Originally posted by vaden:
I'm sorry to say this but with the power running game Harbaugh wants to run and Gore's unreliability, we must look for his replacement immediately (unless, of course, we shift the offense to 65-70% passes and target a star WR, but there's no chance of that). We can't afford to have scrubs like Dixon running in crucial short-yardage situations in the 4th quarter because Gore needs rest. He was rested for months, given limited carries, and only had 16 vs. the Giants. We needed him to carry the load in that game and it breaks my heart that he couldn't do it.
Gore (7/30) and Hunter (3/14) were a combined 10 for 44 on 3rd down. That is horrid. Marshawn Lynch had as many conversions in 31 fewer attempts. A plethora of RBs were over 50%, and our guys couldn't manage half that. No doubt some blame has to go to our vastly overrated OL, but our RBs just don't have the necessary combo of burst and power.
It's time to look beyond yards to situational running, which Football Outsiders does with DVOA. Gore was 44th with -8.1%. I'm not saying he was that bad, but this talk of him being a top 5 RB is extreme wishful thinking.
I'd still like to keep Gore in a reduced role, but doubt he'd accept it.
Interesting article and reference by FO.
2012 projection: Frank GorePosted on July 18, 2012 by Grant Cohn
What exactly do we expect from the 29-year-old Frank Gore next season? Here's what Football Outsiders projects:
"From an advanced stats perspective, it appears that the 29-year-old is entering the third act of his career. In his first two years, he ranked in the top 15 of rushing DVOA. In the next four, he ranked no higher than 20th. Then, last season, he ranked lower than any other running back with 275 or more carries. He had just 12 broken tackles last year, just 11 the year before, very low totals for a starting back. He finished last among running backs with -6.9 plus/minus as a receiver. Add in that he's shown up on the injury report (or injured reserve) with a lower-body injury for 13 of the past 23 weeks, and San Francisco was correct in adding two running backs to lessen his workload. Expect only about 225 touches in 2012."
Football Outsiders stat projections: 216 rushes, 871 yards (4.0 yards per carry) 7 TDs.
My take: This projection seems reasonable. Frank Gore wore down quickly in games last season. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry his first 10 carries, but 3.9 yards per carry his next 10, and 2.4 yards per carry the 10 after that.
Gore should get roughly half of the Niners' carries this year, and the other three running backs will split the other half.
Gore will mostly play on first and second down, and a lot of the time he'll be a decoy. As long as he's had fewer than 15 carries, he's a threat and the defense has to worry about him. So, he opens up the play action pass game to Vernon Davis and Randy Moss, which will be the Niners best method of scoring touchdowns.
Gore is still a key player for the Niners, but his production will drop significantly next season.
I know we have all seen what the stats are showing above. His pass catching was horrendous last year and even his blocking was pretty bad too...no real lateral speed to run off T makes us one-dimensional. He continues to play injured, has certainly slowed down (reads, quickness up through the holes, etc.) and has never had break away speed.
All this said, the dude is all heart. Now with the success of Hunter and his ability to block, run off T, inside, pass catch, RAC, etc. and with the addition of LMJ and Jacobs, Frank can take a breather for a change and not be the bell cow. I had predicted a high draft pick on a RB and I'm glad we got him (for the future).
But one thing we are forgetting is that Frank was learning a new offense last year as well and really seemed to hesitate, even to the point of getting tackled a lot behind the LOS. Now he and the OL should be more in sync and he's got three guys pushing him...hard. We may be able to afford to keep him fresh but then again, if he gets on a tear, don't be surprised to see us ride him all the way!!!
[ Edited by NCommand on Jul 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM ]