Originally posted by LundyLove:
We have been terrible at third downs all year.......
Good teams are good at third down
We are now 30th in the league in third down conversions with 30 percent
The offense has big problems and it starts at the QB position.Why do you think that teams cannot blitz all day against GB or NE? Because those QBs make you pay when you bring the heat. Alex Smith is unable to get the ball out quickly to his hot read.
Game after game, we have heard network commentators along with Eric Davis on the 49er broadcast point out that 49er receivers are not looking back for the early throw, not recognizing blitzes and adjust routes to take advantage of space emptied by the blitz, etc.
The most important asset against blitzes is the TE. The TE is closest to the QB and should be able to quickly get into position to take a pass in open space. We see guys like Jason Whitten who has made a career of doing just that. When Whitten goes down, so does Romo. Gates and Gonzalez do the same thing for their QBs/teams. All three not only have size, but also agility to adjust to passes thrown under pressure on the QB that are often not right on target.
Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski are the next generation but with more speed and even greater size.
One thing all these guys have in common is the ability to read and adjust. (Graham is particularly noteworthy in that he has developed that skill in just two years.)
With the 49ers, Vernon Davis still has not learned how to do that after 5 full seasons. So while we might hope that Harbaugh the Wonder Worker could teach him how to do that in the future, the current version just doesn't read well enough to be a help in this area. Walker doesn't seem to be in the mix very often, or at least often enough to see if he could be that quick relief guy.
That leaves it up to the WRs and, as we saw on Sunday, Crabtree who is now the most experienced (though still limited) is still running route short of the line to gain. Twice Sunday he caught passes 3 yards or less SHORT of the flag.
So that is just one aspect of it. Others include penalties, no push from the OL, and inaccurate passes.
Still another aspect that we need to recognize is the fact that Harbaugh CHOOSES to play a field position game with Andy Lee and the defense. Rather than attempting to pick up the first on 3rd and long, he takes the 8 yard throw and lets Lee pin the other team deep in their own end with a punt. In that sense, the fact the ST and defense are SO strong results in an offense that does not look as strong as it might if they always felt compelled to go for the first down instead of playing "field position."