Eric Mangini’s job as 49ers defensive coordinator has gotten progressively tougher since he took the job on the reconfigured coaching staff earlier this year.
The team saw Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and Justin Smith retire over the course of the offseason and they released Aldon Smith last week after his arrest in Santa Clara for DUI, hit and run and vandalism. There have been other, less dramatic departures as well and Mangini’s comments about Aldon Smith’s departure could probably be extended to others on the list of players no longer with the organization.
“He’s not a guy you can just replace; he’s got a unique skill set,” Mangini said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “But one of the things we’ve focused on defensively is building flexibility in terms of what we can play.”
One way the 49ers are doing that is through an increased number of blitzes. Left tackle Joe Staley said that the defense is running more blitzes this summer than “we’ve seen in the previous six combined” and the team’s ability to generate pressure with just four rushers didn’t get any better with Smith’s departure.
Ahmad Brooks, Aaron Lynch, Corey Lemonier and rookie Eli Harold will be the outside linebackers Mangini will be choosing between to implement blitzes and everything else now that Smith is out of the picture.