Originally posted by maxsmart:
We are supposed to have the 'best' O-line in the NFL, yet we couldn't run. We are supposed to have the best front 7 yet we couldn't stop Seattle's run. We have more talent as evidenced by more pro bowl picks, so that leaves two main possibilities:
#1. Out schemed / out-coached
#2. Our players are over-rated
I think our O-line and O-line are both a little bit over-rated.
However I think the main problem is coaching and scheme. We should go back more to the west-coast roots of short quick ball-control passes to the running backs and Tight ends, and also more 'zone-blocking' by the O-line (like Walsh and McKittrick). Zone blocking would allow Gore/Lattimore/Hunter to find and pick the hole, and they all have great vision so they would excel in that scheme.
Regarding ball-control passing:
Gore only had 16 catches = 1 per game! Kendall Hunter had 2 catches on the entire year! [Roger Craig averaged ~75 catches a year for 5 years in a row! Ricky Watters averaged 60 catches per year.]
Vernon Davis is all-pro talent, 1 or 2 most talented TE in NFL, yet only gets ~50 catches per year. We trade up for McDonald and he only gets 8 catches! Celek has only 2 catches! Might as well play Kilgore at TE. Plus we rarely throw deep to loosen up the defense, so they crowd the mid-range routes. Our offense sucks because of coaching and scheme more so than talent!
Regarding converting to a zone blocking scheme, if you want that to happen then get ready to draft 4 new starting Olineman. One of the prerequisites for being a zone blocking Olineman is nimble feet. Agility is prized over strength. I can see Staley being the only holdover that can work in a zone blocking scheme because he is such a well rounded Olineman. The maulers that the 49ers currently have in Boone, Iupati, and ADavis will not have their skillset translate well to zone blocking. We can thank Sing for this, as he asked Baalke to go for big strong Olinemen. This was actually touched on during the season, and it was said that the 49ers do use some zone blocking plays, mainly on the read option. But that is straight ahead zone blocking. We see some stretch plays to the edges that the 49ers fail at and that is a glimpse to what would happen if the 49ers went to a pure ZB scheme (run left/right) with their current personnel.
Great topic, ball control passing. I would love to see more of this in the 49er offense. I think this starts with Kap and him looking to dump it off as a third/fourth option in his progression as opposed to looking to extend the play while looking downfield. That's just his mentality at this stage in his career. The checkdown routes are being sent out, they just aren't utilized by Kap. The checkdown routes to Kap is like option #5. I hope that as Kap learns to just take what's being given on a single play, throws to the RBs will get a slight uptick. I do not think that throwing to RBs will have the same success as it did back in the Walsh days. LBs nowadays run faster than many RBs. This was not the case back in the 80's when many LBs were big plodding run stoppers. Now the LBs are the most athletic players on the field it seems and they can track down RBs and reduce RAC, which is what Craig and Watters thrived on.
TEs can also be used for ball control passing, but many of VDs routes are downfield since he is the only guy that can stretch a defense vertically. When (hopefully) the 49ers get a vertical threat at WR, we may see more VD routes sent short to intermediate as the new WR can be used to go downfield and take over that role for the offense.