NEW ORLEANS -- After posting Monday about San Francisco's decision to lean heavily on the Pistol during the playoffs, I tracked down 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman to ask what was behind the recent uptick in read-option plays.
The 49ers operated out of the Pistol formation on 45.3 percent of snaps against the Green Bay Packers and 54.9 percent of the time against the Atlanta Falcons. These easily were season highs and followed a stretch in which the 49ers nearly abandoned the scheme over the final two games of the regular season.
"We tried to make everybody forget about it and think that we had scrapped it leading into the playoffs," Roman said during Tuesday's Super Bowl Media Day. "We felt like we could win our division and whatnot the traditional way, and we kept practicing it, and it just felt like something we could spring on whoever we played in the playoffs."
Former Nevada coach Chris Ault, the innovator of the Pistol, recently suggested that mobile and plodding quarterbacks alike could thrive out of the scheme, but Roman repeatedly spoke of Kaepernick's athleticism and comfort in the attack as a major asset.
"If you want to run read-option-type plays, you probably should have a mobile quarterback," Roman said. "But other than that, it doesn't matter who you are. You see teams like Alabama, they've run a lot of their offense out of the Pistol. Really it's more of a balanced shotgun formation."
In what little the media has heard from Kaepernick this week, the second-year passer seems focused almost on a micro level, unruffled by the massive stage he occupies leading up to Super Bowl XLVII. Roman praised Kaepernick's above-the-neck abilities, and multiple 49ers players told me the same thing: This is a highly intelligent football player.
"I don't worry about Colin at all," Roman said. "He's got a great head on his shoulders. I think we saw that leading up to the time that he became the starter. Very impressive in practice and in meetings. Just his focus. He's a unique individual, and I think he deserves a lot of credit for how he's handled everything."
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