Fantasy: Don't turn away from the Gore
January 12, 2008
It started so well this year. Remember when the Lions were 6-2, Jon Kitna was a fantasy golden boy, and everyone still thought Mike Martz was the Lions' head coach. My, how things have changed. Detroit took a "Thank God You're Here" ratings-like nosedive, Kitna threw 14 INTs (and just eight TD passes) during the team's 1-7 finish, and Martz was fired after forgetting that running the ball more than nine times per game now is legal.
But it didn't take Martz long to find employment. He is the new offensive coordinator in San Francisco, and it's only a matter of time before he is mistaken for the team's head coach. Quick, can you even name the Niners' head coach? And, no, George Seifert still isn't doing the bossa nova near the Bay.
The reaction to the Martz news was one of panic for those who chose (or will choose) to keep Frank Gore. It's no secret that Martz favors the air attack the way the human body favors breathing. But upon further review, this hire actually might help Gore. Here's why:
- To be successful (and rebuild his "offensive genius" reputation), Martz must build his offense around his best player. That clearly is Gore. Gore might not run the ball 25 times per game, but you can bet he'll touch the ball that many times. Have we forgotten the outstanding performances Marshall Faulk had in Martz's offense? Gore has 114 receptions the past two seasons, so he is more than capable of being an option as a receiver out of the backfield.
- Hello! San Francisco doesn't have a passing game to fall in love with. Heck, the 49ers aren't even sure which (hoping-to-be-mediocre) QB they'll start in 2008. In addition, San Francisco doesn't have the wideouts to run the same kind of attack Martz did in St. Louis, or even Detroit. Unlike in Martz's previous two coaching stops, his best pass catcher probably is his tight end -- Vernon Davis. Things are about to change.
So, don't panic, and don't assume that Gore's dismal 2007 is going to lead to a disastrous 2008. As it is, Gore already will slip further than he should on draft day. Assuming your rival owners buy into the Martz-will-ruin-Gore-even-more school of thought, he'll become an even more attractive first-round target..