Greg Roman and the Niner Offense

I found this very informative thread on 49ers WebZone. The last couple pages are really interesting stuff to read. Here is my favorite post from NCommand, and I think it's spot on:

I'd like to point out some major concerns about Roman here before the Alex-haters turn this into their thread (save the Alex thread for criticisms there, please):
First off, after analyzing every game of Roman's tenure, I've never been sold on him. That said, I also have kept perspective and remember that we are only 1.5 years into the WCO installation but I wanted to highlight all my concerns/positives in one place and see what others think/notice:

1. Confidence & Rhythm - The best way to get a QB into the game and in rhythm is to pass early on esp. to the receivers he feels comfortable with. Every team does this. And while we DO come out passing predominately to start every game (not sure if plays are scripted or not) we have NOT been targeting VD at all and Roman seems to be destroying the few chances Alex has to get into a rhythm with the WildKreap and pulling Alex late in games such as the Giants. That doesn't bode well for either category for your starting QB.

2. WildKreap - Many posters have been highlighting Alex's play immediately after Kaep has entered the game and now, some of the long-term effects. Alex is no fool and he has seemed like a totally different person the past two games and with his fragile ego, confidence, etc. Alex is starting to look shaky, less confident, less sure of his abilities, etc. Roman took the ball out of Alex's hands twice against the Hawks at the end, played ultra conservative (even on the back-to-back running plays) and gave the Hawks two chances to tie it. And Alex looked pissed to me. I'm just going to say it...I think Roman's offense and play-calling is hindering growth for both Alex AND Kaep at this juncture. Kaep is not taking quality NFL QB snaps. He's taking college snaps.

3. WR Packages - It seems like all these packages and minimal chances seem to affect the timing of both Alex AND the receivers. They are just a bit off. Receivers are used more for decoys or to run block down field. We stick with guys such as Walker who drop passes left and right (which, I guess is everyone, really) and don't seem isolate the "hot" receiver or even put one in position to get "hot."

4. Game Plans, In-Game and Half-Time Adjustments - The offense we run is a college-like offense where the passing game is predicated on one primary receiving option...and that's it. One guy will be designed to get the ball and the other 10 players play a role in making that play successful. When that primary option is covered well, we have no plan B, time for progression reads and Alex is forced to scramble and try to make something happen...typically rolling as far to the sideline as possible in hopes someone will come open. He often times takes a short sack or makes a poor decision (gets blasted). He rarely throws it out of bounds now. He has done well avoiding many would-be sacks and picking up yards with his legs.

5. First Down Production - Was through the roofs the first 5 games and has dropped off significantly (equated to two poor games) as I'm sure the DC's are honing in on Roman's tendencies and predictable sets/packages. In general, its getting easier and easier to see what the play will be based on the formations and packages he runs out there. In fact, I'm seeing a base set of plays and trends and its the same handful of plays. RZ and EZ plays tend to be atrocious as well as many 3rd down plays; he is constantly having his WR's running well short of the 1st down marker. Coaching issue?

6. Sticking with What Works - The Jets and the Hawks game was the first time I've seen Roman find something that worked, scraped his original game plan and stuck with it to the end. This gives me hope. But my concern is that when a roll-right, pass back to VD play works, or VD seam route, fly sweep, middle or outside the T-screen pass, slant, exploiting the middle of the defense with Gore/Hunter successfully, Roman never goes back to it. When he sees a play against the Giants where we isolated Moss 1on1 why not come back to it and make Moss the PRIMARY target the next time? Roman is sticking with what DOESN'T work more than anything like continuing to use Walker in the passing game, the WildKraep (which is now getting Kaep beheaded and at risk for serious injury and doesn't bode well for confidence in his PASSING ability).

7. The Anti-WCO - This is anything BUT a WCO. If this was a WCO, we'd have two consistent, big and physical WCO-type WR's. We rarely run slants, post patterns. rarely use VD to exploit soft zones in defenses, rarely use the FB/HB in the passing game, rarely run picks, screens, attack with the slot WR. In fact, we are the ANTI-WCO more than anything. It's run to set up the pass mostly, by using big physical OL, traps, whams and in the passing game, sideline deep passes and wheel routes. It's Ravens West with college-like "receiver package" sets.

8. Plan B - Let's just be honest, we don't have one.

9. Players comments - Suggest that they all know, even Gore, that they will get minimal chances each game so they have "to make the most of each opportunity."

10. Ingenuity - While Roman seems to excel at creating mismatches in the running game (Gore called him a "genius" in this area and the best OC he's ever played under) he is equally poor in the passing game IMHO.

At the 3:00 mark, Alex talks about the "primary receiver" not being open initially on the INT to Moss. I believe this is more proof that Roman's offense is designed specifically for one primary receiver and if the defense covers it well (like the Giants/Hawks) we don't really have a plan B which is why we look so lost in ad libbing (Crabtree esp.).

Anyway, again, don't want to make this an Alex-hater thread but to highlight some real concerns I have with Roman and this offense.


I have some real concerns moving forward this season with this offense, and I think there are a ton of great issues raised here.


This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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