So I was thinking to myself... WTH is wrong with our running game? I can understand a philosophy of running the ball. It makes sense. Frank Gore is our most proven player and he is capable of having monster games for us.
Is it the Scheme?
When I mean scheme, I mean the design of the plays. Do our running plays have creativity? I don't know enough about Xs and Os, but I know there's a lot more to it than "Alright. Chilo and Heitmann, you take the NT while everyone else occupies 1 man." "Are Jimmy Raye's plays too simple?" is what I'm asking.
If that's the case, then we're screwed as long as Jimmy Raye is the OC. It's possibly that the players get better next season with a year of continuity.
Is it the O-line/O-line's coaching?
Assuming everything else is okay, is it simply that the O-line is underperforming and/or sucks? Or is it that the O-line coach and/or Jimmy Raye not teaching them properly? Granted, we've experienced injuries the last couple weeks, but this unit has sucked all season long.
If it's simply the skill level of the o-line, I don't expect much improvement the rest of the season. If this is the case, the o-line will have to be re-tooled and/or hope that certain young players like Chilo Rachal improve by next season. And unless we get the second-coming of Bobb McKitttrick, this unit needs major work.
Is it the Pass/Run Ratio?
I imagine this is what most people THINK, especially when we announced during the offseason that we'd run 60% of the time. In this sense, teams are geared to stop the run. I believe that good running teams can still run when there are 8+ men in the box, but still.. we haven't shown we're a good running team. But when we fail to run, we fall behind in games, have 3 and outs, tire out the defense, and force the offense to do what it is not built to do by coming back. The opposite is if we try to pass the majority of the time and turn the ball over a lot, which is what happened against the Titans.
If this is the case, then this COULD be solved during this season, but it will take some time. We could find the right balance of pass/run ratio next week... or we might not find it until Week 17, or maybe not even find it at all. It takes some time for an offense to overcome philosophical problems such as pass/run ratio.
Is it simply that we're not playing to the strengths of our offense?
Is it possible we're not a running team? Alex Smith's performances in the second halves of the Titans and Packers games make you wonder if we're a vertical passing type of team... This really makes you wonder because Alex Smith's performance against the Titans was against a defense that didn't gameplan against him, while both the Packers and Titans had substantial leads. Singletary suggested that it's possible that Alex was playing a soft defense.
When you look at the offense you see talented young guys in Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Jason Hill, etc. Under Mike Martz last year, the team was a pretty explosive offense, with the drawbacks of turnovers and sacks. So it's clear that the offense can produce under the right circumstances.
As with pass/run ratio, this situation may take some time to sort itself out. We built this offense with a running philosophy in mind, using Shaun Hill as the QB. Shaun Hill and Alex Smith are different quarterbacks. Figuring out what works well for the team takes some time. We could figure it out next week, in Week 17, or not at all this season. Who knows what happens in the offseason if we don't figure it out this season. We might give up entirely on Alex Smith and Shaun Hill, electing to draft a new QB... If this happens, we'll have to start over on the offensive process.
Thoughts? I have no idea what is wrong with the running game and the offense as a whole. What do you guys think?
[ Edited by Wubbie on Nov 22, 2009 at 9:51 PM ]