Lackluster returns for 49ers replacing Aldon Smith
As they did last year during Smith’s rehab stint, the 49ers have decided filling the shoes of one the league’s best pass rushers is a two-man job. Dan Skuta will play mostly in the base package, while second-year OLB Corey Lemonier will come in on passing downs.
How did Skuta and Lemonier fare against the Cowboys? Skuta played 34 snaps (22 base, 11 nickel, 1 short yardage), and got the 49ers rolling less than a minute into the game causing a DeMarco Murray fumble which was picked up by Chris Culliver and returned for a score. Skuta earned a +1.2 grade on the day, with a +0.7 grade against the run, and a +0.5 grade rushing the passer where his one hurry helped set up an Ahmad Brooks third-quarter sack.
Lemonier had a rough first week. He played 39 snaps (38 nickel, 1 dime) and finished the day with a -2.8 grade. The pass rush specialist did not tally a single pressure on Romo in 27 pass rushes.
Combining the two, Skuta and Lemonier pressured Romo just once in 40 pass rushes, the 49ers will need a lot more from the duo rushing the passer as the season continues.