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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Lions: Kyle Shanahan preparing for the expected and unexpected from Jared Goff

Sep 9, 2021 at 3:26 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers defense will see a familiar foe on Sunday in Detroit. The team will open its season against quarterback Jared Goff and the Lions. The Niners, of course, played against Goff regularly when he was with the Los Angeles Rams. An offseason trade shipped him out of the NFC West and to Motor City.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan isn't making any assumptions, though. This is a new Lions team with a lot of new players and new coaching staff. So there isn't really a way to predict what they might do. As for Goff himself, Shanahan respects the former division foe and knows not to underestimate him.

"Goff's played at a very high level in this league," Shanahan said this afternoon on KNBR's Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "We all know, if he has the time to throw, and I know they've done that with the Rams the best when they mix up the run and the play-action very well, and when they've got their run game going and had some good play-action off that, and he had a good pocket and stuff, I know that he was as accurate and as good as any quarterback."

Shanahan believes Lions head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will do what they can to put Goff in the best situation possible. The 49ers coach expects to see the Lions run game prominently featured, potentially setting up Goff for success.

That could mean the 49ers defense facing a familiar offense in Week 1.

"I know with Anthony Lynn being there and how important the running game is to him, and his history, I think it will be some similar stuff to what we're used to," Shanahan said.

However, there is also the chance that the Lions throw something unexpected at the 49ers. Shanahan and his players have to be prepared for that too. The truth is, Week 1 matchups can be tough to plan for. Yes, you have a lot more time to think about your game plan, but you are also less confident in what you might see.

"But again, you think about all that stuff, and you've got six days to talk about that all in between and everything, but you really never know until that first quarter comes and you kind of see what they're doing," Shanahan explained.

"Yeah, it might be similar to how Goff's played in the past with the schemes he's been in. If it is, then we've got a pretty good idea. If it's not, then you still play football, you go through your keys, and regardless of what's going on, you hope your front four can get to him."

The 49ers and Lions kick off their regular seasons on Sunday from Ford Field.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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