How a Pocket Passer Can Save the San Francisco 49ers

by James Lebreton

The San Francisco 49ers are shedding their losing ways for something new. With the pistol clearly in their rear view, here’s why inserting a pocket passer will turn this team around and save this offense.

When the regular season ends, if your team was competitive, it’s nice to think about the season ahead. If your team is entering a rebuild, it’s usually nicer to think about the season that was.

For two decades, the San Francisco 49ers played heads up football.

The offense lit up the scoreboard, and the defense played an impressive game of keep away. Year after year, the team featured a West Coast offense.

This style of offense was led by a pocket passer who ran a pass-first offense.

In 2011 when the team drafted Colin Kaepernick, he brought a new style of football to the franchise and he took the league by storm. There’s no doubt that he’s a dual threat and a tremendous athlete. He’s quick on his feet, and he has a cannon for an arm.

For two consecutive seasons he led his team to the postseason, and it seemed as if no one had an answer for his quick feet. However since then all of that success is a distant memory.

The 49ers have barely seen the win column, and the offense has struggled to put points on the board.

So what happened?

Was it the coaching change that derailed the pistol, or did the NFL finally catch on to this new style of offense?

Anything is possible. It’s also a given that this new offensive scheme just took some getting used to for the defense. In any event, the team is in need of something new, and has decided to turn the page.

Here’s why a pocket passer has what it takes to save this team.

It would be a huge understatement to say that a pocket passer and a dual threat operate differently. The truth is, their whole method of thinking is different. In fact, depending on who is leading the offense, the whole scheme has to be different.

Here’s why. An offensive line is designed to push the defense away from the line of scrimmage. If the line begins to fold a pocket passer will step forward, and let the pocket collapse around him. This allows the tackles on both sides to push the defensive ends away from the quarterback.

A mobile quarterback allows himself to be flushed out of the pocket. This pulls him away from the offensive line leaving him unprotected.

The passer stays behind his offensive line and let’s the play develop. A dual threat is always on the move. If none of his receivers are available he can bootleg for a second look, or he can take off for the end zone.

Here’s why the advantage goes to the guy who hangs tough in the pocket.

How do you define a great quarterback? Is it stats? Maybe it’s how many games he wins in a season. Those reasons could be great for right now, but in twenty years you’ll remember the guy that won the big game. Not the guy who lead the league in rushing in Week 10.

For every mobile quarterback that find success in the NFL, there are three that endure failure.

Furthermore, if it’s the big game that separates the greats from mediocrity then the stats are not even close. In fact, every Super Bowl winning team over the past twenty years has been led by a pocket passer.

The last mobile quarterback to lead his team to a Lombardi Trophy was Steve Young. While it’s true that his rushing ability was impressive, Young was still known more so for his passing ability. This is evident by his career completion percentage of 65 percent, and the six touchdowns he threw for in Super Bowl XXIX.

It would be a lie to say that seeing the quarterback break free for a 60-yard run wasn’t exciting. It gets the crowd involved, and provides a tremendous burst of energy for the team. When the team is fired up they just seem to play better. However, it also boosts team moral to drive down the field effectively on a consistent basis.

Whatever your feeling is on the subject, if you’re a 49ers fan, all you want is to see this team operate on a championship level again.

Regardless of who that man is, every fan should get behind him and support the franchise.


James Lebreton is a screenwriter, publisher, and author for Niner Noise

Twitter @jamesplebreton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *