Personnel report: How the 49ers adjusted

December, 31, 2011
12/31/11
8:17
PM ET
Happy New Year's Eve. I took our sons fishing this morning and have plans for the evening as well, but while no one was looking, I sneaked a peek at some of the San Francisco 49ers' offensive tendencies.

A quick report ...

Tight end Delanie Walker played about one quarter before breaking his jaw against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16.

The chart shows the 49ers' offensive personnel use against Seattle before and after Walker's injury. The team ran 18 plays with Walker and 49 without him, not counting kneel downs. One game represents a small sample size, but a few things stood out:
  • The 49ers went away from their familiar "12" personnel featuring one back and two tight ends. Walker has been a mainstay in this grouping. The team has used this grouping more than any other this season.
  • Without Walker, the 49ers were more likely to use "11" and "21" personnel. They would replace Walker either with a wide receiver (11) or a running back (21).
  • Walker's absence had little bearing on the 49ers' use of the heavier "22" personnel grouping. This makes sense because Walker's replacement, Justin Peelle, fits well in this run-oriented, power grouping. But when the 49ers want more versatility, they take him off the field. The 49ers have used "22" personnel nearly 30 percent of the time on first down, slightly more than they have used "12" personnel.

How the 49ers use their personnel against St. Louis in Week 17 might not reflect the approach they plan to take into the playoffs. We will probably see more two-back and three-receiver groupings regardless.

Enjoy the rest of 2011. See you next year.

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