Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Why PFF ranks 49ers’ passing game near the bottom of the league

Jul 7, 2017 at 1:54 PM--

New San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is considered by many to be an offensive genius. However, with a rebuild barely kicking off in San Francisco and so many new faces on the roster, no one is expecting him to work a miracle in 2017. The team may not even have its franchise quarterback in place yet. If third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard out of Iowa does prove his doubters wrong and develops into something special, it may still take some time.

July is considered to be the dead time of the offseason. It is the time between NFL teams' offseason programs and the start of training camp. Players tend to scatter from home base and either work out on their own for the upcoming season, relax a bit by traveling, or both. It's also the time for media outlets to bombard you with rankings.

Pro Football Focus recently released a ranking of NFL teams based on their passing game. Not surprisingly, the 49ers came in near the bottom of the list at number 30. The only teams that ranked lower were the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Jets.

Below is Pro Football Focus' explanation of the 49ers' placement within the ranking by author Cam Mellor.

"While reuniting QB Brian Hoyer with his former offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Kyle Shanahan, may seemingly be a good idea, Hoyer actually fielded the league's worst adjusted completion percentage in the year with Shanahan at OC in Cleveland. Outside of that, more questions arise. They brought in Pierre Garçon (22nd highest passer rating when targeted) from Washington and Marquise Goodwin (just a 46.6 passer rating when targeted – 97-out-of-98) from Buffalo, but after that there is little to no depth."

In 2016, Hoyer didn't actually take enough snaps to rank within Pro Football Focus' grading system. He broke his left arm during the second quarter of the Chicago Bears' Week 7 game against the Green Bay Packers and was later placed on injured reserve. If eligible, Hoyer's 2016 Pro Football Focus grade would have thrown him near the middle of the pack between Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs and Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins.

In the weeks that Hoyer did start for Chicago last season (Week 3 through 7), he had a passer rating of 98.4, which places him right behind Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins during that span of time but with more passing yards (1,367 vs. 1,303). During that same timeframe, when Hoyer was given time in the pocket (over 2.5 seconds), he ranked sixth in the NFL.

Shanahan appears confident in Hoyer as his quarterback. The two have worked together before. As Mellor mentioned, they were paired together for a season (2014) with the Cleveland Browns. That was the only year since 2007 that Cleveland had at least seven victories in a season.

"I got to work with Brian for one year when we were in Cleveland together," Shanahan said in May. "He can execute an entire offense. He can read a defense. He can hang in that pocket. He's a guy that's very tough. He doesn't watch the rush. He distributes the ball to whoever should get the ball based on the coverage and he allows guys to make plays."

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