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.
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.