Niners offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said the 49ers are not going to change their offensive approach with Glen Coffee taking over for injured halfback Frank Gore.
He said if the 49ers end up throwing more to the wideouts on Sunday against the Rams, it’ll not be due to the fact that the 49ers have a rookie playing the bulk of the snaps at running back.
“It’s a defense that dictates that,” Raye said. “It won’t have anything to do with Glen Coffee. . . . How they intend to defend us will dictate more of how we change than the fact that it’s Coffee in there. We’re not going to run away from what our staple is because we have a change in that position.”
So, in my mind, that opened a few questions. Haven’t defenses been stacking the box against the run, thus dictating that the 49ers throw the ball to the wideouts?
“I think it’s a matter of visual interpretation,” Raye said. “Because they stack the box, so to speak, or have eight men in the box, we have an ability to add on and block the eight element if we so desire. And, if we choose to run the ball into that, the perception that you’ve got to throw it because there are eight people in the box would be, in my opinion, disingenuous to the philosophy that we have and the way we play.
“And now, you increase the time of possession for the other team, you keep the defense on the field longer. If you can do that, if you can make that decision, you better throw it and catch it at about a 70- or 80-percent rate. Otherwise, you’re going to keep the clock running for the other team’s offense and put your defense in a position where they defend more snaps. At this point, I don’t think that’s what we want to do.”
But Shaun Hill is completing passes at a 76.7-percent rate in the fourth quarter. He ranks No. 5 in the NFL in fourth-quarter passer rating. So wouldn’t Hill’s high completion percentage embolden Raye to feel more comfortable passing the ball in four-minute situations when the 49ers are trying to run out the clock?
“No,” Raye said. “What you’re listing is this, is that he has been able to do that because we’ve run the ball against eight-man fronts. That’s the reason that his completion percentage is what it is. If we want to change and go 360 degrees away from that, then we’re entering into an arena that I don’t think at this point we want to be in. The ability that he’s had to complete 60 or 70 percent of his passes in the fourth quarter is because of our stick-to-it-ive-ness in terms of running the football. We will take advantage of the opportunities that the defense presents us within the realm and scope of what it is as the game unfolds.”
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