I have made the argument that the 49ers pass plays, scheme, an/or route combinations are not up to par with elite NFL offenses, and this has been a major impediment to our offense - regardless of who the QB is. Now, some could argue that the pass offense is really basic because our QBs are not good enough to run/understand complex schemes, or that the offense is new, so it hasn't had time to develop, the receivers don't get separation, the Oline doesn't give time, etc., etc. That all may be true, but it doesn't change the fact that it makes it easy on the defense to defend and the OC has to fix it.
The first 3 plays of the Seattle game are pretty good examples of the route schemes being problematic - and the deficiencies all noted above:
Play 1 -- Essentially a 3 route scheme, Davis running a deep in route from the standard TE position, Manningham running a stutter go on the outside, and a short route underneath by the slot receiver. Given that it was the first play, and it seems CK made a quick decision to go deep to Manningham, it does appear that the play design was to go deep to Manningham. THE PROBLEM: The combination of VD deep in and the stutter go draws the coverage right to Manningham, even though he gets behind the coverage. WHY? Why have VD draw the safety toward the deep route? If the intent was to hold that safeties attention on VD, then why run him toward the deep route? Why not run him deep to the other side with a flag or deep out in that direction?
It is pretty amazing that VD essentially draws bracket coverage by FOUR defenders, but at least draw them the other way.
CK puts the ball in the right place because the safety is coming across, so the ball has to go straight deep - maybe that is the design, maybe CK reads the safety coming. BUT, if the VD route hadn't been pulling the safety across toward the Manningham route, Mann would have been able to bend the route inside more away from his defender, and CK could have thrown that way as well. To me, this play just seems poorly designed. BUT, hey, every play can't work perfectly as designed, the defense is smart too. But the point of this post is to show that the designs are consistently simple. See next play.
PLAY 2: 2-10 and the pass routes are ALL called 5 yards deep - what kind of combination is that? It pulls all the defenders together. CK makes a quick decision to throw to Crabs - his go to receiver. Not a bad decision, but the play design draws the coverage TO Crabs. With a better read, CK could have gone against the grain of the play and thrown back to Gore. But hindsight is always 20-20. Again, the issue for me is the design.
The route of both VD and the fullback pull the coverage Crabs way. And all the routes have the receiver run about 5 yards deep and stop and turn back to the QB. It's a bet that the QB can throw it quickly to pick up 5 yards, but is pretty easy on the defenders. Again, a read to the backside swing route might have been the most open receiver. Hindsight 20-20.
PLAY 3: 3-10 Man coverage against basic route scheme. This requires one guy to beat his man by good route running - and Crabs does it with the out route, with a little push to assist his separation. None of the other receivers appear to get separation. And the receiver outside Crabs appears primarily running to drive off the outside coverage and then block his defender after Crabs makes the catch. This action appears to telegraph to the defender that the pass is going to Crabs, see how fast the defenders close on Crabs.
[By the way, GOODWIN gives up pressure up the middle that disrupts CKs throw a bit -- in my review to date, this appears to be a pretty common problem - Goodwin has a hard time holding his blocks for runs or passes].
Result: Incomplete to Crabs - yes, it hit him in the hands, but clearly wasn't an easy catch and with the defenders closing, only 50/50 Crabs could have turned it up enough to get a first down.
The point is: These route combinations were really basic for a defense to handle and did NOT break anyone. To me, this is an OC problem.
[ Edited by HearstFan on Dec 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM ]