Like a lot of people, I'm puzzled by some of our playcalling. In particular, I don't understand why we've ignored the running game in several situations. I don't, though, assume that our coaches are stupid. On the contrary, I assume they have access to information that we don't (a self-evident assumption, sure, but one that bears recognizing) and that this informs their attitudes about what this team can and can't do.
Here's my basic theory: the coaches think our offensive line is not very good and they've gameplanned around it. I know they've looked good at times, but I think that, from the coaching staff's point of view, these instances have been the result of the gameplan covering up their shortcomings. There are several elements and implications of this problem.
In particular, the coaches know that the O-Line can't handle a loaded front -- witness the ineptitude in short-yardage blocking or the handling of any big, tricky blitz.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that we lack any quality depth at blocking the edges -- we have no true fullback on the roster, Spaeth can't block, etc. -- and this means we can't go big very successfully either. We do have David Johnson, and he's got a future for this role, but he's a rookie.
To conceal these deficiencies, we feature down-the-field passing as our bread-and-butter. It's our base play-call, in other words. This is by design - it happens to take advantage of our QBs skill set and the collective abilities of our receivers (i.e., we have Holmes and Wallace to open the field with speed, and Ward/Miller/Moore to revel in the underneath space the speedsters open up).
The down-the-field passing is intended to push the safeties back, and keep them there. This helps the O-Line open running lanes for Mendy; it helps to discourage big blitzes, and so forth.
Bottom line, I think, is that the coaches do not believe that we can just line up and run the ball, but that it has to be set up, and that we'll only be successful running in spots. There is extremely little confidence on the part of the coaching staff that we can score TDs in the red zone with the run - the space we use to spread the defense is constricted, our O-Line is shit, and the gaps will be filled.
Added to all the above is the fact that we have no depth at RB. Parker's career looks over to me -- I see no pop, no speed, though he does play a smarter game and I believe has the desire and drive. And the coaches appear unwilling to use Moore for more than a handful of carries per game.
All the above is what I think the coaches think -- I'd like to see Mendenhall featured more, too, but I don't think our coaching staff is stupid and I think the gameplan has been what it's been for a reason. Maybe not a good reason, and maybe other solutions would work better. In any case, we should be a 9-1 team and the fact that we're 6-4 is an absolute atrocity.