Photo by Kirby Lee of USA Today Sports

Photo by Kirby Lee of USA Today Sports


3 Reasons Why Gore Could Have Best Season in 2013

Aug 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM


One of the many questions heading into the San Francisco 49er's 2013 season is how productive running back Frank Gore will be. Gore turned 30 in May, a number that often marks the beginning of the end for a tailback. Along with this, fellow running backs LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter have spent most of their young careers in Gore's shadow, and appear ready to compete for the spotlight. Factor in the quick legs and strong arm of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Gore's statistical contributions seem even more limited.

But Gore isn't a stranger to adversity. After sustaining multiple knee injuries in college and dropping to the third round of the 2005 draft, Gore has proved his doubters wrong by staying healthy and maintaining a high-level of production late into his career. Now, with a new season approaching, Gore has another chance to prove his critics wrong by having one of his best statistical seasons yet – putting up similar numbers to his 2006 campaign, when he gained 1,695 rushing yards, 485 receiving yards, and scored nine touchdowns.

With a little help from ESPN's Stats and Information, here are three reasons why 2013 could be Gore's best season ever:

1) The Forgotten Wide Receiver

The 49ers are a week into the preseason and no wide receiver has stepped up to take the starting spot opposite Anquan Boldin. As The Press Democrat's Grant Cohn reported earlier this week, the 49ers have been working tight-end Vernon Davis into the passing game as one potential solution. Second round tight-end Vance McDonald has also shown promise as a big-bodied target for Kaepernick. But there's one person who has flown under the radar as a receiving threat.

Flash back to the pre-Harbaugh era. According to ESPN, Gore averaged 74 targets between 2006-2010 in the regular season, and amassed 255 receptions for 2,152 yards. During this time he was one of the teams most electrifying receivers, finishing in the top-three for receptions each year and leading the team twice.

Harbaugh has taken a different approach with Gore, keeping him busy on the ground. But as a coach who is known for maximizing the potential of his players, don't be surprised if you see Gore featured more in the passing game, especially if the 49ers don't find a strong receiver to complement Boldin.

2) A Healthy Dosage of Smash-Mouth Football

Despite having a crowded backfield for the past two seasons, Gore hasn't received a lighter workload. In fact, he's gotten the ball even more. In 2011, Gore carried the ball 282 times during the regular season – the second most attempts in his career. He followed up with 258 carries in 2012, his third most attempts.

One of the reasons for Gore's increased workload can be attributed to longevity. He played all 16 games in 2011 and 2012. It would seem that having a pair of shifty, change-of-pace backs to spell Gore has helped him stay healthy and productive, playing throughout the season and into the playoffs.

What's more, the 49ers' smash-mouth running philosophy produces enough carries to go around. The 49ers ran the ball an average of 495 times between 2011 and 2012, as opposed to an average of 393 times between 2006–2010. Don't expect this to change much in 2013, even with Kaepernick at the helm.

3) A Defense's Worst Nightmare – Colin Kaepernick

You might scratch your head at this one. The read option has become a significant part of the 49ers' offense, right? So what's to stop the Kaepernick from crossing the pylons instead of Gore?

This is a fair question, but consider this: when has Gore ever played a full season with such a dynamic offense? It's safe to say that prior to Kaepernick's emergence, most opposing defenses had been developing their game plans with Gore in mind – crowding the box and putting pressure on Alex Smith. Entering his first full season as the undisputed starter, Kaepernick will be able to relieve Gore of that responsibility, as defenses try to find a way to stop the explosive quarterback from breaking out of the pocket and making plays.

But what about Kaepernick stealing some of Gore's carries with the read option? Well, you might just be surprised to learn how little the quarterback actually ran during those plays. Mike Sando of ESPN reported that Kaepernick elected to take the ball a whopping 12 times. While he certainly left a strong impression on all of us (and his opponents), it's unlikely that Gore is losing any sleep over the read option.

The odds are still against Gore. After all, few running backs have been productive into their 30s. Many have experienced a swift and steep decline. Even so, don't rule Frank Gore out just yet. He might have enough gas in the tank to torch the field one more time as he races towards his first Super Bowl ring.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Jimmy Garoppolo one of the reasons Colin Cowherd predicts 49ers to upset Cowboys

By David Bonilla
Jan 15

San Francisco 49ers fans are confident their team will emerge with a victory over the Dallas Cowboys this weekend, the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs. Kyle Shanahan's squad has become a bit of a sexy Wild Card pick. The Cowboys are favored by three points, and the Niners are the road team. They boarded a Dallas-bound plane after Friday's practice and enter the matchup with a lot of confidence. The 49ers also could be healthier than they have been all season. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is still dealing with a thumb injury, but he delivered a gutsy performance in last weekend's regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Rams. He's just one of the



49ers' George Kittle on Trent Williams: 'He's the best football player I've ever played with'

By David Bonilla
Jan 13

Pro Football Focus awarded San Francisco 49ers Tackle Trent Williams its highest overall grade for the 2021 season. In fact, his 98.3 overall grade was the highest ever from the analytics site. 🥇 Highest single-season PFF grade ever🥇 98.5 run-blocking grade (1st in NFL) @TrentW71: PFF's Best Overall Player this season pic.twitter.com/0LjTwb6CHs— PFF (@PFF) January 13,



49ers Notebook: McDaniel raves about Deebo, says Garoppolo playing his best football; Nick Bosa on 'beatable' Cowboys OTs, Ezekiel Elliot; It's sunny in Trent Williams' world

By Kirk Larrabee
Jan 13

As always, Thursday was an eventful media day for the San Francisco 49ers, who had a number of players speak to the media as well as defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel. 49ers Webzone has already dug into a number of topics discussed by those players and coaches, but there's much more to cover than that. We'll get into that in today's notebook feature below. Here's a rundown of a number of items of note covered during today's media sessions. (See also: John Lynch says Deebo Samuel will be with the 49ers for a long time | DL Arden Key



49ers Notebook: Trey Lance's impressive feat; Shanahan on QB practice reps, and why he ignores 'The Chart'; Bosa predicts eventual DeMeco Ryans departure

By Kirk Larrabee
Jan 6

What was so impressive about Trey Lance's performance against the Texans that many have overlooked? And how are he and Jimmy Garoppolo dividing reps at practice this week? And why doesn't 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan pay much attention to "the chart" on fourth downs? We cover all that and much more in this jam-packed rundown of what the 49ers players and coaches said on Thursday. A few topics have already been covered in other articles (see: Shanahan, Ryans assess DBs' COVID situation | Deebo Samuel doesn't seem interested in conversing with


Featured

More by Benjamin Bradley

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone