Last season Frank Gore had his lowest rushing totals since he became the starting running back for the 49ers in 2006. Gore rushed for 1036 yards with six rushing touchdowns last year. Gore’s low rushing numbers can be attributed to an inept offense that was still trying to find some sort of identity like choosing a starting quarterback. I have wondered how big Gore’s numbers would be if he was on a team that had a consistent explosive offense. Gore reminds me of the Lakers Pau Gasol. He had all the talent to put up big numbers but he was not on the right team. After Gasol was traded to the Lakers his numbers and play got even better. In 2007 Gore had 1102 yards rushing with five rushing touchdowns which was a decline from his career high in 2006 when he rushed for 1695 yards with eight rushing touchdowns. It is important to note Gore’s 2006 Pro Bowl was in large part due to Moran Norris who re-signed with the 49ers in February after being released last year after training camp. Mike Martz had no use of fullbacks in his offense which contributed to Norris’ release. Norris’ only year off the roster since Gore has been a starter was a career low year for Gore. Martz is to blame for Gore’s numbers last year especially the way he tried using Michael Robinson as a lead blocker for Gore after Mike Singeltary installed his run more offense. Obliviously Robinson as the fullback didn’t work out although Gore did show in the Martz offense he can be relied on as a consistent receiver out of the back field. Gore was more like a safety net for J.T. O’Sullivan and Shaun Hill which seemed like every passing play. Nonetheless Gore showed he can be a versatile back ala the Eagles Brian Westbrook, but more durable with fewer injuries.
With Norris again leading the way for Gore I expected to see a career year in both the rushing and receiving categories. Gore has it in him to top 1700 rushing yards and with an offense that was upgraded with the selection of WR Michael Crabtree the 49ers have a passing attack that defenses will have to focus their attention on and a little less on Gore. Receivers Isaac Bruce, free-agent Brandon Jones and young potential stars Dominique Zeigler, Jason Hill and Josh Morgan along with Crabtree will spread the field making it easier for Gore to make plays. Gore will be helped by the run oriented offense being installed by new offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye who is the seventh coordinator in seven years. Singletary’s vision of running the ball down defenses throats will work well with Gore and Norris together again along with an improved line with Joe Staley and Chilo Rachal leading the way. Everything is in place for Gore to have a big year. Now if we can only get that quarterback situation under control.
Topics: Brandon Jones, Brian Westbrook, Chilo Rachal, Dominique Zeigler, Frank Gore, Frank Gore’s Career Year 2009, Isaac Bruce, J.T. O'Sullivan, Jason Hil, Jimmy Raye, Joe Staley, Josh Morgan, Michael Crabtree, Michael Robinson, Mike Martz, Moran Norris, Shaun Hill