New concepts

The 49ers will have a rookie mini-camp this weekend in Santa Clara. Media will be allowed to watch Friday’s practice only.

What new concepts do you expect the 49ers to install in their offense this offseason?

This article has 129 Comments

  1. I don’t expect many changes. Their formula has worked and they’ll stick to a power running game with a lot of play action mixed in.

    1. I disagree,

      The fact that the 49ers now have arguably 3 #1 WR’s plus the addition of a True Slot WR (Ellington) from the draft I expect the 49ers to show more 3 Wides than ever before.

      Look for the 49ers to be more aggressive with their Passing Game this season. I don’t think that’s far fetched at all.

  2. simple option routes by the TEs and slot receivers.

    so for example if the defense shows a single high look the inside receiver runs a button hook right underneath the middle safety and possibly in front of 2nd level linebacker coverage.

    if the defense shows a 2 high look the inside receiver runs a route (like a skinny post) to split the safeties.

    It would be hard to determine if that is what the Niners are practicing. But you’d have to see the other receivers running the same patterns with only the middle reciever changing their routes. Also, I doubt they’d go over this in a rookie mini-camp.

    I would like to see if the Niners start to use more press cover 3 like the Seahawks. The Niners use a lot of Cover 3, especially in the base defense so that Fangio can call a firezone blitz if he thinks the opponent will call a pass play out of a 2WR personnel group. But I’d like to see if they start to go with more Press Cover 3 that starts to look like Cover 1 on the outside with Cover 3 zone on the inside. (they sort of do this already…but again the Corners usually play back).

    I’d like to know if the “big Nickel” will change how the Niners cover. They typically cover is some hybrid of 2 man under or Cover 3. What kind of reads will the Nickel DB make? Will he play more like a strong safety and play shorter zones and pass off coverage? will he crash down against the run from short zones? or will he stick to man to man and if so what gap will he be responsible for in the run defense? will he blitz?

    Again, I’m guessing you won’t see any major changes or new concepts at a rookie mini-camp but it will be interesting once the real training camp starts.

    1. Good call on the option routes. That would mesh with the type of 3rd WR they’ve been after all offseason, in particular the skills of Stevie Johnson.

      Also I think you’ll be right about the shift to more press cover 3 and cover 1. Chris Cook has already said he’s been told they’ll be using more single-high this year, and that his role would involve press.

    2. @ allforfunnplay

      I agree with your take of increased press coverage; we’re giving up too much unchallenged space. What I would like to see is more West coast offense, more short passes to the sideline patterns, and crossing routes, as well as much more “no huddle” to where our size in the line provides an advantage

  3. My guess is the concepts pretty much stay the same. The difference will be in the amount of 3 WR sets and a higher rotation between the RB’s.

  4. Easy one to answer. Little to none in terms of changes. They may add more three receiver sets. That IMO is about it. They get Bruce Miller back so you will see him catching out of the backfield again.
    Look, they brought in LMJ and we had visions of Sproles 2.0, we got nothing.
    They brought in Randy Moss and we expected some vertical game.
    We got none.
    We brought in Vance McDonald and thought we finally had a red zone target. He caught 8 passes all season.
    Deepest draft in years and we expected the Niners to grab a premier DB or WR. The DB is still tbd, but the WR they brought in IMO is a wasted. While our draft was good, there are elements of wasted opportunities.
    So to answer your original question, what new concepts will they bring in? Unless they bring in outside consultants, don’t expect many changes.

    1. How is Bruce Ellington a wasted pick? He has speed(4.45) to stretch the field, He knows how to get open,good route runner, He has a very good vertical,solidly built ooh and he is very shifty,and can and will play special teams….again tell me how he is a wasted pick?

    2. I guess the thinking they had if the draft really is deep take as many quality players as you can at the top of the draft. In other years, when the draft is weaker, maybe that’s the year to package picks to move up and get a single player.

  5. Well, of course utilizing the overflow of receivers, which means the QB needs to be more comfortable in the pocket and follow his reads.

  6. I actually think we will have better pass protections with Kilgore at Center. He’s an upgrade over Goodwin.

    1. Also, Kilgore has a mean streak that works better at Pass-protect than run…gonna’be an improvement at center…good call Bay

    1. No kidding!
      I’ve been saying the same thing for years.
      Why is it that so many teams can run successful screens but we never can???

      1. i agree about running more screens and ill tell you why we have not been running them: frank gore is not a very good pass catcher. I love frank, hes as good as any 49er rb ever! He was the only exciting player to watch for years. He will go in the ring of honor and probably the HoF. But why do we ALL KNOW what a great pass protector he is? because hes not running routes ( ’cause he cant catch) he’s blocking on pass plays!

        Ive brought this up in arguments as to why Smith/Kap never put up huge passing yardage stats here. Most Qb’s( like Brees) can count on 50 + yards from RB’s on easy little screen/dump off passes. But not us! And when i say a guy like Brees can count on 50 + yards…..thats at least! Sometimes a guy like sproles would break loose and those yards would pile up week in and week out.

        I was hoping LMJ would be the guy to awaken the screen game for us, but he dosent seem to realize that you cannot “whine your way ” onto the field for JH, but that you have to “work your way” onto it.

        1. Gore was used in the pass game more before Harbaugh took over. From 2006 to 2010 he caught 61,53,43,52 and 46. Not exactly a guy who can’t catch. Since then he’s caught 17,28, and 16 passes.

          1. Sean i was thinking the same thing, Gore was a pretty damn good pass catching back early in his career. In Harbaughs world it is far more important to keep a back in and protect the QB than it is to have his RB’s catch many passes.

            1. Agreed old coach. I’d love to see more screen passes but it just doesn’t seem to be part of the arsenal.

          2. Targets in 2006-2010: 86, 69, 66, 75, 72

            Targets in 2011-2013: 31, 36, 26

            Note: Gore’s drop rates in 2011 and 2012 were not good. His drop rates in 2009, 2010 and 2013, however, were good.

            I’d say it is pretty clear that the 49ers are not running screens as much as other teams because screens are not as big a part of Harbaugh’s offenses as they are in other offenses. It has little, if anything, to do with Gore.

        2. We never put up Brees type numbers, because we don’t throw as ofter as NO…we also do NOT have a top quality offensive line for passing…we got road-graders for a run attack, but Staley’s our only top quality pass-protect lineman (I think that Boone can be). Frank can catch, and so can LMJ, but someone’s got to get them the ball on short, medium passes.

    2. The lack of RB screens in the 49ers offense is due mostly to the heavy boxes that they face. Too many bodies around the line of scrimmage makes it tough for the lineman to follow their track to set up the screen, that’s why teams like New Orleans are so good. They spread out the defense, which provides clearer lanes for the linemen who then find themselves taking on much smaller defenders.

      Instead of the traditional RB screens the 49ers under Harbaugh utilize the WR’s more in their screen game with the smoke screens outside or middle screens which to the casual observer look like normal pass plays.

      1. thank you for this comment, I’ve tried explaining this too others about the crowded box and running screens but I don’t think most people understand.

        1. That is very true AFF, but one of the reasons we tend to face a heavy box is we run a lot of 2TE formations. Obviously people we also point to the lack of a burner at WR too. If we see more 3 WR sets, with guys like Ellington in the formation, it might set up the screen?

  7. As commented earlier, it would be interesting to see if they truly are looking to bring back the read-option again since Hyde and Latt are much better suited for it. They tried sticking it out last season the first couple of weeks but ultimately gave it up due to its utter ineffectiveness. But maybe they truly do believe in the system but knew they needed the right personnel to be successful. If so, they may be on to something. It would be interesting to see Kap continue that success he had in 2012.

  8. In case anyone missed this…
    ‘Former offensive lineman Jeremy Newberry describes lining up in the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room with other players to receive powerful anti-inflammatory injections in their buttocks shortly before kickoff. Newberry played for San Francisco from 1998-2006, including one season in which played in every game but never practiced because of pain from his injuries, according to the lawsuit.

    He retired in 2009, and because of the drugs he took while playing, he now suffers from renal failure, high blood pressure and violent headaches, the lawsuit says.’
    Newbs was our last great Center.
    Sure miss watching him maul!

      1. They say McMahon is in the early stages of Dementia from the concussions and his body is just beat to hell.
        As for Newbs, dude was a hothead but who didn’t love to watch him grappling with DTs in the trenches.

        1. I think McMahon’s memory loss has more to do with his many many late nights of partying and heavy drinking. How many times did he wake up not knowing what happened the night before? I’m not saying football is innocent in this but when a former player has some issues they need to look back at his personal life along with his playing career for causes. Football is only a piece of the pie in causes for what McMahon is going through.

          1. Dude,
            McMahon did not help his cause with the helmet butts he personally initiated with his offensive line-man whenever they scored.
            Good luck trying to win this one Jim.

            1. I saw him on the golf channel a few years ago where they took cameras out while he was playing a round. He didn’t seem all there. He plays golf with no shoes on.

  9. It’s not new, but I love that Fly-Sweep play.
    I think Ellington could run that bad boy.
    I mean…Delanie Walker ran it a couple of times, didn’t he?
    Ellington is faster, yet still tough with the ball in his hands.

  10. Word on the street was Harbaugh planned to take over the offense if Roman left for a head coaching position. Baalke resigned Boldin and pilfered Johnson, and selected speedy slot receiver Sir Ellington. I look for Harbaugh to have more input, with the idea of opening up the playbook, and the passing game to be amped up. Mr Hyde could hit the turf running, forming a dynamic duo with Kaepernick in the pistol formation…..

    1. Word on the street was Harbaugh planned to take over the offense if Roman left for a head coaching position.

      First I have heard of that. Then again, I don’t live anywhere near the street.

    2. Razor, I really hope you”re right, but every time anyone on this blog starts calling for Roman’s head, multiple people respond with how this is Harbaugh’s offense and Roman’s just running it. If that’s true then how can we expect changes in the same old boring playcalling? Again, I truly hope you are right. I know JH spoke on the record about using more 3 wide receiver sets this year, so I remain hopeful that JH or GR, or whoever it is that really calls the plays, actually does open up the playbook. No excuses with the weaponry we’ve got now! And I too echo the group’s longing for more screens.
      Can’t wait. Go Niners!

      1. Sorry Bar None i think we will still see the same old ground and pound a leopard does’nt change his spots. I’m just fine with that myself I just want to see some improvement in the red zone and better clock management late in games.

        1. Coach, actually the old ground and pound has served us pretty damn well. Just not very exciting to watch. But if the Niners were better in just those two areas you mentioned; scoring TD’s instead of FG’s and better clock management, they would have gone at least 14-2, maybe 15-1, and won the Super Bowl. I don’t know if either area’s improvement would’ve changed the outcome of week 2 in Seattle. That game was just ugly.

    3. here’s a comment about Harbuagh and the Offensive Philosophy

      the controlled conservative power run first nature of the offense is all Harbaugh. It’s not because it was necessitated because of Alex Smith. Sure, certain aspects of the offense were simplified back in 2011. And some of it simplified because of Kaepernick’s development. But even if the Niners start implementing more full field passing plays and 3WR sets (when the match up dictates it), the offense will still be about “grinding some meat and rattling some molars”.

      Think about Stanford’s offense. Luck was considered the top QB in college. But Stanford’s offense was still a heavy ground and pound running team. It’s just that Luck was able to fully utilize the whole field and execute play action passes. The passing game was still a highly structured and risk adverse passing game. It was not a dynamic big play offense unless it was manufactured (play action or passing concepts….not just having a big play receiver go deep).

      Jim Harbaugh: ‘Before Bo congratulated me, he said…’
      “We have always believed in that, a tight end and a fullback,” Harbaugh said. “When I got my first coaching job at the University of San Diego, I called my coach Bo Schembechler and told him that I was the coach at the University of San Diego. Before he said congratulations, he said, ‘Jimmy, tell me you are going to have a tight end that puts his hand in that ground on every snap. Tell me that you are going to have a fullback that lines directly behind the quarterback, and a halfback in the I-formation.’
      “‘Yes, coach, we will have that.’ ‘Good, congratulations on getting your job.’”

      Football makes 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh tick
      “In our philosophy, the tight end is a needed component because of the physical nature with which you want to play football,” Harbaugh said.
      His words became measured.

      “The tight end. A fullback. Needed. Without those two positions, you tend more to be a finesse type of team.”

      Now he was rolling again.

      “Especially if you can get a fullback, a man who lives a spartan life, who goes to bed and dreams about physical confrontation and getting from Point A to Point B to go hit somebody,” Harbaugh said. “If you have that kind of face as your identity for your team, then you can play the kind of football that we are talking about.”

      The Hot New Thing in the NFL: Ancient Big Ten OffensesYour text to link here
      But, NFL observers say, the league is now experiencing a backlash from a cabal of coaches with heavy Big Ten influences who prefer, well, heavy players. Their idea? Find the biggest players you can find and run simple, powerful schemes.
      Naturally, the revolution has been led by San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and his brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who faced off in last season’s Super Bowl and whose father, Jack, was once an assistant under Michigan coach Bo Schembechler.

      It is an approach that the late Schembechler, Michigan’s coach from 1969 to 1989, would’ve loved. When asked what Schembechler’s influence on the modern NFL is, Hamilton said: “In a nutshell, the fullback.” On the four times the Colts have played a fullback with six linemen—instead of the normal five—they are averaging 6.5 yards per play.

      “What the Harbaughs have brought back to the NFL is what the Big Ten used to be like,” said Glen Mason, a former University of Minnesota coach. “They are running basic off-tackle plays, ‘power’ plays that have been around since the year of the flood, and an NFL defense doesn’t have any idea how to stop it. They aren’t prepared for old-school football.”

      Harbaugh had a part of spring practice called “Bad-a— Period,” in which he would play massive players at different positions, like letting a defensive lineman take a shot at receiver.

      1. I think Jim Harbaugh is a great coach, but the phraseology in the following is certainly strange:
        “Especially if you can get a fullback, a man who lives a spartan life, who goes to bed and dreams about physical confrontation and getting from Point A to Point B to go hit somebody,” Harbaugh said. “If you have that kind of face as your identity for your team, then you can play the kind of football that we are talking about.”

        I do not want my daughter marrying a guy like this.

      2. THIS IS SPARTA!!!

        Man reading that just got me pumped up for some football. Can’t wait. I’ll be catching the game in AZ week 3.

        It may not be the most exciting high octane offense that the media loves to sell, but I love the physicality and of course I love winning.

  11. Bruce Miller will need to take on a more prominent role this year.
    He will need to catch passes on the flat as well as the occasional wheel route pass.

    VMac has to become a more aggressive blocker and move into the D.Walker role.
    If defenses are going to stack the box on us VMac and Miller will need to be secondary blockers (if we run the wham more this season) and also be able to make the 5-10 yard catch on quick hitters from Kaep.

    With both Crabtree and Boldin (hopefully starting together for the entire season) and either Ellington or Patton working themselves into the lineup our passing offense has the potential to keep defenses from stacking the box.

    CK7 has the keys to the Ferrari and needs to learn how to use all the horse power.
    I believe he will.

  12. I expect to see a new and different approach to their 3rd down plays. Everything from formation, to personnel, and to more of an emphasis on passing downfield.

  13. I like affp’s suggestions of more option routes from the slot and TEs, and more single high coverage with press.

    I also expect to see more use of 3 WR sets (though not a majority of snaps), a return of the read-option and more rotation in the running game.

      1. Fair point – he’d probably be on a different book entirely rather than anywhere near the same page as Kaep. Might be more the slot WRs (Johnson, Boldin, Ellington) and Vance McDonald.

        1. VD didn’t seem to have the same ferociousness in his blocking assignments this year. Echoes of Kam seem to be in his head too. With all his interests outside of football, I wonder if he’s starting to lose his edge?

          1. “VD didn’t seem to have the same ferociousness in his blocking assignments this year.”

            You’re right on that. Last season Davis had his worst run blocking grade since 2009.

          2. I think being used as a decoy more often than not got in his head more than Kam Chancellor. He says all the right things, but he looked a bit disheartened at times last season by the lack of balls coming his way. Affected his whole game.

            1. “I think being used as a decoy more often than not got in his head more than Kam Chancellor.”

              I don’t buy that, anything is is his head. He had one of the best receiving years of his career last season, career high in TD receptions and just short of his best yards per reception number.

              I bet he will be right back to dominating in the run game this season with a full complement of receivers at their disposal.

              1. Wow… I truly hate the seahawks… they just took one of our biggest and most feared beasts and beat him into oblivion….Oh I cant wait for turkey day

              2. Well designed play where Boldin clears out the Nemesis, and VD infects Bobby Wagner for a touchdown…..

    1. I agree. I expect (really, it’s just a hope at this stage) that the offense will be more diversified and less predictable. More short- and mid-range passing. So that means more yardage for the qb and more TDs. Also more time of possession. But I don’t expect these Neanderthals to go wild. If Bo Shembechler were to take the next step, what would he do — a Bill Walsh or a Don Coryell?

  14. Rotoworld:
    Ray Rice to avoid trial on assault charges
    Ray Rice will avoid trial on assault charges after being accepted into a pretrial-intervention program. The charges against Rice will be formally dropped upon completion of the program. The arrest will remain on his record, but without a conviction. It’s the best-case scenario after Rice was caught on film dragging his fiancée (and now wife) by her hair through an Atlantic City casino after allegedly knocking her out. Rice is still facing a potential league suspension, but it’s unlikely to be lengthy.

    Some guys get away with murder. Woops, that was that linebacker guy.

  15. …new concepts…
    Let’s think about this;
    if the woman whom Jim Harbaw loves
    (okay, the second such woman)
    if Sarah has asked, on several occasions,
    that Mister Harbaw stop embarassing her
    with his bone-head khaki samo-samo wardrobe
    … and he refuses (this is his wife, fellas…)
    then on what possible basis should any of us expect
    that he is capable of anything new in the coaching realm?
    Just a little bit of “new” would have already brought home
    Lombardi trophy #6. He is stuck. The man will continue
    to beat his “football fight” drum into oblivion….

  16. Grant said, “Vernon Davis struggles with regular routes.” What does that mean? I’ve read it elsewhere; so, I believe it. Are they saying that Vernon knows what to do, but is not fluid enough to make the cuts without losing speed? Or he forgets and runs the wrong routes. Or he hasn’t been able to learn the playbook, period. Is there some kind of euphemism here for his being dumb?

    1. He doesn’t run good routes. He never developed that skill. If someone had taught him how to run good routes when he was younger, he could have been one of the greatest tight ends of all time. But he’s still very good. He just doesn’t use route-running to get open. He runs by people.

      1. I was a gymnast. Since I’m not a monkey, every move that I learned, I initially did incorrectly. Some basic moves I practiced 100,000 times. I’m frustrated when I read that Vernon has these troubles or Kapernick has lousy footwork, yet when they ask Harbaugh whether Kapernick has been seeing a quarterback coach, Harbaugh says that he doesn’t know. Same with Alex Smith’s footwork or Tim Tebow’s throwing motion. It’s like they never heard of repeating a movement thousands of times unto “perfection.” It’s commonplace for world-class amateur athletes to rely on computer-aided performance analysis. Ridiculous, especially Kapernick

        1. I completely agree. Great comment. I don’t know how Urban Meyer can sleep at night. He’s the one who should have taught Tim Tebow how to throw.

          I agree with Josh Johnson — in a lot of cases, quarterbacks shouldn’t go to college football power houses. There isn’t enough emphasis on development at the quarterback position. The emphasis is all about winning. Tebow’s ability to run could win Meyer games in college, so Meyer focused on that. I hope the same thing isn’t happening to Braxton Miller.

          1. Braxton Miller is not being properly prepared for an NFL style passing offense. Plus he’s getting beat up.

              1. Not in D1 college football. They are paid to win games, and represent the University.

              2. A good coach teaches and wins. Bill Walsh taught and won, even in the NFL. Teaching leads to improvement, which leads to more wins and a well-represented University.

                Winning at all costs without developing student athletes is not representing a university well.

              3. He’s gonna teach, but he’s gonna teach what wins for him and not necessarily what will make his QB successful in the NFL.

                High School QBs with NFL aspirations shouldn’t go to Ohio St.

              4. I agree with that, especially the last sentence.

                The NFL should fund its own minor league like baseball does. Minor leagues are about development, not winning. It would make the NFL a better product.

              5. I understand Jack and Grimey’s position regarding Meyer’s job being about teaching Miller what is needed to help them win games. But I have a fundamental issue with this concept.

                Any education institution should have an ethos of helping its students improve their chances of having a successful career after completion of their studies. For a college football coach this should include helping them learn what they’ll need to know and prepare them for the NFL, assuming that is where the player wants his career to go.

              6. Meyer has placed 2 QB’s in the first round in the last 10 years. Who else matches that?

              7. How successful have their careers been Jack? Alex took a long time and a coach willing to take him back to basics to become a decent starting QB. His career was on the verge of being over before Harbaugh came along. Tebow was simply awful despite some early success, and his career does appear to be over.

                Getting selected in the first round just shows both Smith and Tebow had some talent and played for successful programs. Yes, playing for successful programs increases your chances of getting drafted high. But surely the success of a college football program should be measured by how their players do in the NFL, not how high they are drafted…?

              8. With that last sentence I meant the following:

                “Surely the success of a college football program, in terms of preparing its players for the NFL, should be measured by how their players do in the NFL, not how high they are drafted…?”

              9. Smith and Tebow both have playoff wins under there belts and have earned millions. I don’t think either would complain about playing under Meyer.

              10. In 2014 Meyer placed 6 players on NFL rosters through the draft, among the highest of any university in the country.

                He’s doing a good for the Ohio State University of making sure his students are finding careers in the field of their choosing while also winning a ton of football games.

              11. In terms of helping them get their foot in the door, neither guy has anything to complain about regarding playing for Urban Meyer. And both players earned well in their rookie deals directly as a result of playing in a successful college program, thanks to Meyer. From that point of view I’m sure neither guy does have any complaints about playing for Meyer.

                However, there is more money to be made in the 2nd contract than the first, especially these days. Having early career success is important to securing a big 2nd deal, and college coaches can help guys achieve this by having them better prepared for the NFL from day 1. It doesn’t matter though – college football isn’t going to change until NFL teams start recruiting from schools that play more traditionally and put a premium on coaching skills that translate to the NFL, encouraging top students to go to those programs.

                A developmental league as Grant suggests would be a fine approach in my book. They do that for many football codes in Australia, and it works well.

              12. Grant,

                I agree with you that the NFL should create a minor league. They were involved with NFL Europe and that created opportunities for both players and coaches.

                I think if they are going to do it each team should have their own minor league team, use the same names and stadiums. Play the season in the Spring so that it concludes right around this time, allowing those players to join the main roster in time for OTA’s and training camp.

                I think the buy in from the public would be greater this way as well.

              13. Minor league for football would be great. Think of all the NFL fans dying to see some real football action. There has to be profitability in it otherwise the league won’t even consider it, and I think there is. Its crazy to think of all the untapped and wasted talent that comes out of college every year, just because they were never given a chance to develop and succeed.

                I wonder if this idea is even being discussed by Goodell at this point.

              14. Meyer recruits the best players in the country that fit his system. He has these guys 3 years at most before many declare for the draft. There isn’t time to break down a QB’s delivery and rebuild it. That is something that should happen when the player is learning how to play in Pop Warner and High School.

                As far as Tebow goes, people tried to work with him on his delivery for a long time. He’s unable to do it when he gets into a game situation, simple as that. These guys only know how to play one way and sometimes they can adapt when they hit the pros and sometimes they can’t. Meyer’s job is to win a lot of games and make his program elite so that he can continue to draw the best players in the country. You don’t do that by wasting a year or two on developing a QB. That is for the pros to decide if they can do it and if it’s worth the time.

    2. Which college head coach other than Urban Meyer has had 2 QB’s selected in the first round over the last 10 years?

  17. How about a a real dinosaur concept called the screen pass? With frank, Hyde, hunter and Ellington this need to be resurrected. Also 4 wide sets. We have too many receiving weapons not to. Kap excelled at it in college

  18. I’m hopeful but not that optimistic.
    Roman’s failure against the Ravens in the Super Bowl. And his inability to creatively work LaMichael James into the lineup after showing some promise when Kendall Hunter went down. I just don’t see how he’s going to learn to work in 3 WRs. Hopefully my low expectations are exceeded.

  19. I don’t know what new concepts the 49ers will install. I would like them to…
    – Take advantage of Lattimore and Hydes natural pass catching abilities.
    – More 3 WR sets with a single back.
    – Run a few plays a game from the on the count of 1. This forces defenses to stayed tensed from huddle brake to the snap off the ball the other 45-65 plays.
    – With a healthy Bruce Miller to do complex inside trap blocking, put McDonald at his more natural TE position. His big body is more suited to blocking DEs/OLBs on the line then picking off defenders shooting the gap.
    – With 4 slot capable WRs, rotate them depending on the size of the the other teams slot CBs. Maybe even stack the slot.

    1. As for defense…

      – Until Bowman returns run a true 4-3 (rather then 3-4, 4-3 under) once in a while. Brooks could be a stud 4-3 MLB, and the 4-3 (seems) to suit Borland’s plugger style.
      – For Games Aldon will likely miss, zone blitz Borland, and have Lemonier drop into Borlands zone. Borland has a nack for blitzing, and Lemonier may not be Aldon but he has good all around OLB talents. This could drive offenses crazy… will it be Borland coming or Lemonier/Skuta?

    2. Oh… with all this new O-line depth, some jumbo formations on first and ten would be scary.

      Okoye goal line fullback? (half kidding)

  20. Remember back when someone around here mocked Brett Smith, QB from Wyoming to the 49ers at #61? He was released today by Tampa after a single rookie mini camp.

      1. A prime example of what happens when draftniks get into the ear of these guys as Florio pointed right after the draft.

        1. Most of the time, it’s a bad look to leave college early if you’re a QB. Makes you seem like less of a leader.

    1. I don’t think many if any draftniks were rating Smith as anything other than a 3rd day pick at best. Players can also ask the NFL where they are projected to go and I wouldn’t think they gave him a favorable response if he did that. Bad decision but you can’t blame anybody but him for it.

  21. We have five possession WRs on the team now, so absolutely nothing new will be added. You don’t add anything by standing pat.

    1. Ellington will provide a missing element in the passing attack. Boldin, Crabtree and Vernon comprised virtually all the receiving yardage last year. Add Lloyd, Stevie Johnson, Patton and VMac to that and you have a considerably deeper and more talented receiving corps. That’s not standing pat.

      1. Ellington will be lucky if he even sees the field on offense with the guys ahead of him on the WR depth chart Frank. And we added two possession WRs to a trio of possession WRs, guys who fit the mold of the type of WR that the Seahawks secondary can dominate. That’s standing pat.

        1. Duke Ellington will provide the spark to fully tune the 49ers engine. He will be rotated in a variety of offensive packages, and with his blazing speed, quickness, and ability to make defenders miss, I think he may prove to be the most valuable piece of the draft puzzle going into the 2014 season……

          1. He has possession receiver type speed and is behind Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson, and Patton on the depth chart. Ellington’s impact will be as a returner and nothing more.

              1. The joke is thinking that Ellington will make an immediate impact from the bottom of the WR depth chart.

              2. “He separates quickly from corners with his blazing speed and has a quick burst off the snap. Fearless going over the middle, Ellington is a home run threat every time he gets his hands on the ball. He is also a tremendous competitor that flashes natural hands.”

                Since when is possession receiver type speed described as blazing???

                This isn’t Madden. Teams are allowed to rotate receivers and design special package plays for a player, even from the bottom of the depth chart.

              3. You’re late to the party Grant. Whether The Duke of Ellington was dishing out assists on the basketball court, or extending a short catch into a highlight reel-type play in Williams-Brice Stadium, versatility is what defined his career at South Carolina. It’s what should excite you as he’s incorporated into this offense……

            1. He’s a returner on special teams with four if not five WRs ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s quick but not fast and he’s undersized. He’s also the type of WR that the Seahawks secondary excel at making ineffective and pushing around, so what exactly is there to excited about? I’m not buying the weak hype on Ellington.

              1. “He’s also the type of WR that the Seahawks secondary excel at making ineffective and pushing around”

                What type of WR are the Seahawks not good at pushing around?

  22. Harbaugh’s mentioned a few times that we may see more 3 WR sets this season…this is by far the deepest receiving corps during his tenure. Not only did Baalke add Lloyd and Stevie Johnson, both Patton and VMac should be a considerably bigger part of the passing attack. In short, Kap has more weapons now than any Niner QB since arguably Jeff Garcia. The addition of Lattimore and Hyde also beefs up the offensive attack. Yes, we’ll still pound the rock, but I’d be willing to bet Roman opens up the passing attack, too. Too many weapons not to.

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