Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio included a visit from Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, who had plenty to say about the 49ers’ passing game immediately after a 40-point win over the 49ers.
He elaborated on his views regarding the simplicity of an attack that served up four interceptions and generated only nine completions on Sunday.
“Not to take any shots at [Colin] Kaepernick or their offensive coordinator [but] we prepare so much playing in the NFL, we watch so much film, and it’s really easy to pick up on what certain teams do and what they like to do,” Mathieu said. “And then there’s other teams that they don’t have the variety of things to do and it was real easy for us to anticipate routes and get the breaks on the ball last Sunday.”
Last week, Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson told PFT Live that Kaepernick struggles to throw outside the numbers. On Sunday, all four of Kaepernick’s interceptions came in that area of the field.
“The world knows what type of quarterback Colin Kaepernick is,” Mathieu said. “Obviously, he’s a dual threat. He can beat you in the passing game if you let him, but most of the time a lot of their pass concepts are designed for him to run to his right, to our left, to make it an easier read and to make it an easier throw because you think about a lot of their passing game, a lot of those are roll out passes. So you basically cut the field in half and it makes it easier for the quarterback to read, but it also makes it easier for the defense to kind of anticipate where the ball is about to go.”
So how concerned is Mathieu that openly talking about these flaws will make the 49ers improve their passing game before a rematch in San Francisco on November 29?
“Well, I’m sure those guys are hearing this and probably gonna flip a few things here and there, but you talk about the NFL and every team has an identity,” Mathieu said. “Some teams are able to get out of that identity for maybe a game or two but most teams are gonna stay the same. Because that’s what they’ve been coaching all season, all in the spring and the’ve been practicing those plays for a very long time, so I don’t expect much to change, but what I do expect is for them to come out and try to establish a passing game because they couldn’t do that [Sunday] night.”
The 49ers will have plenty of additional chances to establish passing game before the rematch. But with the word out on the limitations, it’s not going to be easy for the passing attack to improve.