with Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore and Quinton Patton in running routes. If a zone defense comes, they will need to read this quickly in order to find the holes in coverage.
The most interesting X-factor is how Quinton Patton will be utilized for Sunday night. In the first game against the Packers, the 49ers had Vernon Davis line up as a WR multiple times and Patton was only used on four snaps. It could have been a tactic that they wanted to hide the rookie receiver from the Seahawks with the purpose in playing him for Week 2.
It has already been well-documented what Patton did in his short time during the preseason. He had two touchdowns in two games, which included a 43-yard catch and run TD against the Chargers. Head coach Jim Harbaugh hinted that there will be more action this week from Patton.
With the loaded secondary the Seahawks have, the 49ers need to game plan around it while also establishing the battles in the trenches. It won't be easy, but the secondary is not invincible.
"I really feel like their secondary is a unique secondary as far as their size and range," Roman said. "They're a good team that is knee deep into preparations."