Red Zone Offense Needs Improvement
October 31 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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While the 49ers have been able to score pretty easily over the past three games, there productivity in the red zone remains lacking. The team scores a touchdown on less than 50% of its visit inside their opponent’s 20 yard line, and this number is no where near the top of the league. The 49ers need to get better in the red zone in order to become a truly dominant team.
It’s important to be able to score from anywhere on the field, and the 49ers have shown that they do have the talent to do that, especially when Tai Streets is starting opposite Terrell Owens. But it’s my believe that the propensity to pass is actually what stints the offenses ability inside the redzone.
When a team establishes the run, and commits to it, it becomes an invaluable tool inside the red zone, where defenses are condensed because of the short field, and receivers thus have less room to get open. The ability to run, can drastically shift the opportunities on offense. The 49ers have proven that they can run, their running backs are productive to the point where both Hearst and Barlow are averaging more than five yards a carry - so where’s the problem? The problem is that neither of these backs are running into the end zone two often. If the 49ers can improve in this area, it should drastically help their red zone touchdown percentage.
Ranked 16th overall in this area, tied with four teams after moving up after Sunday’s game. The 49ers have a long ways to go to get their red zone offense in gear. Historically they have ranked in the top five, which is where they’ll need to be to contend with the leagues best.