A 2013 NFC Conference Championship Scouting Report: The 49ers Offense

Stephen Dunn

Niners Nation gives The Falcoholic a scouting report on the San Francisco 49ers offense before the NFC Conference Championship.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation will be giving us a scouting report on the 49ers all week long. Today, he tackles the offense.

Quarterback

Starter: Colin Kaepernick (7)
Reserves: Alex Smith (11), Scott Tolzien (3)

When the 49ers 2012 season is re-told, it will start and end at the quarterback position. There have been plenty of big stories for the 49ers, but none match the drama of the QB position. Alex Smith entered the season as the start, coming off his best year in leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. He was off to a career year when he suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams. The 49ers turned to second year QB Colin Kaepernick, and the rest is history. Kaepernick had his national break out game against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round, which means you have likely been informed numerous times about how dynamic he is at QB. I'd imagine you will quickly grow weary of the topic. Simply put, Kaepernick gallops like a gazelle and has a laser arm. I believe there is a Paul Bunyan comparison to be made somewhere in there as well.

Running Back
Starter: Frank Gore (21)
Reserves: LaMichael James (23), Anthony Dixon (24), Jewel Hampton (33) Bruce Miller - FB (49)

Frank Gore is having a throw-back season thanks in part to having great blocking from his offensive line, and having a steady change of pace backup. Kendall Hunter was the primary backup before tearing his Achilles. Rookie LaMichael James has been a revelation in only a few short weeks, providing great moves when he can get out in space. Gore will get the bulk of the work as a between the tackles guy, but James is a guy to watch from the pistol. Fullback Bruce Miller is a very solid blocker, and will likely make several appearances on Sunday.

Wide Receiver
Starters: Michael Crabtree (15), Randy Moss (84)
Reserves: A.J. Jenkins (17), Ted Ginn Jr. (19)

The big story is the breakout of Michael Crabtree, who is having a career year. He was having a very solid season with Alex Smith, but it has taken a big turn with Colin Kaepernick at QB. Crabtree is the guy Kap looks to on third down in particular. Randy Moss is not putting up big numbers, but teams still pay him plenty of respect, which often opens things underneath. He still has solid speed deep, so if a DB gets him in single coverage, the 49ers are willing to go up top with him. The 49ers lost Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams to season-ending injuries, and A.J. Jenkins and Ted Ginn have been relative non-factors this year.

Tight End
Starter: Vernon Davis (85)
Reserves: Delanie Walker (46), Garrett Celek (81)

The 49ers use a lot of two tight end sets, so really, Walker is a co-starter of sorts alongside Davis. Colin Kaepernick has not looked to Davis nearly as much as Alex Smith did, although he did pick it up a bit with a particularly solid deep ball. Walker has been a bigger target for Kap, although he struggles with drops. Davis remains a big threat, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Kap look deep to him, particularly if Crabtree is getting covered particularly close.

49ers offensive line
Starters: LT Joe Staley (74), LG Mike Iupati (77), C Jonathan Goodwin (59), RG Alex Boone (75), RT Anthony Davis (76)
Reservers: OG/C Daniel Kilgore (67), OG/OT Leonard Davis (68), OG Joe Looney (66)

The 49ers offensive line has been pivotal to their offensive success in 2012, with Staley and Iupati selected to start in the Pro Bowl, and the other three selected as alternates. The line is solid in pass protection, but downright dominant in run blocking. The 49ers averaged 5.1 yards per carry, thanks in large part to an offensive line that created space for the running backs. Staley suffered a bad bruise early against the Packers, but he played every offensive snap. Post-game x-rays were negative and he is expected to be ready for Sunday.

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