Those whispers. We heard them after the first two games of the season, and they are starting again. Is Frank Gore wearing down? He is 30 years old after all and doesn't look as explosive as he did in the past they say. His legs are shot, that he's only been able to average 1.5 yards per carry after contact these last two weeks proves that they reason.
Gore got off to a rough start this season when Green Bay and Seattle held him to only 2 yards per carry in the first two weeks of the season. He followed that up by averaging 4.85 yards per carry over the next 7 games, but after gaining only 3 yards per carry against New Orleans and Washington the question has come up again.
Is Gore wearing down? To those who think so I say turn on the tape and watch what is happening in front of him. The first thing they will see are opponents selling out to stop the run. They have noticed the 49ers struggles with the pass and are loading up the line of scrimmage daring the 49ers to try and beat them through the air. New Orleans got away with it, but Washington wasn't as fortunate.
The second thing they will see is that the offensive line has been going through some struggles of their own. After the loss to New Orleans, right guard Alex Boone went onto his weekly radio interview on KNBR with Murph and Mac and said it about as good as anyone could say, "It's frustrating watching the film because if we all just make our blocks you can see the run for Frank." Don't forget, although he is 30 Gore is second in the league in runs over 20 yards with 8 this season, and his average yards per carry of 4.2 is still above what he averaged 2 years ago.
When looking at the film of the game against Washington it jumped out that Boone had nailed it. On one play it's Bruce Miller, the next one it is Vance McDonald, then it is Vernon Davis and Anthony Davis missing their blocks and shutting the play down for a loss or minimal gain.
It wasn't all bad on Monday night though. Despite the difficult sledding in the run game the 49ers stuck with it in the first half to keep their offense balanced with 11 runs to 12 passes and a 10-6 lead. Sticking with it throughout the first half allowed them to open up the play calling in the second half leading to a number of big plays in the passing game off of play action and a much needed 27-6 win.
As the passing game continues to improve, and it should with Michael Crabtree coming back to the lineup on Sunday look for Gore to find a bit more space to run, and for those whispers to fade away.
Take a look at the film from Monday night and see for yourself: http://ninerchatter.blogspot.com/2013/11/is-frank-gore-wearing-down.html
Jack Hammer is the writer for NinerChatter : ninerchatter.blogspot.com
Date: November 29, 2013 at 4:12 PM
Comment: just under 800 yards and 7 TD's.... with six games to go. Yeah he is all worn out.. lol
Date: November 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Comment: I couldn't agree more with this article and boone's statement. Gore is as capable as I've ever seen him, we all know stats don't always tell the story. With all due respect to our stellar O-line, they've had their struggles this year. We've seen it even more so in the passing game, and again, everyone wants to lash out and say ignorant statements like "Kap's done we shoulda stuck with Alex smith." But if you look into it, a big factor in Kap's struggles has been protection. I wouldn't say it's a consistent problem, but if Kap gets sacked and it sets up a 3rd and 15, we're gonna see him struggle. See the Carolina game for a perfect example of that. Field position, penalties/sacks on 1st and 2nd down held our offense back significantly in that game by putting us in 3rd and long situations back near our own endzone all day. My point is many people might not care to look into the factors that go into struggles, instead opting to say things like "gore is wearing down" or "Kap is done." When the o line misses key blocks in key situations it can have a much larger effect on the offense as a whole than many seem to see.
Date: November 27, 2013 at 7:14 PM
Comment: I agree teams are stacking the box to stop the run and daring Kap to beat them. Kap was able to pass on Wash and their terrible secondary but NO shit him down. Expect teams down the stretch to to stack the box as well. Roman needs to scheme a better offensive plan to beat 8-9 men in the box. Play action, screens and roll out will work well. Hopefully he gets it done.
Date: November 27, 2013 at 6:16 PM
Comment: It's hard to run against 9 or 10 guys waiting for you to run.
Date: November 27, 2013 at 5:44 PM
Comment: Paleeze, we hear this every season...the main reason he's not getting his customary yards is because teams are stacking 8 in the box. Until the 'Skins game, the passing attack was pretty anemic. Sure, he may be dinged up, show me any starting RB who isn't this time of year. Frank will be fine...if he can walk, he'll be out there, something you can't say about a lot of the RB's in the NFL.
Date: November 27, 2013 at 4:40 PM
Comment: Jack, Frank Gore has been declining for 3 years now. He doesnt have enough gas to run much more than 15 yards. He gets injured and runs down towards the end of the season.
Yet despite that, he is still a great short yardage RB. What I dont understand is why the coaching isnt using him more sparingly and rotating Hunter, James, and Dixon in. With 4 RB's, they should be able to absolutely pound a defense into submission.
Date: November 27, 2013 at 3:37 PM
Comment: Met frank in new Orleans. Hall of famer!