What's the deal with this slow offense? I thought they were going to push the other teams’ D till they got tired? (Steve Bordunoy)
The 49ers are quite a bit faster than they’ve been in the past. In fact, through two games, they’re snapping the ball about seven seconds faster than the four seasons under Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers' offense ran a play every 23.9 seconds in the first two games.
If the 49ers are not making first downs, the hurry-up approach becomes counter-productive. The defense does not get much rest, and they are forced to get back on the field.
“Just being an up-tempo based offense you can go in and out of tempo,” 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. “There’s a lot of teams in the NFL that have that ability and we’re one of them. We practice in a tempo-based format for the majority of the time. So being able to change that is just an asset that we have kind of in our toolbox.”
Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said the coaching staff determines how fast they want to run plays. That is based on a number of factors, including the score of the game and what pace seems to work best against the opposition. The 49ers snapped the ball every 25 seconds in the opener against the Los Angeles Rams and every 22.6 seconds last week against the Carolina Panthers.
“Whatever the pace is, we control it,” Modkins said. “So if we decide to go really fast, it’s on us. If we decide to slow it down, it’s on us. Now, there are factors from week to week that we have to decide on. Whether we’re going to really, really go fast or slow it down and those are week-to-week decisions based on our personnel, based on who we’re playing.”
Bradley Pinion has been playing great this year. Do you think we'll see more short kicks on the kickoff? (Daniel Batts)
Through two games, Pinion’s gross average of 45.5 yards is 1.9 yards better than last year. More important, his net average of 40.8 yards is improved 1.4 from a year ago.
Pinion handled the kickoffs in the first game of the season. Three of his five kicks were touchbacks, which set up the Los Angeles Rams at the 25-yard line with the new rule. But in Week 2, the 49ers turned to Phil Dawson to angle his kickoffs to one corner of the other.
The Panthers’ average starting point after kickoffs was the 28-yard line, not including the kickoff that Ted Ginn muffed and the 49ers recovered at the 2-yard line. The Rams’ average starting point after kickoffs with Pinion was the 25.
It might be a week-to-week decision which player handles kickoff chores, based on what the 49ers believe will work best against the opposition.
Is Garnett likely to crack the starting lineup as a RG? Or will he end up as a backup the rest of the year, without considering injuries of course? (Jason Mertz)
Rookie guard Joshua Garnett is practicing at both guard positions. The Outland Trophy winner from Stanford opened training camp at right guard, but was moved to left guard after a week or so.
Veteran Zane Beadles is the 49ers’ starting left guard. Andrew Tiller is the starter at right guard. Garnett is likely to be active for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks with Anthony Davis ruled out with a concussion. It’s possible Garnett will be worked into the action from time-to-time, but if Beadles or Tiller give the 49ers no reason to make the change, Garnett will likely spend his rookie season as a backup.