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The 49ers WCO
January 16 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Since Steve Mariucci took over the 49ers he’s been adapting the 49ers offense. Slowly but surely, the second generation descendant of Bill Walsh, the creator of the West Coast Offense, has evolved the 49ers offense to better fit his own style. Mariucci loves the run game. Power rushes up the middle are his thing, so it is no wonder the 49ers have been amongst the leading rushing teams in the NFL since his arrival.

The question therefore is do the 49ers still run the West Coast Offense? The WCO is known for quick short passes, high percentage completions in order to reduce the need for a running game, and to get the star players the ball in the open field. In many respects, with the quick slants, shallow crosses and quick out patterns the 49ers are still a WCO team.

The running attack however has become more prevalent then in a typical WCO. Also the 49ers use of three wide receiver sets goes against the quick strike mentality of the WCO. Finally lack of innovation in the first series of plays in nearly every game this season also goes against the typical style established in the WCO.

So do the 49ers still use a WCO system even under Mariucci? The answer is yes and no. Mariucci has attempted to weld two different concepts together. The short pass game and the power run game. The result has been a successful but somewhat predictable offense. Mariucci’s impression on the WCO is substantially different than most other Walsh descendants. Thus far it has proven successful against most teams. However until the 49ers get a little more talent on the offensive side of the ball Mariucci will have to be more innovative in order for the 49ers to take it to the next

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