Originally posted by OX49er253:
Gore is far from done. That being said the 30 year old RB wall is fast approaching, history is against Gore on this front. I love the guy, he has become one of my all time favorite Niners. The thing is, he runs hard and he gets furious when he comes out of games in order to be "spelled". All reports are that it is his choices and campaigning as to why he doesn't get spelled more. He is old school. Now granted a good coach does things for a players own good, even when the player disagrees.
However Gore is a rhythm back, he is at his best when he is getting consistent touches and gets a feel and flow for the game. I honestly don't think he would be as effective as he is if he is spelled more. He is not like a home run back (Reggie Bush, Chris Johnson ect ect) where one touch is all it takes for him to go the distance. Gore needs to grind it.
So its a tough call how to use him from here on out. Do you lighten his load and his effectiveness? Or do you wear him out early? As cold as it sounds I say use him for the next two years as much as you can. Feature, bell cow him, run the hell out of him. Then when he hits his wall at 30, 31. Say we love you Frank, you'll always mean the world to us, better luck somewhere else.
Historically, running backs wear down.
Historically, "worn down" running backs have made huge impacts on new teams.
It all depends on the back and the situation.
We should make sure we have a back up plan in place.
We didn't have a plan at all this season.
I think worse case scenario is Gore can be a good third down back. He's a great pass blocker and can catch the check down pass. That's a great role for a team breaking in a young running back.
I think Frank is going to be fine. All he does is think about football while he's training to play football. He's got a freakish work ethic and could surprise some people with his longevity. It's all about keeping your body in shape. Look at LaDainian Tomlinson this year. He's 31 years old and he's looked pretty damn good this season after everyone wrote him off as being done.
It all depends on how well he recovers from this hip injury. I don't think it's as serious as many have made it sound. I'm not a doctor, but I read an article that asked an expert about the injury and they said it's a 6-8 week deal. He should be fine to continue his normal offseason routine, which is just insane training... he's more like Rice and Craig than the normal NFL player... he trains by himself and doesn't need to be told to keep in shape. That's why he's almost never tired and almost never comes out of games. Well, that and he does want the ball... not a bad quality, but one he'll have to let go of.
It'll wear on him still, but I'm sure that we're actually going to make it a priority to rotate him out at times next season. Especially after the hip injury... just to be safe, you don't want to over stress that bone because it can cause minor fractures that can heal wrong. Next season we have to start working him into a different role. If Dixon can't be the back that I think he can (I think he's struggled because he's a rookie from a spread option offense and is learning to run lower from Rathman, so it's all new to him.), then we have to find someone else. We'll likely have to replace Westbrook anyway, so there's sure to be competition.
Gore is a rare running back... people don't really get it because we're used to perfection around here. Most backs aren't as well rounded as he is. We need to preserve him as long as we can. He can be a weapon without being a "rhythm back" because he can come in on any play and you won't know what we're going to use him for. It makes a huge difference when you aren't predictable, don't you think? If we've learned one lesson this season....
Can anyone tell I'm a Gore fanboy?
Gore > All