Posted: 9:00 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
By David Fucillo
The San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, and we finally get a chance to figure out where the 49ers passing game sits. Since Michael Crabtree went down with his torn Achilles we've discussed this topic from virtually every angle. Now, we finally get to see what is what.
With that in mind, I thought it was time for some offensive predictions. I won't ask for specific numbers, but I am curious about how people see the passing game developing on Sunday. We know the 49ers will go at the Packers with a heavy dose of the run. We know Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter will be active on Sunday. But what about the passing game?
We know that Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin are the most prominent weapons, while the rest of the wide receiver corps leaves plenty of questions to be answered. But what if Vance McDonald is the guy who helps this offense take a big step forward? I think we'll see a whole lot of Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin on Sunday, but what about the 49ers rookie tight end?
Last season, the 49ers used plenty of two tight end sets. Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker provided top-rate blocking. They both were talented pass catchers, but the problem was that Davis and Kap took time to get on the same page, and Delanie Walker was talented but inconsistent when it came catching the ball.
Davis and Kap have spent the offseason working together, so we hope for the best. I am excited to see what those two can do together. However, I am more intrigued by the potential of the team's new No. 2 tight end, Vance McDonald.
The 49ers drafted McDonald out of Rice, where he was involved in their spread out attack. Although he had some drops in the preseason, he generally looked like a legit threat. He has significant size, but he showed great athleticism, both in jumping for catches, and in what he could do after he had the ball in his hands.
It will be interesting to see just how the 49ers use him, but I see him as a guy who can help clear out the middle of the field dragging across. He is a guy you want to get the ball with some space and let him use his athleticism to make plays. I imagine we'll see him run some of the similar seam routes to Vernon, but I really think we see a lot of him going east and west before the catch.
Is there a specific under-the-radar guy you look to as a potential big option on Sunday? Or will this be the Vernon and Q show in the passing game? Or will the 49ers just bury the Packers on the ground for the most part?