Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan discusses positives, negatives of strange offseason

Jun 24, 2020 at 5:15 PM--

A bearded Kyle Shanahan spoke with the voice of the San Francisco 49ers, Greg Papa, during the team's virtual State of the Franchise event this week. The head coach discussed the positives and negatives of a strange offseason, which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As far as the teaching aspect of the offseason goes, Shanahan is proud of what his team has been able to accomplish.

"Being able to do all this stuff in the classroom by doing it on these conference calls, that's been great," Shanahan said. "I mean, it's actually been more work than we would normally get in an offseason because usually, you get guys coming in the building, you've got to travel between meeting rooms, they're worrying about lifting, running, doing things like that."

NFL players haven't been able to enter team facilities across the league due to social distancing rules. The team won't get together for the first time until training camp next month, at the earliest.

"Now, we just get on [the video conference calls], and we talk straight ball for the whole time," Shanahan continued. "So, from a meeting-room standpoint, we've been able to do more this offseason than we ever have."

There are negatives, though. There are limits to how much coaches and players can virtually meet.

"We aren't training guys to learn how to coach," Shanahan explained. "We're training guys to actually do this with their bodies, and that's what you miss in OTAs so much because OTAs -- we get these three weeks of teaching. Then you get into OTAs, and you get 10 practices or so, and you can evaluate them, and coach off the film, and say what they're doing right and wrong."

Shanahan added that those limited practices are crucial for players, especially the rookies, in their preparation for training camp, and that is what is missing this offseason.

As for the rookies, the abnormal offseason has created a significant challenge.

"I mean, it's a challenge for rookies every year, as it is," Shanahan added. "They (normally) only get the OTAs after the draft, which they're a little behind there. And then they go into training camp, and they've got about a month to make the team.

"People don't realize how hard it is to make a 53-man roster. When you only have 10 guys on (the) practice squad, and you don't have a minor-league-type system, it can come and go for guys pretty fast."

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