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Why the 49ers offensive will experience an evolution this season

Originally posted by SofaKing:
Originally posted by crake49:
4-receiver sets? I'm hoping we see some 3-receiver sets more often this year. 3 receivers with a tight end would be a change-up at this point and I would bet that we're going to see more of that this year.

I'm hoping to see a good deal of 3 WR sets. Not a radical shift in philosophy or anything like that, but I'm a firm believer in putting your best 11 on the field. Crab-Boldin-Johnson are without a doubt part of our best 11.

Those three wide outs with V.Davis in tight has got to be a powerful set because Davis is a good run blocker as well as a vertical threat. I'm very excited to see a 100% healthy Crabtree along with SJ and Boldin the beast out there together. And, wouldn't it be nice if Patton and Ellington perform well enough to where they have to be on the field for some percentage of plays as well. There seems to be a lot to look forward to this year. And, I always forget about Lloyd. I haven't been a big believer in him, but evidently he was tearing it up on OTA's. I don't even know if there is space for him on this team.
Originally posted by NCommand:
How sweet would this be? Except in the RZ where the analysis was we were less effective in 11. But between the 20's? Holy cow...what would be your favorite personnel in this set?

Honestly my grouping would be boldin, crabs and SJ at WRs. I really do think they are interchangeable between the WR postion. But I would split SJ out wide and let him do his thing, I would put boldin in the slot and crabs at the Z. VD at TE and I would go with Hyde at back.

I really like the thoughts of a gun attack incorporating the read option run game. On this case kaep keeps the backside honest and it lets Hyde bang away on a little looser front.

In the pass game I like isolating SJ and having Vd, crabs and boldin on the concept side in either a bunch or y-trip look. This way if SJ is killing it would require safety help and that would help the concept side. If it vice versa and the defense needs to roll coverage to concept side then SJ is truely isolated and that had been a win for him this far in his career. The amount of options is really staggering this year. I hope injuries stat away because this offense could be on the verge of exploding.
Originally posted by cciowa:
we were supposed to explode late in the season last year and now we have an " evolution" this year. i will reserve judgement till i see it happen.

We did see a drastic increase in production when crabs returned. We went from 308 ypg to almost 360 ypg and this was during a stretch in which we played every team in divison and were basically playing for our playoff lives. That 360 ypg number is knocking on the top 10 level for a nfl offense.

I think breaking in to the top 10 is well with in this offenses grasp.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by SofaKing:
Originally posted by crake49:
4-receiver sets? I'm hoping we see some 3-receiver sets more often this year. 3 receivers with a tight end would be a change-up at this point and I would bet that we're going to see more of that this year.

I'm hoping to see a good deal of 3 WR sets. Not a radical shift in philosophy or anything like that, but I'm a firm believer in putting your best 11 on the field. Crab-Boldin-Johnson are without a doubt part of our best 11.

And by 3 WR sets, I get the impression fans are actually talking about 3 wide receivers. We've run up to 5 receiver sets last year but that only included 1 WR, 2 TE's and 1 RB & 1FB split out wide.

Having 3 WR's with varying skill sets could be a huge problem for defenses going forward. Lik ethe podcast noted re: the RZ, VD is also basically a very very effective (wide receiver) split out wide; way more effective than Crabtree. So include him on the outside as a receiver as well.

Sofa, I agree that 11 personnel puts the best 11 offensive players on the field. This is due to SJ being a better player than Miller/Vance imo. I'd really like this grouping to have a legit run element, and out of the stable of RBs, hopefully one emerges and excels as being the lone RB in the backfield. Blitz pickup and running without a lead blocker will be the skill set to have.

NC ,11 personnel is indeed 3WRs on the field. Formation alignment and personnel should be referred to differently. I agree the 49ers did align the 2TEs and FB out wide at times, and it looked like 5wr, but that is still considered 22 personnel.
Originally posted by matt49er:

Less Frank Gore: Like many, I say this every single year, we need to see less Frank Gore. Not because I don't love Gore, or that I don't think he's great, because I do. We need more diversity in the run game and we need to save Frankie G more for the playoff run. The problem, we haven't had a backup that didn't telegraph what we were doing if we brought that guy in and took FG out. You know Hunter or LMJ aren't going to power between the tackles like Gore, if they get the ball, they are probably going outside and you just can't tip off NFL defenses like that. Now, with Lattimore ready to take the field and Hyde coming into the fold (not to mention Hunter probably being more explosive more than a full year after his ACL surgery) the running game finally has not 2, but 3 guys you can put in the game with the same look. Don't get me wrong here, Gore will still lead this team in carries & rushing yards, likely rushing TDs also & although I see the offense evolving a great deal, no way Harbaugh/Roman abandon the power running game & they shouldn't. The 49ers are awesome at the power running game & it will remain a big part of the offense, the big difference is now we have 3 guys to run it, not just one.

I know you made a lot of points, most of which are valid predictions. I'm going to pick on this one. While we will see less of Gore, I believe that part of season-long struggles against good defenses was the lack of a commitment to get the running backs involved. Rushing the ball effectively and using screen and short outlet passes are crucial to keep a defense off-balance. Kaepernick tends to hold onto the ball too long, even when receivers and backs are open underneath. Specifically, when Frank Gore is open underneath, Kaepernick often looks past him and only comes back to pass if he's about to get sacked. Kendall Hunter and LMJ are completely underutilized in this regard. Hunter is great at stretching short passes into 15-20 yard gains, and I suspect LMJ can probably do a similar job.

I don't like seeing our offense put so much on Kaepernick's shoulders. He hasn't shown the ability to get passes out quickly and distribute passes to all corners of the field. Even with a lot of receiving options, the identity of the Singletary/Harbaugh 49ers was built on sustaining long drives with a strong rushing attack and an excellent rushing defense that can cause turnovers and tackle very well. So most teams can't rush the ball on us and run out the clock. If we suddenly turn into a quick strike offense, whenever we got 3 and out, it will put a strain on our defense, who will be out on the field longer...leading to more injuries and fatigue. This has already been somewhat of an issue since Kaepernick took over the offense. When he's hot, he's hot, when he's cold, he goes 3 and out like the best (worst) of them.

The more we let Kaepernick sit back in the pocket, the more risk we put him in of taking a big blindside hit. Take the pressure off him and keep defenses honest by staying committed to the rushing game. Michael Vick came into this league in a similar fashion to Kaepernick. A rushing QB that could also throw. Eventually, defenses were better prepared for him, and his numbers declined steadily each year. Kaepernick needs to work more with his teammates and play less like a basketball ballhogging star like Kobe Bryant.
Originally posted by thl408:
I am assuming you are referring to screen passes to the RB. The 49ers do run screen passes to the RB, and they are absolutely horrible at it. So they stopped. They do run slant patterns, but just because it's ran doesn't mean it's going to be open for a completion. Perhaps you may not have seen the slants being run. Some get completed, most aren't even targeted. Notice teams don't complete many slants against the 49er defense. That overused fade pattern is our young QB taking the easy read and going to the 1on1 instead of the playside concept. Blame Kap for targeting the fade when there is a concept route combination being ran on the playside. It is always Kap's choice whether or not to target the fade because of how the 49ers align their formations.

49ers are horrible at screen passes because Kaepernick throws fastballs on short routes, he has no touch on his passes. On top of that, he waits until the very last second before dumping off a pass, giving the running back no room to turn and run. No touch and bad timing leads to a horrible RB passing game.
Originally posted by Niners816:
Originally posted by NCommand:
How sweet would this be? Except in the RZ where the analysis was we were less effective in 11. But between the 20's? Holy cow...what would be your favorite personnel in this set?

Honestly my grouping would be boldin, crabs and SJ at WRs. I really do think they are interchangeable between the WR postion. But I would split SJ out wide and let him do his thing, I would put boldin in the slot and crabs at the Z. VD at TE and I would go with Hyde at back.

I really like the thoughts of a gun attack incorporating the read option run game. On this case kaep keeps the backside honest and it lets Hyde bang away on a little looser front.

In the pass game I like isolating SJ and having Vd, crabs and boldin on the concept side in either a bunch or y-trip look. This way if SJ is killing it would require safety help and that would help the concept side. If it vice versa and the defense needs to roll coverage to concept side then SJ is truely isolated and that had been a win for him this far in his career. The amount of options is really staggering this year. I hope injuries stat away because this offense could be on the verge of exploding.

I'm in...was waiting to see which RB you would choose in that situation. Sounds like we're on the same page!
Originally posted by thl408:
NC ,11 personnel is indeed 3WRs on the field. Formation alignment and personnel should be referred to differently. I agree the 49ers did align the 2TEs and FB out wide at times, and it looked like 5wr, but that is still considered 22 personnel.

Gotcha.
Originally posted by Psinex:
Originally posted by thl408:
I am assuming you are referring to screen passes to the RB. The 49ers do run screen passes to the RB, and they are absolutely horrible at it. So they stopped. They do run slant patterns, but just because it's ran doesn't mean it's going to be open for a completion. Perhaps you may not have seen the slants being run. Some get completed, most aren't even targeted. Notice teams don't complete many slants against the 49er defense. That overused fade pattern is our young QB taking the easy read and going to the 1on1 instead of the playside concept. Blame Kap for targeting the fade when there is a concept route combination being ran on the playside. It is always Kap's choice whether or not to target the fade because of how the 49ers align their formations.

49ers are horrible at screen passes because Kaepernick throws fastballs on short routes, he has no touch on his passes. On top of that, he waits until the very last second before dumping off a pass, giving the running back no room to turn and run. No touch and bad timing leads to a horrible RB passing game.

You have a point. Even though it's a short throw, the ball needs to be thrown with some anticipation that the RB is about to turn around to be ready to receive. There are bigger reasons that the RB screen pass left/right fails though. One is that the 49ers are not a passing team. The more often an offense throws the ball, and the more effective the passing game is, the more effective screen passes work. This is related to how hard the defense sells out to rush the passer at the snap of the ball. Invite the pass rush, then throw the screen. When playing DEN and NO, teams are more likely to get after the QB as opposed to reading run/pass at the snap. This helps the DEN and NO screen game.

The main reason though, is that the 49ers interior linemen are not mobile enough to block for screen passes to the edge. Guards need to be mobile enough to quickly get to the edge of the formation and get in front of the RB to form the convoy of blockers. Iupati and Boone are lumbering straight ahead blockers and mobility is not their strength. This has nothing to do with the ability to pull and lead on run plays, which Iupati can do fine. When blocking for screens, the linemen don't get the luxury of being able to explode out of a three point stance as they do when leading for a run play. Accelerating from a standing start, which is what happens on screen passes, is difficult for someone the size of Iupati/Boone. In all the screen left/right plays the 49ers ran last season, and there were only a handful, the lead blockers (Olinemen) were never in position to block for the RB.