The San Francisco 49ers are Super Bowl bound. The Redskins want to be making that same journey in the very near future. What can the Redskins learn from the NFC champs?
Your mobile QB can stay mobile—Colin Kaepernick, as noted here earlier, was not as mobile against the Falcons as he was against the Packers. But the threat of him using his legs kept the Atlanta defense back on its heels all day. There is no need to mold RG3 into a straight pocket passer in order to have a shot at the Super Bowl.
Stay the course, build through the draft—Since current General Manager Trent Baalke became the team’s Director of Player Personnel in 2008, the 49ers have drafted Michael Crabtree, Navarro Bowman, Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Kapernick, and Aldon Smith. Those players were added to a team that included the likes of Frank Gore and Patrick Willis. They do have some free agents start for them like Justin Smith, Carlos Rogers, and Donte Whitner but of those three, only Smith (6 years, $45 million, $20 million guaranteed in 2008) could be called a big splash signing. It took four years after Baalke started picking the players for the 49ers to post a winning record and five years to reach the Super Bowl.
Build up front—The 49ers have a tough, physical offensive line and a 3-4 defensive front seven that can dominate games. Aldon Smith, Bowman, Willis, and Iupati are All-Pros and Justin Smith has been one. The line makes it work for Kaepernick, Gore, and company. That’s nothing new, but having a mobile quarterback works much better when the guys up front are flattening the opposition.
Don’t be afraid to gamble—Last year, Alex Smith got the 49ers—some would say he game managed the 49ers—to within one game of the Super Bowl. When Jim Harbaugh made his midseason switch to Kaepernick many said that the only way you can say the move worked is if they get to the Super Bowl. With that mission accomplished, it’s safe to say that Harbaugh’s bold gamble paid off. Don’t be afraid to rattle some cages during the season, it just might work.