For the last nine seasons the 49ers have averaged around twenty-eight minutes of possession. So far this season the 49ers have average just over thirty-two minutes of possession per game. Coaches like Erickson, Nolan, and Singletary all believed in controlling the clock, but in the end it never translated into reality. Those new to the mysteries of coaching, controlling the clock is as much an art as it is science. Coaches make their game plans and contingencies to account for as much as it can. However the coach must be able to make the calls on the fly, toughest of all they have to try and make the right call. Factors like players performing well, or poor, injuries, and a thousand other details must be taken into consideration.
When Jim Harbaugh was hired from Stanford, he announced the return of the west coast offense. It was easy to get excited about that when added with the fact that he was friends with the west coast offense’s inventor Bill Walsh. In three games, Jim has already dis-proven that the 49ers are lacking the tools to return to greatness. During Bill Walsh’s tenure he hovered right around thirty-two minutes of possession time.
The last time the 49ers average over thirty-two minutes a game, Jeff Garcia was under center. The 49ers had weapons like Terrell Owens, Tai Streets, Garrison Hearst, Eric Johnson, J.J. Stokes, Fred Beasley, and Kevan Barlow leading the offense. On defense players like, Derek Smith, Julian Peterson, Jason Webster, Tony Parish, Ahmed Plummer, Jeff Ulbrich, Andre Carter, and Bryant Young would form the core. That season would be the last time the 49ers would make a playoff appearance to date.
I am not saying that holding onto the ball for thirty-two minutes will guarantee a win, but rather it can be used as a measure of success, and progress in the right direction. If the 49ers under the command of Jim Harbaugh’s leadership can maintain the time of possession right at around thirty-two, then I will be so bold as to predict our first playoff appearance since 2002.