San Francisco 49ers: 4 Ways to Get Offensive Weapons the Ball More
There are no complaints about winning. It may not be pretty, but wins are wins.
However, fans of the San Francisco 49ers should have several complaints about the strength of the offense after the team's 13-8 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
The offense sputtered throughout the afternoon and couldn't manage to sustain a drive past midfield until the third quarter. Not a huge surprise for a squad ranked 28th in passing yards and 30th in rushing yards.
The Niners will need to improve as they look for their first win over the Philadelphia Eagles since 2003.
Here are four ways for the Niners to increase the production of their best offensive players.
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It's tough to move the ball effectively when opposing defenses have free reign in the backfield. After an impressive season debut against the Seahawks (in which the Niners allowed no sacks), the team allowed 11 sacks combined in games against the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals.
These sacks (along with embarrassing penalties) completely destroy the momentum of drives and give a huge advantage to opposing defenses. They've also threatened the healthy of quarterback Alex Smith, who sustained a concussion in Week 2.
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It's tough to get the big playmakers involved when they're not at 100 percent. No position has been hit by the injury bug like the wide receiver position.
Braylon Edwards is sidelined with a knee injury and Michael Crabtree has been struggling to get past a foot injury that ended his preseason.
Without these two, the Niners have to rely more on Joshua Morgan and Ted Ginn, Jr. While neither player is a slouch, neither player inspires confidence about stretching the field.
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One of the lone bright spots for the 49ers offense was tight end Vernon Davis. Freed from his regular blocking assignments, Davis lit up the Bengals for 114 yards on eight catches.
As the main offensive weapon for the Niners, Davis must be put in a receiver role more frequently if the Niners want to move the ball more effectively through the air.
Show Some Moxie
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In a combination of the lack of time to throw and the inconsistency at the receiving corps, the offense has done little to press the ball deep.
The lack of deep attempts goes against the Niners' success on their fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Smith connected on several passes of 10 yards or more, including a 20-yard completion to Vernon Davis. That success led for room for rookie Kendall Hunter to run in a touchdown.
Until the offense presses the deep ball, defenses will stuff the box, which will limit the team's rushing playmaker, Frank Gore.