Niners can’t afford to take Gore for granted

Jun 1, 2008 at 5:34 PM


There is no denying Frank Gore's talent. Even more so, there is no denying his ability, history of on-field production, and his value to the San Francisco 49ers' offense.

But what Frank Gore has been denied of, is something of which he is most deserving. A quality supporting cast that is capable of sharing the load offensively, that can aid Gore in carrying the 49ers to their first winning season and trip to the playoffs since the 2002-03 season.

Sure, his numbers speak for themselves, but they also speak for the 49ers team as a whole. In 2006 - Gore's first season as a starter - he rushed for a franchise-record 1,695 yards, while also leading the team in receptions with 61. But consistency and production elsewhere offensively was scarce, resulting in a 7-9 record to conclude the season.

In 2007, the 49ers were forced to hire their 5th offensive coordinator in as many years, after Norv Turner bolted for the San Diego Chargers following one season with San Francisco. The team went with Jim Hostler, who served as the 49ers' quarterbacks coach in 2005 and 2006. Under Hostler, the team - and Gore - struggled immensely. A drop in numbers for Gore mixed with a fatal plunge in overall offensive production due to injuries and less than poor offensive line play resulted in two fewer wins than the previous year.

Gore rushed for 1,102 yards with a career-low 4.2 yards per carry average in 2007, but led the team in receptions for the second consecutive year with just 53. It is more than a coincidence that when Gore struggles, the team doesn't have as good a chance to succeed. It is apparent that the 49ers will only go as far as Gore can take them, that is unless they can surround him with the help he needs to reach his full potential and for the team to finally climb from the depths of NFL mediocrity.

As soon as Mike Martz was hired, he quickly pointed to Gore as being the centerpiece of his plan of attack as offensive coordinator.

"The potential to build that offense around Frank Gore is pretty exciting," Martz said. "He's really a complete player, and that's hard to find in this league anymore. I think you can put him as the centerpiece and build around that."

That sentiment alone should give 49er fans hope, and give the team a sense of direction. But it also gives a realistic perspective that cannot be ignored.

Gore is a dynamic, explosive weapon on the gridiron, with the potential to be one of the best running backs in 49ers' history if he is given a fair shake. No single player can catapult a team to greatness, but Gore can easily be the key cog for a team in contention. But with the career expectancy numbers of NFL tailbacks, along with Gore's history of medical attention, it is a necessity that the 49ers get the most out of their fourth year pro while he is still one of the premier runners in the league, or even more immediate, while he is still content to don the Red and Gold.

This season will go a long way in determining Gore's potential legacy with the team. If Martz can fully tap into Gore's repertoire while getting the rest of the offense on track, the faithful fans of the 49ers will begin to see a payoff from years of inconsistency. There are plenty of other factors that will completely determine the 49ers' success in 2008, such as the play at quarterback and the continued development of the defense, but it all boils down to Gore.

If the former Miami Hurricane can put up similar numbers to his 2006 campaign, the light at the end of the tunnel will start to shine. If not, then everything could be lost.


*Martz quote is from SFI*, and James Darnell can be contacted at [email protected]
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.


3 Comments

  • Jerm
    People underestimate Martz's playcalling because in DET he had to pass because they were down 75% of the time. When they were ahead it's because there running game didn't stink. Who did they have to run last year? No person who is against Martz can make a case for that. Martz will bring the RAIN and let the WR's open the game for Gore. Gore will be focused on. Either in the pass or in the run. Good Article.
    Jun 2, 2008 at 8:53 PM
    0
  • Arnie.....aka TBboy
    This is a great article because it accurately shows where the team is at going into this season. Gore is the center piece and he needs help from his cast in order for the team to be successful.
    Jun 1, 2008 at 10:43 PM
    0
  • ninerfan49
    I am really excited to see how Gore performs with Foster backing him up. It should keep Gore well rested. Gore never really had a solid and strong runner behind him.
    Jun 1, 2008 at 6:46 PM
    0

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



John Lynch 'fully confident' 49ers can rebound from 3-game losing streak

By David Bonilla
Oct 15

The San Francisco 49ers started 2-0 but have since lost three consecutive games. No one inside the organization is panicking, though. Instead, the focus remains on one game at a time. That means looking toward the Indianapolis Colts, not backward at the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. At 2-3, San Francisco sits in last place within the NFC West. However, general manager John Lynch is confident he and head coach Kyle Shanahan have built a roster that can rebound. The 49ers are in their bye week, and a lot of football remains in this 17-game season. "I'm fully confident [the pieces are in place to turn things around] because of the people in our room and the character of the people in our room, because of the people we have in leadership



49ers great Jerry Rice shares why QB transitions can be challenging for players

By David Bonilla
Oct 21

NFL legend Jerry Rice has witnessed a San Francisco 49ers quarterback transition before — but on a much grander scale. For him, it was watching one future Hall of Fame quarterback succeed another future Hall of Fame quarterback. There is yet another transition taking place in Santa Clara, this time from Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback who helped guide the 49ers to a Super Bowl just two seasons ago, to rookie Trey Lance. The topic has been discussed at length. When should it happen? How should it happen? Most of the quarterback discussion is done with an outside perspective. This week, Rice joined the 49ers Talk podcast to share the behind-the-scenes perspective and what a quarterback transition is like for players. "It's kind of hard to



Kyle Shanahan expects Jimmy Garoppolo to be 100 percent for 49ers-Colts, hopes Trent Williams can practice Friday

By David Bonilla
Oct 21

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan joined KNBR this afternoon and provided two key injury updates. One was on his starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, who is returning from a calf injury suffered on October 3. The injury forced him to miss Week 5, but the coach sounds more and more confident that Garoppolo will be ready for Sunday's home game against the Indianapolis Colts. "He's getting better each day," Shanahan said on the Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "I mean, there shouldn't be any problem with him by Sunday at all. Any time you're coming off the calf injury like that, it takes a little time to get that soreness out, so you'll see it on some throws here and there. But each day it gets much better, and I think he'll be feeling 100 percent by



"We've been our own worst enemy": Kyle Shanahan on how the 49ers can rebound from 3-game skid

By Marc Adams
Oct 23

The San Francisco 49ers self-scouted themselves during the bye week. What are the areas they saw that require improvement to snap their three-game losing streak? "There isn't one specific [area]," Shanahan told Greg Papa during a segment for NBC Sports Bay Area. "We need to get better all over because it hasn't just been, 'Hey, we're doing this bad. We're doing this good.' We've been up and down at everything, and if you even look at the numbers, we're kind of middle of the pack everywhere. And that's why the majority of this league is sitting at 2-3, 3-2, right there. And where are you going to go from there? "My biggest thing on what we need to do to get better is, I think you've heard our players say it a lot, but I keep talking to them about, 'Which team is


Featured

More by James Darian

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone