Article Title: An offense of many disguises.
San Francisco 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff has become inventors and innovators in finding a way to make the offense a multi-faceted attack that features players contributing from positions that many are far too conservative to even imagine as distinct possibilities. Jim finds a way to be an active listener to the desires and experience each one of his players brings to the table and channels that into something many donít conceive as practical or as possible.
Enter offensive left tackle Joe Staley as a former tight end and now a receiver of an Alex Smith pass that he took for 17 total yards and then enter defensive nose tackle Isaac Sapoaga a former rugby player who practiced in various roles for the 49ers throughout training camp caught a pass that he took for 18 total yards and you have a team that is as unpredictable as it can possibly become. San Francisco 49er offensive coordinator Greg Roman felt enough confidence in both of these talented athletes to take a chance and spread clear uncertainty throughout the league in trying to defend against us.
Clearly no matter how you may feel about the unique play calling we saw coming from Jim and Greg you have to be thrilled at the success each play manufactured and the respect you just won from your known opponents in that they now know that they better do some more homework to prepare against such an innovative style of offensive attack. The personnel groupings the offense applied was mid-blowing as the team ran a total of 64 offensive plays this past Sunday, and used a total of 33 different combinations of players at the five eligible positions.
Even formations for the first time this season they did not use or involve a running back. With the frequency that this was manufactured it has set the stage for opposing defensive coordinators to have nightmares about in regards to our ever-changing and much diversified type of offensive attack. My only question is it being done to mask some of the deficiencies we are and still have seen coming from Alex Smith? Or is it a way to keep the enemy second-guessing and allowing them time to doubt where and who the next target may be? Either way we can now know that we have the ability to change our lives for the for the purpose of being unconventional when we really need to be. Hats off to Alex Smith for making these throws and sustaining drives, but equally shame on you Alex for your continued transgressions in overthrowing your receivers and not making critical third downs when he was in the spotlight as we still look for Alex to be the real complete deal in which we drafted him for and entrusted our offense to for more than half a decade.
Alex is becoming a better West Coast style of quarterback in the sense of his taking snaps from under center with increased frequency and the bootlegs and short to intermediate passes that help make first downs and sustain drives longer out on the field, however he still holds on to the ball for far too long and is still in need of pinpointing his accuracy to the likes of a Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers for whom they are appreciated and respected for. Until he breaks the bank of making his mark on being an avid contributor in improving his passing attempts to his completion ratio and he is able to throw for 300 and or more plus yards he will be considered a mediocre quarterback at best that is reliant on his defense to take the lead in every game.
In Alexís defense you could say that he may never get the opportunity to be a super quarterback because Jim is a firm believer in being a power-running team and emphasizes that philosophy exclusively day in and day out as it was seen in this game with Frank Gore surpassing the legendary Roger Craig as the 49ers second leading all-time rusher in its history. He was relentless against a tough Cleveland Brown defense that stacked the line of scrimmage against him repeatedly yet he carried the ball 31 times for 134 total yards averaging 4.3 yards per carry and scored a pair of touchdowns in which one was taken away due to poor officiating.
The offensive line is literally heads over heels in love with Frank Gore and helping him establish long runs and rack up scoring touchdowns in that they can be more of a recognized force that caters to their true strength in being great mammoths of blocking and pulling in establishing big gaping holes for him to take advantage of as he did in this game with big right tackle Anthony Davis clearing out three Brown defensive backs that sought to stop him in a goal line stand. Finally credit the San Francisco 49er defense again for being the facilitators to helping win this game in that they held the Brown running game to 66 total yards and sacked their quarterback four times for a loss of 17 total yards and created a turnover to boot.
Hats off to veteran outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks who scored two of those sacks on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy one in which he collided with Justin Smith his colleague and sustained a bloody lip and nose from the impact collision. Great appreciation for these talented defensive linemen as members of an elite defense that gives everything of itself to allow victory to be the only focal point of the game in as part of itself for its selfless and relentless will to make all the difference in achieving final victory.
In all senses of the word we are (6-1) in our division and just now are starting to be recognized as one of the elite in this league present time. The stigma in the league and throughout all the sports networks and their trained analysts suggests that this is just a flash in a pan and will soon be over. Jim and his staff have won the hearts of this team and its fans I will as you will enjoy the limelight and believe.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.