I saw Kent Somers report on Horton in the paper on Sunday. He asked him what he thought of the Niners Oline:
"There is no mystery to what to what they're doing. They're just big guys who are very physical. They come downhill and they just pound you and pound you. It's a game of submission. They will try to trick you with an unbalanced (line). They'll put three extra linemen with unusual numbers in. But, really, there's no mystery about it. It's big men on big men. It's a pounding, physical game... And they're O.K., they figure 13-10 is a good win. Kind of what we want to do."
Somers then said, "Horton raved about the 49ers offense, calling the offensive line 'talented' and 'huge'". Talented? Huge? Now just how did those Niners get those guys? Oh yeah, I remember, the NFL draft. Being a Cards fan, I'd forgotten that you could address the line through the draft.
Here's how they did it:
#1) they stole Joe Staley with the 28th pick in the first round (2007), about 20 picks after the Cards "reached" for Levi Brown. Staley was an All-Pro in 2011.
#2) In the 2010 draft they had two first round selections. They used one on Guard Mike Iupati, the other on Right Tackle Anthony Davis.
#3) Via Free Agency they grabbed Center Jon Goodwin, a former Pro Bowler from the Saints.
#4) They address their depth by drafting Looney in the 4th (2012) and Kilgore in the 5th (2011). Sign Boone as an UDFA (2009) and sign Leonard Davis in FA.
And since the line is a major indicator of success in the running game, let's look at their 2012 stats. They are currently:
#1 in Yards per Attempt (5.9)
#2 in Yards per Game (176.6)
#6 in Overall Attempts
Obviously, they have been very productive this year, but these numbers also reflect the last few years.
But there is one more thing I feel compelled to point out. Did you notice Horton said, "Kind of what we want to do." Really? The Cards want to build and run an offensive line like the Niners? Funny I've never seen anything remotely close to what the Niners did. At least not here in Arizona. In fact, the Cards have been the exact opposite, throwing a whole lot more than they run. So if this is what they 'want' to do, we sure are inept at doing it. Funny how the Niners formula for success on the Oline looks NOTHING like the Cards formula.
#1) "Reach" for Levi Brown at #5 when we could've have traded down and gotten him later. Not to mention pick up Joe Staley.
#2) Pick up an 'okay' guard out of Green Bay and overpay him. And Colledge was on a line that never really ran the ball well.
#3) Pick up a backup Guard/Tackle in Snyer from S.F and REALLY overpay him.
#4) Rely heavily on a backup in Jeremy Bridges.
#5) Add depth by picking up Sendlein as an UDFA and signing Ohrnberger
#6) Finally 'address' the line by drafting Massie (4th), Kelemete(5th), and Potter (7th) in 2012.
The Cards running game?
# 31 in Yards per Attempt (3.6)
# 27 in Yards per Game (89.3)
#17 in Attempts
It's ridiculous to say the Cards want to do it like the Niners when the Niners actually INVEST in the line. And I call three 1st round picks and one PB FA an INVESTMENT. The Cards are completely incompetent at investing. They've taken No Offensive linemen in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rds since 2007 (Levi). And they've signed and overpaid guy after guy, most recently Adam Snyder. I'm sorry Horton, but the evidence weighs heavily against your statement. However it is apparent that Whiz's propensity to "spin facts" is started to convert you to the Dark Side. Don't do it Ray. Resist the temptation of the Dark Side.