First off, I wanted to wish all our readers here at the Bay Area Sports Journal a happy and safe Thanksgiving and Holiday season. We'll actually get to see a Bay Area team playing on thanksgiving day as the Raiders travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys, but today I wanted to talk some more 49ers.
Ever since Sunday's game in which the Niners offense exploded after switching to a more pass friendly, spread-offense, many are asking for the Niners to make the switch to the spread a permanent part of their game-plan, players included. Both Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree voiced their support for spreading out the offense a bit, and I think the coaching staff has to be seriously considering it. It's been a night and day difference between what Alex Smith has done from under center and what he's done taking snaps out of the shotgun formation, with the ladder being more conducive to his game. I fully support changing around the offense a bit to suit your quarterback, but the Niners cannot forget about their most important offensive player, and that is Frank Gore. The elite back became somewhat of an afterthought in Sunday's game after the Niners got down early to the Packers and abandoned the run. Gore did bust off one big run of 42 yards in the 7 times he did touch the ball though, showing that he needs the ball much more than just 7 times a game. I have no problem whatsoever with the Niners opening their offense and even switching to the spread, in fact, I'm a big supporter of opening up the playbook to see what Alex Smith can do in these last 6 games of his in-season tryout. They just can't abandoned Gore and their rushing attack like they did on Sunday, even if they do get down early.
Defensively, the Niners look like they need to mix things up and Mike Singletary is doing just that. He's planning on placing Dre Bly into the starting lineup in place of 2nd year DB Tarrell Brown and Takeo Spikes should return after missing Sunday's game with a bum hamstring, so the Niners will have a different unit take the field this weekend compared to what they've had the last few games. I don't know that this will change the fortune of the defense much, but they need to do something. The Niners defense was an early season strength, and all the sudden it's become the same exposeable 49er defense that was there throughout the Mike Nolan era. At 4-6, the Niners playoff hopes aren't quite gone, but they'd essentially need to win out, or at the very least go 5-1 over the last 6 games if they're hoping to have a shot. They're schedule actually lines up favorably for them as they're next two games (vs. the Jaguars and Seahawks) are very winnable, then they get a showdown with the first place Cardinals in week 14, so they're down, but not completely out of this yet.