Amidst play clock issues, 49ers consider condensing playbook

Three and Out: 49ers must keep composure; playbook too big?

Amidst play clock issues, 49ers consider condensing playbook
September 9, 2013, 2:45 pm
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There’s a high volume of plays and sometimes there’s a give-and-take there. There were a few times guys came out of the huddle and they didn’t know where to line up.
Jim Harbaugh

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have a varied offensive playbook with a multitude of formations. That wide spectrum of possibilities can cause problems for any defense.

But it can also cause its share of problems for the 49ers’ offense.

The 49ers called four timeouts on offense Sunday against the Green Bay Packers with the play clock winding down. They were also flagged for one delay-of-game penalty in the 34-28 season-opening victory. On at least two occasions, the 49ers had troubles lining up in a legal formation.

Coach Jim Harbaugh intimated that the 49ers might consider paring down the number of plays in each week’s game plan to avoid such problems in the future.

“There’s a high volume of plays and sometimes there’s a give-and-take there,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “There were a few times guys came out of the huddle and they didn’t know where to line up. That bled some seconds off the clock and (we) had to take a timeout. (We'll) continue to strive to improve in that area.”


The 49ers had to learn new verbiage last week, too. The 49ers also made some alterations to the terminology quarterback Colin Kaepernick used at the line of scrimmage against the Packers. The 49ers made the changes, in part, because Scott Tolzien is now on the Green Bay practice squad after spending the past two seasons as the 49ers’ No. 3 quarterback.

[RELATED -- 49ers Week 1 Rewind: Promising opening act for Kap, 49ers]

But Harbaugh said with players now wearing microphones for TV purposes, teams must constantly be changing their snap counts, audibles and calls at the line of scrimmage.

“Teams you play the week after and the week after that, they get that TV copy and they hear your communication at the line of scrimmage,” Harbaugh said.

On defense, the one area that the 49ers need to clean up is with its tackling. The 49ers missed seven tackles against the Packers, according to Pro Football Focus, with NaVorro Bowman and Eric Reid missing two tackles apiece.

“As a group, we weren’t pleased with our tackling,” Harbaugh said. “We talked about it after the game. It’s not what we’ve been accustomed to the last couple of years with our defense. We had too many missed tackles.”

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