In 2011 Harbaugh was brought in to change the culture in San Francisco. To bring The Offense back from mediocrity, and to establish the most talented defense in the league as the most dominate defense in the league. The thought was, minus a few players on Offense, that it needed to be purged and reshaped into a different mold. The old mold wasn't working because of the talent level on Offense.
The Alex Smith Pre 2011-12 Mindset: Ignoring Prior coaching history, etc., The mindset of both the organization, and the fans at the arrival of Harbaugh was that Alex Smith was a bust and on his way out. They brought in the QB guru, Harbaugh, to specially find Alex's replacement. He did so by drafting the young CK, and then snagging Tolzien away from San Diego's practice squad when he failed to recruit the kid as an UDFA. Harbaugh also brought back Alex for seemingly one more year the 2011-12 season.
The Frank Gore Mindset pre 2011-12: The Mindset on Frank Gore prior to the Harbaugh era was that Frank was getting ready to lose a step. He was at the age where most backs start to struggle, nd he had the amount of Carriers, and prior injurys that were worrisome. The mindset was that we needed to bring in more backs with different skillsets and then slowly introduce them into the offense, increasing their roles over time while decreasing Franks touches in the process. The thought was that this would help spell frank, keep him fresh, and maybe lengthen his career.
WR Talent And Depth: At the start of the 2012-13 off-season it was obvious that the WR position needed to be addressed. The only two WR's worth mention still under contract were Crabtree, and Williams. Both left fans wanting more after their awful postseason performances. In free agency we went out and added two big names in Moss and Manningham, then brought ginn back as a special teamer. Still there seemed to be major anxiety over whether enough had been done to address the WR position. There was still a perceived lack of talent.
The Inconvenient Truth about Alex: Last seasons championship run proved that Alex can be an effective Passer and QB, not just a game manager. He proved he still had it at the beginning of this season by posting the #1 passer rating through 5 games. Alex Smith is not the QB he was made out to be by Fans, The Media, and the Org, prior to Harbaughs arrival. Its simply a false perception at this point, that even the most biased in the media cant hang onto. He has proved to many that he is, and should continue to be the starting QB on this team, and the offense should be built, and run, in a way that compliments his skill set.
The Inconvenient Truth About Frank Gore: Frank Gore is running like he is 21 again. He is by far the best RB on this team, and its not even close. He has not been bothered by injury's, and he is having arguably the best start of the season out of any season in his career. He is still a dominate, top ten back in this league. One of the beat writers wrote about how frank gore looked the best in camp and at one practice broke a run that was impressive. When frank ran passed the reporters he said "Im the best Dawg". Frank Gore was right. He is the best and its not even close.
The Inconvenient Truth about the WR's: This WR core is solid. Crabtree (im one of his biggest critics) is turning into the possession WR we need. Manningham is explosive and sure handed, a great addition to the offense. KW is explosive and elusive Moss is a decoy at best, but still has great hands, Ginn isaint a WR, and Jenkins is inactive. The three wr's that need to be utilized in 99% of the sets are Crabtree, Manningham, and KW. Those are the three WR's on the team that we need to gear the offense to for this season. Next year work in Jenkins and draft another rookie, extend who we need to extend, but other than that this is a really solid beginning to a great WR core.
The Youth and Explosiveness Movement: Due to the perceived need to add explosiveness to the offense, we went heavy in those areas in FA the draft, and UDFA. But by doing so, we largely ignored the fact that the other side of the ball, while dominate, was in desperate need of youth and depth to help the veterans. Key injurys on Defense would decimate this team worst than any injury on offense.
The draft: While I like most of the players drafted in this years draft, it was a failed draft. We had glaring holes at OL, DL, OLB, CB. Instead of drafting solid depth and game day contributors for one or more of those positions we drafted two inactives with #1 and #2. The argument about depth at the positions is mute because ORG should have realized that they addressed the WR position and the running back position through FA, and took BPA for positions of need. Not Drafting impact players last draft has hurt us thus far this season.
Forcing Change and youth Into The Offense: Since the beginning of the Harbaugh era the coaching staff and ORG have been pushing for a more explosive offense, and the perceived way to get a more explosive offense is to inject Youth and outside influences into the offense. They did so by drafting two offensive players with the first two picks in the draft last season. They also went out and grabbed some veterans that could fit the perceived holes that we had on offense. But instead of injecting those players into roll playing scenarios within the offense, they placed them as inactives, Misused the veterans brought in and have instead tried to inject youth, and explosiveness through the young "explosive" backup QB.
Creativity channeled in the wrong direction: Harbaugh and Roman are offensive masters, who have more formations and plays than most of us can imagine. Creativity and freedom of play calling are good things, but when let to get out of hand can be very damaging. Lately the creativity in game planning and play calling has been channeled in an attempt to get more players on the field that are perceived as more "explosive". Instead of trying to get the most out of our players atop the depth chart, we have been trying to get everyone involved and that IMO has been damaging. Instead of creative plays and packages to get everyone involved, we need to go back to designing plays that will get the most out of our starters, not the role players. Go back to creative run formations, and play action passes, etc. Misdirected Creativity is hurting us badly at this point.
Personal Conclusions/Summary: There was a misconception that this team needed an offensive overhaul. It didnt. It needed a competent coach to use and develop the talent that was already there.
Frank Gore is the blood life of this team, and the offense needs to function through him. Alex is a NFL Caliber starting QB, and we need to gear the offense towards him. I like the talent we brought in, but a lot of the resources to bring in those players could have been used elsewhere. A #1 and #2 draft pick that are inactive and a big name backup running back that is inactive, is resources that could could be better served on this team.
The creativity on offense needs to come through the run game and play action passes, Not in gimmicky packages and formations, that take our best players off the field. Crabtree, Manningham, and KW are the WR's we need to be using the most of. We need to go back to what was so effective last year, and by doing so we will be a much more explosive offense just based on chemistry and familiarity alone.
This offense will be scary if we go down that path, but it wont be a 300 yards a game passing team. It doesn't need to be. This is a pound the ball down your throats and throw for 200 yards a game offense, that simply makes defenses hate life and not want to play anymore. It makes defenses quit. This offense that we are attempting to evolve into has no benefit to the team other than maybe a few WR's get more yards, and fans stop b***hing about "boring" and start b***hing about other things, and is in fact hurting us tremendously. Go back to what is proven.
This coaching staff needs to make a decision right now on what direction they want to take with the offense and make the switch and do it now without any hesitation. What direction that is I don't know but its time to decide.