And How The Seahawks Will Stop Them
Before training camp starts, we’re going to take a look at the 5 main offensive weapons for each of the 3 division rivals for the Seattle Seahawks.
Each NFC West team has 5 or so players they rely on to put up points (ok, for the St. Louis Rams, 5 might be pushing it), and we’ll see how the ‘Hawks will go about stopping them.
Today we look at last year’s NFC West Division champs, the San Francisco 49ers.
1. Vernon Davis
Vernon Davis has become the team’s main offensive threat, and has blossomed into one of the best young Tight Ends in the game. Last year in the playoffs alone, Davis racked up 10 receptions, 292 yards, and 4 touchdowns in only 2 games.
At 6’3″, 250 lbs, and running as fast as a Wide Receiver, he causes mismatches whenever he is on the field. A play the 49ers often employ is having Davis run a seam route straight up the middle with Quarterback Alex Smith hitting him before the safety can come over.
If the Seahawks hope to stop him, they will have to double him. A Linebacker will have to bump him at the line and try to run with him, which we all know is easier said than done seeing how physical Davis is, and then Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas will have to cover him over the top.
Seeing how the Tight End position has grown in the NFL, expect to see Davis get even more looks next year.
2. Frank Gore
If the 49ers have a 1, and 1. (a as top offensive weapon, Running Back Frank Gore would be the 1. (a to Vernon Davis’ 1b)
He is expected to drop off a little this year due to the emergence of second year player Kendall Hunter, the addition of Brandon Jacobs from the N.Y. Giants in free agency, and the drafting of LaMichael James from the Oregon Ducks creating a lot of options in the backfield.
He is also getting older, but the Seahawks should expect to continue to see heavy doses of Gore, who has had some big runs and games against the Seahawks in recent years.
3. Randy Moss
Randy Moss is an unknown this year, but 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has stated that he has looked like the 49ers’ best Wide Receiver so far this offseason.
If he is the same player he once was, a hall of gamer deep threat, this will be just another weapon in the Niners’ arsenal that the Seahawks will have to stop.
Randy is known for simply streaking down the sideline and having the ball lofted in the air to him, and him coming down with it.
He doesn’t fare as well over the middle, and the best option might be to get big, physical corners Brandon Browner, or Richard Sherman to bump him off the line to try and disrupt him, and maybe get him off his game.
With the ‘Hawks already doubling Vernon Davis, they may have to let Randy go one on one until he proves he is not done at 35 years of age, but if he does catch some balls deep early, they may have to rethink it and double him instead.
4. Michael Crabtree
With so much more depth in the passing game for the 49ers, Wideout Michael Crabtree is going to have room to run around and get open.
The Seahawks will have to single him with Browner or Sherman (whoever is not covering Moss), and hope that they can run with him and contain him.
The big Seahawk corners like to bump, so they should go with that all year long.
The Seahawks depth in the secondary will trump the 49ers group of wideouts.
5. Alex Smith
The much maligned Quarterback Alex Smith had a breakout year last season, and with a full offseason this year to work with his newly revamped WR core, he could come back more dangerous this year.
He was actually very effective and accurate throwing against the blitz, so the ‘Hawks may try to get into the backfield and disrupt him with their front four.