Why 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick Will Shine Under OC Geep Chryst’s Read-Option


With the San Francisco 49ers likely going back to their smash-mouth ways, it remains to be seen how the offense will fare. A team that lost four starters on that side of the ball including the team’s all-time leading rusher RB Frank GoreWR Michael Crabtree, LG Mike Iupati, and RT Anthony Davis, many Forever Faithful remain pessimistic despite the key additions of WR Torrey Smith and RB Reggie Bush.

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However, I believe the 49ers will be much improved this year simply due to the fact that 49ers OC Geep Chryst will put his players in the best position to make plays. And that means a heavy dose of the read-option.

There was no question that 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick thrived under the read-option in 2012. A player that ran the system flawlessly while at Nevada, he continued that success in the NFL, as he guided the 49ers to their sixth Super Bowl appearance.

Fast forward to present day and Forever Faithful are wondering how Kaepernick regressed. It’s simple people, Kaepernick is not a pure pocket-passer, so let’s not try to make him something he’s not, but instead focus on his strengths as a dual-threat mobile quarterback.

To put this in perspective, that’s like asking Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning to create first-downs off designed quarterback draws or run naked bootlegs while throwing on the run. That’s not his game, so why make those play calls?

Chryst will instead go back and re-establish the team’s cultural identity, which is grinding it out for four-quarters down in the trenches. Something that worked in the past, expect Chryst to utilize the read-option early and often, as that will help Kaepernick get in the flow of things.



In the 2013 season opener, you will remember the Green Bay Packers specifically game-planned for Kaepernick and the read-option with their ‘scrape exchange’ strategy. The strategy entailed no guesswork on the defensive side of the ball, as the unblocked edge defender would attack the running back (dive) while the flowing linebacker would scrape to the outside and spy on the quarterback (pull).

To counter this scheme enter 49ers new offensive line coach Chris Foerster. There is no doubt in my mind that TE Vernon Davis will be used in a multitude of ways this season. Whether lining up as an H-Back, wide-receiver, or tight-end, Davis will make his presence known in 2015. And that’s exactly how Davis will be used in the read-option.

Foerster loves to mix it up, and with his zone-blocking scheme in place, expect Davis to be used in 21 personnel out of the pistol two-back formation.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For those who aren’t familiar with 21 personnel it basically means two running backs and one tight-end. Davis being an exceptional run blocker, may be used out of the backfield as he cleans up the trash on the scrape linebacker crashing down on Kaepernick on the outside.

And for those who believe the fullback is becoming more and more non-existent, think again, as FB Bruce Miller will be used more often then not in the team’s diamond formation and on ‘arc blocks.’

With the 49ers going back to their roots and cultural identity as a smash-mouth squad, expect big things from their running game in 2015 as the read-option will be back in full force.


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Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.