Originally posted by mkmasn:
The way this offense uses two TE sets is to have the second TE in primarily for blocking, as the numbers show. That's why they signed Byham, who ended up missing the season. So if your blocking TE is out, who do you think that load falls on?
Mismatches....once again mismatches, I could two s**ts about whether the 49ers draft a WR, TE or RB as long as they can maximize the amount of mismatches on offense. What you wrote basically says everything. Walker is in there to block, defenses KNOW he's in there to block and if he goes out on a pattern, he's still only 6 feet tall so teams simply shift a safety or CB over towards him and that is that, additionally when he does get the ball thrown his way, he doesn't always have the greatest hands.
The reason why so many want Fleener has to do with the mismatches that Fleener can create. You can't stop a 6'6" TE with 4.5 speed with a single safety....you can try, but most likely its not going to work out all too well for you. Now have Fleener and VD going out on routes at the same time with Moss and Crabtree on the field and the defense is screwed, they will have to take a chance and cheat on somebody, now you have 3 big bodied receivers out on routes and Alex with his tendency to overthrow will find one of them with inadequate coverage....to me that just screams big-play and red-zone touchdown potential. With a guy like Fleener, you really have to allocate a linebacker to defend him but the number of linebackers that are good enough in pass coverage is few and far between.
Fleener creates a mismatch. Walker doesn't. He's 6 feet tall and he doesn't really have a position, he's a great blocker, but he's not a playmaker, not one to rely on consistently, especially on 3rd down. When you play over 50% of your offense out of a 2 TE set, both those tight-ends have to be legitimate offensive threats and playmakers. It'd be like having a #2 WR that's a great blocker downfield but can't catch anything thrown his way. Its nice to have, but the key is, the 49ers CAN do better and for a team that struggled specifically on 3rd down and in the red-zone, a big bodied TE is a major weapon to be able to improve in regards to that.