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Niners morphing into offensive team

Originally posted by nickbradley:
Originally posted by GNielsen:
Sure, especially in the last 10 to 15 years. The Ravens come to mind on defense and the Saints and Rams come to mind on offense. The "Greatest Show on Turf" didn't really have such a great defense. In the 80's, the Bears won a championship largely on the back of a very new defensive scheme with real good defensive players. Their offense was nothing to write home about.

No - an elite QB will deliver you a win even when their net performance throughout the game says otherwise.

The Colts have 3.2 more wins than they should - and that's because of Andrew Luck. Last year, Rodgers did the same.

I think the question was whether teams had been able to win championships with one or the other and the answer is yes. You're right that there are lots of examples of an elite QB being the crucial cog in a team that wins without good defense. But, there have also been quite a few examples of teams winning with real good defense and mediocre offense - I mentioned the Ravens and the '85 Bears, but I'm sure there are some other examples.
I thought we would be further along in the offensive side at this point than we are seeing now. Especially in the passing game. We are the same as we were the beginning of the year. We are 1% better with Kaep -- maybe.
Originally posted by GNielsen:
I think the question was whether teams had been able to win championships with one or the other and the answer is yes. You're right that there are lots of examples of an elite QB being the crucial cog in a team that wins without good defense. But, there have also been quite a few examples of teams winning with real good defense and mediocre offense - I mentioned the Ravens and the '85 Bears, but I'm sure there are some other examples.

You don't understand my point. If you have an elite passing game, you can 'pull one out' in the 4th quarter after blowing it the first three quarters. i.e. your defense has a bad day, run game gets shut down, etc.

Statistically evident
  • SFGem
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Originally posted by qnnhan7:
I thought we would be further along in the offensive side at this point than we are seeing now. Especially in the passing game. We are the same as we were the beginning of the year. We are 1% better with Kaep -- maybe.

i'd say with kaepernick the passing game is atleast 25-50% better. 1%? thats such an unrealistic statement.
Originally posted by SFGem:
i'd say with kaepernick the passing game is atleast 25-50% better. 1%? thats such an unrealistic statement.

25% is about right
Originally posted by SFGem:
i'd say with kaepernick the passing game is atleast 25-50% better. 1%? thats such an unrealistic statement.

If you factor out kneel-downs, Kaepernick is 23% better in pure performance. If you look at win probability added, he's twice as good.
I don't know that framing the discussion into a "focus" issue as much as it is getting better at what we aren't good at.

I totally agree that the better way to go is to become a passing team because all the rules are now made to promote that.
In a way this 49er team reminds me of the early Steeler teams that went on a run in the 70's. Their first Super Bowl they were predominantly a great defensive team. As Terry Bradshaw matured they became an offensive force in subsequent Super Bowls.
Originally posted by NinerSince82:
Originally posted by Carhanu21:
When Kaepernick was declared the official full-time starter, the Niners began their gradual transformation from a defense-focused team into more of an offensive team. Dont get me wrong. The Niners biggest strength RIGHT NOW is still their defense by far just based on the current personnel (mostly left over from prior regime). But you watch over the next few seasons Harbaugh (who is an offensive guy, former quarterback) will focus most of the top draft picks on the offensive side of the football. He will make a priority to surround Kaepernick (assuming he become the Franchise QB) with lots of weapons and good O-line.
One of the consquences of focusing on offense is that the defense will probably get a bit worse and not be nearly as dominant as the last couple years. I think it will still be solid but not great as time goes on under Harbaugh.

In the long run, I think this will be a good thing for the Niners and their fans. The last time a defensive team won the Super Bowl was 2002 I think. The Jon Gruden Bucs. Unfortunately, the NFL has made it unfairly tilted towards the offense with its new rules.

I was just wondering how other fans feel about this coming transformation and whether they prefer a defensive or offensive focused team.

The current Niners are starting to look a lot like the Dynasty Niners. Quick strike offense and bend don't break defense with bone rattling tacklers. As for scraping the option might not be a good idea. The NFL is becoming a dual threat QB league. In the past the option was not viable because the running QBs could not throw, or at least throw at an elite level. Maybe Steve Young being the exception, but even Steve could not run like today's dual threat QBs. But now you have guys who can run like Barry Sanders and throw like Joe Montana. So the option is the next step in the NFL.

Good point about the rules favoring the offense and pass offense. We already do the hard stuff no one else either wants or can do--Defense and rushing. Passing SHOULD be the easy part.

I agree with you about the read option. At first I hated it, but it forces the defense into situations that HAVE to be accounted for. Think you have prepared? Think you have it bottled up? Ask the Dolphins what happens when the D misreads it in the 4th qtr, easy TD. Roman even said, that its "not going anywhere." The point is true about dual threat QBs. Newton, RGIII, even Luck can run. This is the next step in the NFLs offensive evolution.


With guys like that think about what DCs have to account for now.......you almost have to dedicate someone to the QB, which is going to cost you either in coverage or in the running game. A MLB has to worry about the FB coming through the hole AND Kaep. Add to all this these new kids aren't morons playing QB (like Vick). These guys can read the D, buy time, make smart decisions. They can stay disciplined.

To the poster wanting straight "WCO"---welcome to 2012, there is no more WCO. There are variations in PHI, GB, SEA, HOU, CLE. My dad says the same thing about "bring back the WCO, pass it to HBs."

Consider this article: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/nfl/story/2012/09/21/west-coast-offense-past-its-time/57816080/1

Defenses started adapting to the WCO in the early 90s. Between the "Zone Blitz", "Tampa 2" and small, faster LBs, offenses were forced to contunie the innovate. Passing it to HBs and FBs no longer result in chunks of 5-10 yards because LBs got smaller and A LOT FASTER. Most offenses now use "principles." Almost everyone has Slants, Sweeps, and Screens in their playbooks. Its simply Osmosis. Now all the rage are TEs, but there is always an ebb and flow in the NFL. Soon there will be 6'4'' 230lb safeties that can check the VDs, Grahams, and Gronks out there.

Its almost like Martial Arts or MMA. IF a fighter is strictly a "karate" guy, he wiill be suseptible to "Ground and Pound" or Wrestlers. The best fighters are guys that aren't one trick ponys and have a motely of ways to beat you, think Bruce Lee. Being a Karate expert actually LIMITS you.

Our O is taking on the personna of its new QB. I admit I was cryin and pissed when it ddin't happen over night, but things like that CANT happen over night.



It will be real interesting to see what Seatle will do against Kaep. If there was any thoughts of him "getting fooled"by coverages, well, you can put that to bed, cuz Belicheck through it all at him, and if anyone could disquise things and make a rooks head swim, it would be Belicheck. Kaep TORCHED THEM.
Originally posted by GoldandGarnet:
Good point about the rules favoring the offense and pass offense. We already do the hard stuff no one else either wants or can do--Defense and rushing. Passing SHOULD be the easy part.

I agree with you about the read option. At first I hated it, but it forces the defense into situations that HAVE to be accounted for. Think you have prepared? Think you have it bottled up? Ask the Dolphins what happens when the D misreads it in the 4th qtr, easy TD. Roman even said, that its "not going anywhere." The point is true about dual threat QBs. Newton, RGIII, even Luck can run. This is the next step in the NFLs offensive evolution.


With guys like that think about what DCs have to account for now.......you almost have to dedicate someone to the QB, which is going to cost you either in coverage or in the running game. A MLB has to worry about the FB coming through the hole AND Kaep. Add to all this these new kids aren't morons playing QB (like Vick). These guys can read the D, buy time, make smart decisions. They can stay disciplined.

To the poster wanting straight "WCO"---welcome to 2012, there is no more WCO. There are variations in PHI, GB, SEA, HOU, CLE. My dad says the same thing about "bring back the WCO, pass it to HBs."

Consider this article: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/nfl/story/2012/09/21/west-coast-offense-past-its-time/57816080/1

Defenses started adapting to the WCO in the early 90s. Between the "Zone Blitz", "Tampa 2" and small, faster LBs, offenses were forced to contunie the innovate. Passing it to HBs and FBs no longer result in chunks of 5-10 yards because LBs got smaller and A LOT FASTER. Most offenses now use "principles." Almost everyone has Slants, Sweeps, and Screens in their playbooks. Its simply Osmosis. Now all the rage are TEs, but there is always an ebb and flow in the NFL. Soon there will be 6'4'' 230lb safeties that can check the VDs, Grahams, and Gronks out there.

Its almost like Martial Arts or MMA. IF a fighter is strictly a "karate" guy, he wiill be suseptible to "Ground and Pound" or Wrestlers. The best fighters are guys that aren't one trick ponys and have a motely of ways to beat you, think Bruce Lee. Being a Karate expert actually LIMITS you.

Our O is taking on the personna of its new QB. I admit I was cryin and pissed when it ddin't happen over night, but things like that CANT happen over night.



It will be real interesting to see what Seatle will do against Kaep. If there was any thoughts of him "getting fooled"by coverages, well, you can put that to bed, cuz Belicheck through it all at him, and if anyone could disquise things and make a rooks head swim, it would be Belicheck. Kaep TORCHED THEM.

Very good analysis. Thanks.
It seems Kaepernick is better suited to the sort of long/intermediate-long passing game that the staff attempted to develop in the last third of the previous season. Last year it frequently felt like we were trying to square peg a round hole, but this year's attempt is vastly more successful. In that regard, I think we're much improved.

How do you guys rate the new passing game's effects on the run game? I've noticed that it is starting to open defenses a bit, but only when we keep pressing the issue. The coaching staff seems quick to exploit this, which, again, is a positive sign. Better yet, we saw a couple of screens last week. So they're starting to use the passing game to punish teams that hedge the run game. I'd like to see more of that.

In short, all the elements are there, the staff just hasn't used them in a really symbiotic fashion yet. I think it's still fair to say that most of our drives seem to have discrete themes (ie this is the passing drive, this is the running drive, etc) but all the parts seem to be in place to have a much more effective offense.
Originally posted by GoldandGarnet:

With guys like that think about what DCs have to account for now.......you almost have to dedicate someone to the QB, which is going to cost you either in coverage or in the running game. A MLB has to worry about the FB coming through the hole AND Kaep. Add to all this these new kids aren't morons playing QB (like Vick). These guys can read the D, buy time, make smart decisions. They can stay disciplined.


That was a really nice post and a great analysis. I've heard others make this argument and I can't help but think its weak on one assumption: QB health. It's pretty hard to keep a conventional QB healthy over the course of a season. When you start having them take on the responsibilities of a running back, you're beginning to load the odds against yourself in a way that is very risky. I think your analysis is very solid for a single game, but I believe it becomes more tenuous as you expand the time frame to account for a season, or a career. You can already see the Redskins taking this into account with Griffin--they've got too much invested in him and the stakes are too high over the course of a season.

More than ever, a quality starting QB is the ante for being, not a good NFL team, but a competent NFL team. It's taken us over a decade to get our QB issue squared away. QBs are not like running backs, they aren't disposable dixie cups. But, as you merge the two positions you're exposing the keystone of your club to the same conditions that have rendered running backs to their current, lamentable career prospects--two years in the league on average.

I don't dispute that the "new quarterback" model is proving effective, I'm just a bit skeptical about its staying power. At minimum, it suggests that a team will require two competent QBs. That's a pretty tall order.
Originally posted by vaden:
I've been wanting us to do that all along. It's never made sense to me to prioritize defense and the running game when the rules are so slanted toward the passing game. We've seen how even our D can be eviscerated by the elite passers. I don't see Harbaugh changing much, though. Even when he had Luck, he ran it a ton. Our OL is built for the run and very weak in pass protection. Kaep isn't even allowed to throw as much as Alex was (24 attempts a game vs. Alex's 26 a game - in total we've passed less than 30 other teams despite having Pro Bowl level QB play).


We've been in the lead for 99% of the minutes Kaep has been starting games. I'm sure if you look at the first half of games, Kaep is probably being allowed to throw a lot more.
  • vaden
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Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by vaden:
I've been wanting us to do that all along. It's never made sense to me to prioritize defense and the running game when the rules are so slanted toward the passing game. We've seen how even our D can be eviscerated by the elite passers. I don't see Harbaugh changing much, though. Even when he had Luck, he ran it a ton. Our OL is built for the run and very weak in pass protection. Kaep isn't even allowed to throw as much as Alex was (24 attempts a game vs. Alex's 26 a game - in total we've passed less than 30 other teams despite having Pro Bowl level QB play).


We've been in the lead for 99% of the minutes Kaep has been starting games. I'm sure if you look at the first half of games, Kaep is probably being allowed to throw a lot more.

Actually the opposite. Alex was allowed to throw a lot more in the 1st half. Excluding the first Rams game, 60.3% of Alex's passes came in the 1st half (126 of 209). Excluding overtime, Kaep has thrown 52.7% of his passes in the 1st half (78 of 148). Alex threw 46.5% of his passes when ahead, vs. 53.5% for Kaep, but to do an exact comparison you have to calculate the amount of time we've been in the lead. Ultimately I doubt you'll find a significant difference. It has nothing to do with the QBs we have and everything to do with Harbaugh's conservative philosophy.
Originally posted by vaden:
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by vaden:
I've been wanting us to do that all along. It's never made sense to me to prioritize defense and the running game when the rules are so slanted toward the passing game. We've seen how even our D can be eviscerated by the elite passers. I don't see Harbaugh changing much, though. Even when he had Luck, he ran it a ton. Our OL is built for the run and very weak in pass protection. Kaep isn't even allowed to throw as much as Alex was (24 attempts a game vs. Alex's 26 a game - in total we've passed less than 30 other teams despite having Pro Bowl level QB play).


We've been in the lead for 99% of the minutes Kaep has been starting games. I'm sure if you look at the first half of games, Kaep is probably being allowed to throw a lot more.

Actually the opposite. Alex was allowed to throw a lot more in the 1st half. Excluding the first Rams game, 60.3% of Alex's passes came in the 1st half (126 of 209). Excluding overtime, Kaep has thrown 52.7% of his passes in the 1st half (78 of 148). Alex threw 46.5% of his passes when ahead, vs. 53.5% for Kaep, but to do an exact comparison you have to calculate the amount of time we've been in the lead. Ultimately I doubt you'll find a significant difference. It has nothing to do with the QBs we have and everything to do with Harbaugh's conservative philosophy.


I meant relative to himself. Kaep is probably throwing the ball more in the first half then he is in the second half. We are always in the lead, therefore we run more in the second half; but this is a guess. Edit: Not a guess, he is 52% you say. OK that is only slightly more, interesting.
As for being in the lead, I don't think I need to look this one up, because I have kept a mental note of the fact that we have always been in the lead (or tied), except for a few minutes in the Saints game.

BTW, where do you go to find those stats?
[ Edited by BrianGO on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM ]