Aside from making myself chuckle a bit, it genuinely got me thinking about this years offense in the midst of our potential offensive evolution.
Historically, it's been well documented that a HaRoman offense means a heavy ground game with two TE's with multiple formations/packages, shifts, audibles, alignments and some play-action.
But right now, we are in the midst of an offensive revolution IMO so lets take a look at some key points:
- Q formation - once CK came on board, we ran more and more of this formation. It means two backs lined up next to the QB in shotgun. I don't think this formation can be more overstated. From this formation, we ran QB-options and both RB's (Gore/James) had to learn how to run out of it. The timing is very different and that also affected the blocking of the OL. Once everyone was on the same page, it was VERY effective and I expect we'll see this formation more and more and more.
- Shotgun - b/c of the Q formation (and even without) CK was in a shotgun formation a large portion of the time which also affected snaps from Goodwin.
- Injuries - we had key injuries to Hunter (off-tackle runner), and to Williams and Manningham last year. These guys plus FA/draft players we brought will add to a whole slew of talent to the mix despite Crabtree going down.
- Crabtree - was CK's primary receiver last year so this injury forces a better "spread it around" mentality.
- Mangini - was hired as a Sr. Assistant to Roman. While many believe he was merely brought in as a consultant to provide a tactical "defensive" perspective for how effective our offense would be or not be, many are dismissing the fact that he is also learning our offense as well. Most likely, he not only will provide a defensive insight but will also provide insight on how to attack defenses using OUR offense. He will add to the offensive game plan and help ensure our best weapons are utilized properly against the defenses we'll be facing each week. For instance, if we're playing a 3-4 defense, he'll know the best way to attack that is in the middle of the field behind the LOS and before the S's (usually with a TE or slot WR or RB's). If we're playing a 4-3 or 4-6, teams with great pass rushes, etc. he'll know how to attack them as well.
- Offseason - this will be the first offseason CK will be the clear-cut starter and we design an offense around his still-set and use all the weapons we (now) have.
- Unfinished business - needless to say, a high character team like this is hell bent on atoning for last year's sin (not winning the Superbowl and going 6 for 6). And let's not forget the added motivation to beat Seattle and the Rams too!
- Year 3 - typically, this is the year trending for an HC/OC/DC is salient. That can be good (Roman?) or bad (e.g. Fangio's track record).
- The Big 3 - here is where I see potentially the biggest difference in 2013. Last years game plan comprised of Roman drawing up the running game plays while Johnny Morton drew up the passing game and Geep Chryst did the red zone plays. Roman called the shots during the game and made adjustments as needed. This year, we could be seeing a shift to more Roman and Mangini. Roman showed he can be a genius with the running game, his forte, but now it's time to be less compartmentalized and complete an entire game plan on his own IMHO (with the added help from Mangini/Harbaugh). This could help with the "flow" better; something we all noticed last year.
Now let's take a look at our potential weapons for 2013; we're assuming the OL is the same or even better eventually (e.g. Kilgore./Looney replace Goodwin)
- Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy/Scott Tolzien and B.J. Daniels - either Colt or Scott will provide veteran leadership (NFL starting experience or experience in OUR offense, respectively). B.J. is the perfect Russell Wilson-clone to practice against and can play ST and appears to be playing QB well.
- Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James; Marcus Lattimore (PUP) - we aren't sure if Anthony Dixon, Jewel Hampton and D.J. Harper will be with us but we know what we have in Dixon already. Hampton could be a surprise as a pure runner as well and Marcus is red-shirted all year long and is the heir to Gore. Having Kendall back is huge as he was Gore's off-tackle runner that helped make Gore even more effective inside the T's in a 1 RB/FB formation. James can add to this element as well or be used in a Sproles-like manner. All three can be used in MANY ways.
- Bruce Miller and Jason Scheplar; Alex Debniak (IR) - Bruce is a pro bowler in my book and vital to our running success. He is also a reliable receiver that isn't used much. Jason could be a surprise win here and could add on ST as well. We have no depth behind Miller.
- A.J. Jenkins/Ricardo Lockette (X), Quinton Patton/Kyle Williams (Y) Anquan Boldin (Z); Mario Manningham & Michael Crabtree (PUP) - Kassim Osgood and Marlon Moore are all right on that bubble IMHO; they can be gunners with their speed on ST, return kicks and even provide some size mismatches in the RZ and add that deep threat as well. I expect we'll bring Manningham along slowly.
- Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald and MarQueis Gray (H-back) - Garrett Celek is well known as well and could make it again.
CK has already trained like a champion this off season and he brought some friends along as well. Now he'll have even more brain power behind his game plans with TIME to build chemistry with all of his old/new weapons. Once the receiver proves worthy, like with Crabtree, CK will "trust" him...we're already seeing that with Boldin and McDonald during OTA's. Hunter/James bring back the off-tackle runs that killed defenses the start of last year with Gore blowing up inside the T's as always. Together and at the same TIME in the backfield from the Q, they keep defenses off balance big time. Running both out of the Q formation is going to be a nightmare for defenses even more (esp. b/c Hunter can run inside as well so how do you defend it?). All three are very good pass protectors. I think with Boldin, VD, McDonald and potentially Lockette (and Osgood), we're going to see a much more physical WR group than in years past (when Crabtree was smaller and weak off the LOS, Williams, AJ, etc.). I have a strong feeling that Davis, McDonald and even Gray are going to be central to both our passing and running game.
We keep hearing the term "new wrinkles" being folded into our base offense. That said, the final piece to this is, what to YOU think our offense will look like this year? Do you think the foundation will change a lot? Style? Or if you think the base and philosophy remains the same, what new wrinkles do you see coming? Feel free to post predictions if that helps provide perspectives.
[ Edited by NCommand on Jul 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM ]