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49ers-Saints: How to work in Brian Westbrook

One of arguably the more random occurrences this past Sunday was the fact that Frank Gore took every single snap at running back and Brian Westbrook did not get on the field once. The 49ers have spoken again and again about trying to find a running back that could take some of the load off of Frank Gore, so naturally one would imagine they'd use the guys they have.

Coach Jimmy Raye spoke about Westbrook when he addressed the media yesterday:

On whether there is a role for RB Brian Westbrook and why he didn't get on the field on Sunday:

"There is a role on the offense for him, he is [RB] Frank Gore's backup, that is his role. The game, as the game unfolded, the plan to insert him into the game and take some of the reps of Frank, turned in the second half as we got into a two minute offense with 10:29 to go in the third quarter, and from my perspective where we were best in the offense that we were operating in, because of the knowledge of the protection was with Frank there, so we lost the opportunity to get what he had planned to do, we lost that opportunity when we got in a 3 score or 4 score game, and lost that ability to be in a run - pass mix so to speak, because we were trying to two minute and score and get back into the game, and the people to answer your question, Brian is learning what we're doing, but what they were doing defensively in their sub-package in protection, it was more feasible for us to have Frank in there who has knowledge of it than to put someone in there to cut maybe a defender loose and hit the quarterback and create another problem."

I realize Westbrook is Gore's backup, but given Westbrook's talent in catching passes out of the backfield, wouldn't it make sense to have him out on the field in potential passing situations? Or is that crazy for me to think something like that?

It's fitting that the 49ers host the Saints this Monday Night. The Saints have a guy who is a younger, faster version of Westbrook in Reggie Bush. The Saints sometimes struggle with ways to utilize him, but we still see him mixed in. I realize Westbrook is still relatively new to the team, but you'd think there's a swing pass or some other plays he could run on a limited basis. Even if he were to simply act as a decoy, wouldn't the team get some value out of him?

As we head into Monday's game, how would you utilize Brian Westbrook? If he is still learning the protection schemes, couldn't you figure out ways to get him onto the field? The 49ers need to figure out ways to jump start the offense, and an excellent pass-catching running back would seem to be a great addition. Frank Gore can catch passes, but Westbrook was built for that role.