Is Frank Gore done?

Frank Gore averaged a career-low 4.1 yards per carry last regular season. And he performed even worse in the playoffs, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry against the Packers, Panthers and Seahawks.

Do you think Gore will average more yards per carry next season if Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and/or Marcus Lattimore share the load?

Or do you think Gore is done? Keep in mind, he has rushed the ball 2327 times including the playoffs.

    1. What other offense did they have? We’re they not stacking the box? Just wondering. I do think they should replace him, but would like more reasonable facts and not just questions.

    2. Wonder if Gore is one of those “49er faces” who have grown tired of “Harbaugh’s act,” per Ann Killion
      in yesterday’s Chronicle.

    3. Bill Walsh was of the belief that it was better to let a player go one year early than one year too late. Teams have always stabbed the box against Gore, and the passing attack is the best that it’s been since Garcia. Running backs aren’t drafted or kept for their pass blocking. Gore has been an outstanding player since he came to the 49ers, but the time has come to move on. If Lattimore is the back that he was before the injury, Gore could be released after the last preseason game.

  1. Frank is slowing done a bit, but I think the drop off in productivity is more due to the play calling then any thing else.
    The 49ers are a power running team. Everybody knows that. So the first thing defense do is stack the box and try to stop the run. If the 49ers would try to throw more on first down, use the running backs in the passing game and throw down the field more then the running game will be more productive. I doubt this will happen. I read some where, one writer thought the 49ers would not take a small fast WR because he would not fit in with the power running offense they have. They want big receivers who can block to help the run game.
    So with 8 or even 9 men in the box it is difficult for most backs to have high YPA.

  2. Frank shouldn’t be getting asked to carry the load at this stage of his career. Frank can still be getting the majority of carries, but they need to share it round more. Last season they spread the ball around the backfield less than they did in 2012. Need to reverse that.

  3. He has definitely slipped.
    Right now he is an average running back with good vision but without the ability to get to the edge.

    Many people will argue that he is a very good all around running back, stating that his blocking ability makes up for the fact he is no longer a dangerous running back. I would argue that while blocking is very important, it should never be the number one ability a running back has. This past year, I repeatedly watched teams bottle up our running game. When the opportunity for a big play came we settled 14 -15 or got run down from behind which is a killer when Lynch is making these plays against us.

    1. I agree, much of Frank’s value lies in other facets of his game (i.e. blocking). I think we’re beyond the point where he should be a featured back, though. If the Niners have to rely on Gore as an extra blocker, and our passing game still only remains average, then we’re in trouble. I would have loved to have seen Hunter get more carries last year…and even a few more looks for James

      With that being said, I don’t see the coaching staff making any big changes. And with Gore’s popularity, they may ride him as long as they can even if he’s not the best option.

    2. A back that can’t block shouldn’t get on the field. When the do it tips off the defense.

      We lost a Hall of Fame quarterback because of a back that couldn’t block.

      1. Anyone who thinks Frank Gore can’t block should be run right out of town. That’s about all he can do anymore.

  4. Let’s not blame our over rate and pathetic offensive line which was less then stellar in the running game.Frank Gore made many big plays this year that sealed a few victories, but you don’t count them. Haraugh and Baalke both are very pleased with his performance. He should have less carries if Lattimore comes through. Really Grant. How many times are we going to beat this tired topic of Frank Gore demise.

    1. I agree the OL was not very impressive. I think it’s the most overrated OL in the league. Don’t understand why they get such high praise. I do think Gore is slowing down though.

      1. Exactly. They cant open up holes against good teams anymore. Problem with Gore is that he cant push the pile if there are no holes like he used to be able to do when he had younger legs. He is still very good at finding holes when they are there but that does not good when they are not.

  5. Hey Grant,
    You’re on a roll! We usually don’t get your Gore hatchet takes until training camp or after a poor game.

    But yes, FG is showing definite signs of an aging RB. This season could be Gore’ last dance so I would love to see him and Justin Smith go out SB winners.

    Having said that; I’m still not very comfortable (hope I’m wrong) with the company line that Lattimore is FG’ heir-apparent.
    I would like to see the team draft another RB as insurance in the event ML does not become the RB we are hoping for.
    I love Andre Williams from Boston College as an every down back who could be available with one of our picks in the 2nd rd and possibly fall to the 3rd rd.
    If he’s still on the board when draft in the 3rd he could be a draft day steal for us.

  6. I think Gore will benefit more if he has some help behind him. Gore was the only true threat in the run game last season and the opposition knew that. The run game this season will be dependent on Hunter returning to form, Lattimore showing that he is the heir to Gore’s throne, and good results from the RB they draft in May.

    1. MWD

      I agree with you that Gore was overused, but if Kaep could throw some passes into the flat Frank wouldn’t have to battle his way through a stacked box every play….He’s not Lynch who can pummel his way into the hole….Frank does it with patience until the hole opens up. He’ll be a feature back for another 2 seasons.

  7. 35.2% of Gore’s runs were of 15 yards or more, which is 6th best in the league behind Spiller, Ivory, Forte, McCoy, and Peterson. On the other hand, he was never the most elusive running back and last year he only averaged 2.0 yards after contact (39th in the league) and had 23 cumulative missed tackles (26th in the league). If you examine the tape, those 15 yard runs were due more to his patience and vision than his elusiveness. To me, Gore has become more of a power hitter in baseball, he either strikes out (i.e., many runs of 2 yards or less, including a loss) or he finds a nice lane and runs it more than 15 yards (only to get tackled from behind, since he lost his speed). He is still the best running back at blocking in the league, which is a very valuable skill the 49ers covet, but as a runner, he is no longer a tier 1 running back.

  8. I love frank gore but father time is undefeated. Once he plays out his contract i would hope we move on. See what LM and KH can do or if LMJ can get in the mix

  9. Our o line struggled at times this year. That’s partially due to injury and poor scheming/play calling. Goodwin also barely provided and push especially against bigger defensive lineman. I really hope they draft a mauler to replace Iupati.

    As for Gore, he needs to be held to 15-20 snaps a game. That’s not worth 6.5 million but how do you retire a horse like Gore? I hope Lattimore comes into camp strong and takes the job from Gore. If harbaugh is as honest when he says every week is a competition, then he makes that change as he did with Alex Smith.

  10. Gore is definitely declining and the coaching staff refuses to develop the younger players. Part of player development is game time. Hunter has shown good explosion and should get more carries than he has been given. At this rate, I would not be surprised to see Dixon, then Hunter, and LMJ leave for greener pastures during free agency.
    Gore no longer has breakaway speed, although he wasn’t the quickest to begin his career. His strength is squirming through tiny little holes for short gains, then busting a couple of longer runs to boost his average. This last year of his contract is his pension year for being a good soldier through the dark years. The offense is designed and built to work around Gore and that is the main reason why other running backs are less effective. Walsh would cut him or trade him this year.

  11. Jed York is showing his incompetence, and that only reinforces the necessity of John Madden’s words of wisdom. John said “It’s easier to find a suit.”

    Carmen Policy was right when he said that what’s needed now is some subtle tweaking of psychology to bring both sides (Baalke and Harbaugh) together. However, instead of squashing this, Jed left things open for Killion to expose once again with her probably talking to a disgruntled player like La Micheal James. Jed York went to Florida with his family and instead of fixing the problem by sitting down with Harbaugh and Baalke, and instead of working on a new contract with Harbaugh (who, btw, is the gate keeper to Boldin, Crabtree and Kaepernick contracts), Jed has his toes in the sand, reading blogs.

    Another year without a new contract for Harbaugh with an air of uncertainty in Santa Clara? Yeah, that’s a good policy. ESPN recently wrote that Harbaugh is the one attracting free agents and getting current players to take less. The 49ers need Harbaugh more than Harbaugh needs the 49ers. So not re-signing Harbaugh, and not making Harbaugh’s contract priority number one is hurting the 49ers’ chances of closing the rift between Baalke and Harbaugh, and it’s making negotiations with current players a lot more difficult to settle. What happened to Boldin’s contract negotiations looking good?

    Instead of Jed York having the psychological and business acumen to squash this, closing the door on future articles like Killion’s today, Jed flew to Florida. Don’t give me this, “Owners’ meeting” crap. A good and attentive owner fixes problems immediately for the sake of sustainability. Looks like Jed and his family haven’t learned anything from Eddie D burning Bill Walsh out before Bill’s time. If Eddie was smart, and cared about Jed’s legacy, Eddie would be counseling Jed right now about how to fix this problem with long-term Harbaugh happiness in mind. Harbaugh’s a relatively young head coach. He clearly doesn’t have all the answers. Tom Coughlin? John Wooden? Larry Bird? The past is riddled with former coaches and lessons they’ve past on. If Jed loses Harbaugh, say hello to another decade of incompetent, impotent 49er football.

    Jed doesn’t have the experience to draw from to squash this, and that’s why John Madden’s comments were so important to the Bay Area: You don’t let Jim Harbaugh go no matter what. He may not be well liked, but coaching, and learning how to sustain your job while keeping the players listening to you (Larry Bird) should be the goal that Jed can’t wrap his lucky sperm around (maybe not the right metaphor here).

    The importance of John Madden’s words are this: Instead of Jed squashing the problem with, like Carmen Policy said with, “Subtle acumen,” Jed is only looking at public opinion on the blogs and seeing who wins the public opinion battle between Harbaugh and Baalke. That’s a no brainer. It’s Harbaugh all the way. But Jed only makes decisions based on the polls. And that, my friends, is how we got Mike Singletary as a head coach. Jed has no insights of his own and it could cost him the best NFL head coach to be hired in decades. Harbaugh’s a work in progress, but the best head coach in the NFL. If Jed lets Harbaugh get out of town, get your pitch forks sharpened and ready. If Jed lets Baalke go, finding another GM is easy.

    Oh, and draft two new running backs in the second and fourth rounds. I like Devanta Freeman and LSU’s Jeremy Hill. And if you really want a power run game, draft LSU fullback, JC Copeland to replace Miller.

    1. Spitblood – I could not agree with you more. Right on. The 49ers were mediocre AT BEST for almost 10 years after Mooch was fired (and brain numbingly boring at worst). Then they get the hottest coach available who makes them a Super Bowl Contender IMMEDIATELY (did y’all get that?) within a few plays of being in 3 straight SBs. Guy is a freaking miracle worker as a coach. I LOVE that must win intensity, Lombardi had it, Walsh had it ….

      With the TENS OF MILLIONS of bucks being given every single freaking year to pitchers who won a few games the previous year; .280 hitters over 30 getting 7 year contracts at 20 million a year; the Redskins throwing away hundreds of millions in bonuses to worthless players in the Snyder years, the WARRIORS paying Beidrinsh 10 mill a year to sit on the bench AND DO NOTHING (not to mention all the other lousy contracts totaling probably 150 mill being flushed down the toilet) …. and in THAT sports context of 2014, we’re talking about money to HARBAUGH? – heck, the guy is worth ten million a year EASY (how much money did Mike Nolan and Sing get for the years still on their contracts when fired? How much did Shanahan get for being fired by TWO teams?). Hell, the 10 mill a year is a BARGAIN in today’s environment. AND …. he’s freaking FUN for us fans … because with him as the coach you know we can win any given game and possibly go all the way any given year.

      If Jed doesn’t wrap this guy up long term, then he’s doing a LOUSY job as president.

      Now, let’s say (and I don’t think this will happen at all, but just for sake of argument), JH goes to him and says something like “I don’t want to be here anymore. Forget any deal about anything, I want out.” Know what I’d do with two years left on the contract? I’d play hardball with Harbaugh. The deal that the Raiders got for Gruden would be just the START of what I’d demand for him. And I’d even eat it and make him coach the next year and then do the trade in 2015. Right now the only teams I think that would fire their coaches and trade for him are the Dolphins and Raiders.

      But …. I’d essentially do what ever it took to keep him. In the NBA it’s the players first. You do what Magic or Michael or Kobe or Lebron want, because THEY are the ones who make the championships. But in the NFL? Four key players, including the QB could go down next week for the rest of the year. Got a great coach? KEEP HIM. The Warriors made the absolute wrong decision when they chose Nelson over Chris Webber. To let JH go would be even worse. Yeah, the Cowboys got one more after letting their great coach go, but I credit Carmen Policy for that one (not making sure the 49ers kept Deion). But how have the Cowboys done these last twenty years or so?

    2. I disagree spitblood.2003-2010 were tuff..but we’re in a different situation now..if the next coach can get the most out of these players and im speaking strictly
      offense here..then it really wouldn’t matter..Im more worried about losing our defensive staff..tomsula,donatell and fangio than harbaugh to be honest..The defense has been the rock of this team.for so long..Im intrigued what a better signal caller and offensive mind..can get out of these players..Harbaugh is good..but his play not to lose,conservative approach has worn on me..He keeps gettin outcoached three yrs straight…so no he’s not the best coach..

      1. And as long as he keeps stickin with his philosophy and scheme..And Roman…so.I don’t see this offense doin much

  12. I don’t understand why Kendall Hunter didn’t get more carries last year. Let the guy get into the flow of the game and see what he can do. Now we don’t know what his value is and if we need to spend a high pick on an RB, given that Lattimore may be good if he’s healthy.

    1. Hunter recovering from Achilles tear dec 2012. can take up to 2 years to recover (see Julian Peterson). Hunter should be fine this year.
      As I stated in other post, Iupati missed 3 games and Snyder filled in, he is atrocious. Goodwin overpowered most of season and once Bruce Miller went down, the o-line was just out-manned. it’s all tied together.

  13. Gore is a mystic, yet I’ve been predicting his demise for the last three off-seasons. He faltered last season, and is now a turtle. The difference between Lynch and Gore was stark. Gore needs to go.

  14. Take a look at Center position. Especially during playoffs. Goodwin was overpowered more most of the time.Also, the running game took a HUGE hit when FB Bruce Miller went down. No one picked up where he left off.
    When Iupati went down in Seattle and the 3 games he missed and Snyder filled in, good gaaaaaawd, Gore had no where to run!!
    Box was stacked most of season until Crabs came back. Boldin double covered, Davis is a straight line runner and Every team knows it. Easy to cover.
    Kilgore IMO IS NOT the answer at C. That has to be a major priority this offseason as well as getting speed at WR. Along with re-signing Boldin.
    RE-sign Hitner. Reid is as good as he is because of Hitner. if he gone, all bad!! He’s in his prime. Look at the top 3 TE’s in the NFL and they didn’t do sh** when they played against the 49ers!!!

  15. Gore may not his old self, but he’s far from “done.”

    4.1 yards per carry is pretty good against defenses stacked against the run…. and with Walker (and later Miller) out, those “wham” blocks that punished gap shooting 4-3 defenses were reduced.

    Hunter and Gore had almost identical yards per rush in 2012, but Hunter has yet to return to pre-injury form. What was Hunter, James and Dixon’s yards per carry in 2013?

    As for 3.4 yards per carry in the playoffs, all you have to do is look at an image of Seattle’s defense on first and ten. They had no respect for the 49ers WR speed and crowded the line. Combine that with slowed get-off at the snap due to crowd noise, and running becomes almost impossible.

    I don’t have the stats in front of me, but Gore used to fumble more. I’d say about once every 5 qtrs or so. The last few years Gore greatly improved ball security.

    Yes, Gore will average more yards per carry if Hunter and Lattimore get more snaps, but the biggest difference maker will be a deep passing game. If the 49ers can get a WR that can punish 9 in the box defenses, Gore will shine.

    1. Great points BrodieTW – Gore still looks like he is a good NFL back. I became a fan in 1967 and every team at that time used more than one back to carry the ball in a game. Usually the top runner on a team got 15 carries – maybe. It was really the advent of OJ Simpson and the top backs who came after him that started almost every team using ONE back to carry the ball. The 49ers did employ a 2 back offense for a couple of years when Roger Craig joined the team and it worked very well, but with the retirement of Wendell Tyler, Craig got almost all the touches and that continued through Watters, etc. Now it could be that the 49ers just really felt the last couple of years that ANY touch by Gore would be a better bet than any other back. Maybe it will change if Lattimore is the real deal. I’d like to see Gore get another year as the top back – he had a pretty good year. What’s wrong with 13 carries by Gore and 11 by another back?

      And good point about the passing game too.

  16. If frank was a little more dynamic I think we would’ve beaten the Seahawks. I leaned over to my wife half way through game and said I think the difference will be the explosiveness of the running backs.

  17. I find it laughable that people are considering 4.1 career avg and 3.4 yards per Carry against 2/3 of the best defenses slowing down. Is Frank Gore getting old, Yes. Can he still be the feature back, according to those numbers I’d say yes. Just going by those averages he will get a first down every 3 carries. I don’t know if any of you played football but that’s damn good. Could he use help, YES. That’s obvious. A passing game would benefit the guy a lot. Better play calling would help as well. If he can share the ball with someone, it will extend his career. But making it seem like the guy just doesn’t have it anymore is asinine.

    1. I think what most people are saying is that Gore isn’t the back he used to be. Coupled with the line not being what they also used to be. The problem now is if the line doesn’t open up any holes than we are talking no gain. He just cant break tackles and power his way for yardage which were two of his many skills that put him on that other level when he was in his prime. He also has lost his breakaway gear. What he is now is just an average and getting older and declining back. It is only sentimentality that keeps most fans from seeing the reality. I think his decline has been gradual so it’s much more difficult to see the contrast between his past and the present but it’s time to change.

    2. There is a red flag that you are not considering. The season before Gore started strong but towards the end of the regular season his production declined. However once the playoffs began he again began to run hard and his production once increased to match his early season level. This season that did not happen. It’s not just about production but what does a back do with what he is given. He just didn’t run hard and never got his second wind. He looked really tired at seasons end. We need to consider that he has one more year under his belt and probably will not even match his last seasons production.

  18. We don’t know yet who will come to the team via FA and draft so it’s hard to predict the roster at this point. I notice all the personnel changes various people have suggested, and if one were only going by that you’d have to assume we were writing about a 6-10 team.
    Well Tuna’s (opinion) roster has Gore as the starter with Hunter behind him. I’m not as keen on LMJ, but if nobody beats him out, I guess ok. I can’t imagine drafting two RBs, and I doubt they’d select one before Day3.
    If Tuk is invited back to OTAs we’ll know what offensive scheme is still in place.

    1. I left off Lattimore, who will be in the mix, but while I’m optimistic about him we’ll be waiting and watching.

  19. Gore is done. When you can’t break away from linemen you’re done. He could still be a great blocker, but we need game breaking speed.

    And I’m hearing now that CK wants 18 mill per year. What a joke. Harbaugh fiasco going on, Whitner thinks he’s worth more than he is.
    This is the toughest offseason we’ve faced for awhile. It could be the end of this 49er regime. If the report is true about CK wanting 18 mill a year. He can take a hike.

    1. There’s no way they give up 18 mil. I think 16 is the max, but they will like throw some extra incentives and escalators to make it much more appealing. I see it going much like when we re-sigend Alex. They never got away from the original offer but made it more appealing with the extra incentives.

      This is where i really trust Baalke and Marathe, contract negotiations. This is where they thrive.

      1. I agree Leo…. I just hope CK has the same ethics Smith had. Wasn’t a huge fan of his game, but I could never doubt his character. If he holds on 18 mill he’s gotta go. IMO. We are NOT Dallas or Washington

  20. I want $18M too. But I’m not gonan get it and neither is Colin. He’ll be out as the starter within three years anyhow…

  21. I wouldn’t say he’s done, but after last year they had to of come to the realization that the entire offense can’t go through him anymore. There’s no way he can have that many carries again and survive. The problem is that they seem like they don’t trust the backs behind Gore. Hunter is more of a one-trick pony, LMJ too small to be effective in this offense, and Dixon is more of a special teamer at this point.

    I think if Lattimore is a 100% this off-season and impresses the staff we will see Gore’s load diminish quite a bit and Latt will increase more and more as he earns trust and builds confidence. I could also see us drafting another back in the 3rd to 5th rounds that could compete as Gore’s heir.

    Anyone know how Latt’s pass blocking rated in SC?

  22. everybody talks about defenses stacking the box vs. Gore because the lack of the Niner passing game threatening the secondary. How about stacking the box vs. AP in Minnesota with their pathetic passing game? Never hear Viking supporters complain about that aspect. When the QB and offensive line “re-Mike” the defense based upon the run called, you are supposed to leave free the defender furtherest away from the point of attack, and often that takes away a potential cutback lane on the backside which means that blocking at the POA needs to be more effective. By the same token, breaking the LOS vs. a stacked front should give a RB bigger gains because there are fewer defenders to be able to pursue.

  23. Gore’s production is a direct link to the passing game, as long as the niners struggle passing the ball the offensive line will look bad. Every team in the nfl that plays the niners will load up the box much like seattle has done, it cripples the long passing, any swing passing as well as the run game. Kapernick is going to have grow as a QB for the offense to look better, if he does the run game will improve and Gore production will be just fine!

    1. What the Niner’s need more than anything is a wr who can stretch the field. This is what they lacked last season and why they were able to stack the box. With out a receiver who can stretch the field the defense can condense the area that they have to defend against the pass and that works great against the run as well. Why do you think the wr that had the best results against Seattle were speed burners. Their D backs are big and physical decreased area of coverage works to their strength.

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