Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan excited to use Jordan Reed and George Kittle on the field at the same time

Aug 7, 2020 at 2:32 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers haven't officially announced the Jordan Reed signing. That's because the veteran tight end still has to pass his COVID-19 tests (yes, plural) and physical before joining his new teammates for training camp. But the signing is as good as done.

Both general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have already discussed the addition with the media. The latter took it a step further. Shanahan is obviously salivating at the thoughts of what Reed can do for his offense, confirming that he plans to utilize both Reed and All-Pro George Kittle on the field at the same time.

"If you have tight ends on the field who can run-block, that means you're going to get three linebackers out there instead of two and a nickelback," Shanahan explained Thursday on KNBR's Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "And when you have those three linebackers, then you're going to have one safety, so you've got four guys down."

Who will that lone safety cover? Kittle or Reed? That leaves the other matched up with a linebacker, said the coach. As for the safety, Shanahan likes either of his tight ends in that one-on-one matchup.

"But then let's say they put a nickel on the other, where the matchup might not be quite as good, even though it's not dead," Shanahan continued, "now you're in a premiere-run look. Not to mention, now I guarantee you a linebacker is on our halfback.

"So, you get all three of those guys, and one of those guys is going to get a very good matchup until they put all DBs in there, and that's what you want. You want them to put DBs in there so we can just have it easier and run the ball, and never risk a sack or a turnover."

Shanahan envisions a lot of explosive running plays coming from these matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.

There is one problem with this strategy, should the NFL's No. 2 ranked rushing attack find even more success during the upcoming season.

"We've just got to risk people saying we didn't throw it because of our quarterback, which is totally inaccurate," Shanahan quipped while laughing.

The coach was obviously throwing shade on those who speculated that he lost faith in Jimmy Garoppolo during the playoffs.

"That's the game you're always playing, and you're just trying to get your guys in advantageous situations," Shanahan added, "and then they've got to go and do it. You try to get guys like Jordan Reed, guys like Kittle.

"That's what we brought [Jerick McKinnon] in here for in the pass game, guys who are extremely consistent in winning one-on-one matchups in the pass game. And when you have that, it just gives you so many good options."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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