I keep hearing posters say that Ginn or Crabs were "Wide Open" on deep routes. That is total baloney. Most of their "deep routes" were run down the sideline, NOT deep posts (start outside and run deep inside) or corner routes (start inside and run to a deep open outside route). There are two problems with calling sideline routes Wide Open.
#1 - Nature of the route - sideline routes against today's defenses are rarely "Wide Open." To get just Open on a sideline route, the receiver not only has to get behind the DB, but he has to keep his route closer to the hash marks and not right on the sideline. That way the throw can lead the receiver to the outside shoulder toward the sideline -- keeping the ball away from the DB and Safety coming from the inside. With the CB traling the receiver, and usually a safety coming over the top from the inside, even on good routes, the QB has a small window to put the ball over the CB and in before the safety. Defenses have gotten very good at covering this route, that is why its not successful very often and you see more back-shoulder throws in the last couple of years.
#2 - 49ers routes -- If you watch games where the 49ers tried to get this route thrown -- one game had 2-3 throws like this to Crabs, and another game had 2 throws like this to Ginn -- our receivers were running very near the sideline and the ball was thrown out of bounds. Unless the coaches were trying to be super conservative on with the design, which is possible, these were not well designed or run a.) the receivers were too close to the sideline, and b.) Smith doesn't look good at these throws because he is going to err conservatively to throw long and outside rather than risk and INT.
What was really lacking in the 49ers offense were the deep middle or corner wide open routes that we saw repeatedly from the Saints and Packers. We only sawy a couple of those plays break open for the 49ers, and even fewer successfully completed. Most of that has to do with play designs that get those receivers breaking so open. Those routes, at least this year, did not seem to be a staple of JH offensive design. Was it the limited scheme installation? Lack of receiver talent? Limitation of QB? Only the coaches know for sure, but I hope we see more of that in 2012.