2014 DRAFT GUIDE
49ers lean on Gore's smarts, savvy in key times

    2013-01-18 04:23

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)
By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
AP Sports Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman wants to be a head coach one day soon, and he already knows at least one person he'd hire on his staff.

Running back Frank Gore.

``I always tell Frank, `Man, when you're done playing, come find me or I'll find you,''' Roman said Thursday. ``Because he's a guy I love working with as a player, and I'm sure I'd love working with as a coach.''

Often underappreciated and overlooked around the NFL, Gore has carried the 49ers through good times and mostly bad the last eight seasons. Coaches are quick to credit the reliable running back's smarts and savvy, doing everything from breaking down film of opponents to scouting potential draft picks.

Gore's latest adaptation has come in the new read-option run game anchored by quarterback Colin Kaepernick that some thought might not suit his style. Instead, Gore surpassed 100 yards rushing in a playoff game for the first time in last week's 45-31 win over Green Bay, and the 49ers insist his knowledge is a vital part of the plan heading into Sunday's NFC championship at Atlanta.

``It's top shelf,'' 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of Gore's football acumen. ``Not to categorize it, but I know I have learned a lot from Frank, as well as the other running backs on our team. He sees it. He sees the big picture. He sees the whole picture. He sees it slowed down and he's got a very quick mind. He's able to make quick-minded decisions.''

Despite tearing ligaments in both knees at the University of Miami, Gore has rebounded to become one of the NFL's most durable players at a position that takes perhaps the biggest pounding.

Gore is the franchise leader in yards rushing (8,839) and touchdowns rushing (51) and has been a staple of San Francisco's offense under three different head coaches. His versatility is what makes him special, coaches said, running inside and out and catching passes from all kinds of formations.

``Frank is such an adaptable player that it doesn't take him long to pick something up,'' Roman said. ``He's one of the most gifted, knowledgeable, intelligent football players that I've been around really at any position. He just has a feel and an understanding for the game. It's funny, when you install something or put something new in, he can just see it. It's pretty impressive.''

Until last week, though, Gore's role had seemingly diminished since Kaepernick took over in Week 10 and the 49ers ran more of the Pistol offense.

Gore admits the first time he watched teams such as Oregon and Nevada run read-option plays on television he ``felt like that's not real football.'' With Kaepernick and the 49ers one win from the Super Bowl now, he's become a believer.

``It's helping us. If it's helping us get to where we want to go, I'm with it,'' Gore said. ``I feel like I'm a football player. I'm a ball player. I'll adjust to anything. I just had to be more patient getting the ball. That's about it.''

The 49ers also have kept Gore fresher as opposed to years past when he often wore down late from countless carries.

He split time with Kendall Hunter before the backup suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a Week 12 win at New Orleans. Speedster LaMichael James, the former Oregon standout, has limited Gore's touches since Hunter's injury and had an increasingly expanded role in the Pistol offense.

San Francisco's strategy showed results when it mattered. Gore ran for 119 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries against the Packers, even while Kaepernick set a quarterback playoff record with 181 yards on 16 carries.

``Hopefully, they keep looking out for him and 21 keeps getting the ball and I'll just do what he did last week,'' Gore said, referring to his jersey number.

Where Gore goes after his playing days are over is uncertain.

All of 29 years old, Gore doesn't think those days are happening anytime soon. After enduring six non-winning seasons to start his 49ers career, the last two under Harbaugh's guidance have rejuvenated the running back's career.

More than anything, Gore wants to avoid the kind of heartbreak that came with last January's 20-17 overtime loss in the NFC title game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants. That doesn't mean he might not still have one eye on the future, often lending his instincts to coaches and even offering his opinion on players before the draft to 49ers general manager Trent Baalke.

``I think I'd be a great coach. For one, I love the game of football. I've been around the game all my life, since I was 4. I could tell who is a real football player. I've got an eye for talent,'' Gore said. ``I love being around football. So if Coach Roman ever gets a head job and he wants to hire me, I'll be ready.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:12p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) said he is not dealing with any pain in his back but is taking things one day at a time. Newton said he [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 02:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) left practice early Thursday, Dec. 18, because he is receiving a scheduled day of rest. Manning was not limping when he was walking to the locker room.

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Chris PolkDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 01:22p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) had an increased set of repetitions in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and it looks like he's on track to play in Week 16 [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 12:52p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Andre JohnsonDec 18 12:52p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (concussion) has cleared the leagues concussion protocol and will play in the team's Week 16 game.

Julio JonesDec 18 12:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Case KeenumDec 18 10:03a

Houston Texans QB Case Keenum is expected to start in Week 16.

Philip RiversDec 18 09:22a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is battling a back injury that is more severe than the team has acknowledged, according to a league source. Rivers' back injury [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group