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Why a Jimmy Garoppolo led Offense will Attack Defenses by Committee in 2018

Sequoia Sims
Jan 25, 2018 at 10:54 PM


Recently on the Webzone, I created some buzz by asking the question: Is Allen Robinson worth a four-year, $58 million contract? I also ended the article by saying, "To be continued." Well, I'd now like to continue with the sequel: Why a Jimmy G led offense will attack defenses by committee in 2018.


Having success without your top offensive target


The world witnessed the New England Patriots' future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady lead his offense to a come-from-behind win after being down by 10 points in the 4th quarter against the second-best defense in the NFL and No.1 pass defense, the Jacksonville Jaguars. And, due to a concussion, Brady was without his top offensive target, 6' 6", 265 lb. Rob Gronkowski.

Once Gronkowski went out of the game, Brady and a "Committee" of good football players such as wide receivers Brandin Cooks (six catches for 100 yards) and Danny Amendola (seven catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns), and running back Dion Lewis (seven catches for 32 yards) — all of whom are under six feet tall by the way — help to ignite a Patriots offense that had been struggling to sustain drives and put points on the board.

The group provided great production and made some huge, game-changing, impactful plays as they exploited the Jaguars' defense, which folded under pressure (six penalties for 98 yards) during crunch time — mostly from inside the numbers.

Brady connected with seven different receivers against the Jaguars defense. Jacksonville was committing two and three defenders towards Gronkowski, who didn't see a catch until the second quarter. Now, hold that thought...

Where's the attack coming from?


Speaking of numbers, Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders recently discussed on NFL Network that Jaguars All-Pro corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye like to play outside the numbers while Brady made adjustments to expose the duo and the secondary inside the numbers. As previously mentioned, Brady took full advantage, utilizing his quick, explosive, pass catchers, and great route runners with clutch hands as he moved the ball methodically down the field. He attacked with a quick passing game ( sound familiar?) that featured crossing routes, flares, quick outs, flea flickers, and screens, winning the game by a final score of 24-20.

Two can play the same game


In the Allen Robinson article, I mentioned how Forty-Niners' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, during his five starts which were all wins, connected to seven, eight, and nine different receivers on a weekly basis. It's a style of play he learned from the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. Garoppolo, against the Jaguars in a Week 15 victory against a top-rated defense at the time, connected to nine different receivers.

Garoppolo against the Jaguars was only sacked once and hit four times mostly due to his quick release. And to their credit, the 49ers' offensive line accepted the challenge taking on the Jaguars — a top-rated defense — and played inspired football for their quarterback.

You can win a championship by committee while playing small ball


The Patriots won Super Bowl 51 versus the Atlanta Falcons without Gronkowski. Atlanta's top-paid receivers, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, only had six combined catches for 112 yards and no touchdowns. Both are big and physical and are at least 6' 2" in stature.

Important to note: Jones has six total touchdowns in the four years he's appeared in the playoffs. In the 2018 playoffs, Jones couldn't hold on to a red zone fourth-quarter pass from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan that would have won the game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brady connected with seven different receivers. Most notably was a running back named James White, who accounted for 14 catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns, two coming from rushing, and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, who registered 13 combined receptions for 165 yards and one touchdown. All three players are under six feet tall and accounted for 28 points, which was all of New England's touchdowns.

Checks and Balances: Recently, the 49ers (via the team's website), published an article that discussed why it might not be a priority need to sign an elite wide receiver in the offseason. Former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, who played for Kyle Shanahan in 2014 while he was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, weighed in on the matter:

"Very rarely do teams with a top wide receiver win the Super Bowl. That's just not what it takes. I think you can find good receivers (everywhere). The top guys are not Super Bowl winners. Over the last 15 years, you can look at the teams with top wide receivers, and they don't win Super Bowls. I don't think that's a coincidence because I think it's more of a chemistry thing. When you have that big-time receiver who commands the ball so much, or you're trying to get him the ball in certain situations, I think it kind of hurts the chemistry of the offense."

Why a Jimmy G led offense will attack defenses by committee in 2018


Just a theory here: I believe Shanahan was taking a mental note of how the New England Patriots attacked the Atlanta Falcons' defense (by committee) in the 2017 Super Bowl game while he was the offensive coordinator. Now fast forward to the game against the Jaguars aforementioned.

Playing without any big name or high price receivers, or receivers with stature (none of Brady's wide receivers made the Pro Bowl), the Patriots were still able to defeat the Jaguars — a top-rated defense — without their biggest red zone threat and target.

The Patriots have been able to sustain longer championship success by managing their salary cap and not paying a high premium on pass catchers. It's that winning formula, along with an elite talent like Jimmy G, who comes from the mold of the Patriots system and mimics a style of play and skill set very similar to Tom Brady, that puts things in perspective as to why a Garoppolo-led offense will attack defenses by a committee in 2018.

In the end, I expect the Forty-Niners to draft a wide receiver (possibly big red zone target) by the third or fourth round at the latest and deploy a plethora of weapons such as Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle, Garret Celek, Kendrick Bourne, Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, and Trent Taylor.

Recent article alerts on Niners Live: How "Celek Time" has emerged as a Real Red Zone Threat for 2018 and Projecting TE George Kittle's Impact and Statistics on Offense in 2018.

I also expect them to bring in an inexpensive, underachieving receiver (see Goodwin above) or one that needs an opportunity for playing time that's been buried on another team's depth chart and allow him to compete for a roster spot. To be continued...

Sequoia Sims: Founder of Niners Live, Content Creator, player breakdown specialist, and Senior Author. The home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, and different perspective, of course.
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.


1 Comment

  • GM
    After watching the AFC Champ game this year, the one thing that was glaring to me was how much TIME Brady had in the 2nd half to stand back there, call his family in California, chat with some buddies in the Boston area, read the defense and then complete a pass. Again, this stresses the importance of a solid, competent and well-coached offensive line. Attack by committee is a great concept but isn't as effective if the QB doesn't have as much time to find the holes in the opposing defense. Let's hope the focus will be in the trenches this off-season.
    Jan 26, 2018 at 8:40 AM
    0

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