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



DeMeco Ryans on why Javon Kinlaw could be key to 49ers defense's success

By David Bonilla
Aug 7

Last week, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans identified three things defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw needed to work on in preparation for his third NFL season: technique, technique, technique. Kinlaw is returning after undergoing season-ending reconstructive surgery to repair his ACL last year. To this point, the former No. 14 overall pick's contributions have been underwhelming. That could change in 2022, though. Kinlaw has put in the work during his recover, and as the 49ers ramp up his training camp workload, many feel that the defender could be on the cusp of becoming a dominant force for the defensive front. "I think Javon, he's



GMFB explains why 49ers' Trey Lance could take off in 2022

By David Bonilla
Aug 17

What will the San Francisco 49ers offense be like in 2022? Will it be better or worse than the version helmed by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo? That was the question asked on Good Morning Football this week. Garoppolo's time with the Niners has come to an end. While the veteran remains on the roster, the offense now belongs to Garoppolo's successor, second-year quarterback Trey Lance. Kyle Brandt doesn't believe the offense will be better in 2022 than the version that reached the NFC Championship Game last season, noting Lance's inexperience as a primary reason why. "He's just still so raw and so inexperienced," Brandt said. "And I also think Jimmy Garoppolo is really good, and he's gone. And I don't think they'll be better than last year. I



49ers legend Frank Gore charged in domestic violence incident, per report

By Site Staff
Aug 10

The San Francisco 49ers' all-time leading rusher, retired running back Frank Gore, has been charged with simple assault related to a domestic violence incident, per the Atlantic City, N.J., police. News of the incident was reported by Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle after being reported by TMZ. "Gore, 39, was charged after police were dispatched to the Tropicana Atlantic City at 8:11 a.m. on July 31," wrote Branch. "The alleged victim, a 28-year-old woman from Miami, was speaking with hotel security when they arrived. The woman did not exhibit signs of injury and a complaint was not filed that day. Gore was charged after a resulting



49ers Notebook: Why Jimmie Ward has no love for the Rams; Brandon Aiyuk moves on from Fred Warner scuffle; DeMeco Ryans talks second-year DBs

By Kirk Larrabee
Aug 7

What rubbed 49ers safety Jimmie Ward the wrong way about the Los Angeles Rams last season to the point where he's already looking to face off against them on the field? Ward spoke about that subject on Sunday, as he was one of a handful of players to talk with local and national media during and after 49ers practice. Also speaking with reporters was defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who provided a number of thoughts on a few defensive players who are competing for roster spots and playing time. For a rundown of what Ward said Sunday as well as some quotes from Ryans, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk's thoughts on his squabble with linebacker Fred Warner, and much more, check out this version of 49ers Notebook. Can October get here


Featured

More by Benjamin Bradley

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone