49ers still learning coach Kyle Shanahan’s complex offense

SANTA CLARA — 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan often explains how complex his offense is.

When explaining why his offense has struggled this season, Shanahan reminds people the Falcons offense struggled during his first season in Atlanta, then took off during Year 2.

And when asked why he kept quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on the bench for a month after the 49ers acquired him in a trade, Shanahan said his complex offense takes a long time to learn and Garoppolo wouldn’t be fully comfortable with it until next season. If Shanahan had simplified the offense for Garoppolo and played him sooner, the 49ers might have won another game or two.

Shanahan discussed the complexity of his offense Friday during a press conference in the 49ers auditorium. Although he prefers to describe it as detailed instead of complex, his players consider it complex.

“It’s definitely a complex offense,” said wide receiver Louis Murphy.

“Yeah, there are a lot of moving parts,” said fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

“It’s Week 14 — you’re just now asking that?” said center Daniel Kilgore with a laugh.

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This article has 8 Comments

  1. Jimmy needed time. He only started 3 games. If he was Brady or Cam you could of just threw him in. He gets a win today I will be sold on him.

  2. If Shanahan had simplified the offense for Garoppolo and played him sooner, the 49ers might have won another game or two.

    “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas,” — Don Meredith, MNF.

  3. Simplifying your offense for one player isn’t fair to the rest of your team. You’re inhibiting the growth of the entire offense for the sake of one player. Not cool. This may seem like an inadequate comparison, but consider the source. I play video games. Whenever I get a new game, I always play on the hardest level available. Sure I struggle in the beginning, but as I begin to master it, I’m that much more formidable against my adversaries. I think attention to detail, precision are some of the pillars of a great offense, such as Bill Walsh’s. Conversely, we’ve seen what complex defenses can do to a defense, which is why the K.I.S.S. system, influenced by extreme aggression is best for that side of the ball. Good article, Grant!

  4. I also believe that the complexity of the offense was a factor in getting our qb now, in this case Jimmy G, then waiting. This move puts the team a full year ahead in the rebuild process. They will not have to start from the very beginning with a new qb to start the off season and into next year. This also gives the team much more flexibility in the draft. It will be fun to see players like Jimmy G, Trent Taylor, Trent Brown, Joshua Garnett, and Joe Williams along with the wr and o-lineman they will draft this year grow together in this complex offense.

    1. That is the exact reason why they traded the 2nd round pick for him mid season. So they could get him up to speed for next season. The QB is the one who really has to know the system first. That is also why they signed Hoyer. It was important for the QB to know the system in order for the rest of the team to learn the system. these guys. ( coach and GM ) really know what they are doing. Even if it doesn’t seem to make sort term sense there is a purpose behind their moves. It is just that usually teams are not in this sort of situation where they can make long term
      plans and the GM/coach have the time and assets to carry them out. Fans are conditioned to short term fixes.

      If fans would only have listened to what the Coach/ gm stated right when they were hired they would not have been as confused. They are doing exactly what they stated they would do. They also laid out their priorities. They are right on track.

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