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Has Frank Gore *truly* lost a step?

Before we send the bell cow out to pasture, it might be worth looking at 2011 production:
Frank Gore averaged 4.3 yds/ carry
Kendall Hunter averaged 4.1 yds/carry


Over seven seasons, Frank has average 4.7 yds/carry. So you might say that he has lost a step.

But his best year, 5.4 yds/carry in 2006 was in Norv Turner's vertical offense with Antonio Byrant being a credible deep threat.

Hopefully, with the addition of so much speed and talent at WR. It will be difficult for teams to stack the box and dare Alex to beat them through the air. With more team speed on offense, I look for Gore to have a better yards/carry average this year, but in a more limited role as Greg Roman's scheme has to take advantage of LaMichael James homerun talents.
Originally posted by Wubbie:
It's quite clear that Frank Gore's best years are behind him, but some of the thoughts people have on Frank Gore is that he's done. They think this is probably his last year to be a feature runningback and quite possibly his last year on the team.

In watching him the last few seasons, it's difficult to say how good he is. A runningback is very much the product of his offensive line, and the line just hasn't been too good up until last season. His second season, 2006, was his most productive year when he nearly rushed for 1600 yards. You have to remember that we had a very good run-blocking line (Jonas Jennings and Larry Allen manned the left side), Norv Turner was our offensive coordinator, and Antonio Bryant was doing a very good job serving as a deep threat. 2006's offense was very conducive to running the ball. In subsequent seasons however, like Alex Smith, Frank Gore in the running game has been pretty hampered by multiple offensive coordinators.

Last season, he started off slow and it really did look like he was done... but then he went on a tear mid-season in which he had multiple 100-yard games. He was well-rested by the coaching staff as well, so I'm sure that prolonged his life as a runningback. However, I'll say that at times he didn't seem to run as hard as he used to when he was in his *best* years. The Frank Gore I loved to watch would keep his feet churning and explode for an extra 2 yards, even when it seemed like he was stopped. He still runs hard, but there are times when he just goes to the ground. I don't know if coaches have been having him go down to prevent wear and tear, or if he just doesn't have the explosive ability, or if it's just a matter of minor injuries effecting him.

Even so... I think Frank Gore is a great asset to our team, and even if he isn't capable of 250+ carries anymore, I hope he sticks with the team for awhile, and we have a very strong runningback-by-committee. It'd be a shame for him to be THE offense for so many years and no longer be a productive player when this team is ready for a few pushes at a Super Bowl run.

Thoughts?


a top quality post..giving analysis on both sides, supported by sound football observation. Specifically about not churning his feet as much as before, I agree, that is one thing especially I don't see as much anymore.And I do wonder if it is because he has been coached to go down, this is a plausible explanation. But I tend to think, just based on the player Frank is, he would keep churning if he could. So maybe there is something lost in that area.

People say he gets caught from behind, well when did he run away from people (other than the Seahawks)?

Frank Gore has some of the best vision and cut-back ability ever, and these are the traits that have allowed him to be great. Most importantly, these traits enable longevity as they mitigate, to a large degree, the lack or loss of athleticism. When healthy, he will likely remain a productive, upper-echelon back for at least two more years. He hasn't lost his vision, nor his ability to find holes quickly and efficiently. He may not be the same grinder as before, but it was never his speed for power that made him great.

Frank has the football instincts to overcome the loss of athleticism which was never elite to begin with.
Yes I think he has lost a step. What do you expect with the career he's had, being the feature back with no real back-up. He's gone through quite a few regimes being the focal point of the offense so you can only expect it. He will still be the feature back but he has plenty of help this year. The niners will have 2 vets in Gore and Jacobs to carry most of the load but you'll have hunter and james getting their fare share. Gore may have lost a step, but he can still squeeze through holes and get you first downs. I see gore as the the 1st and 2nd down back with 3rd down backs sharing the load. Did he lose a step, yes, but not necessarily a bad thing.
Originally posted by Pillbusta:
Okay people. Frank Gore made the freaking pro bowl this past season didn't he? Im going off memory here but didn't he amass over 1200 yds rushing? Frank is older and he might have lost a little something but from what I have seen, he is still our number one back. What has always made gore special is his ability to be an every down every situation back. He has impeccable vision timing and explosion THROUGH THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE and upon getting to the initial defender he always gets additional yards after contact. He has never been a burner but he is a positive yds move the sticks running back with soft hands football intellect and top tier blocking. Upstairs Frank has the football understanding to play this game and he still has enough health to contribute in a way to earn another pro bowl berth. I see Kendall Hunter if he bulks up enough to be Frank's replacement and LMJ as the change of pace. What I like about all of them is that they explode THROUGH THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE for chunks of yardage. BTW I believe we lost that NFC chip because we got away from Gore toting the pill on early downs. He was averaging over 5.6 ypc that game. We put the game in Alex's hands when we should have put it in Gore's the second half. NYC dline was smallish and unable to stop the run without putting nine in the box. We outsmarted ourselves and Harbaugh realized it post game.

Yes, and aging vets never get voted into the Pro Bowl based on popularity/name recognition or past performance. Nope, that's never happened.
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Originally posted by RDB4216:
Yes, and aging vets never get voted into the Pro Bowl based on popularity/name recognition or past performance. Nope, that's never happened.

If you think he got in because of popularity and not because it was deserved, you can leave this thread lol.
Im Glad the 49ers Drafted LaMicheal James..Frank Gore Could Teach this guy how to be a Real Pro
Originally posted by modninerfan:
If you think he got in because of popularity and not because it was deserved, you can leave this thread lol.

And if you think that making the Pro Bowl means ANYTHING anymore, then perhaps you are unaware that they are talking about doing away with it altogether. And as far as me leaving this thread, well your uneducated opinion wasn't asked for. "lol".
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It's obvious Gore isn't his 2006 self but he is definitely the #1 back. Some of you guys are looking to replace him, I say we continue to prolong his career by drafting RB's and Olinemen. It would be a bad GM move, but if I were GM, I'd keep Gore on the team till we got him a ring like the steelers did for Bettis even if he's well past his prime.
Member Milestone: This is post number 800 for 9ersLiferInChicago.
Originally posted by modninerfan:
It's obvious Gore isn't his 2006 self but he is definitely the #1 back. Some of you guys are looking to replace him, I say we continue to prolong his career by drafting RB's and Olinemen. It would be a bad GM move, but if I were GM, I'd keep Gore on the team till we got him a ring like the steelers did for Bettis even if he's well past his prime.
This
Gore is still the best back we have. he might not be the Frank of 2006 but he's still more complete than Jacobs, Hunter, or James. Using a 3 back system will prolong his career.
When he's healthy and fresh, he's almost as good as he's ever been. Problem is he's been nicked up more frequently lately, and has games where he's not fresh. I think we very well may see a revitalized Frank Gore next season now that Hunter and James are ready and capable to share the load with him. Frank has been relied on very heavily throughout his career including last year. How many games in a row did he put up 100 yards? It was alot.
[ Edited by KowboyKiller on Apr 29, 2012 at 8:01 PM ]
Some of the greatest 49ers of all time (Jerry, Joe, Ronnie, Roger, Rathman, etc.) all had something left in the tank when we cut ties with them and the reason why is simple according to the Bill Walsh philosophy (and remember, Harbaugh learned a lot from Walsh): You never know when a guy is going to hit the wall in terms of their football career, so it's better to let them go a year too early than a year too late.

Frank is still putting up good numbers and that's critical, but it's pretty clear to anyone who watches him that he's lost a step (and he was never fast to begin with). I'm not advocating we let Frank go because if it were up to me, he'd be our RB until he couldn't stand up anymore...that's how much his mere presence means to the team, and that's how big a fan I am of Frank Gore. But I wouldn't be shocked (from a pure business and football standpoint) if we parted ways with Frank before the beginning of the 2012 season.
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LaMichael + KHunt = the future
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Originally posted by GhostofFredDean74:
Some of the greatest 49ers of all time (Jerry, Joe, Ronnie, Roger, Rathman, etc.) all had something left in the tank when we cut ties with them and the reason why is simple according to the Bill Walsh philosophy (and remember, Harbaugh learned a lot from Walsh): You never know when a guy is going to hit the wall in terms of their football career, so it's better to let them go a year too early than a year too late.

Frank is still putting up good numbers and that's critical, but it's pretty clear to anyone who watches him that he's lost a step (and he was never fast to begin with). I'm not advocating we let Frank go because if it were up to me, he'd be our RB until he couldn't stand up anymore...that's how much his mere presence means to the team, and that's how big a fan I am of Frank Gore. But I wouldn't be shocked (from a pure business and football standpoint) if we parted ways with Frank before the beginning of the 2012 season.

That makes zero sense. We aren't crunching for $$ and we don't have his replacement secured. You get a bit more cash but you lose our best runningback simply because he "might" hit the wall in the next few years? Why not just keep him, and if he's outplayed he just loses carries to whoever the hot hand is. Eventually when he's clearly worked himself out of the rotation he gets cut. Cut him now and you risk being stuck with two rbs who can't be consistent between-the-tackle bell cow backs and one redzone back who also is on the downturn of his career.
Originally posted by Oakland-Niner:
Originally posted by pakalolo415:
get the dude his ring doe

This...

Give him one more year.

About how I feel.
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Yes.

Even if Gire.