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HaRoMan - 2013 Offense

HaRoMan = Harbaugh - Roman - Mangini

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.

Assessment:
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 ]
Sounds like a bad anime character
Good stuff NC.

My opinion is our offensive personnel is hands down the most versatile group in all of football. The options are almost limitless, especially when considering the mastermind group of coaches at work.

Honestly I feel like nobody has a single clue of what's to come, and neither does the rest of the league. I'm sure that's exactly how Harbaugh wants it.
Thanks! I forgot to add the most importance point (edited)


  • 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.
[ Edited by NCommand on Jun 28, 2013 at 11:32 AM ]
Originally posted by verb1der:
Good stuff NC.

My opinion is our offensive personnel is hands down the most versatile group in all of football. The options are almost limitless, especially when considering the mastermind group of coaches at work.

Honestly I feel like nobody has a single clue of what's to come, and neither does the rest of the league. I'm sure that's exactly how Harbaugh wants it.

Danka and that last sentence is spot on IMHO!
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by verb1der:
Good stuff NC.

My opinion is our offensive personnel is hands down the most versatile group in all of football. The options are almost limitless, especially when considering the mastermind group of coaches at work.

Honestly I feel like nobody has a single clue of what's to come, and neither does the rest of the league. I'm sure that's exactly how Harbaugh wants it.

Danka and that last sentence is spot on IMHO!

Dude!! You put into words everything that I was thinking and then some. I have promoted Gray and BJ over the incumbents also but to illustrate the potential of Boldin, VD, Vance and Gray on the field all at once in various packages along with Kaep and our backs and this OL. Wow!! This is why I think HaRoMan have an excellent chance to win big again this upcoming season. I can't wait!!
Originally posted by Pillbusta:
Dude!! You put into words everything that I was thinking and then some. I have promoted Gray and BJ over the incumbents also but to illustrate the potential of Boldin, VD, Vance and Gray on the field all at once in various packages along with Kaep and our backs and this OL. Wow!! This is why I think HaRoMan have an excellent chance to win big again this upcoming season. I can't wait!!

I just read a nice article on the "fit" of Reid and McDonald into our defensive and offensive schemes. When looking at your 53-man projections, there are so many players that can play in various formations/packages as well as ST; most provide REAL depth behind starters too. For instance, if McDonald or VD goes down, can Gray become that swiss-army knife? If Miller goes down, who can fill his role while not hamstringing the run game? Who adds the most overall "value?" Also, who can be in on the most packages?

Aside from this being a brutal 53, the ones who do make it are going to add much more value IMHO than in year's past...the years of the "specialists."

We have a TON of weapons now...it's up to HaRoMan to use it all properly against the right defenses.
[ Edited by NCommand on Jun 28, 2013 at 12:25 PM ]
I like a majority of your post N, but I do have a few concerns

-It seems to be a common misconception that LMJ can be used in a Sproles type role, he is not a natural pass catcher, he never had more than 17 receptions in any season at Oregon.
-Dixon is the backup FB, so when you say there is no depth behind Miller that isn't true. Everyone wants Dixon off the team, but the facts are that he is a ST leader, he is versatile, and he converted 100% of his short yardage conversion attempts last season.

Thats all.....good post tho
Originally posted by verb1der:
Good stuff NC.

My opinion is our offensive personnel is hands down the most versatile group in all of football. The options are almost limitless, especially when considering the mastermind group of coaches at work.

Honestly I feel like nobody has a single clue of what's to come, and neither does the rest of the league. I'm sure that's exactly how Harbaugh wants it.

I do. Harbaugh will run the ball. There's no way he will give that up in any meaningful way. He's from the school of Bo Schembechler. There might be a few new plays to make the defense think about from week to week, but running the ball will be the mainstay of Harbaugh. Most everything will come out of run formations. Unless the situation, down and distance is just too obvious to be a passing situation.
[ Edited by qnnhan7 on Jun 28, 2013 at 2:02 PM ]
Originally posted by qnnhan7:
Originally posted by verb1der:
Good stuff NC.

My opinion is our offensive personnel is hands down the most versatile group in all of football. The options are almost limitless, especially when considering the mastermind group of coaches at work.

Honestly I feel like nobody has a single clue of what's to come, and neither does the rest of the league. I'm sure that's exactly how Harbaugh wants it.

I do. Harbaugh will run the ball. There's no way he will give that up in any meaningful way. He's from the school of Bo Schembechler. There might be a few new plays to make the defense think about from week to week, but running the ball will be the mainstay of Harbaugh. Most everything will come out of run formations.

You're right, and I agree. But even the running game is complex (arguably the most complex of all schemes). Which formation will they show, who's going to run it, and which way will the play go? It's all a guessing game.
Originally posted by verb1der:
Originally posted by qnnhan7:
Originally posted by verb1der:
Good stuff NC.

My opinion is our offensive personnel is hands down the most versatile group in all of football. The options are almost limitless, especially when considering the mastermind group of coaches at work.

Honestly I feel like nobody has a single clue of what's to come, and neither does the rest of the league. I'm sure that's exactly how Harbaugh wants it.

I do. Harbaugh will run the ball. There's no way he will give that up in any meaningful way. He's from the school of Bo Schembechler. There might be a few new plays to make the defense think about from week to week, but running the ball will be the mainstay of Harbaugh. Most everything will come out of run formations.

You're right, and I agree. But even the running game is complex (arguably the most complex of all schemes). Which formation will they show, who's going to run it, and which way will the play go? It's all a guessing game.

So true. Roman does a good job of presenting those multiple formations and personnel in the run game. But he can also misdirect and quickly turn those into a pass play. Usually needs to set those up. And if he has the art of calling plays at the right time, it would be a backbreaking, huge gain against the defense. Drawback to that is the run formation usually present less targets down field for Kaep.

The inclusion of Vance McDonald is very interesting because he can be both a blocking and receiving TE, along with VD. I'm thinking more 3rd down conversion. That's one of our weakness for years.
  • kush
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No offense, but the way some people talk about Roman (who is brighter and has a better football mind than the 20 most knowledgable posters here combined) shows just how blind and arrogant they are.

It's really easy to second guess play callers, especially when you're sitting on your couch with nothing at stake and have the luxury of hindsight. Get real. We are an incredibly unique and creative offense and teams around the league have already begun to mimick us (and in some cases they've used our own tricks against us). Roman got winning production out of a fringe-starter who was languishing in nfl-bust-purgatory and turned the ultra-raw Colin Kapernick (who many of these wise ass posters assured us needed 3-4 years before he could start) into the hottest name in the NFL.

I don't know exactly why Mangini is here. If someone tells you they do, beware, said person is likely full of s**t.
Originally posted by NinerFan408:
I like a majority of your post N, but I do have a few concerns

-It seems to be a common misconception that LMJ can be used in a Sproles type role, he is not a natural pass catcher, he never had more than 17 receptions in any season at Oregon.
-Dixon is the backup FB, so when you say there is no depth behind Miller that isn't true. Everyone wants Dixon off the team, but the facts are that he is a ST leader, he is versatile, and he converted 100% of his short yardage conversion attempts last season.

Thats all.....good post tho

Thank you NF408. Appreciate your thoughts as well.

My only contention is:
  • LMJ, you bring up a great point. That said, could VD catch or block coming out of college? LMJ, now that he's totally comfortable with our offense and his assignments, this may be the year he focuses on the juggs machine and becomes more dynamic. We'll see but I have no doubt we "could" use him in this manner...whether HaRoMan chose to use him this way or not...IMHO.
  • Dixon, barely made the team last year by requesting to also learn the FB position. This year he clearly slimmed down (more RB-style) and how much did he block last year? Short yardage? If a guy like Gray can show more versatility and has more upside while also playing ST on par with Dixon, Dixon may not make the team. Dixon is loved by all but at some point you've got to look at players who can genuinely back up starters while still adding ST value.
  • Either way it will be fun to see how everything shapes out for the 53!
Excellent post NCommand!

I agree that Dixon's days are numbered especially seeing how ST have been improved this off season. If he's not needed on ST his value goes way down.
I'm new here, but I've been lurking these forums for a long time. Lifetime niner fan of course. I know Harbaugh will always primarily be a running offense, but I'm hoping the coaches let Kaep sling the rock 30-35 times a game this season.