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49ers-Saints: Getting Delanie Walker the ball

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Earlier this week Matt Maiocco put together a review of the 49ers players and focused in on the use of Delanie Walker in the 49ers offense against Seattle. Later that day Effage put together a FanPost that opened up some discussion about Walker. I've been meaning to expand upon the topic because I think Walker is a guy who could provide a certain spark for the 49ers offense given his versatility.

After the jump I've posted a rundown of the 25 plays in which Walker was involved. For some of the routes in which the play went away from Walker, I had to guess how the route ended, so usually I just called it a go route. If you have any questions about any of the specific plays, ask it in the comments and I can check my recording of the game.

In looking over the plays, it was interesting to see that in two different 2nd and 1 situations, the team used Walker at fullback for Gore runs up the middle. I suppose it forces defenses to play the pass a bit more honestly, but even still, it shows the team has some level of confidence in Walker's blocking abilities. And in both situations Gore managed the first down, although in one of the two Walker didn't provide any huge blocks. Walker disappeared from the field after he dropped what should have been an easy catch when David Hawthorne got a hand in while wrapping up Walker. I can't imagine he lost his spot because of that one bad play, but obviously it didn't help him.

Now we look ahead to Monday's battle with the Saints and one has to wonder how the 49ers will utilize Delanie Walker. Is he a weapon the 49ers feel is only best utilized when things haven't gotten completely out of hand? That seems kind of ridiculous but I can't really figure out otherwise why he didn't see the field for most of the second half against the Seahawks. He's not the best weapon on the field, but he's one of the most unique and helps to create huge matchup nightmares. He's perfect for end arounds because he is faster than defensive ends and linebackers. He's perfect to line up at fullback because teams have to guard against passes to him in the flat.

I don't think it's a matter of the team not knowing what to do with him because they've proven they do know of perfect ways to utilize him. The problem is utilizing him on a more regular basis. How would you use Delanie Walker this Monday against the Saints?

Play 1: 1st and 10 at SEA 29, 14:51 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up at fullback in I-formation
  • Makes nice block on Gore 4 yard run

Play 2: 2nd and 6 at SEA 25, 14:13 left in 1st quarter

  • Lines up to left in slot (to right of Crabtree)
  • Runs out to left flat and picks up 7 yards and first down

Play 3: 1st and 10 at SEA 18, 13:39 left in 1st quarter

  • Splits out to right, comes in motion to offset I
  • Gore run up the middle, Walker blocks Lofa Tatupu fairly well but Gore runs more or less right into Walker and is stopped after 3 yard gain

Play 4: 1st and goal at SEA 8 yard line, 11:49 left in 1st quarter

  • In slot to right side in trips bunch formation with Vernon Davis on the outside and Josh Morgan in the middle on the line
  • Ran route to right flat, incomplete pass to Morgan

Play 5: 2nd and goal at SEA 8 yard line, 11:42 left in 1st quarter

  • Lines up on far right side of offensive line
  • Block didn't affect play

Play 6: 1st and 10 at SF 10 yard line, 8:11 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up on left edge of offensive line in single back formation
  • Missed his block but Gore went to right side of line

Play 7: 2nd and 7 at SF 13, 7:28 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up on right edge of offensive line; goes in motion halfway then comes back
  • Runs to right flat, pass to Vernon Davis

Play 8: 2nd and 2 at SF 29, 6:09 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up on right edge of offensive line
  • Blocks LB David Hawthorne well on outside, Gore runs inside

Play 9: 3rd and 1 on SF 30, 5:25 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up on left edge of offensive line
  • Blocks either Dexter Davis or Aaron Curry (either 58 or 59, can't tell for sure) then releases and runs up the field with a short corner route; Smith has time and completes pass for 14 yard gain

Play 10: 1st and 10 on SF 44, 4:40 left in 1st quarter

  • Split out wide left in 3 WR, 1 RB formation
  • Ran quick slant route; pass completed to Davis and Walker makes solid block on Earl Thomas helping Davis (a little bit) get the first down

Play 11: 2nd and 1 at SEA 47, 3:42 left in 1st quarter

  • Lines up at fullback
  • Provides a bit of help in blocking, although not much as Gore gets first down up the middle (more offensive line that time)

Play 12: 1st and 10 at SEA 44, 3:00 left in 1st quarter

  • Lines up in right slot with 4 WR, 1 RB formation
  • Runs go route (with a little bobbing and weaving); Smith throws to Gore crossing underneath

Play 13: 2nd and 1 at SEA 35, 2:15 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up in right slot (closer to offensive line) and then before setting moves down to fullback (Davis lined up at FB and moved out to left slot)
  • Good Gore run but more because of offensive line hole as Walker didn't really block anybody and actually moved out of the way when Colin Cole came in for the tackle (Walker couldn't see him, it was just bad timing)

Play 14: 1st and 10 at SEA 29, 11:34 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up in left slot; goes in motion to right side of offensive line but not down position
  • Blocks Aaron Curry well but run takes too long to develop and eventually loses the block on Curry although Curry doesn't make play (Anthony Davis completely whiffs on block of Earl Thomas who makes the tackle on Gore)

Play 15: 2nd and 19 at SEA 38, :30 left in 1st quarter

  • Lined up on right edge of offensive line just off the line of scrimmage; goes in motion to offset-I position
  • Runs to right as the off-side of a screen to Frank Gore

Play 16: 1st and 10 at SEA 15, 15:00 left in 2nd quarter

  • Lined up right in bunch formation of 3 receivers (he's in the middle and on the line)
  • Runs go route to end zone, but pass incomplete to Crabtree on other side of the field

Play 17: 2nd and 10 at SEA 15, 14:55 left in 2nd quarter

  • Lined up in right slot (Shotgun, 3 WR, 1 RB)
  • Runs go route, pass to Gore on left side

Play 18: 3rd and 1 at SEA 6, 14:31 left in 2nd quarter

  • Line up on right edge of offensive line to right of Vernon Davis, off line of scrimmage
  • Blocks, but Gore goes to left side

Play 18: 4th and 1 at SEA 6, 13:43 left in 2nd quarter

  • Lined up on left edge of line; goes in motion to right slot (bunched with Ginn)
  • Runs short route to end zone; incomplete pass to Norris on left side

Play 19: 4th and 1 at SEA 28, 9:26 left in 2nd quarter

  • Split short to the left in bunch with two WRs, Smith in shotgun
  • Walker runs quick comeback route, Smith completed pass to Crabtree

Play 20: 1st and 10 at SEA 19, 8:57 left in 2nd quarter

  • Lined up in left slot (3 WR, 1 RB formation)
  • Ran end around for 10 yards; Chris Clemons had a chance to tackle him behind the line, but Walker used an extra burst to get past him

Play 21: 1st and goal at SEA 9, 8:39 left in 2nd quarter

  • Walker lines up on right edge of offensive line; Goes in motion then comes back to right edge
  • Runs quick out and then slants back in; Catches ball at SEA 6 and gets to 3 where Tatupu tackles him from behind

Play 22: 2nd and goal on SEA 3, 7:57 left in 2nd quarter

  • Lined up on left edge of offensive line in I-formation
  • Walker goes forward and to his right to try and block somebody not really involved in the run; Gore comes his way and gains a yard

Play 23: 3rd and goal on SEA 2, 7:18 left in 2nd quarter

  • Lined up on right edge of offensive line
  • Makes block but run goes to Norris up gut

Play 24: 1st and 10, 13:53 left in 3rd quarter

  • Lined up at full back in I-formation with 3 WRs
  • Runs to left as part of play action pass incomplete to right side of the field

Play 25: 2nd and 10, 13:46 left in 2nd quarter

  • Lined up at fullback in offset I
  • Runs out past right side of offensive line then does crossing pattern to left side; Perfect pass in his hands but David Hawthorne breaks it up as he wraps up Walker