Brian Hoyer on play action: “The majority of it is done by the offensive line.”


This is the transcript of Brian Hoyer’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.


Could you quantify how much progress the offense has made, particularly in the passing game, from when you first got here?

“Yeah, I think finally last week we got done with the install. So, now we’re coming back around things a second time and you’re getting the see the same play maybe against the same look or maybe against a different look. You’re always progressing. I think anytime you go through minicamp, OTAs, all of that stuff, when you’re installing your offense, the defense is installing their defense, you’re going to go run a play against a look that you’re really not prepared for. Now we’ve kind of settled in, we know what the defense is doing, we know what we’re doing and you see the progress then. I think it’s kind of they throw everything at you and see what sticks and then you come back around and keep improving on those plays. Basically, now from the end of today until when we come back from training camp, you just go back over it, watch the film and let it all soak in. That way, when you come back to training camp, you’re not starting from day one again, you’re picking up where you left off. You go by days with installs, but it’s stuff that you’ve already done before.”


You’ve done it before, years ago. Do you see that this play fits with this play and that this is what we’re trying to make this play look like?

“Sure, and I knew that from when I played with [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] before, but now this time around I’m trying to see it through Kyle’s eyes whereas last time I was just trying to keep my head above water. I just tried to know the play and run the play whereas now, with a little bit of background, I want to see it how he sees it. I can definitely see where that is kind of starting to take place, but it’s also there are so many different plays to see which ones he is trying to tie together, which is great. One of the coolest things, I thought, is when we have our team meetings Kyle puts up plays and he explains them both from an offensive perspective and a defensive perspective. So, I sit next to [LB] Dekoda Watson and he’s like, ‘Man, I never even knew half of this stuff like who has got a certain gap and how we’re trying to affect that gap.’ I think that’s one of the great things about Kyle as a coach, is that he is able to break it down to the simplest level whereas I think a lot of times in this league that people bypass that and they just want to tell you, ‘Just do this.’ Kyle is always good about giving you the ‘why.’ This is why we’re trying to do this. This is why we’re trying to affect this player. And, if you’re really paying attention, you’ll learn a lot about football and realize what he’s trying to do with his scheme.”


Kyle was talking a lot about the importance of the play-action in the offense. How much work goes into selling those fakes and giving the defense the right looks?

“Yeah, no doubt. I think the one thing with our defense and defenses of that scheme, the linebackers are very good at coming from depth. I would say of all of the defenses that we are going to go against, defenses who play the scheme that our defense plays are going to be the toughest guys to get in play-action because the linebackers are very disciplined. We obviously have a lot of great linebackers with [LB NaVorro] Bo [Bowman] and [LB] Malcolm [Smith]. Malcolm has played in this system before. He’s really hard to get in play-action, which has been good for us because the first guy is not always there. For us, offensively, we just try to run the play like it’s the run. The only thing is, at that last second, you pull the ball away. The O-Line treats it the same way and try to get them. It’s been a good battle back-and-forth. We have gotten some, they have dropped underneath some where we have had to check it down. It’s been a good test for both sides.”


What are the nuances that the general fan wouldn’t know about something that you take for granted?

“Well, I think probably the general fan would think it’s all between the running back and the quarterback and I would say the majority of it is done by the offensive line. When the offensive line comes off like it’s the run, you can see times where we watch the film and the linebackers are reacting to them. They’re not even looking at us. They’re looking at the offensive line’s intention, the fullback, the tight end. We’ve just got to do the end part of it, which, I think for us is you just treat it like the run and the running back treats it like the run and he rolls over it and I pull it back, but I think a lot of the work is done up front.”


You’ve been around some good defenses with the Browns that year and the Texans. Is this defense shaking up where they could be pretty good?

“Yeah, I think, first of all you have players that can make plays. Secondly, you’ve got a scheme that is very sound. It makes an offense play really honestly. I mentioned the linebackers, but you look at the secondary. I’ve been really impressed with [DB] Jimmie [Ward]. This guy is playing the middle of the third from twelve yards deep and still being able to take away plays in the deep part of the field. [S] Eric Reid is playing that [Seattle Seahawks S] Kam Chancellor role really well. The D-Line, obviously we don’t have pads on so it’s hard to tell, but there are definitely times where even without pads that you’re feeling pressure. They have definitely given us a test every day and that’s what you want. We talk about iron sharpening iron. We want to go out and have a good day to put pressure on them and vice versa. We want to have them put pressure on us and really make us work for everything that we get.”


Is there anything that you plan on doing over these next five-and-a-half weeks with your receivers?

“Yeah, we’re going to get together and do a little thing I think. It is such a long period of time that you want to get together at least for some period. We’re aiming for right in the middle of when we leave and when we come back. We’ll get as many guys together as we can. You can’t accommodate everybody because people are going all across the country. We’re going to get together and get three days in and then come back ready to go on July 27th.”


Will that probably be around here?

“We haven’t determined the location yet. It’s still in the works, but we have a good commitment on the amount of guys that are going to be able to make it.”


Could you take us through the bomb to WR Marquise Goodwin yesterday? The play and then the satisfaction that the offense gets from that to open practice?

“Yeah, it’s like the old baseball commercial, ‘Chicks dig the long ball.’ Anytime you throw a deep ball, everybody gets pumped up. The good thing with us is that we have a guy like Marquise, and I’ll even throw a guy like [WR] Aldrick [Robinson] in there, just guys who can stretch the defense. When I played for Kyle in Cleveland, we had [current Los Angeles Chargers WR] Travis Benjamin and we had [current Atlanta Falcons WR] Taylor Gabriel so we hit some of those deep balls back then with those guys. What it does is now the defense has to honor the deep ball. So now, we have routes where we send those guys deep and then we break them off and it’s an easy throw. Those are low percentage-type throws and plus you’ve got to get the right look. We finally got it against the right defense yesterday. A lot of the times our defense is playing three deep so there’s a guy in the middle of the field so you can’t throw deep. Yesterday we got them in the right look and we capitalized on it. I think that’s the major thing, but what it does show our defense and hopefully when we get to the season, other defenses is that we have a guy who can take the top off the defense, as [former NFL WR] Randy Moss used to say. The good thing that I’ve been really impressed about Marquise is that he’s not just a guy who is going to run vertical and run deep. He has really worked on his route-running and yesterday he had press coverage, ran the guy off and ran a stop route and the guy was five yards away from him. So, to see a guy who is known just as a speed guy run intermediate routes and go across the middle and catch the ball, it’s been a pleasant surprise.”


Same thing with TE George Kittle. You had a big play to him in that first team period. Has he impressed you?

“Yeah, he has. I joked because his offensive coordinator there is [University of Iowa offensive coordinator] Brian Ferentz. He was with me in New England. I said, ‘I’m going to text him and tell him that they were using you the wrong way.’ You think of Iowa, you think of these big, blocking tight ends. He has a really good football awareness, is what I would call it. A feel for where to break, how to break, read-zones. I’ve been surprised and, obviously, it’s a good thing for us to have a guy who has that football awareness and some feel of the game to it. Obviously, that play was another hard play-action. We got everybody to suck up and they cut him loose. There wasn’t really much for him to do on that one, but there was a play later on in practice where we basically gave him a two-way go and he made a great choice and caught the ball. Everybody is improving. I think that’s the biggest thing, rookies, vets, everybody. Now we’re in our last week. We’ve been running the plays. Like I said before, now you’re coming back around and running some plays again. It’s improvement. Now, every play is not great, but you learn from the bad ones and you keep capitalizing on the good ones.”


Would you say that your chemistry with your receivers is growing at about according to plan?

“Yeah, for sure. For sure. That’s why it’s important for us to get together at some point between now and training camp. We’ve thrown a lot of footballs together over the last nine weeks. Whether it was phase one, phase two or in practice, those are the reps that you get. So, that’s why I said it will be good. I’ll take a week off from throwing. I won’t throw for a whole week and then I’ll get back into a routine and then I’ll meet up with those guys and then all of a sudden it’ll be training camp and I think we’ll be right where we should be.”


Is it difficult with so much rotation going on along the offensive line and how important is chemistry for you with the guy who is snapping you the ball?

“The only time I ever notice is when the center comes in because they let me know. Other than that, I’m thinking about the play, I’m thinking about what our offensive personnel group is, how many receivers we have in the game. Other than when a new center comes in, I really don’t ever notice it. I think those guys have all done a good job. Obviously, the interior guys are rotating around all over the place trying to configure the best five guys that you can get. Like I said before, there are no pads on so you can’t really put much weight on that right now. It’s kind of unfair for an offensive line when they can only do so much without really blocking people. Like I said, I really only noticed when [OL Jeremy] Zuttah or [OL Tim] Barnes, when there is a center rotation they let me know because each guy is a little bit different. I have to take the snap a little bit differently.”


Other than WR Pierre Garçon, there haven’t been a whole lot of guys right now on this team among the wide receivers who have accomplished a whole lot. Which guy or guys have stood out to you? Have any of those guys caught your eye?

“Well, I’ve been happy with all of them. That’s the other thing, I don’t really know which receiver is going to be in there at a certain time either, so you get work with all of them. I know what you’re saying. Pierre is probably the most well-known, but really, and part of the reason I knew I wanted to come here is because of Kyle’s offense. He is going to get guys open. It doesn’t matter who they are. Now, when it’s man-to-man coverage, you obviously hope you have a better guy than the defense, but when teams are playing zone the ball is going to go anywhere. It just depends on how the defense declares it and then it’s my job to get it to the right guy. I think that’s always been one of my strong suits is not zeroing in on one guy, especially against zone defenses because they are going to make you pick here, pick there. If they give you the big one then you take it, but if not, the ball should go to wherever the open guy is. Until the ball is snapped, you don’t always know where that’s going to be.”


WR Trent Taylor obviously is not large and doesn’t have a large catch radius. But, can you see the qualities that allowed him to, I think he led the nation in receptions last year. How is he able to do it? What contributes to that?

“Well, I think when you talk about man-to-man coverage, he’s a guy that, if it is man-to-man, he’s probably going to win. It just depends on the route that you give him and does the defender have help somewhere. A lot of times, when we talk about man coverage, these guys, they play outside leverage or inside leverage based on where their help is. Sometimes when it’s a man pressure and you know that he’s got a two-way go, he is pretty much going to win. Like you said, the hard part is sometimes with those little guys you can’t always see them. Maybe you see like the top of their helmet or something. It’s similar to when I played with [Cleveland Browns WR] Andrew Hawkins in Cleveland, a guy who would kill anybody in one-on-ones if you got him in man coverage, but the hard part is sometimes you’ve got to find a lane to throw to him. I think, if you watch him just practice, you can tell why he had the success that he had in college, there’s no doubt.”

This article has 36 Comments

  1. Maybe they can resign Kaep and send hime over the middle . Since he can’t QB, he could use his Tebow-like running skills at 230 Lbs…Tebow was slightly larger at 255 Lbs….Think of how terrified the Db’s would be ???

  2. “Kyle is always good about giving you the ‘why.’ This is why we’re trying to do this. This is why we’re trying to affect this player. And, if you’re really paying attention, you’ll learn a lot about football and realize what he’s trying to do with his scheme.”

    To me this suggests that the team will be able to adjust more/better on both sides of the ball during games – at least more than we’ve seen in the past.

    It would also seem that if players really understand the “why” of things, they might be able to suggest adjustments to the coaches during games. But I don’t really know if that is a realistic expectation.

    1. Cubus,

      In one of the Dallas vs. 49ers games, Montana noticed the safeties creeping in on Jerry Rice when he ran a slant route.
      Montana suggested he run a slugo (Slant and go route). Rice did and the result was a long TD.

      Dwight Clark once suggested to Montana that they run more patterns in the swamp vs. Dallas.
      At the end of the game Clark ran a comeback pattern there, the Db slipped and Clark took it to the house.
      So yes, the WCO lends itself to confusion of the defense. If a receiver notices an adjustment, the 49ers can adjust on the spot–not wait for halftime adjustments like Baalke built teams.

  3. Hoyer’s statement indicates an understanding of the game and he clearly articulates the nuances. No mumbling, no attitude, a willingness to accept responsibility- refreshing.

  4. Hoyer will go the Gabbert route. He will play himself off the team, and end up being inactive for game days near the end of the season. Then he will sign for the league minimum for an under achieving team the next season.
    Barkley will out compete Hoyer. Then I hope Lynch proves to me that he truly wants to win, and he will do everything in his power to improve the team. Sure am glad he apologized. Sounds like he wants to keep that door open.

    1. Haha!!!!!!!!!

      Sebs, I luv ya!!!!!!!!!!!!! You missed your calling! You bring your stuff up on the stage and you’ll be the new “Mr. Vegas” in no time!!!!

      1. Prime, no, the door is still open. Lynch apologized to Kaep for more leaks. That would be unheard of if Baalke was still around.That just means that the door may be wide open, especially after they analyze the OTA film.
        Guess you are right, Kaep may take the league by storm, again.

    2. Then he will sign for the league minimum for an under achieving team the next season.

      So you are saying his prospects are better than what Kaep has seen this off season.

      1. Kaep is being patient, and there are blog posters who have started calling for Kaep to be signed by the Niners, because they think the present QBs are limited. Good thing they have all that OTA film to dissect.
        Kaep will not sign for the league minimum, because Pete Carroll declared he was a starter, and he should get starting pay. I hope Lynch signs him to a -prove it- contract, with a promise to renegotiate if he wins games.

        1. False hope is like a bag of F-ing bricks. All you gotta do is set it down… Who are you carrying all those bricks for anyway? Kaepernick? Is that it? Kaepernick?;>)

        2. Kaep will not sign for the league minimum, because Pete Carroll declared he was a starter, and he should get starting pay.

          Carroll certainly put his owner’s money where his mouth is, didn’t he? What’s his deal, man?

          1. Harbaugh’s trotting off the field like a stud quarter horse, while Schwartz is nipping at his heels like a crazed terrier! LMAO!

            1. Consecutive posts with zero to no substance.
              Retirement is killing you Pops.
              You need a hobby and blogging ain’t cuttin it!

      1. Too bad what you think and what knowledgeable football people think are the complete opposite.

        So the best thing you should do is shut up about it already cause its not going to happen.

        Sure you can keep being a jack off about it and look stupid, and then get vilified, and then cry about how you are a 49er fan and want them to win and blah, blah, blah, if you prefer. If that makes you feel happy. Your call!

        1. Prime, most of the posters on this site are polite and knowledgeable. I have written things that the Niners followed pretty closely. I got 9 out of 10 things right, and advocated that the Niners obtain 2018 second and third round picks. I even previously mentioned that the Niners should trade back, accumulate picks, and still get the player they coveted.
          You on the other hand, have no football knowledge and think you can shout some one down by demonstrating boorish behavior.
          Blustering and bloviating that the Niners would draft Trubisky when the defensive needs were way more critical, and apparent to any sane Niner fan, just makes me smh.
          A real fan wishes his team to win, and does not root for the starting QB to fail, then crow about the losses, like you do.
          Your vituperous screeds that was directed at the starting QB of the San Francisco 49ers, and the vilification of anyone who dared defend him, just amply showed you up as a small minded hater.

      2. Maybe when you invest so much in a particular hope, it becomes an unhealthy obsession. You’re a smart guy Seb, but you seem to have a blind spot about this, and too much pride to consider that if so many people are making the same suggestion to you, maybe it’s ok to reject your own instinct on this one and come to be known on this board as something other than an obsessed fan.

        1. Alan, its OK. The root of fan comes from fanatic. I am perfectly happy to champion the underdog, and if he does re-sign with the Niners, I will make sure Prime knows about it every day.
          If you think that I am obsessed of the fact that the last QB to lead the Niners to a SB is available, but not utilized, imagine what I think of you considering the present QBs being good enough to win games in the NFL.

            1. I think you are looking through rose colored glasses. Maybe you should see that they are inaccurate and immobile, and their records confirm that.

  5. I wonder how many QBs, or any players for that matter, refer to the Head Coach by his first name? Does it say something about their relationship? Does it say something about Shanahan’s style? Or does it mean anything at all?

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