Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan shares one of the benefits of a strange 49ers offseason

Jun 5, 2020 at 9:21 AM--

To say that this NFL offseason has been an abnormal one for players and coaches alike would be an understatement. To say that the past few months have been abnormal for almost anyone would be an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we all work and live.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, like his players, is eager to get back to work.

Face-to-face work, that is.

The 49ers have been working hard, after all. They have just been doing so virtually. Video conferences have replaced meeting rooms. Home gyms in garages have replaced team workout facilities.

During a typical NFL offseason, teams would be headed down the home stretch of their offseason programs right about now. Players would be getting ready for a much-needed break away from their coaches and teammates until it came time to report to training camp. Many would be planning vacations.

These are strange times, however.

That isn't to say that it's been all bad. There have been some benefits. Maybe not enough to outweigh the negatives, especially for a team looking to return to the Super Bowl, but a bright side does exist in some aspects of the offseason learning process.

"It's been awesome to go through all the cutups (from last season) with the guys," Shanahan told reporters via a video conference on Thursday, "to be able to just watch game tape with the guys. To be able to have an hour and a half meeting where I only talk about one play. Now, I showed that play 60 different ways, and we go through all the variations of it, but I've never been able to do that.

"Usually I've got to talk about 10 plays in that hour and a half. What sticks when you talk about 10 plays? Not very much. It gets very diluted, so we've kept ours light. We have a lot of fun on it."

Sometimes the meetings go long. After all, coaches and players are cooped up at home. Shanahan even joked that the longer virtual sessions might be benefitting his children.

"Sometimes when it ends, we just sit there and keep talking because there's not a ton to go back to," Shanahan shared, "especially when my kids are homeschooling. And the longer I can stay busy and avoid any part of that, the better our family usually did.

"We've just had a lot of fun messing around with each other. I think the zoom meetings have been very personable. I think people enjoy them."

The 49ers coach has tried to find ways to fill the time that isn't consumed by football. He's watched all nine seasons of "The Office" about three times. He'll play basketball and skateboard with his family. Shanahan even endeavored to install a zip line over his pool before realizing he may be in over his head and calling for help.

"It's been cool being able to hang around the family," Shanahan said, "but man, we've got to go to a restaurant or something. I would love to take the kids somewhere, go see a movie, Dave and Busters, anything. Hopefully, we'll try to go to the beaches here and there, but that's tough, too."

Back to football, Shanahan feels his coaching staff has done a great job of mentally preparing his players. Now, they'll have to see if they can put that knowledge to good use when the team finally kicks off training camp — whenever that takes place.

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