Now eating humble pie

on Jan 10 in Blogroll by

Back when it was announced the NFL season would be a go, I wrote a post talking about how my beloved 49ers were looking at another year of mediocrity because of the lack of moves they were making in the preseason. How wrong was I.

Fast forward to the present day and the divisional round of the playoffs will be taking place this weekend. To the surprise of many (myself included), the Niners will be in this year’s playoffs and earned a bye thanks to a 13-3 record. I never thought I would say it at the start of the year, but this team is the real deal.

Perhaps the biggest thing I learned this year was the importance of good coaching. San Francisco already had a lot of the talent in place, but it just didn’t have good coaching. That might even be generous – the 49ers had horrendous coaching. With the new coaching regime, I constantly find myself amazed at the creativity of the play calls they are making. (For the previous two seasons, the play calling consisted of nothing but Frank Gore runs up the middle.) Some of the play calls the team has done this season include:

 

  • The fly sweep – a play popular in some high school offensive systems, it’s like an end around except the wide receiver runs at full speed just behind the offensive line and takes the ball from the QB and takes it to the outside.
  • Using an offensive lineman as a tight end – while this isn’t new entirely new, it is usually done around the goal line. One time the 49ers did it, it was from around midfield (if my memory serves me right) and the team picked up close to 20 yards on the play on a passing play to starting left tackle Joe Staley.
  • Fake FG for a TD – this is another one that isn’t entirely new, but the way the team executed it is what impressed me. The 49ers took advantage of a little known rule which allows a player to hang out by the sidelines and remain in the play. When the 49ers did this, wide receiver Michael Crabtree hung out near the sideline, but remained inbounds. The ball was snapped directly to the kicker, who made the easy throw to the wide open Crabtree for a TD.

 

I played a year of peewee football and we had maybe 16 plays sketched out on a single piece of photocopied paper. The 49ers in years past reminded me of that. There wasn’t any variety or creativity in the play calls. Thankfully, that has all changed thanks to the new coaches.

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