One of the many issues involved in the offensive production conversation is the 49ers use of running plays on first down at an insane rate. Against the Eagles, the 49ers ran the ball on first down the first eight first down plays of the game. Although Mike Johnson was promoted to offensive coordinator and has mixed things up a bit, as Eric Branch pointed out and most of us already know, Mike Singletary's fingerprints remain on the offensive scheme. Maybe he's not calling plays, but his influence appears to be felt.
As the team continues to circle the drain in 2010, will Mike Singletary recognize some of these issues and maybe actually take a step back from any influence he has over the offense? Maybe he will and maybe he won't, but it gives us one more reason to be at least a little interested in this game.
For those that missed this past Monday's Vikings-Jets matchup, the first play of the game for the Vikings was a reverse to Randy Moss in which he eventually passed the ball to Brett Favre. The play was called back because Favre was an ineligible receiver, but the announcers and most people watching had to be amused by the first play with Randy Moss in the offense.
I'm not expecting the 49ers to run such a play, nor do I feel it's remotely necessary. But I would like to see this team mix it up. Maybe not necessarily on that very first play, but in some form or fashion, running it every first down eventually turns into a big fat waste of time. I understand wanting to establish the run but this comes across as banging one's head against the wall.
So given all that, will we see something different on the first play of the game? Ninjames put together a post calling for predictions for the first drive of Mike Johnson's tenure as offensive coordinator. I'm looking for something even more basic than that. Just the first play of the first drive of Sunday's game against the Raiders. Or are we doomed to first down run most of the day?