Yesterday on the Dan Patrick Show, guest Phil Simms, the former quarterback the the current TV analyst, explained why he thinks there has been so much offense the first two weeks of this NFL season. Here’s what he said:
“What we’ve got right now is flag football, baby…The coaches, you’ve got to give them credit. I give them credit. They’re spreading the field, and they’re taking advantage of the rules and what’s going on, and it’s truly making defenses useless. If you’re not an offense that’s going out there and just trying to go for it every single series, you’re a team that really probably has no chance of winning the Super Bowl.”
This Sunday, it was in both the 49ers and the Cowboys interests to flood the field with wide receivers, spread the defense out, and attack an injury-depleted secondary. The Cowboys did this in the second half and they were unstoppable. The 49ers stuck with their conservative approach and the Cowboys’ defense adjusted to it and dominated.
I agree with Simms. Spread formations are the most effective formations in the NFL these days. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers – they all work heavily out of spread shotgun formations.
All teams are going to start attacking the 49ers with three and four wide receivers. You don’t want to see the 49ers 3-4 front – it’s one of the best in football. You want to attack their nickel and dime defenses, which are below average units.
On the other hand, the Niners are doing themselves a disservice by not spreading the field themselves on offense. No matter how many extra offensive linemen Harbaugh puts in the game, the team won’t be able to run the ball effectively until Alex Smith shows he can burn defenses for stacking the line of scrimmage. In today’s NFL you’ve got to set up the run with the pass, not the other way around.
This Sunday’s game against Cincinnati is the perfect opportunity for the Niners to bring their style of attack on offense up to date. The Bengals defense is ranked 24th in the league. Attack it.
Alex Smith was an effective spread shotgun quarterback in college – let him do more of that. Find playing time for backups Kendall Hunter and Kyle Williams. Line up Vernon Davis as a slot receiver more often. Make defenses choose who they’re going to cover one-on-one, and exploit the matchup. Go for it, Jim.
It’s time to show to show the league you really are ahead of the curve when it comes to offense. It’s time for you to let Alex Smith, your chosen quarterback for 2011, actually throw the ball.