Frank Gore On Pace to Have Outstanding Season

Glenn Franco SimmonsAnalyst IOctober 4, 2008

One of the bright spots for the 49ers this year is none other than fan-favorite Frank Gore.

While longtime 49er Faithful have a great time debating whether Gore is the best rusher in franchise history, the fact remains he is one of the best.

This quality running back set a franchise record in 2006 with 312 carries for 1,695 yards. He had a 5.4-yard average per carry for the season.

If you extrapolate his 369 yards gained so far this season in four games over a 16-game schedule, he is on pace to rush for 1,476 yards.

If he improves his 4.9-yard average per carry, he will be on pace for even more yards.

A word of caution, however: This extrapolation is based upon a belief that Gore will not be seriously injured or miss games, and it assumes a mediocre offensive line will continue to block for him, although he gains many yards despite the line’s mediocrity.

As of Saturday, the 49ers were ranked 15th in the league in average rushing yards per game at 118.5, which is decent but which reflects the fact that the franchise’s front office still has not understood the fundamental importance of building a team starting first with its offensive line and then its defensive line.

Just as in players needing to maintain their exercise of fundamentals, NFL organizations must understand that in order to be successful, the fundamentals of a team—its offensive and defensive lines and a franchise quarterback—need to be excellent.

In the case of the 49ers, all three of those areas are severely lacking in excellence.

Yet Gore has still been able to remain atop the elite of the NFL’s running backs. His value to the 49ers is shown in his No. 4 rank. Gore is tied with Clinton Portis of the Redskins and only trails Michael Turner (first, 422), Adrian Peterson (second, 420), and Larry Johnson (third, 415).

I do not believe Gore is the same type of running back as those who are ahead of him in rushing, but I don’t think that is a weakness.

Rather, Gore is perfect for the Mike Martz offense because he is not only an excellent running back, but he is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield.

Let’s hope Gore remains healthy and can set another 49er franchise record for rushing.