SANTA CLARA — The newly-assembled 49ers defensive line has garnered quite a bit of praise over the course of training camp, including from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
“Yeah, there’s some monsters up there,” Garoppolo said. “They really are. They’re impressive. They penetrate so quickly, they get up field on the pass rush. It makes it difficult on us.”
Like Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, Garoppolo believes the pressure he and the rest of the offense is facing at practice only will make them better down the road.
“It’s putting us to the test every practice,” Garoppolo said. “It puts the O-line through a test and I think we’ve been responding well to it.”
Garoppolo now has faced a pass rush during a handful of practices after only participating in 7-on-7 drills during OTAs and mandatory minicamp. Although contact with the quarterbacks still is not allowed, Garoppolo already is aware of their speed.
The improved pass rush has forced Garoppolo to make decisions more efficiently while stepping up into a shrinking pocket. The defense has made a number of “coverage sacks” over the first week of training camp.
The addition of free agent Dee Ford and the second overall selection of Nick Bosa has added speed around the outside. A revitalized Solomon Thomas rotating with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead has kept the middle locked up.
The 49ers' defense has had success getting into the backfield from with pressure from the defensive line, linebackers and even the occasional safety or corner blitz.
When asked if the defensive line’s efficiency was based on talent or strategy, Garoppolo replied that it wasn’t one or the other.
“A little bit of both,” Garoppolo said. “You have to have the players to make it go, but the coaches have to put you in the position to be successful. So, I think they play hand in hand with one another. We’ve got a good combo right now.”