The MCT Holdout watch, receiver Michael Crabtree, has entered into its seventh day. It has been reported both sides are far apart on agreeing to a contract. After two weeks if MCT is still not signed GM Scot McCloughan needs to make an offer to his agent Erik Parker and say this is our final offer, take it or leave it. Everyone says this is the business side of the NFL and even Mike Singletary, a holdout twice during his career, has said MCT is just handling his business. McCloughan selected MCT for a reason which was to bolster the receiving corps which was a laughing stock last year. If Crabtree wants to play in San Francisco he needs to sign and get his a$$ into training camp. Handling your “business” is one thing, being selfish on team with 53 men on the roster is another and does not help with the chemistry or the potential triumphs of the 49ers in 2009.
Manny Lawson and Frank Gore hold the keys to success this year for the Red and Gold. Lawson is set to have a big year as the strong-side linebacker in defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s 3-4 scheme. Lawson tore his ACL in the third week of the season in 2007. He was out the rest of the year and when he came back in 2008 former head coach Mike Nolan slowly gave him playing time while taking him out on passing downs when the D would switch to a 4-3 scheme. Manusky has now installed a 3-4 scheme only which means Lawson will be playing on all downs pressuring the QB as the fourth rusher coming from the outside. Lawson has the speed and agility to take down running backs in the backfield and with opponents defenses focusing on Patrick Willis, Lawson will make plenty of game changing plays this season. Lawson has 5.5 sacks in his career and I expect him to double that this season and make his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
In a previous post, Frank Gore’s Career Year, I said that Gore was going to have his best year in 2009. Yes, Gore’s numbers have been in decline since 2006 when he rushed for a Niner record 1,695 yards. Everything seemed to be running on all cylinders for the offense that year with Norv Turner at the offensive coordinator helm and Alex Smith starting all 16 games, although not too effective, but progress was being made. Turner bolted to San Diego in the off-season which set in motion Gore’s decline the last two seasons. Nolan promoted QB coach Jim Hostler to be offensive coordinator in 2007 which he had no previous experience. The Niner’s where in a bind as the pool for potential offensive coordinators was limited because Turner left so late in the off-season. Needless to say, Hostler was fired after the 2007 and Mike Martz was hired as the offensive coordinator for the 2008 season.
Having Martz as an offensive coordinator is always bad for the QB, never enough protection, the tight end, Martz has no use for them, and the running backs who get lost in the game plan as far as running as Martz thinks pass, pass, pass and only thinks about running the ball until after the game is over. With the release of fullback Moran Norris in the off-season in 2008, another position Martz has no use for, Gore’s numbers fell again as he had Zak Keasey who had never played the position before joining the 49ers but won the job from Norris. Keasey was a linebacker and special teams player before Martz converted him into a fullback. After seven games last year Keasey tore a biceps tendon and was placed on IR the rest of the year. RB Michael Robinson and all 220 pounds of him took over in leading Gore through holes. My point here is Gore has been doing everything ask of him in an offense that changes every year in not only coordinators but QB’s and fullbacks. Could you imagine what Gore’s numbers would have been like not only on a team better than the 49ers but with consistency in offensive coordinators? With Norris poised to win the starting job again and with the 49ers departing from Martz and hired run, run, run minded offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, Gore has the potential to top 1,800 rushing yards in 2009 and make the reins of best running back in the NFL.
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Topics: 49ers 2009 Training Camp, Alex Smith, Erik Parker, Greg Manusky, Jim Hostler, Jimmy Raye, Manny Lawson And Frank Gore Keys To Success, MCT, Michael Crabtree, Michael Robinson, Mike Martz, Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, Moran Norris, Norv Turner, Patrick Willis, Scot McCloughan, Zak Keasey