Often times when various positional unit rankings are published, the predictors fail to consider the potential and just look at the previous year's production. Considering how bad the 49ers offense was last year and particularly the offensive line, it's easy to see how potential disrespect for the skills of Frank Gore can be overlooked. Thankfully, that is not the case for the moment.
Over at the world wide leader, Bill Williamson posted the ten best rushing attacks in the NFL and YOUR San Francisco 49ers slid in at #10. It's Insider protected, so here's the gist:
Even though the 49ers were awful on offense in 2007, it's hard to deny the talent of RB Frank Gore. With better play at quarterback, better play up front and better play calling, he can be an elite back. Gore's lack of production last season was not due to a lack of commitment to running the football. The effort was there, but the 49ers often fell behind and Gore became more useful in the passing game. With new offensive coordinator Mike Martz running the show, Gore will be the featured player on offense. Martz is known more for the pass than for the run, so look for Gore to build on his 53 receptions from last season. The 49ers' lack of depth at running back has been an issue in the past, but it will be better in 2008 with the addition of veteran DeShaun Foster.
While it's always nice to get respect, I'm surprised there is not more discussion about DeShaun Foster. His addition is one that really has me excited. I was a big fan of his coming out of UCLA and it's nice to finally have legitimate depth for the first time since 2003 when Barlow and Hearst combined for almost 1,800 rushing yards and 500+ receiving yards. Unlike the recent past, when Frank Gore comes off the field, defenses will still have to honor the rushing attack (no offense Maurice Hicks and Michael Robinson).