There is much debate surrounding Bay Area fans in regards to whether San Francisco 49ers OC Greg Roman should be on the hot seat. A hot topic that has been one of the more talked about issues in recent years, the question remains should Roman be relieved of his duties? An offense that has clearly under performed in the passing game, as the 49ers ranked No. 29 (2011), No. 30 (2012), and No. 30 (2013) what’s in store for 2014?
The 49ers clearly have a stable of wide receivers at their disposal in WR Anquan Boldin, WR Michael Crabtree, WR Stevie Johnson, WR Brandon Lloyd, WR Quinton Patton, and WR Bruce Ellington so there is definitely no excuses for Roman not to utilize these talented skill players in more ways than one.
Sure, the 49ers are built to run the ball, as Roman loves to utilize 22 personnel, and have done so with great success. But it’s safe to say that now is the time to really open up the playbook. The 49ers have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and with the a solid mix of veterans and young talent, the 49ers should really take advantage of the personnel they now have on the outside.
No more should the Forever Faithful be expecting Roman to smash-mouth his way on first-downs regardless of distance. Instead, the 49ers should be in full fledged attack mode and force the defense to adjust to their passing ways. I’m not saying neglect the run, as the 49ers clearly need to establish that first, but at some point Roman needs to start using 13 personnel while taking advantage of the quality of players at his disposal.
I can see why the 49ers haven’t used three wide-receiver sets in the past as Roman had players like WR A.J. Jenkins and WR Kyle Williams but there is no excuse in 2014. Boldin, Crabtree, Johnson, and Lloyd can all beat man-to-man coverage and if QB Colin Kaepernick is to mature and grow as a top tier quarterback in the NFL, then I think it’s time to let him loose, and let him use quality check-downs as he goes through his progressions. Not to mention, under-utilized RB LaMichael James has seen little playing time under Roman’s ways, which is frustrating to many considering he has the ability to make plays from designed screens and leaks, it’s imperative Roman’s time to open up the playbook is now or never.
Let’s be honest, the Forever Faithful understand that the success to a 49ers Super Bowl run is smash-mouth football backed up by a stingy hard-nosed defense. But if Roman wants to keep defense’s honest in 2014 while preventing them from stacking the box with eight or nine players on first-downs, then let it fly. I’m no offensive coordinator by any stretch of the imagination and I’m sure Roman and the 49ers know what their doing. But if the 49ers don’t use more three wide-receiver sets in 2014, it may signal the end for Roman while begging the question, “Why have all these talented players if they’re not utilized properly?”
With 2014 upon us, it will be interesting to see how Roman plans on using his wide receivers, as they are clearly one of the better receiving cores in the NFL.