Offseason Playbook: 49ers

A look at San Francisco's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: February 25, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Colin Kaepernick Chuck Cook/USA TODAY SportsThe 49ers are set at starting quarterback with Colin Kaepernick. But who will be the backup?

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- This is a coaching staff under coach Jim Harbaugh and coordinator Greg Roman that really understands its strengths and weaknesses in terms of personnel. Everything starts with a between-the-tackles Frank Gore run game and they are not averse to using a lot of heavy formations with multiple tight ends and even extra linemen. Their blocking schemes are very creative with pulls, whams and traps from all directions. Obviously with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, the pistol formation and all the plays they can run off of it gives this offense even more looks to defend. The 49ers also block very well on the second level and with Kaepernick's speed he is always a threat to tuck and run or even run the QB draw.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.