Assorted Niners stats

Although many of you disagree with Football Outsiders projections for the upcoming season, their 2012 almanac has some interesting stats from last season I’d like to share with you.

  • “Alex Smith was out of the pocket on 19 percent of pass plays, fifth in the league, and was pretty bad on these plays, with just 4.4 yards per play and -25.1% DVOA.”

What this means to me: Quarterbacks usually ad-lib when they leave the pocket, and Smith is not a good ad-libber. He’s much better when he can use the play-action and pass to his first read from the pocket.

  • “San Francisco based their play-action passing game on pulling athletic left guard Mike Iupati, which, aside from contributing to a 40-percentage point increase in play-action DVOA, had the added benefit of providing help for right tackle Anthony Davis.”

What this means to me: The Niners were a good play-action passing offense last season. It was their bread and butter. So it’s important for the Niners to have a good rushing attack next season because their passing attack depends on it.

  • “Regardless of the positive protection changes, the 49ers still ranked in the bottom eight of Adjusted Sack Rate, Anthony Davis “improved” to 8.5 blown-block sacks (sixth-most in the league), and San Francisco’s interior line never figured out how to handle inside blitzes.”

What this means to me: Right guard and right tackle were weaknesses for the Niners offense last season. Now they have a new right guard, Alex Boone, but he’s never actually played guard before. If the Niners are going to improve their pass protection, it’s imperative that Boone and Davis play well. Of course, Iupati, Joe Staley and Jonathan Goodwin must stay healthy as well.

  • “The 49ers defense struggled when they dropped eight into coverage, allowing two more yards per pass than they did otherwise.”

What this means to me: NFL offenses need to look for some kind of advantage against the Niners top-notch defense, so they’ll look for this. They’ll spread the Niners out and force them to play lots of defensive backs – six or more.

If you’d like to purchase the 2012 Football Outsiders Almanac, click here.

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