I would love to see us use James in a Sproles type of role, but I think that's a pipe dream based on the offense we run.
What surprises me most about the 9ers offense is that we never run screen plays, ever! With our line being so athletic, you would figure one or two here and there would certain slow down the pass rush a little. Never see us do it though, we hardly ever throw it to the backs period.
Gore - 28
Miller - 12
Hunter - 9
James - 3
Not sure why that's the case since Gore is a great pass catcher. Plus getting Hunter and James in space with the ball could both be deadly weapons. Looking back on the 09 and 10 seasons at Stanford though, neither Gerhart (11) or Taylor (28) caught many balls.
Unless there is a great shift in offensive philosophy, I do not think we can expect our backs to be major contributors in the pass game. The more likely scenario if Patton, Jenkins or Lockette do not emerge as a reliable deep threat opposite Boldin ( I have SUPREME confidence one will emerge, but lets talk worst case ), that we will see a large % increase in a Stanford style, 3 TE / 1 WR formation. VD would play the part of the #1 option ( Fleener ), McDonald would play the part of the Red Zone threat ( Ertz ) and Celek would be the blocking TE that catches some passes ( Reuland ). We would run a ton out of this formation, but would still be a threat with play action.
In my humble opinion though, I think AJ or Lockette emerges on the outside, Patton or Williams emerges in the slot and Boldin keeps on being the #1 option like he was in Baltimore all last year, how'd that end up for them??? Throw in VD and McDonald dominating the hashes and our passing attack will collectively
put up better numbers than last year..helps my argument to have an improving Kaep firing rockets for 16 games.
Oh and then we get Manningham back at the end of the year and possibly Crabs for the playoffs.
Cant wait to see the young guys mix it up in camp. The reports have been great so far!