The New 49ers: Smash Mouth Football

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The New 49ers: Smash Mouth Football
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Let’s face it, Alex Smith was a bust. I know the 49ers say that the quarterback competition is still going on, but Shaun Hill is going to be the guy come September. But all is not lost; it might even turn out to be a blessing in disguise, because under Coach Singletary and new offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, the 49ers don’t need a star quarterback. In fact, Shaun Hill might just be the perfect QB for the old school, smash mouth system that they will inevitably be implementing next year.

Mike Martz was a very different type of coordinator, high flying, fancy, and, well, exactly the opposite of everything Coach Singletary wanted. In Raye he gets the offensive coordinator he wants, one who believes that the game is won in the trenches and that offense, just like defense, is about getting out on the field to “hit people in the mouth.” This is a new 49ers team, one that isn’t going to modify its old playbook, its going to throw it out. The 49ers of 2009 are a different team, with a new coordinator, a new coach, and a new football philosophy.

I know they have Crabtree now, but don’t expect to tune in and see Alex Smith throwing 40 yard bombs to Crabtree. That isn’t the new 49ers. Instead Coach Singletary and Raye are going to use the Niners proven offensive weapon, Frank Gore, to pound the ball to the goal line. Expect a much more potent, and much more relied upon, running game with a significant increase in carries per game. The I-formation will most likely become a staple of the 49ers offense, with receivers doing a good portion of the blocking. Also expect to see time of possession go up significantly, combined with a physical play style aimed at wearing down defenses by keeping them on the field and making them work hard on every down.

The heavy reliance on a running attack should lead to a number of good play action opportunities. Once defenses have had the ball run through them a few times they will begin to tighten up the field and play close to the line, allowing Shaun Hill to connect with Crabtree for some big gains. When all else fails look for Hill to make something happen. It may not be pretty, but it will be physical, it will be effective, and it will show that he has heart, which is exactly why Coach Singletary will give him the job and why 49ers fans should be happy when he gets it.

The 2009 49ers are going to reinvent themselves this year. Coach Singletary wants his team to play old-fashion smash mouth football, and with Jimmy Raye running the show and Frank Gore on the field, that is exactly what he is going to get. It won’t be fancy and it won’t have the finesse of previous Niner teams, but it will get wins.

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