While the woes of the offensive line and the quarterback position have been discussed with every regard to the problems with the 49ers offense in general, I do not think the actual philosophy of the offense has been addressed. No, I am not going to propose that Alex Smith's head be put on a stake or that Jimmy Raye is a lemon. But I am going to try to address something that I feel needs serious attention.
At the start of the 2009-2010 season, we had every reason to believe that the style was Smashmouth. However, despite the talent of Frank Gore that approach proved tough and rigid but equally unproductive. In the second half of the season, there was talk of the "spread offense" (something that is collegiate and not professional, to my understanding), which Alex Smith reportedly ran with great success in college. Then from Mike Singletary himself, we heard that the team was striving for a more Balanced style; part running game and part passing game.
This uncertainty in the offensive philosophy should be addressed as soon as possible. Preferably, we should heed the advice of Steve Young and revert to a West Coast Offense philosophy and a more dynamic passing game. We have the weapons, do we not?
Now regarding the actual problems with the offense, I can say that I am not too keen on football technicalities, but it is my opinion that the actual problems may not have been with the offensive line or the quarterback entirely, but with the offensive coordination. Yes, I know, everybody is saying pretty much the same thing. However, the specific problem with the coordination, I believe, comes in the fact that they have Josh Morgan playing flanker (wide receiver position played by Jerry Rice, for anyone unaware) when he clearly does not possess the kind of speed needed for the position. Instead, they have Vernon Davis, the tight end, running streaks and posts in place of the flanker. In doing this, they are utilizing the flanker as an outside blocker while the tight end runs the streak or post and leaves the offensive line open, usually on the right side. I believe this is why Alex Smith, Shaun Hill or whoever the quarterback has been has been consistently left open and prone to pressure mostly from a 4-3 defense.
I know Vernon Davis is great and all at his position, but typically you are not supposed to use the tight end like a wide receiver. Most of the time, the tight end should be assisting the offensive line and acting as an additional receiver when needed.
To simulate a typical formation:
x x x x x x 9 x
9 = Tight End.
When the tight end (9) leaves the offensive line to run a route, the line is left open because it is at least one man short. A defender can easily get through on the right side as (a) the flanker is busy "blocking" a cornerback and (b) the fullback is usually trying to block for the halfback.
I think these are the problems that need addressing. If anyone has anything to add, please feel free.