Longtime NFL DB Alex Molden Says “Discipline” Is the Most Important Word Of Super Bowl 58

750 The Game Staff

Super Bowl 58 is almost here, and you can hear all the coverage and every play between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers right here on 750 The Game from Westwood One.

Alex Molden, former Oregon Ducks great and first-round NFL draft pick of the Saints in 1996, played defensive back for 8 seasons in the NFL. He joined John Canzano (Weekdays 3-6 p.m.) and broke down the key factors to Super Bowl 58.

Molden says the challenge the 49ers defense faces with Patrick Mahomes is the same challenge everyone has with the two-time MVP — keeping him in the pocket.

“I loved the Dan Marinos of the world, I did not like having to deal with the Michael Vick, who can be able to extend plays, who can be able to maneuver,” Molden said on 750 The Game. “We’re built as DBs, as defenses, we’re built on timing. I only have to cover this world class athlete for 3-4 seconds. It gets extremely hard when you have to cover that person for 8 and 9 seconds. Cause we’re scripted in terms of –  there’s only so many routes they can run. But when you have a quarterback that can extend plays. Now, the route tree? That’s out the window. Now it’s backyard football. He makes it very difficult. So when you do rush him, whether it’s with four, five or six, you can’t create lanes. Cause he will hurt you.”

Molden says 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will have his work cut out for him balancing unpredictability with maintaining the identity of his defense.

“They got your film, all 17 games, these coaches will be breaking down for two weeks,” Molden said. “They’re going to know who you are, wherever you are on the field. So you need to come at them. If you typically blitz on third downs, you need to do it on first down. If you typically play zone on second down, you need to come with different things. But you don’t want to be changing your identity. You just have to be very smart.”

Molden said ultimately it will be incumbent on the Niners defense to play within themselves when dealing with Mahomes and not let their emotions get the best of them.

“The biggest word is discipline,” said Molden. “You cannot give him extra plays like the Baltimore Ravens did when in a critical moment you give him an extra fifteen yards because you can’t control your emotions. Or you tackle him around the head. Or you do stupid things that can cost your team. So you have to be very smart, you got to be disciplined, and from time to time you have to bring pressure but it cannot be to get sacks. It has to be to keep him in the pocket, and just constrict him.”

Canzano asked Molden how difficult it is when you’re in the heat of battle to maintain your emotions and not commit the back-breaking penalty. Molden said it all goes back to preparation during the week.

“It’s not that difficult,” he said. “It starts with the leadership, with the coaching staff. This past Monday, that should have been the first conversation that’s had within the team coming from the head coach. And the second conversation once you break from the team and you get down to your defense and offense, it has to be reiterated from that defensive or offensive coordinator. And then when you get to your position (group) it has to be that trickle down approach – ‘You cannot shoot yourself in the foot’. And then after all that, now it has to be the players taking ownership and saying ‘hey, we cannot do these different things. We can’t do it. It’s too important. The season is too long for you to hurt your team with one second you start to think of yourself, or you don’t think, and you just let emotions take control. You cannot do that’. So it starts from the top, and it has to be continually reiterated from the coaching staff and the players.”

As for the other side of the ball, Molden says he thinks the Chiefs will have their hands full dealing with a loaded Niners offense. Moldne still thinks the football public is sleeping on the impact of 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 NFL draft.

“People are not paying attention to him,” he said. “He’s at the most important position on the field. He’s playing quarterback. Their defense, they have a running game, they have a back that can hurt you in so many different ways, and now for him to be able to see openings and use his legs. Man, I would not be surprised if they end up winning. They’re hitting their stride when they’re supposed to. You’re supposed to be playing your best ball towards the end of the year. And I think they’re due.”

Added to Purdy and McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel possesses a playmaking element that would make any defensive back’s head spin.

“First of all, he’s a thick dude,” Molden said of Samuel. “He has speed and he plays with attitude. And he’s smart, he’s not a young guy, he’s a veteran. So with him, you have to get your hands on him. You have to make it disruptive. You have to make it the opposite of what receivers like. Receivers like to run in different spaces and not be touched. So you have to be physical with him. But then they move him over to slot, they put him in the backfield. It makes it tough. But you just got to have a gameplan and know where he is and know the type of situations they want to put him in for him to have success.”

Molden never made a Super Bowl as a player, but was on the Oregon Ducks squad that reached the Rose Bowl in the 1994 season. He says making a Super Bowl is what every NFL player dreams of once they make it to the league.

“It’s one of those things that you dream of,” Molden said. “I dreamed of playing in the Rose Bowl. Playing in the Super Bowl was something that’s just so far out there. Because there’s so many things that you have to do. You have to have the right quarterback, the right coaching staff, the right connection between the players, the discipline that it takes. And then the health, you got to be healthy. To play in it, let alone win it, that’s something you can turn on fifty years from now and you can see yourself or you can show your grandkids what you did back in the day. It’s pretty cool.”

Listen to the full conversation with Alex Molden with John Canzano at the podcast below.

John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.

Listen to Super Bowl 58 between the Chiefs and the 49ers on Sun. Feb. 11th with coverage from Westwood One starting at 11:00 a.m. leading up to kickoff just past 3:30 p.m. on 750 The Game and streaming for free at 750TheGame.com.

 

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