By Jerrell Richardson
The best way to keep the Packers off the scoreboard is to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sideline. To accomplish this, San Francisco will need to control the clock, which is a direct result of running the ball. If Frank Gore and LaMichael James are able to rip off chunks of yards on the ground, they can milk the clock and limit the Packers scoring opportunities. However, this has more to do with Colin Kaepernick then the running backs or the offensive line. There is no doubting the ability of Frank Gore or the offensive line, but if the defense can stack the line and playing the run first, it makes it virtually impossible t o establish the run. For the running game to be successful, San Francisco will need to come out passing, and use the aerial attack, specifically short passes to force the Packers to respect the pass, before turning the game over to Frank Fore to seal the win.
What Worked Against 49ers In Regular Season Finale
The reason the offense sputtered out the gate against the Cardinals, in the last game of the regular season was that Arizona made the decision that the running game was not going to beat them. They cheated up their secondary to crowd the line and shut down the running lanes. They essentially had one player ignore the pass completely and crash the line, which worked perfectly against the 49ers who were determined to run the ball. As they prepare for this game Green Bay will notice this on film and try and replicate it. However, this is no doubt that Coach Harbaugh and the 49ers staff noticed this as well and have prepared Kaepernick to solve this defensive problem when he faces it again.
Answer To The Problem
The solution to the defense cheating against the run is to take the short pass. When they did try to pass out of this formation Kaepernick style of play hurt him. Colin has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, but there are times that the best option is the quick read to the flat or over the middle. Very rarely does he attempt the shorter throws that his predecessor Alex Smith seemed to master, and to take this team to the promised land, Kaepernick will need to adopt this trait from his back up. If the defense is bringing pressure off the corners then he needs to find his hot read and take the short pass. Kaepernick failed to do this against the Cardinals, but is not something that is difficult to pick up. Once he can figure this out, he will become a better and more complete quarterback.
Pass First, Run Second
If the 49er offensive is balance that means that everything is working. If that’s the case then the defense has no idea whats coming and the result is the ball control that is going to be essential to beating the Packers. As the game wears on, if the scoreboard allows, San Francisco can slowly become more run orientated and eventually wear down the Green Bay defenders. To do this though, contrary to what many believe, San Francisco needs to pass early and often, as they will have a hard time running into the teeth of the defense until Kaepernick can get them to back off.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest 49ers news, see CBS Sports San Francisco.