In the endless tug-of-war between system or personnel, the prevailing sentiment regarding the state of the Good Ship 49ers is that the team needs more speed at WR. While that sounds good, and God knows we need a deep threat, but the problem is, the Niners let their most recent deep threat walk away ignominously last year in Ted Ginn. He was nominally our 3rd WR and PR/KR guy. Ginn started with a bang against Seattle a few years back, scoring on a PR and a KR to seal Harbaugh’s 1st NFL victory. As a pass catcher he showed little. His biggest play, a 70 yard TD, was called back by a bogus illegal blocking penalty on Gore a couple years back. Ginn of course went to Carolina and caught more balls in one year there than he did for 3 years here. This leads to my dilemma. If we DO get a speed WR, will we know how to properly use him? Are we built to USE a speed guy right? Ginn did fine in his other NFL stops.
On the other hand, there are grumblings that this team needs to re-tool their running game with more better backs. That Gore isn’t getting it done because he’s old and in the way of himself. A younger, fresher back would be able to get through the holes and bounce shit outside. The thing is, I have the same problem here as I do with the passing game. Mainly because we aren’t built as a power sweep team, or a pitch/screen kind of team. For whatever reason (personnel), our run game is 90% between the tackles with the occasional WR sweep/reverse. Hunter isn’t built to run like Gore. LMJ is REALLY not built to run like Gore. Hence my thought that this offense needs to come up with a blocking scheme that suits the players they have. Iupati and Davis are barely adequate pass protectors. Staley and Boone are solid pass pro, and decent enough in the run game. Either get 2 guys who are more agile pass protectors, or sign Iupati and keep with the road grading type run game, and forgo a screen/sweep/outside running game. If we had a shifty runner, would we be able to use him how we are currently build? I think not.
If Iupati goes, then that opens the door for Looney (or even Netter), both smaller, more agile guards to get on the field. Can they get outside on sweeps/screens? Can they pass pro well enough? That’s what camp is for. And the draft. Goodwin will hopefully be replaced (Kilgore Trout? Looney?) to give this team more flexibility.
Can we build an offensive line that can pass protect better, AND allow for some outside running? Do we need new backs to do that? Is Kaepernick being held back by the coaches? Is there little faith in the pass pro for Kappy to adequately learn how to read defenses quicker? Or are these issues a driect design flaw of the Roman/Harbaugh offense?
In other words: Is Roman the cart, or the horse?