Robert Saleh says defense is the same, even if the alignment up front is different

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The 49ers have incorporated the Wide 9 alignment along the defensive line. The rush-conducive positioning of the linemen won’t be altering the way the team’s defense is played, however.

“We might look different, but philosophically, the overall foundation of the defense hasn’t changed,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh told reporters on Wednesday.

“With the way [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek is teaching, I just like the decisiveness, the lack of gray area, the conviction and the tenacity at which they play,” Saleh added. “There’s not a lot that changes. I know there’s an image and a picture that people are trying to paint, but it all comes down to conviction and teaching and what he’s trying to get done as an individual coach and individual players. . . . The common denominator to all [systems] is that they have such great conviction in the way they teach that it works. With Kocurek and what he’s bringing, the conviction and the ability to coach through everything that he knows with teaching that style, that’s what’s going to be most visual to the fans.”

The most noticeable difference comes from the alignment of the defensive ends — they’ll be spread wide. The attitude will be different, too.

“It’s that relentlessness and the style that they play that is the most intriguing,” Saleh said. “[O]verall, just from a, getting off the ball, getting vertical and creating penetration.”

With both Dee Ford and Nick Bosa in the mix, the switch to the Wide 9 comes at a very intriguing time. The 49ers will be very intriguing on defense, and the use of the Wide 9 alignment makes it even more intriguing.