As the San Francisco 49ers get ready to embark on the second half of the 2013 season with their Week 9 game against the surging Carolina Panthers at home, the 49ers’ offense, after a fast start in their Week 1 win against the Green Bay Packers, dipped in successive losses before re-establishing their identity and improving during the 49ers’ five game winning streak. It certainly has been an interesting first half to the season for the 49ers’ offense.
As the 49ers embark on the second half of their 2013 season, what is their biggest key in order to continue playing well and forging ahead playing at a high level? It is easy to say that the biggest key for the 49ers on offense will be their ability to run the football like they have during the current five game winning streak. While that is a key, one can safely assume after early season neglect, offensive coordinator Greg Roman surely will continue to make the running game and, in particular, running with Frank Gore the main staple of their offense.
The biggest key for the 49ers’ offense in the second half of the season will be the play of their wide receivers. In the first half of the season, Colin Kaepernick exclusively and primarily threw to Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. Luckily for the 49ers, they are getting some much needed and welcome help, as Mario Manningham has been activated onto the 53-man roster and Michael Crabtree has been cleared to begin practicing. Getting these two players back within the span of the next month will strengthen the depth at the wide receiver position, but more importantly, give Kaepernick more throwing options in which he will feel comfortable throwing to when dropping back to pass.
It is the play of Manningham and Crabtree to go along with what Boldin and Davis are doing at the moment that will be the biggest key for the 49ers offense. Manningham and Crabtree just being back on the field either this upcoming weekend or in the near future alone means that the 49ers’ passing attack will improve; instead of opposing teams only having to try and focus on two passing options, they will now have to deal with four or five passing options when Kaepernick drops back to pass.
The 49ers on offense during the five game winning streak have been an efficient unit, as they figured out what they needed to do in order to get back to playing well. With the rushing attack is going well and the passing attack is doing enough to be viable, the return of two wide receivers will only help to make the 49ers’ offense better in the second half of the season. With the return of Manningham and Crabtree to the fold, their ability to get back to speed will be the biggest key to the 49ers’ offense taking the next step here in the second half of the season.