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Patrick Willis may play more of a role for 49ers this time

49ers Packers Football AP

The Packers are a different offense than the first time they played the 49ers.

And that may actually help the 49ers this time through.

As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee points out, because Green Bay spent much of the opener spreading the field with four wide receivers, the 49ers fourth cornerback, Perish Cox, played more snaps than Pro Bowl middle linebacker Patrick Willis.

Willis and fellow inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman rotated quite a bit during that game, as the spent the majority of the day in dime defense.

But Cox played 51 of the 68 snaps against the Packers (he averaged 7.3 snaps a  game in the other 15), while Willis played 46 snaps and Bowman 56.

Those two normally play nearly every snap, much of the reason the 49ers defense is so good.

Of course, the 49ers held the Packers in check fairly well in that matchup, limiting them to 324 total yards, with 279 of them through the air.

Only 138 of those yards (112 passing, 24 rushing) came in the first half, as a late rally made the Packers numbers look better than they actually were. But with the Packers getting more from their run game of late, they may not elect to take Willis off the field as much as they did the first time.

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27 Responses to “Patrick Willis may play more of a role for 49ers this time”
  1. jhein23 says: Jan 7, 2013 12:58 PM

    Went back and watched the coaches tape of this game. The 49ers dominated the game but a few things stood out. The Packers inexplicably started Jarrett Bush and he was repeatedly exposed (not a shocker). And this was the beginning of the season when McCarthy/Rodgers refused to give in to the fact that they couldn’t beat teams with the deep pass in the deep cover 2 look. So Rodgers tried over & over throughout this game to throw deep with no success. 49ers defensive backs manhandled GB’s receivers too as it wasn’t called by the replacement refs. I give the edge to the 49ers better lines on both sides of the ball. But I think it will be less than a td game.

  2. norcalmafia says: Jan 7, 2013 1:02 PM

    Should be a great game..classic rivalry…

  3. cletusvandam says: Jan 7, 2013 1:04 PM

    Personally I wouldn’t take Willis or Bowman off the field for anything. I don’t care if the Packers trotted out 10 WRs.

  4. joecool16280 says: Jan 7, 2013 1:08 PM

    Never thought I’d say this but I’d rather play Green Bay than Seattle at this moment.

  5. shaggytoodle says: Jan 7, 2013 1:18 PM

    Both of these teams are very different from when they played the first week. The Packers young defense now has season of experience, unfortunately for them, guys like Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy are out. So its the secondary where it will be the difference.

    The 9ers have a different starting QB since then and worked some different offense into the mix.

    May the best team win.

  6. ern215 says: Jan 7, 2013 1:19 PM

    seattle and denver in the super bowl

  7. gnarlswoodson says: Jan 7, 2013 1:21 PM

    Game was not as close as the 30-22 score may have suggested, Packers were dominated in that game. However, that was literally the first game of the season, and while it is a good reference point for the 2 teams’ preparations, it shouldn’t weigh our opinions on this game this weekend. I trust where our Offense is, could have put up 50 on the Vikings, Mccarthy went into autopilot after getting a 14 point lead. We shall see what happens this weekend, but I expect us to be ready.

  8. juliusanonymous says: Jan 7, 2013 1:21 PM

    Seahawk fans (and the team) have been hoping for a playoff game against the Packers in Lambeau. But I don’t think Green Bay will beat the 49ers unless Kaepernic has a bad day. Does anything think the Packers defense can make that happen?

    San Fran will beat the Packers, in large part because they have a much better defense and offensive line. Packers won’t be able to get the pass rush on Kaepernic, but with Justin Smith back, the Niners will definitely be hitting Rodgers in the pocket a whole lot.

  9. FinFan68 says: Jan 7, 2013 1:31 PM

    This might be a game where Alex Smith is needed. I like Kap but Smith won’t make many mistakes. Should be a good game

  10. atthemurph says: Jan 7, 2013 1:33 PM

    You can bet the the Packers will run plenty of 4 and 5WR sets. Just ask yourself if you were GBs coaching staff, “which matchup do we like better? Randall Cobb or James Jones v. Perrish Cox or DuJuan Harris v. Navorro Bowman or Patrick Willis?”

  11. blergy says: Jan 7, 2013 1:40 PM

    Glad to see the 9ers fans actually being reasonable enough to realize that the first meeting will have absolutely no bearing on how this game turns out.

    The Packers’ D is a totally different animal (just like the 49er’s, to a lesser degree, has changed for the better). I highly doubt the 49ers will be putting up 30 points on the Packers’ D.

    The 49ers have the edge along the line of scrimmage. Everywhere else, the Packers have the edge (note that I include LBs in “the line of scrimmage). It’s on the 49ers to dominate the line of scrimmage so fully, that they win the game. If the Packers can overachieve at the line of scrimmage, they can win. But they need to have a great day on the line, and the 49ers need to have an average or worse day.

    As a Packer fan, I have to give it to the 49ers with the homefield advantage. On a neutral field, this is truly a 50/50 game.

    I have to lol @ whomever said they’d rather play the Seahawks than the Packers, though, that’s adorable.

  12. blergy says: Jan 7, 2013 1:40 PM

    *49er’s offense has changed for the better

  13. jt38 says: Jan 7, 2013 1:43 PM

    Niners will win in style…..with the bye week they’re gonna come out ballin, especially after losing to the Giants last year. Kaep will have a HUGE game on Saturday.

  14. countyk66ers says: Jan 7, 2013 1:56 PM

    The Packer defense is much better than people realize.

  15. elliottcovert says: Jan 7, 2013 2:12 PM

    A lot of this hinges on Justin Smith too. 3-4 interior lineman aren’t usually flashy, big-stat players, but thier ability to take up blocks in the o-line is critical.

    I’m also hoping secretly that Kaepernick can’t finish the game and Harbaugh is forced to send in Alex Smith, who will then out-dual Rodgers, creating an akward QB situation right before the NFC Championship game, thus making things come full circle.

  16. JackAcid says: Jan 7, 2013 2:26 PM

    ern215 says:
    Jan 7, 2013 1:19 PM
    seattle and denver in the super bowl

    ————————–

    I’m an NFL lifer, but if this was the SB matchup, probably would be the first I missed out of sheer disinterest.

  17. shaggytoodle says: Jan 7, 2013 2:41 PM

    countyk66ers says: Jan 7, 2013 1:56 PM

    The Packer defense is much better than people realize.
    ___

    People forget they have been without Woodson for half the season, and Clay Matthews for a quarter of it.

    I completely agree with you.

  18. juliusanonymous says: Jan 7, 2013 3:07 PM

    blergy says:
    Jan 7, 2013 1:40 PM

    I have to lol @ whomever said they’d rather play the Seahawks than the Packers, though, that’s adorable.

    ————————————-

    That’s because you’re a Packer fan, and as a result, don’t watch much football (unless it’s a Packers game). In case you didn’t notice, the Seahawks pounded the living hell out of the 49ers just a few weeks ago.

    I’m praying for a Seattle-GB rematch in Lambeau.

    Ain’t gonna happen, though. San Francisco is a vastly better team than Green Bay, with far better balance on both sides of the ball. 49ers are going to destroy the Packers. Which bums me out because I was hoping Seattle would get to beat on them. Oh well, I’ll take a 49er rematch. Nobody in Seattle cares about the lame Packers. We’d much rather win our second NFC Championship at Candlestick Park. That would actually mean something. That’d require beating a great team (SF) rather than a merely good one (GB).

  19. tokyosandblaster says: Jan 7, 2013 3:25 PM

    Lol. Seahawks fans are hilarious.

    The hawks won’t get past this weekend, and if they do, they’ll lose by 3 TDs the following week. By far the weakest team still in the playoffs, and it’s not close.

  20. axespray says: Jan 7, 2013 3:40 PM

    Imagine how good our Defense is gonna be in 2013.
    We get Bishop/Perry/Worthy/DJ back – along with another draft class – an Off Season practicing against one of the best Offenses in the league.

    Our oline gets Sherrod/Bryan back – along with whoever we draft for depth …

    I hope we get on a serious run this year – win the superbowl – get all these guys back – and give it a go next year – 3 Rings in 4 years = dynasty ?

  21. philrat says: Jan 7, 2013 3:46 PM

    Effectiveness of justin smith will be key for niners.

  22. faultylogic29 says: Jan 7, 2013 3:58 PM

    There’s no team I want the Packers to play less than the 49ers. It’s just not a good match-up. I was at the first game and the Packers just got beat up all game long on both sides of the ball. As much as I hate to say it, it’s a true finesse vs power type game.

    That said, a lot has changed. This is going to be a very close game, and I’m cautiously optimistic. If the Pack can get past this game, they should make it to the Super Bowl.

  23. phelbin says: Jan 7, 2013 4:05 PM

    I’m really enjoying all the Seahawk fans’ new-found bravado. They string together a couple good games, suddenly they’re acting like they’re the new
    dynasty.

    How about winning a Super Bowl first. Let’s start there.

  24. muskyhunter2542 says: Jan 7, 2013 5:37 PM

    The team from the forgotten northwest

  25. tokyosandblaster says: Jan 7, 2013 6:42 PM

    It’s just crazy. Most niner and packer fans respect each other and the other teams. Seahawks fans think they’re the best team ever and no one respects them or their team, because they have done nothing–ever–to earn any. That won’t change any time soon, either. Running up the score on the bills isn’t impressive. Neither is hitting Robert Griffin III 10 seconds after he throws a TD.

    I have family out in Seattle. Apparently there are people already wearing Super Bowl champ shirts. About 20 years early, idiots.

  26. 49erdefense2012 says: Jan 7, 2013 7:12 PM

    Im a fairly objective 49er fan and have been so since 1978 when my great uncle told me about the new 49ers owner and how he was going to build a football team that would become legendary, like the green bay packers,,and after all these years these 2 teams are some of the most respected organazations in the nfl. of all the teams left in the playoffs the packers are the team I want to play the least. I know the kind of guy arron rodgers is, im a cal grad and know him not close like a friend but enough to be able to call each other on a first name basis. he really wants to beat the 49ers. his dream was to be the starting qb for the 49ers and when they passed over him he made a promise that if he got the chance to meet them in the playoffs he would show them why they should have taken him over alex smith, well rodgers is playing very good right now,has all weapons back and healthy, and the 49ers have ? marks at the qb position, me Im nervous, the packers have owned the 49er @ candlestick in the playoffs, even the regular season for that matter, but im also one of ” the faithful ” been going to 49ers game since 1984 and have not missed a game since 1997, im a 3rd generation season ticket holder passed down from grandfather to father to me, and I believe coach harbaugh can lead this team to the super bowl, just hope kaepernick is as ready has coach harbaugh thinks he is, if he is, this team will p;ut up points in the playoffs, if not, can the defense pave the way for our 6th lombardi trophy? we will know the answer at the outcone of this saturdays game,,,,SEE YOU AT THE STCIK’

  27. briank1ne says: Jan 8, 2013 3:13 PM

    packers are one-dimensional. this is why they got beat week 1. All they have is a passing game. Niners got the whole package….except special teams. on the kicking field goals part. which is a huge part. should be a good game but im going with the niners.

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