Through all the injuries and inconsistency around the passing game last season, there is plenty of talk about the need for a wide receiver with speed. Someone who can get behind a (Seattle) defense and score on big plays. The blogosphere certainly has been burning up with ideas on who to draft. Since our division rivals up north appear to be the only thing in our way of reaching the promised land, it would seem to make sense to build a beast that can beat their beast. How do we do that? Little T.Y. Hilton had himself a day against the vaunted Seattle legion of boom. He and Reggie Wayne accounted for over 200 yards on 11 catches. Houston put up big numbers as well in a game Shaub gave away. NO and Minn put up some big numbers, but that was because they were hopelessly behind. Still and all, to me a big thing missing from the Niner attack IS a deep threat.
Strictly by the numbers, the Niners were, uh, 30th in passing yards. Terrible. But Seattle was not much better at 26th. So, what does this mean? Well, beyond the fact that the Niners and Seahawks were 3rd and 4th respectively in running the ball, it means you don’t throw as much as many other teams because you burn time running. Old schoool NFL football. Throwing 15-25 passes a game isn’t going to garner most QBs big passing numbers, but both Wilson and Kaepernick rated out 7th and 10th in rating respectively, and if you look at ESPN’s Total QBR, Kappy is 7th, and Wilson is 13th. That being said, of the top 10 passing teams in the league, 7 made the playoffs. The NFL is heavily tilting toward becoming a Mouse Davis run-n-gun wonderland of 4 WR sets, flooding the field with pass catchers, whether WRs, TEs, or RBs, and heaving the rock all over the field.
Back to SF, what is our plan going forward? Can we tweak the passing game enough to matter? Are we going to stick with this 1970s style offense of ground and pound? Like the QB that preceded him, Colin Kaepernick came from a wide open system where he’s now being converted into a pocket passer. Part of Colin’s strength IS the breaking contain and scrambling for big chunks of yards (GB must be sick of him), but his development as a passer is at the point where there are questions regarding his progress. And the reasons for this are varied and manifold. The lack of viable WRs certainly played a part. As did the inconsistent pass pro. Kappy however, locked on to WRs at times, and threw some pretty terrible picks when the play obviously wasn’t there and he forced it. Then there’s the whole play calling aspect of which has been beaten to death. Without knowing the design of plays and options, it’s hard to figure if plays are designed to only go a certain way, but it was disheartening to hear Kappy repeat that he’d throw that pass to Crabs given that one-on-one coverage by Sherman 10 out of 10 times.
I’d much rather hear him say he should have looked around for other options and checked down instead of throwing the pick. Being that it’s only talk, and maybe it’s false bravado after throwing the pick and enduring the choke sign Sherman gave him, but Kappy needs to learn from that play rather than stick to his narrative.
What irks me is Sherman ALWAYS lines up on the left side and takes the outside WR. Why not put Crabs in the slot? This is also where a speed WR can help greatly. Put the speed guy outside, and Crabs in the slot. With Boldin on the other side, and VD running routes as well, you can gain some favorable matchups. You can even run better with 3 WRs out there.