49ers-Lions: Matchups to watch

49ers-Lions: Matchups to watch
October 14, 2011, 6:51 pm
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In the below "Tale of the tape," 49ers right guard Adam Snyder's dedication to being in better shape this season is noted. Officially, he is listed at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds.
But we're making a correction. While it's a fact that Snyder at one time weighed in at 325 (or heavier), he'll be less the man but more the player on Sunday against the Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh.Snyder said this week that he currently weighs 295 pounds after changing his diet and spending a lot of time on cardiovascular workouts during the offseason.
The result is a better athlete. But does losing that much weight put him at a disadvantage against the ultra-powerful Suh? Snyder does not believe that is the case."It's more about technique," Snyder said. "The weight thing is more about how I feel physically. I feel better. My knees don't hurt, my back, all that stuff. Am I quicker now that I've lost a lot of weight? Yeah, probably. I'm moving a little better and moving better."Tale of the tape
Snyder: 6-6, 325 295, Oregon, 7th season
Suh: 6-4, 307, Nebraska, 2nd seasonThe 49ers' offensive line has played very well since Snyder supplanted Chilo Rachal at right guard at halftime of the 49ers' Sept. 25 victory at Cincinnati.The Lions rotate as many as nine defensive linemen, but Suh plays nearly every snap in the 3-technique, over the right guard. Snyder will face a huge challenge nearly every snap of Sunday's game.Suh, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, recorded 10 sacks as a rookie and was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year. He is strong, quick and plays with a mean streak.
"It's going to be a challenge," Snyder said. "The guy's a good player. He's quick, really good with his hands. He's a big dude."Snyder is likely to get help throughout the game from center Jonathan Goodwin."This will be my first time playing against him, but from what I've seen hes definitely up-and-coming," Goodwin said. "He's definitely a great talent. He probably even has a chance to be one the best to ever play the game."Suh, speaking on a conference call this week with reporters who cover the 49ers, said teams are game-planning him differently this season. He said he is rarely being blocked one-on-one.He said that's all right with him because it opens the door for his teammates to put heat on the quarterback, too."There's definitely a competition for us to meet at the quarterback," Suh said. "The key words are, 'We'll meet each other at the quarterback.' It's really great to have a great group of guys that work together. There could be lot of selfishness in that locker room. But everybody's unselfish and plays together." Other matchups worth watching
49ers cornerbacks Carlos Rogers (22)Tarell Brown (25)Shawntae Spencer (36)Chris Culliver (29) vs. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81): This is no one-man task for the 49ers. In fact, you can add safeties Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner and Reggie Smith into the mix, as the 49ers will use all of their resources in the defensive backfield in hopes of limiting the damage of Johnson, who has 29 receptions for 451 yards and nine touchdowns in five games. Johnson is like a basketball player. He can catch passes at a maximum height of 12-foot-5. The 49ers have emphasized boxing out and challenging him for the football. As 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio says, "We're basically trying to cover power forwards with point guards."49ers defensive end Aldon Smith (99) vs. Lions left tackle Jeff Backus (76): Smith is not a starter, but he will get a lot of playing time Sunday. That's because he enters the game when the 49ers go with their nickel defense. Smith is the team's "starter" when the 49ers put five defensive backs on the field. The Lions do not have a two-back formation, so they'll force the 49ers to match their three-WR formations with five defensive backs. So Smith, the No. 7 overall pick, should see a lot more action than starting right outside linebacker Parys Haralson. Smith has 3.5 sacks in the past two games. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked only six times this season, but his pass protection has been far from perfect. Backus is an 11-year veteran who has started all 165 games of his career. The Chiefs' Tamba Hali repeatedly beat Backus earlier this season, as he hit Stafford six times as he unloaded passes. It'll be a classic matchup of a young player against a savvy veteran.