Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rathman Takes Niners Job

by: M. Steffes

Tom Rathman will stay in the Bay Area and coach running backs for the San Francisco 49ers. He was hired today from the Raiders staff. This is being reported by the National Football Post.

One of the supposed benefits of hiring Greg Knapp was that he would bring Rathman along with him. Unfortunately, Rathman wanted to stay close to home and the Niners had an opening.

So the Hawks end up with Knapp and the Niners get Rathman. Both hires should improve their respective running games. Greg Knapp has led an effective rushing attack everywhere he has been. Rathman has been highly praised for his work as well.

Clearly, there is a shift going on in the NFC West to a more ball control, ground-oriented attack. In fact, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that is a trend around the league. The Cardinals are the lone holdout; however, you can bet they will be trying to improve their running game in the offseason.

One of the reasons to be excited about this in Seahawk land is that this type of football travels a lot better. Like a good defense, a good running game is mostly attitude. This allows the team an opportunity to improve their road game performance. Remember, Knapp and Mora were the first guys in a long time to walk out of Lambeau with a playoff road victory.

While there is still much to be determined, clearly both the Hawks and Niners are following the blueprint laid out recently by teams like the Giants, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, and Steelers. It seems to be a pretty successful approach right now. If it stays that way, and both teams find success with it, the Hawks and Niners could become a nice little West Coast rivalry. ~END~