Frank Gore’s carries are highly correlated to the San Francisco 49ers wins so far this season. While his average yards per rising are nearly identical in team wins vs. team losses, Gore simply rushes twice as much for twice the yardage in 49er wins as opposed to their losses.
When you have a back who averages 4.8 yards per carry, who has made his career power running the football, you should probably put the ball in his hands. Furthermore, the 49ers’ depleted receiver group puts little doubt in my mind that the running game is a crutch that the 49ers should use until more wideouts are healthy.
Frank Gore has been the heart and soul of the 49ers, the poster boy of patient running. His style of staying behind the blocker and cutting through the defense with a powerful stride is one that can bring longevity to a running back’s career. Backing up Gore are two promising backs in Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, with a potential elite running back in the background, (Marcus Lattimore) returning to full health this season.
The 49ers have the depth to run the ball for the majority of the game. It would benefit the team to give both Hunter and James more carries. Yes, LaMichael did complain about his lack of playing over twitter, but that’s no grounds for removing him from the offense. James quickly took the posting off of Twitter, and a little message should be overshadowed by his work out routine during the offseason that added 10 lbs of muscle After a rookie year that ended with James carrying the ball frequently, I for one would like to see the him get more opportunities.
The 49ers’ offensive line has been drafted over the years to punish opposing defenses and break open holes for the running game. The 49ers should give the line more chances to push through the defense on running plays rather that holding off rushers in pass protection.
A heavier dose of running the ball led to both wins this season, and the reason is fairly simple. Gore practically gains the yardage needed for a first down in two runs, and running the ball opens the passing game up for 49ers’ depleted receiving corps. Without a quality speedy receiver to pose a real deep threat to opposing defenses, one of the ways left to get receivers wide open is the threat of a run during play action.
The 49ers will continue to put out different offensive looks to keep opposing defensive coordinators on their toes; the team will benefit greatly if each look includes 25+ rushing plays.