In the last couple few games, fans have scratched their heads at some of the play calling. Everything from the red zone to typical plays has been lackluster. However I have reason to have hope as I believe everything Jim has been doing is aimed at a specific purpose.
It has been especially difficult to watch the plays called in the red zone, where until this season Alex Smith was second only to Payton Manning in passes completed in the red zone without an interception, and had one of the top quarterback ratings in the red zone. On top of fewer passes in the red zone, Harbaugh has used Frank Gore less in the red zone. The work horse of the 49ers who this season boasts one of his best rushing seasons (234 attempts for 1,054 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per play), and breaking the record for all time rushing yards for the 49ers. Fans have also noticed the lack of creativity shown by the 49ers which Harbaugh has become known for. The 49ers have become a little more vanilla when it comes to the average play on the field.
I have no doubt that Jim Harbaugh wants to win every game, however I think he is taking the long view. In the big picture Jim has been able to coax out the best of every player on the 49ers, won the NFC west division, and claimed a spot in the playoffs, with little more than sixty percent of his playbook. Often time’s coaches will hold aside a small selection of plays to use in big games, but I think Jim is holding onto a large section of his playbook for this post season. This may not have been Jim’s first plan, but with a mixture of injuries, and a quarterback that needs time to become proficient with a new offence, he may have been put into a position to take a real shot at the super bowl during his rookie season.