The 49ers are overthinking things on offense

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan stands on the sideline during the 49ers Thursday night game against the Rams

Kyle Shanahan coached very well against the Rams last Thursday. That game was his best coaching performance of the season. The 49ers could have won had the players committed fewer mistakes.

But Shanahan partly was responsible for those mistakes. As well as he coached, he could have coached even better had he simplified his plays. I’ll explain.

Against the Rams, the 49ers offense used pre-snap movement (players running around and changing alignment before the play starts) on 49-of-74 plays. On those 49 plays, the offense allowed three sacks, committed four penalties and averaged only 4.7 yards per play. The 25 times the offense did not use pre-snap movement, it allowed just one sack, committed only one penalty and averaged a whopping eight yards per play. Huge difference.

A few weeks ago, I asked Shanahan what he hopes to achieve with all this shifting and motioning. “Lots of things – to get leverage in the pass game, to change fronts, whether you’re going to three-technique shade, to give you certain indicators. There’s hundreds of different things and something we do almost week in and week out.”

That’s all true. There are many benefits to moving players before the snap. But there are benefits to not moving, too.

When the offense is static, so is the defense. The offensive players get a clear picture of where every defensive player is standing before the play begins.

When the offense shifts, so does the defense does. The picture changes. It becomes less defined. The quarterback has to pay attention to where each defensive players goes, and offensive linemen have to figure out their new blocking assignments while listening to the snap count. Sometimes movement confuses the offense more than opposing defense.

That’s what happened Thursday night. I’ll give you two examples.

Example No. 1: 7:16 left in the second quarter.

Rams defensive end Morgan Fox lines up across from left tackle Joe Staley.

Fox moves to his left as tight end Garrett Celek shifts to the right side of the 49ers formation.

When center Daniel Kilgore snaps the ball, outside linebacker Connor Barwin runs from the left side of the Rams defense to the right, and Fox positions himself between Staley and left guard Laken Tomlinson.

When Brian Hoyer drops back, Tomlinson slides to his right because he thinks Staley is blocking Fox. But Staley doesn’t block Fox because he has to slide to the left and block Barwin. Carlos Hyde blocks no one. Total confusion. Fox gets a free shot on Hoyer.

Example No. 2: 0:36 left in the third quarter.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald lines up between right guard Brandon Fusco and right tackle Trent Brown.

When running back Raheem Mostert motions out of the backfield, Donald moves to his left.

When Kilgore snaps the ball, Donald is across from Brown.

Brown stares at Donald as Hoyer drops back.

Both Brown and Fusco block Donald. No one blocks Barwin.

Brown finally realizes he should block Barwin, but it’s too late.

Barwin sacks Hoyer.

Shanahan needs to make things easier for his players. Most of them haven’t played for him before. They’re still learning his offense. If his scheme is a foreign language, they’re taking the introductory course, and Shanahan is giving them advanced placement tests.

Until they master the scheme, Shanahan should simplify it. He should use less pre-snap movement. Start with 20 shifts or motions per game and work up from there.

This article has 93 Comments

  1. Grant,

    I thought one major reason for pre-snap movement was to determine if the defense is playing man to man or zone coverage. How can this be determined without movement on the offense’s part to see if defensive players move with them or not?

    1. and I’d add one more item Mr. Howard: Grant is assuming the success of the “non-motion” snaps wasn’t a result of the chess game KS plays against a DC in a game…the setup using shifting/motion plays may very well setup a DC to react in more predictable ways, and some of the effective non-motion plays could’ve been a result of KS’ setup.

      1. It also is possible to determine coverage as to man or zone simply by deploying a RB outside of a wide receiver, especially to the weak side of a formation, and if the LBer goes out to cover the RB, most likely it is a man coverage and if the CB just widens out and aligns over the RB it most likely is man.

        Also, on the TE side of the formation, the TE and Flanker can switch alignments, and when the TE aligns outside the WR and the S/S goes with him, it most likely is man, and if the CB to that side merely widens and aligns over the TE split outside the Flanker, it most likely is zone.

        From that perspective, I, as the QB, then can “pull back” the RB or the TE to a final desired position in the backfield or along the line of scrimmage – all of which can be done without even crossing the football.

        Also, short motion or orbit motion can be utilized to get receivers or TEs free releases for the passing game, achieved without crossing the football.

        There are a myriad of ways to do this. Manning was one of the best and utilized many of these techniques.

  2. Grant, I can’t begin to explain to you the sheer size of the chasm that exists between what you know about offensive football, and what Kyle Shanahan knows. It’s shocking to me that you would willingly put yourself in a position where you actually think that giving any sort of criticism to him is in any way valid. Kyle Shanahan orchestrated the best offense in the history of the NFL last year. Meanwhile, after reading some of your laughable comments on the matter, I’m left to wonder if you ever read a book about football before. It’s just not a criticism your readers can take seriously at all.

    I hear your questions during press conferences sometimes, and I actually physically cringe in some sort of sympathy-shame for you… Which is crazy, because I don’t even like you.

    I highly recommend to your readers that they check out Brett Kollman, or Samuel Gold on youtube, or listen to the Better Rivals podcast if they have an actual interest in people that have actual knowledge about how offensive football works. Or, just ask your dog what he thinks. Because even that conversation would leave you better informed than reading anything by Grant.

  3. OK great effort Grant, but I think the talent evaluation is telling him the shifting is absolutely vital this year. This group of players need every tiny scintilla of “edge” they can get, down in and down out. They can’t just go out there and play basic. Staying in stationary alignment allow the 11 superior talents across the ball from the 49ers to disguise their looks.. They are already better than our guys and you wanna make it easier on them. Less man-o a man-o, more gimmick. its their only chance.

    His problem is he has a Hoyer at QB an injury prone rb, an oline ugh… no one knows squat about what they’re good at. And lets just not talk about the receivers since we have none. He’s going to learn that his system cant make up for bad players…. and why is it that every year regardless of who is in the front office or the bank account, we manage to bring in no one we can get excited about.

    Apologies for my rant.

      1. you presume motion/shift vs. static plays have no cause/effect relationship- i.e.: the success of non-shift/motion plays may very well (cya) have been due to motion/shift plays setting up the DC. Let’s see if the # of shift/motion plays ramp down after this flurry of up-to-the-minute debate on subject.

      2. predicted results of suggested reduction in # of shift/motion plays:
        1) OL deficiencies exposed even more,
        2) further reductions in 3rd dn eff.,
        3) mid pass routes less eff.- so less targets,
        4) due to #’s 1-3, run game used more frequently, but futility results, 3rd. dn. % drops further, but static plays remain the staple for next 4-5 games…
        5) due to offense’s lack of mid route production (and the obligatory lack of success of long routes now), and renewed, yet painful for spectators, emphasis on run game, after 3-4 more games of rough going, the “stretch runs” start “gashing” D’s…and now, say 8-9 games in, the machine starts to work….
        the main reality crusher for this dream…Kilgore, Fusco, etc.

          1. you meant use more static formations till their benefit vanishes…
            watch that 4.7 diminish when static formations become standard…the “change up” suggestion now opens your pandora’s box of when/how much/what tendencies should you vary a ratio between them, it may be a central theme of this WCO descendant, not open to drastic polarization to either formation ratios.

    1. That injury prone running back has been this teams best player. Chew on that for a moment. That’s actually not a problem at all at the moment.

  4. In the second example, the miscommunication between Brown and Fusco is the cause of the sack and is the result of lack of practice time in the current CBA. Listen to the long interview of Deese by Maiocco on O line play currently NFL. These sacks are part of the growing pains — may be mitigated but not eliminated. As Einstein said: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”.

  5. It is actually quite sad. Grant is the only one that doesn’t realize that the only reason he has his job is his dad. His comments, arrogance and utter lack of knowledge are a direct continuance of the Cohn family tradition. The sad thing is that we live in a world where this obvious of a case of nepotism goes mostly unnoticed. When it becomes too much is reading blog posts where he draws up plays on napkins and seriously believes he has the ability to question Kyle Shanahan. Look in the mirror appreciate you have a dream job just because of daddy and show some respect. Quietly learn and watch for the next 15 to 20 years. Just report but do not fool yourself into thinking you are some special football mind. Your Dad got you a blog gig and you upset enough people that you got a following based on people wanting to watch you step on your junk on a daily basis.

  6. Grant is it possible the OL just blew plays against a good DL and that it has very little to do with the man in motion? Seems like the OL should know who to pick up regardless of how they shift. It’s not like the OL is the best unit on the team.

              1. http://thesportsquotient.com/nfl/2017/5/18/did-kyle-shanahan-carry-the-atlanta-falcons

                The Shanahan/Kubiak system uses a bevy of vocabulary to give the offense seemingly endless options and combinations. For this to be utilized at capacity, the offense needs to be able to do, at the very least, the basics of rushing and passing.

                It began with a part of the offense not yet talked about in this piece: the offensive line. While the aforementioned things were happening, the Falcons’ O-line was slowly developing and becoming a respectable unit. According to Football Outsiders, Atlanta’s line ranked 10th in run blocking last season. This gave a place for the offense to start. 

              2. I have to dissagree with you on this one Grant.

                Wins and Losses are less important right now than growth in implementing Kyle’s entire offense, for better or worse. Sure, if you simplify your offense now, you can reduce the mental mistakes, and perhaps win an extra couple games in the process, but you’re likely only stunting your growth in the process. I am sure that Kyle sold Jed on the notion that his offense takes time to develop, therefore, as a young developing team, it’s not going to be pretty starting out. This is the main reason I expected this offense to struggle early and start slowly this season. However, it’s hard to believe that they won’t be better off in the long term if they work their way through the growing pains, rather than trying to avoid them. We’re not talking about the kind of job where people’s lives are on the line here. It’s football. The 49ers are building for the future, and they need a franchise QB, so why in the world would they consider simplifying this offense now, when it takes practice and repetition to get better with pre-snap motion moving forward?

                The only time I would consider eliminating some of this shifting and motion if the 49ers were currently in contention to win their division, and I am pretty sure they are too young and inexperienced to believe that is their current reality.

          1. your risk/reward ratios might be upside down here…
            they may very well be “stymied” by reverting to static formations…I know the temptation of reduced “unforced errors” and “self-inflicted wounds” sounds like just the ticket, but I’ll bet it would backfire with just a minority of shift/motion plays used– KS tries to hide some of the offense’s shortcomings using the shift/motion stuff…

      1. It may be possible that 80% of the O-line won’t be here next year.
        He has to instill his system now. He can draft players better suited to his scheme next year, but at least the blueprint will be established.

  7. The center didn’t make the right line call . On both . Simplify nothing , that’s why we hung 39 points on them.
    Can anyone answer, when The last time we scored 39 points . Screwing up or not. Hope we continue to put up a 40 burger every week. Than all we have to do is wait till the defense is back up to par .

  8. I’ve said this before, the center in shanny s system is very important. He has to know what he’s looking at ,just like hoyer .

  9. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/nfl-play-calling-is-an-arduous-collective-process/2011/11/11/gIQAchJEGN_story.html

    That one play sits atop the first of a slew of boxes on Kyle Shanahan’s play sheet. It is a grid of football jargon — numbers and letters and made-up words — that is completely orderly to him, lists of specific plays against specific coverages in specific situations, a lifetime of football knowledge on one thin piece of cardboard.

    At 59, Shanahan has had many teachers. One tenet of play-calling he still holds is rooted in a speech he heard when he was in college. The speaker was the man who structured the way plays are called in the West Coast offense: Bill Walsh, then an on-the-rise assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, now in the Hall of Fame. The message: Any good play-caller knows every single aspect of the game.

  10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/nfl-play-calling-is-an-arduous-collective-process/2011/11/11/gIQAchJEGN_story.html

    The players are aware of what they’ll be expected to execute well in advance. Though unexpected circumstances — changes in coverages, new personnel — can arise, the plays Kyle Shanahan has to choose from on his play-call sheet are meticulously selected during an arduous process conducted largely in isolation on Mondays and Tuesdays.

    “It takes hours to understand what the defense is doing,” Kyle Shanahan said, “so you got to get into your dark room and watch 18 hours of tape.”

    1. The short week could caused some of the sloppiness.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/nfl-play-calling-is-an-arduous-collective-process/2011/11/11/gIQAchJEGN_story.html

      On Tuesday nights, the coaches meet and assemble the plays they plan to use on first and second downs, as well as all their play-action passes and plays on which they plan to move the quarterback out of the pocket. On Wednesdays, the players practice those plays. On Wednesday nights, the coaches work on selecting the right plays for third-down, goal-line and short-yardage situations. Those groups of plays are “installed” Thursday. On Thursday nights, the staff works out the best plays for both the red zone and the strike zone; they’re installed on Friday.

      1. That’s another reason Shanahan should have dialed back the pre-snap movement Thurday night. There’s no way he could have prepared his offensive line for all the different ways the Rams stem their defensive front after a shift or a motion in just one practice.

        1. The reasons I spammed the blog with old Shanny stuff are.

          1. A ton of things go into play calling. Note Kyle watching 18 hours of film before he makes his gameplan. It’s not just call adjustments or don’t, go deep or don’t. Kyle has prepared for every conceivable scenario. He uses the pre snap stuff to get favorable matchups.

          2. He has installed his offense in many different places. He knows how much is too much.

          1. The pre-snap stuff hasn’t gotten the 49ers favorable matchups. The offense has done much better without the pre-snap stuff for a few reasons.

            Shanahan has new personnel. He has to adjust to it.

            1. “The pre-snap stuff hasn’t gotten the 49ers favorable matchups.”

              Was that the case in the first two games? Was that the case on every play last Thursday?

              49 to 25 is basically a 2-1 ratio. This is what you get if you flip it.

              Pre-snap adjustments on 25 plays: 1.5 sacks (or round up to 2), 2 penalties.
              No pre-snap on 49 plays: 2 sacks, 2 penalties.

              1. “The pre-snap movement hasn’t provided the 49ers offense an advantage in any game this season.”

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ji8CJCSd1o

                This is the deep Goodwin catch. Celek clearly moves pre snap. He stays in to block, perhaps giving Hoyer time to throw. The pre-snap movement may have helped Hoyer identify the coverage.

                You are making stuff up.

            2. you’re gonna have to elucidate those few reasons for us Grant, make the case willya?
              still wondering what that SEA game coaches tape said about lack of deep pass plays…
              did Garcon get mugged? Apparently he was free range many times vs. lambs…

              1. I listed a few of the reasons in this article. Another reason is pre-snap movement slows the pace of the offense. The Niners had by far the slowest offense in the league coming into Thursday’s game.

  11. We are lucky grant didn’t say “Bill Walsh would have done this or that”. Considering I’m 34 and grant is around the same age, Bill Walsh last coached the niners when we were 6 years old. When most kids this age was playing legos, Grant was analyzing 3 step drops and getting quotes from Walsh.

    Not a hater, but Grant is unfortunately.

  12. Grant these are things he has to get his team used to in real game situations to actually create what he had in Atlanta. Not sure how he can do that with out doing it in real time with real pressure. It will start to make a lot more sense to the fans, players and NFL once they start to grasp his concepts better. I think for a new team basically and just 3 games under their belt they are doing Great. We can’t expect instant gratification this early into the teams new look. JMO ! I do appreciate you actually throwing a few positive note’s in there. Patience Young Man !

  13. I don’t understand your point.

    It’s not like Shanahan ran a very simple offense for most of his career and decided to make it very complicated now that he is a Head Coach. His offense IS complicated. Whether or not you think that’s what makes it successful is irrelevant. Shanahan ran an complicated offense which, once learned by the players, he very efficient.

    We all knew that the offense would have a slow start, specifically because it takes time for players to get accustomed to the offense.

  14. Your way off base here Grant. Your entering territory you just don’t know enough about. We are not talented enough to straight up beat a team 11 on 11. As many have mentioned, we need every edge we can get.

    Shanahan has forgot more about offense then you will ever claim to know.

    1. Ahem. KS melted down in the SB, and is currently 0-3. He is not a genius and above reproach.
      .
      I think he needs all the help he can get, and he does not have all the answers.

      1. ahem, ATL defense did the melting…KS did his job of giving the team what should have been enough of a point lead to win…IF Quinn didn’t let NE get back into game.

  15. Grant very nice analysis, you are making a great point about simplifying the offense for more success at this stage. We have to keep in mind it will take at least one season for this offense to get adjusted on how to execute their assignments properly and there will be growing pains. I personally rather for us to fail this year with the level of talent since we do not have a chance to go to playoffs so we can gain experience for the upcoming years. We are still missing so many key skilled positions: #1 WR, QB, OL, true pass rusher, CB and another linerbacker. Go Niners

  16. As usual, Grant, your arrogance is matched only by your obnoxious attitude. Shanahan has forgotten more offensive football than you have ever known or will ever know.

  17. Grant,

    In your last example, the way I see it, Brown had Barwin the whole time on that play, regardless of where Donald set up. Brown missed his assignment period. Honestly, there is no way to really know if there was no motion if Brown would have still tried and block Donald.

  18. Well done breakdown Grant. I think you may be right but only in the sense that this line has very little experience playing together. Perhaps the percentage of plays on which the offense motions should be tilted more toward non-motion plays until the line has time to gel. Picking up assignments on late defensive adjustments can be tricky. I’m not at all sure Hoyer is doing his part in helping set up the protections. That would be a good question for Shanahan. Having said that, pre snap motion is a base element of Shanahan’s offense and that won’t change. He will always call a high percentage of motion plays and expect the o-line to do their jobs. Unfortunately, this o-line is subpar.

  19. I’ve said it before. Grant doesn’t believe in Occam’ Razor or, as young doctors are trained “When you hear hoof beats, don’t go looking for zebras”. The line and running backs need more talent and time to get to the point where they are NFL ready. How do you make the leap that changing the number of motion plays will make them play together better? The question for Grant is: Is it a wiser approach to alter your teaching system to win a couple of extra games? Or better to teach the whole system from the beginning? The 49ers need time and continuity, something they have not had for going on five years. Four HCs, systems and two GMs and we’re now supposed to see instant success. The simplest explanation for the current status of the team is that they need time and continuity to learn a well-designed system that will lead to winning. Thinking there are instant quick fixes puts you in the Jed York category of football acumen.

    1. How do you make the leap that changing the number of motion plays will make them play together better?

      When an offense uses pre-snap motion then the defensive assignments adjust accordingly. When the defense moves in a late adjustment then the offensive line all needs to be on the same page as to blocking assignments. When players on the o-line have very limited experience together then adjusting assignments based on a late defensive line adjustment can be tricky. It’s a chicken or egg argument though. Do more motion plays to get the o-line more experience in communicating pre-snap or do fewer motion plays to build a little more cohesion before adding more variables. In Grant’s examples the only QB on the roster with any playing experience is getting killed because the o-line screwed up their assignments. Seems more prudent to do less motioning for now.

      1. the only way KS dials back # of motion formations is if there’s a stronger emphasis on run game. The OL (Fusco, possibly Kilgore & Laken, even Brown has been out of sync a bit) is just not good enough to impose their blocking will from simpler, static formations. But, if KS & Lynch are willing to take the PR hit for the team over the next 4-5 games- losses mind you, we might see the OL get better along with run game, assuming Hyde holds up.
        So optimistically, this scenario give KS’ O the chance to do well in the last 3rd of season, But until the evidence of motion formations being cause of errors is overwhelming- that is more sports writers getting on this bus, not just the guy from PD who asks uncomfortable questions to coaches, the motion vs. static formation thing stays as it is now.

  20. The question is doing for long term or just for winning a few more games. The roster is not ready for big time. I would consider long term now and build the team up for the next few years. KS did it with other teams after his first year with them. I would train my players to the scheme for the long term now knowing that most of the good younger players would be with me for the next few years. The first games against NC showed me that he used it to test the water and to see how good the players are. He put his focus in the running game first. He knew Hoyer from the past and he probably knew that he will come around.

    I played FS in high school. Back then any offensive shift would confuse me once a while and I had to call out for the defense adjustment.

  21. Bruce Arians was just asked what he admires about Kyle Shanahan: “One thing he has done extremely well everywhere he has been is adapt to his players. Don’t just systemize it — put them in positions to be successful.”

    I also admire Shanahan’s willingness to adapt his system to his players. Emphasizing the inside zone scheme over the outside zone scheme is a good example of that. Reducing the pre-snap movement would be another opportunity to put the players in positions to be successful. I expect Shanahan will recognize the movement is causing more harm than good at this point in the season and adjust accordingly.

    1. Funny thing is Harbs was the king of presnap movement, yet didn’t seem to have much trouble implementing his system. KS overrated as it gets. Every since Kaep was cut, all I hear is he isnt a fit for Shannys scheme…..yet now its suggested he adapt his system to his roster. What a novel concept…….

      1. lol. No. Harbaugh inherited a Championship team. He had an elite TE, a HOF running back and an elite offensive line. And, of course, an elite defense. And with all that he never produced a single Top-10 offense. Not one. Worse, the second his elite defense dropped to tenth his crappy, college-level offense didn’t get all those turnovers and short-drives it needed to be successful and dropped to 25th in scoring.

        This offense doesn’t have nearly that talent. Not at a single position. Even Joe Staley is no longer the Joe Staley of old though he’s been showing out better with Hoyer back there instead of Takeasackernick who created a huge number of his own sacks due to his horrible pocket skills and penchant for holding the ball too long then panicking.

        1. JH added GREAT coaching staff (JH excluded) to a team that had LOTS of talent– but BAD coaching…JH’s scheme was simple enough for camp Alex to install the fundamental formations and passing concepts…Alex was smart that way…and let’s not forget the OL and Gore taking over too– this was a big offset for making JH/Roman pass game work….what those 2012/13 teams coulda done with better WR’s…like Issac Bruce, if he were a few years younger…

          1. On the defensive side. Roman and Chyrst were fairly mundane and they held the two most important offensive coaching positions – OC & QB coach.

            Of course, it was better than the madhouse of the Nolan/Singletary years.

            1. come on now…Roman/Chryst were a HUGE improvement from Jimmy Raye…I’m sure you meant on offensive side…and Fangio’s system made stars out of many of the guys from Singletary/Nolan regime

        2. “Takeasackernick” — pretty good that…
          how about “Heylookouternick” or “Just-a-minute-while-I-wind-up-ernick” or even “Where’s-that receiver-I’m-s’posed-to-throw-to-ernick”

      2. Harbaugh inherited a much deeper much more talented team than Kyle did. He’s 3 games into this . This team was a complete mess void of talent. And kaep definitely isn’t the answer. I admire his stance and all but he is not a very good QB

  22. Grant I will respectfully disagree.
    .
    Motion is important because of a myriad factors. Putting a man in motion will allow the QB to read the defense’s reaction. It can be used to over load a side. The TE can motion then pinch in the DE so the QB can roll out. The TE can chip at the DE, then run to the same side as the QB to provide a short pass option. Putting a MIM can create mismatches. Goodwin could go in motion so he will be at full speed at the snap of the ball, and avoid the check at the line of scrimmage. Fly sweeps and reverses can start with a MIM.
    .
    I can see your point about how the Motion can be counter productive if not done right. Maybe they need better preparations so it goes more smoothly. No 2 men in motion. No motioning that has players motion, then stopping, which wastes precious seconds, may not result in the defense adjusting and may result in letting the play clock run down to zero.
    .
    Niners are a new team, and it will take time. Falcons took a couple years to gel, and they had Ryan and Jones playing together for years. Yes, it should not be too complicated, but KS’s system utilizes MIM tactics because Bill Walsh utilized them all the time. Abandoning the Man in Motion would be like sheathing a weapon.
    .
    Used judiciously, the MIM tactic can give the Niners an advantage.
    .
    Since KS likes to look at film, he should watch Super Bowl XXIV. The Niners put a man in motion to devastating effect.
    .
    Grant, you seem to be getting lots of pushback on your assertion, but do not worry. You mentioned how the deep ball was abandoned, but needed to be called, and we saw that last game, so you can focus on the salient points. However, on this, I think you are dwelling on an aspect, but missing the big picture.
    .
    Some may say they cringe when you ask your questions, I am on the edge of my seat. Your questions are the hardest ones asked, and they make the coaches struggle to answer them. You ask questions that I want answers to.
    .
    Keep up the good work. It is funny how posters will criticize, but that just means they have read your article, and have spent time commenting on it. The vehemence of their remarks is proportional to your effectiveness.

    1. Thanks, Seb. I agree that pre-snap movement can be very effective if used judiciously. Shanahan used it 66 percent of the time against the Rams. That’s too much.

      1. so -I anxiously await your question to KS about why so many movement snaps were required…KS’ reply will be good for a post on it’s own I’ll bet!

        1. I hope he asks it. Really would like to hear what he is thinking, why he is over complicating things with a new bunch. Building a winner is a fine line. You throw too much stuff at them that they cannot process and all they do is lose, pretty soon they don’t care quite so much and lose faith in you and your system.. Perpetually starting from square one.. There are a number of reasons why the 49ers aren’t winning. The biggest culprit is mistakes on both sides of the ball. The Niners have lost two games by a total of 5 points. If there were 15% fewer penalties , missed blocking assignments, blown defensive assignments and perhaps fewer motion plays you more than likely win both games.

  23. Grant I don’t agree with you on this issue. However, I don’t understand all the bitter comments directed your way. But having said all that, You guys are entertaining as hell. Don’t change.

  24. Hey Grant , look at when he didn’t use motion , he had the advantage he was looking for on that down.and the personal he was looking for . He had his mismatch. Just thought I’d point that out . Think the offensive line blew it . Again center missed the line call .
    Note he had a good center in Cleveland , and oh yeah ,who did they get in Atlanta . ?
    Sorry bud disagree with you on this one . On a positive note at least you got everyone paying attention . Anybody know who the best center in the draft is coming up ? And who the best guard’s are coming out .

  25. Grant…I believe the struggles have a lot more to do with players continuing to learn the nuances of Shanahan’s complex offense. Even Matt Ryan didn’t truly flourish in it ’til his 2nd season…and that was on a very veteran team. The Niners turned over almost 70% of their roster…and this largely new team will need some time to mesh and learn Coach’s offense and Saleh’s defense, which I believe is a big reason we’re seeing ST’s doing so well…it doesn’t change that much with new coaching staff.

  26. It’s early days. Players are still learning the system. You have two options:
    – Dumb it down initially so players can learn at a comfortable pace, execute better early on.
    – Put a lot on the players plate and let it be a sink or swim type dynamic.

    In my experience, while you get better early results using option 1, the learning curve is steeper in option 2 and as a result you get to top performance earlier.

        1. I would rather dial down the complexity then thin the herd based on the success or failure of player system comprehension. You are going to get guys on the cusp who finally get it that wouldn’t have by throwing the whole kitchen sink at them.. The fewer players you need to cut the quicker to team continuity and IMO, success.. You can only draft, sign FA’s for so long searching for the perfect players for your scheme before the losing gets you fired. Kyle with a six year contract but don’t think if things don’t improve by 2019 he’ll have job security.

    1. Those are the two philosophies of teaching. I like the first philosophy, and it applies to individual players, too. Let a rookie master one job before giving him a second one. That’s what Vic Fangio did.

      1. Sure, option 1 is often best for rookies, or in the corporate world for grads just starting out. They know so little that it is almost guaranteed they would sink otherwise. But for people with experience it is my opinion the second option is often a more successful approach.

          1. Rookies in the system, but seasoned NFL pros. They should pick up on this faster than a rookie would. There will be issues to begin with, but by the end of the season they should be a lot better as they learn from their mistakes. There isn’t really a lot of time for teaching during the season as such, so if they didn’t take this approach it would mean they probably wouldn’t install most of this until next year.

            1. It comes back to what Bruce Arians said. You don’t just coach a system. You coach to put your players in the best position to be successful. And at this time, the pre-snap movement isn’t putting the players in the best position to succeed. That’s why you dial it back and build up gradually. Walsh believed in the same method.

              As far as trading the strength of the formation by shifting the tight end, what advantage does that give the offense when the defense inevitably stems its front? You change the personnel matchups, but you also change the blocking assignments at the last second. A very small potential gain with a big risk. Shanahan can use motion without sending players across the ball.

  27. The President Continues To Babble About The NFL

    Patrick Redford
    Today 2:16pmFiled to: NFL

    A week after President Trump galvanized the entire NFL against him following remarks about how owners should fire any “son of a biotch” who protested the national anthem and somehow made commissioner Roger Goodell—Roger focking Goodell—into the good guy, he’s returned to that well, because his strength is rambling about the last thing he saw. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, Trump claimed the football league is in a “really bad box”

    https://deadspin.com/the-president-continues-to-babble-about-the-nfl-1818849741

  28. NFL PowerRankings :

    31. 49ers: At least the offense came alive against the Rams. That’s a good sign moving forward. 0-3-0

    32. Browns: It’s going to be a long season. The defense was a problem area against the Colts and Jacoby Brissett. 0-3-0

    TomD’s Take: Time revisted. Those numbers were reversed last time this ranking occurred and the Browns beat the 49ers head to head…

    HA HA…..Guess what…..They don’t play this year, and our offense is picking up.

  29. Chris Biderman‏Verified account @ChrisBiderman 2h2 hours ago

    Kyle Shanahan said he was bothered by Trump’s comments: ‘When I think of being a leader, I think of bringing people together.’

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