Hi Coach Martz. Here's a formula to help you with your next game...and all games moving forward.
Lot's of Frank Gore running + some short pass plays mixed in with the deep ball = winning
Let's start with last Sunday's loss to the Saints. The Saints lit us up for 6 sacks. Their season total coming into the game was 4. We made a poor defense look good. Maybe the Saints D is that good. But why did it have to start with us? Let's back up 2 games to Seattle. They sacked JTO 8 times. Do you know what the Seahawks total for the season is? TEN!
What is it about the 49er offense that makes these teams look good? Is it...
A) poor offensive line play?
B) the lack of short passing plays?
C) Frank Gore's lack of involvement?
D) J.T. O'Sullivan holding the ball too long?
E) All of the above.
The answer is E. Is that much of a surprise? Let's start with A. We knew O-line was an issue since week 1. To this day, the line has not played any better. You tried to use Vernon Davis to block, you even used Frank Gore to block on several occasions. Guess what, it didn't work. Teams have figured your offense out. The goal is to pressure the QB into mistakes. At this point, the line is still a work in progress. This brings me to point B & C. Since we can't block for long, why not incorporate more 3 step drops and/or dump the ball to Davis or Gore? These are like short running plays. I noticed we tried some short ones to Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson, but the timing was off. Why not isolate Gore and Davis more? It only takes a few short plays like these to keep the defense from blitzing every play. Those short crossing routes seem to work well. Try using them more. I see you like to use Gore early and then stop. May I ask why? Gore was averaging close to 5 yards per carry. Why didn't you take advantage of this more to keep the Saints defense off balance? It only takes a few decent runs against a blitzing defense to keep them honest. So that's game planning in a nutshell. Let's talk about QB development. I know JTO is your favorite son with the 49ers. So much, in fact, that Shaun Hill and Alex Smith are almost forgotten names. But please tell JTO that he should check down more often. This will help him with the BIG plays that he so eagerly wants later in the game. Tell JTO that if the big play isn't there, then pass it to Gore or Zak Keasey. Please also tell him to keep that ball closer to his body. These are not new problems. They've existed since week 1 and were never resolved. How we overcame the Seahawks is a great story, but it was luck.
Let's move onto this Sunday. Bill Belichick is a mastermind when it comes to defense. He's already punked you out once in a big way Mike. Do you remember that Super Bowl upset where your Rams were favored by 17? Billy B took an average team and made you look like a fool on national TV. So what's Belichick thinking? He's thinking that he has this game in the bag. He's thinking that he owns your offense. Bill thinks that since he beat you when it mattered, he's just going to come in here and take that win away from you like taking candy from a kid. What do you plan to do about that Mike? It's time to set stubborness aside and get serious. The formula for winning is listed above. It's not a guaranteed win, but what you are doing now isn't working either. The time for change is now. Good luck Mike!