SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – John Madden watched three NFL pre-season games Thursday night, and was delighted to spot a trend.

“The tackling is a lot better,” John told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “My theory is this, and I hope this is right: we kind of took the head-hunting – with all that helmet-to-helmet and crown of the helmet – out. And now they’ve gone back to tackling with the shoulder and wrapping (their arms around the ball-carrier)… They weren’t doing that. They were just trying to get that knockout shot and they weren’t wrapping.”

Madden said he hopes the better tackling continues through the season.

“That might be an unintended consequence, as they say, that you take that head out and tackling improves… The fact that they’re not going for those shots anymore makes them go back to fundamentals, which is where we should be… I hope it trickles down to college and high school and all of football, that you don’t have to do that if you’re fundamentally strong.”

In their first pre-season game, the 49ers lost to the Denver Broncos 10-6.

“I thought the 49er defense was pretty good,” John said. “They do so many more things… just so many different looks that they’re giving the offenses so early in pre-season. It’s a trend. And I don’t think it’s something that just the 49ers are doing. I think everyone is doing it now.” (7:50)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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