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Panicking and the 49ers offense

I think it's safe to say that after a week or two of the season, most every fan of every team finds a problem to worry about.  Through preseason the worry here was the defense, which for at least one week wasn't so much of a concern.  Then the offense laid a big fat 57 minute egg on Monday night and everybody and their mother is wondering what's up with the 49ers offense.  

Bob in Pacifica pointed out the Glenn Dickey SF Examiner article, which I happened to read in the physical copy of the Examiner this morning.  I do agree with Dickey in assessing the 49ers offensive game plan as exceedingly vanilla for a regular season game.  For the purposes of this column we'll ignore the final 3 minutes of the game because we all know that a more consistent offense will be a requirement if the 49ers want to win the division.

So what happened to the offense last week?  Is it something that could happen again this week?  Is it correctable or are they just bad?  Well I figured I'd throw my 2 cents in even though I'm really not any more special than anybody else here.  We'll consider this a follow up to my day after piece.  It's too early in the season throw the offense under the bus for poor performance.  We'll save that for next week.

My primary confusion falls on the play-calling.  People are throwing out the line that Nolan and Co. thought they could win without opening the playbook.  If that is the case I find it rather weak.  They certainly did scuffle by and get the win, but they certainly gave Arizona plenty of chances to have the game.  While I understand that you don't want to roll out every single gadget play in the first quarter, when you've got 2 former quarterbacks at WR and RB, I think it makes sense to mix it up a little bit more.  I'm not talking double reverse flea flicker statue of liberty type action.  But if you throw the defense off balance early on, you'll continually be on step ahead of them.

Alex Smith
Alex Smith managed to combine the best and worst of his brief career into 60 minutes of football Monday night.  At times he was rolling away from the line of scrimmage and having to then throw off his back foot.  Fortunately for him, he managed to avoid interceptions during this time as he did not try and force bad throws.  Instead he just wildly overthrew receivers (with some drops added in for good measure).  The quarterback we want to see every week is the one who showed up to win the game.  Even with the continued pass rush, Smith was stepping up in the pocket and firing crisp passes.  Any thoughts on the differences?  I realize the Cardinals went into a prevent defense, but they still had a pretty stiff pass rush coming late in the game.  Do you think he should roll out more or stay in the pocket and step into his passes?  Dickey mentioned taking advantage of his mobility, but as far as I'm concerned, he's a passer first, runner distant second.

Offensive Line
I really think the offensive line just had a bad day.  We've seen what these guys can do and I'm convinced they'll mold into shape, although I certainly would prefer it be this Sunday as opposed to down the road.  Staley will only improve and I'd like to think we'll see Gore busting past Larry Allen and Jonas Jennings a little more this weekend.  How about some predictions about the offensive line's performance on Sunday?  They could be as big a key as anything to an improved offensive performance.

The Disease
Whatever type of Disease VD is, he was definitely vaccinated on Monday.  It appears to be a combination of poorly executed plays and personally what I thought was decoy type plays.  I expect to see him back in the swing of things this Sunday.  He's just too physically gifted to be left out of the offense for much longer.  Predictions on The Disease's stats this Sunday?

I certainly don't expect 500 yards of total offense this weekend, but considering the injury to Tye Hill the secondary is certainly there for the exploitation.  I think Gore gashes through the defense for 100+ yards and Alex Smith finishes with 200+ yards passing.  What does everyone else think?