Originally posted by LottDMontanaO:
Originally posted by crake49:
I would never argue with someone asking for more creativity, but I think it's important to remember that Walsh's new offense in it's day, while not entirely an offense of his own making, was very revolutionary in context. Walsh was taking advantage of the fact that inside linebackers were built to stop the run. Before the mid to late 80's, inside linebackers were extremely slow by today's standards. There was much more to it, but one of the main deals was occupying defensive backs with receivers so the only players left to cover anyone else would be those linebackers and they simply could not stay with Walsh's running backs, especially when plays froze them with play action and they had to keep their eyes in the middle for the runner. In those first few seasons, you would often see running backs catching passes out of the backfield with nobody within 15 yards of them. Part of the reason defenses have gotten so fast and more athletic in the last 25 years is in reaction to offenses like the one Walsh built. So it's not surprising that the older ideas from the West Coast offense don't work as effectively today as they did back in the 80's.
Right, which is why I said, "I'm not saying the Niners should do exactly this as we're in a new day and age..." Just getting back to the creativity, and in the Niners case, creativity with the passing game to help out the O overall and especially the running game. The talent is there to do it, especially if Boldin returns...Boldin, Crabtree (+ Patton or a draftee?), TE Davis (& hopefully McDonald?)...our RBs also can definitely play more of a role here, too, as we know Gore, Miller, and Hunter can catch and make plays in the passing game. I don't entirely agree with beat writer Maiocco that our OL is not built for athletic-type passing plays such as the screen pass...3/5 of the OL is athletic enough (Staley, Davis, and Boone) - Iupati and Goodwin are more challenged here, it seems. Changes are probably going to happen before long at C. I just think you can/should have both in today's NFL - a talented, power-blocking OL that can also be athletic enough for screen plays, etc., where they need to be on the move. It makes the O that much more versatile and allows for more creativity, keeping opposing Ds off balance.
Great points brought up by you two. LottDMontanaO, I think there is some validity to MM's claim that the Oline isn't built for screen plays. This was actually touched on, on the WZ, before MM wrote about it. Some have claimed that since the OGs can pull and lead block, that they can surely execute blocks for screen passes. However, these two types of plays are very different. When pulling for a run play, the OGuard can explode out of his three point stance and get moving. When blocking for a screen pass, the OG is starting from a stand still, since he has to fake the pass block, then quickly start moving to get to the edge. This is where the 49ers' Oline gets into trouble. Asking massive guys like Boone, Iupati, and ADavis to get going from a standing position is a tough order for them. They have to beat out LBs to the edge in order to get in front of the RB catching the ball. There was a thread about screen passes this season, in NT, and there were many GIFs of the 49ers failing to get to the edge to block for the RB on screen passes.
Another point some poster here brought up is that the more a team passes the ball, the more effective the screen pass is. This is an excellent point and one that does not favor the 49ers since they are known as a run first team. If Dlinemen are pinning their ears back and getting after the QB, that plays right into the hands of a screen pass. This is the case for GB, NE, NO, and DEN, but not for SF.
Regarding the underlined, I totally agree, but easier said than done. As Kap's arm becomes the featured weapon in the offense, I would like to see more balance in terms of Olinemen that can effectively run and pass block. I am willing to give up some strength on the run blocking aspect to gain more on the pass blocking aspect. Not sure how the team goes about this, whether it's a shift in emphasis or personnel changes.