The loss of Mario Manningham is, of course, very unfortunate. For one, and this is worth saying I think, he has just worked really hard to overcome a huge injury, and this injury must be frustrating. He's an easy player to root for. I hope he recovers well.
But, at the end of the day, we are all 49er fans, so I imagine we are all more interested in ways in which this will affect the 49ers. Today in the Golden Nuggets, 10man had some excellent insight into our injury woes this year, concluding that Quinton Patton now has the opportunity to step up as a deep threat.
Patton is another easy guy to root for, and this team sure could use a deep threat from the WR position. I just wonder, however, how many opportunities he will get to show his stuff.
He will get a few, of course. This is without a doubt. Coming of his own injury recently, Patton saw a decent chunk of playing time - especially considering the fact that he was pretty low down the depth chart.
Although he is moving up the depth chart, I have to think that his opportunities will still be sporadic and inconsistent. This might be compounded by the fact that the playoffs are impending. Last week, we spent time considering who would be the "new" Fullback. It seemed like a logical conclusion at that time was to assume that part of the problem would be mitigated by calling plays and formations that required a FB less and less. We had a full stable of WRs, the logic went, so why not use that strength to our advantage? Counter a new weakness with a new strength.
Now that Anthony Dixon and Will "Jon-Gruden-can't-say-my-name" Tukuafu have stepped into the role and did a good job filling in, the coaching staff might not consider the FB position as that much of a weakness.
This leaves one basic question: will we see the recent trend toward multi-WR sets shift back toward our more basic sets that utilize TEs and a FB?