I was puttering around Twitter today (as I do most days!), and I came across an interesting tweet. The folks at Pro Football Focus asked which running back faced the highest percentage of eight defenders in the box. The 49ers very own Frank Gore took home top honors:
We have a winner. 42.3% of plays w/ at least 8 men in box. League average is 23.3% @markusericsson: @pff Gore?— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 8, 2013
There were various follow-up tweets with various details that provide a little more context. For example, Gore faced eight men in the box 37.8% of the time when Alex Smith was starting, and 46.6% of the time when Kaepernick was starting.
Here was another interesting stat:
Big reason Gore faced so many 8 in the boxes? 53.5% of rushing snaps with 1 or fewer receiver split out wide. Most in league— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 8, 2013
And Joe Staley had his own retort on all this:
@pff good thing we got away from the running game with all those 8 man fronts ha! We laugh at 8 man fronts— Joe Staley (@jstaley74) May 8, 2013
It will be interesting to see how defenses handle the 49ers multi-faceted offensive attack in 2013. Defenses can load up in the box, but if it opens up the edges for the read option, they will continue to struggle against the 49ers. I imagine Greg Roman is keeping plenty busy preparing for how the 49ers will counter defensive adjustments.