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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan on KNBR: 49ers need to make some plays around Brian Hoyer

Oct 6, 2017 at 9:44 AM--

Quarterback Brian Hoyer is not having a great start to his time with the San Francisco 49ers. He was the guy who head coach Kyle Shanahan brought in at the start of free agency to be the 49ers' undisputed starting quarterback – for at least one season. Four games into the 2017 season, fans are already calling for Hoyer to be replaced.

The problem is, the only other quarterback on the active roster is untested rookie C.J. Beathard, who continues to see the majority of practice snaps with the 49ers scout team. While he does receive some snaps with the starting offense, most of the time, he is asked to imitate the opposing quarterback for the team the 49ers defense will face on game days.

Hoyer has completed 58.1-percent of his passes for 858 yards this season. He has thrown just two touchdowns compared to his four interceptions. Both of Hoyer's touchdowns came during a Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Rams and he has thrown an interception in each of his four starts. His passer rating of 67.9 currently ranks 30th among quarterbacks with at least 30 attempts and ranks as the 26th highest graded player at his position, according to Pro Football Focus.

On Friday morning, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan joined the "Murph & Mac" show on KNBR and was asked what the team is doing to make things easier for its starting quarterback.

"To make things easier on a quarterback, you've got to play at a high level around him," Shanahan said. "You try to get the run game going. You try to get some completions to where you get the ball in guys' hands and allow them to make plays. The more you can do that, the easier you can make it for him. Usually, it breeds a little more confidence and it takes some pressure off the guy.

"You don't want a guy to feel like he has to play perfect. By no means have we but you keep working at it. We keep going back to fundamentals – the footwork and throwing and things like that and all the technical stuff, which Brian is very good at that stuff. He's a very pure passer. As a route thrower, he's as good as anyone I've been around. I know he has the ability to do it and he has done it at times and we've got to get him to do it more consistently.

"I know he was off in that way against Arizona and when he was (on), I didn't think we did a great job catching the ball. Also, I think it's a two-way street. I think we can take some pressure off of him by making some plays around him. We've just got to put a string of some good series together. When you do that – I thought we did that at times versus LA – I think your game raises. But when you're inconsistent at both positions, it's hard to get in that rhythm."

You can listen to the entire 13-minute interview with Shanahan below.

Hoyer has been sacked 13 times this season, which is tied for the sixth-most in the NFL. Only Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals (17), Tom Brady of the New England Patriots (16), Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs (16), Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers (15), and Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals (14) have been brought down more.

Hoyer has been pressured 56 times this season, which is tied for the 10th-most in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. That means he has been sacked 23.2-percent of the times he has been under pressure from opposing defenses. Hoyer's completion percentage while under pressure drops to 44.2-percent. However, Shanahan said on Wednesday that pass protection has been one of the aspects of his team that encourages him.

"I think the pass protection has been pretty good," Shanahan said. "I think our strengths are tackles outside. I think they've done a good job. I thought they did a decent job last week. When guys pressure, you can't hold onto the ball. We've got to pick those blitzes up and get rid of it. I thought we did a pretty good job of that for the most part. We missed a couple blitzing safeties with their backs in the game, which hurt us a couple times, but I've been pretty pleased with our protection."


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