Three shotgun quarterbacks

It’s too early to take stock of the quarterbacks, so I’ll just give an observation.

The three top QBs on the training camp roster – Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, and Jeremiah Masoli – are all most comfortable throwing the ball from the shotgun.

Each guy played strictly in shotgun or shotgun-like offenses in college. Smith ran the spread, Kaepernick ran the pistol, and Masoli ran the option.

When you think of West-Coast-offense quarterbacks, you usually think of quarterbacks who operate from under center, yet Harbaugh hand-picked three shotgun guys. What does that mean?

My gut feeling is Harbaugh and Roman’s offense will not look like a classic West Coast offense, it will look like something new and innovative. I’m talking about shotgun play-action plays and designed quarterback runs to keep the defense off balance, things more associated with college offenses.

Harbaugh and Roman will be able to get away with these trick plays for a few reasons – the pre-snap shifting will confuse the defense, and the rest of the talent on the roster is set up to succeed from the shotgun as well.

Both Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter rushed from shotgun, one-back formations in college, and Frank Gore is certainly good enough to succeed in these formations as well.

We may not see the really creative stuff early, since team is only in mid-May form according to Harbaugh. But they are certainly something to watch for as the season goes on.


Follow me on twitter @grantcohn.

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