Top 5 Plays: Opening the 49ers Playbook
2008 was hardly a year to remember for the San Francisco 49ers, but they shouldn’t consider the entire season a waste.
Offensive growth was seen from the previous season, which is a positive sign, but now they need to feed off it.
Several plays used toward the homestretch showed promise and should not be thrown to the wayside as “Martz Psycho Babble.”
And while we all know how important Frank Gore is to the 49ers’ equation of success, getting the ball to the other talented players on the roster is also a must.
Running Gore from All Formations
Getting the rock to Frank Gore early and often isn’t going to be a huge secret with the 49ers.
Their running game was by far their most productive plays in 2008 and should remain the same in 2009.
From Pro Set to “Wild Cat”, hammering Gore to the left, to the right, and up the middle can really come from any formation in Singletary’s playbook.
If Gore can maintain his health, running him around 20 times a game will be essential for the 49ers to post any Ws.
Play Action, Double Tight End Set
After running the ball down the D’s throat for several downs, the 49ers were able to find success with play action plays in the double tight end set.
In this play, Hill fakes the run to the single back and then rolls out to his right.
The two wide outs on the left make their efforts to get open downfield while Vernon Davis blocks for the run but then releases into the open field.
This play is great simply because it keeps the defense honest and it allows Hill to move the pocket. It provides him with two options down field for a home run ball, but more importantly two men down low for a dump and run.
The extra tight end gives him a little more protection and time to find that open man.
Pro Set, Three Wide, Tight End Backfield
Placing Vernon Davis in the backfield opens up a wide variety of plays that will get the ball into this potentially talented tight end’s hands.
This play is designed to clear out the flats, allowing Hill to dump it off to Gore or Davis for a quick 10 yards. If the flats are covered, one of three receivers downfield or underneath should be available for Hill to pass it off.
This formation has also been used to set up screen plays to Vernon, but the play’s success greatly depends on the blocking of the wide receivers downfield.
I-Formation, 3 Wide
Short is sweet when it comes to the 49ers passing game and this play worked pretty well in 2008.
The three out patterns by the WR3, RB, and FB provides Hill with a plethora of easily reachable targets underneath.
The two receivers going deep force the corner backs and safeties to play on their heels, not allowing them to creep up for the quick dump-off play.
If that does happen, Hill should find a receiver with one-on-one coverage down the field
Davis has been seen in the FB position in this play as well, making the threat of a short catch with a long run even more probable.
Single Back, 3 Wide
With the amount of potential talent that the 49ers have at wide receiver, I would like to see them spread the field a little more.
In 2008, this deep play seemed to work well, several times for 20+ yard gains and for a handful of touchdowns.
The cross of the second and third receivers downfield causes headaches for defenders, especially if the receivers have speed.
Josh Morgan, Michael Crabtree, and Jason Hill should all wreak havoc when placed in the WR3 position for this play.
With Gore coming out of the backfield, Hill has a safety valve if everything deep is covered. Davis can also curl open for a pass in this formation, giving Hill another short option if Singletary and Jimmy Raye see fit.