I have a couple of simple (and maybe crazy) ideas for this team:
1. Use more two back sets with Dixon and Gore. Utilize Dixon in running downs and short-yardage situations. His goal should be to punish the D-line rather than trying to gain big yardage. Ball security should be his primary focus.
Gore should be used sparsely in the first half, mostly in situations where a run isn't necessarily expected. Use him primarily in the second half when the defense will be tired and he'll be fresh, making it easier for him to break a big run.
2. Game plan for never punting. Seriously. Plan to go for it on 4th down every time. Our defense is susceptible to big plays but solid on a short field. If a team is going to drive down the field on us anyway then why not limit our defense's time on the field? Have them focus on trying to limit the opposition to field goals.
This should increase our number of possessions which, when combined with more conversions (having 33% more attempts if regularly going for it on 4th down) should allow our offense more creativity and opportunities to go down the field while also wearing out opposing defenses both physically and pyschologically.
Every 4th down failure might seem like a disaster but it really isn't.
Our defense tends to either get a 3 and out or the opposition goes down the field in chunks, which eats up the clock. That's time that we could be using to move down the field. If we give up possession on downs, so what? The result is essentially the same except our defense is fresher and we have more time on the clock for our offense to score.
Statistically speaking, it's actually a good trade-off even if it seems radical.
3. Use more personnel groupings. We currently only use a handful and the lack of substitutions on offense makes it easier on the defense. More personnel groupings combined with a 4-down philosophy would reak havoc and strain the defense immensely.
This is really the crux of what we need to do offensively: stress the defense. Right now it's too easy for them.
Defensively, we'd be focusing on turn-overs and holding the opposition to field-goals.
This may sound crazy and as much as Alex Smith is insanely frustrating, we have 11 more games with him (let's hope we never get to the point of putting in Carr) so we should try to do whatever it takes to win.