The terms "broken hip" and "pro football" are more than a little incongruous. It's an injury you'd associate with a shuffleboard mishap at a Florida retirement home more than a gridiron malady. And yet, San Francisco 49ers star running back Frank Gore is out for the season with a broken hip. Here's wishing him a full recovery.
He'll need it -- because the team's starkly stripped-down offense appears to have only one defining mantra: Run Frank Gore until he breaks his hip.
With Gore unavailable last night vs. Arizona, veteran back Brian Westbrook -- who came into the game with nine rushing yards on the season -- stepped up run for 136 yards. Granted, the Cardinals are not the 1985 Chicago Bears -- but if you were looking for yet another reason to question the competence of the 49ers coaching staff, now you have it.
So far, the excuses for why Westbrook had amassed nine yards more than a dead man essentially boil down to the following: He wasn't better than the players he was backing up.
That seems more than a little tautological. And it doesn't explain why he should be all but exiled to the sidelines -- certainly there was some way Westbrook could have helped the team, and running Gore on virtually every play is downright reckless. Given the limitations the 49ers have demonstrated in putting together nuanced game plans, it's not hard to believe that finding work for a man of Westbrook's now demonstrable talents was simply too much to ask.
Frankly, with the ramifications of overusing a bruising running back all too well-known -- case in point, Earl Campbell -- it borders on immoral to run Gore ad infinitum.
If Gore is able to return to his spectacular former form, he deserves better than to be forever known as the great back who starred for terrible 49ers teams, whose talent was squandered by uncreative coaches.
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