Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan explains how Trey Lance is helping the 49ers defense prepare for the Eagles

Sep 18, 2021 at 10:14 AM--


Athletic quarterbacks have been a challenge for the San Francisco 49ers defense in recent years, and the NFC West has two of the best in Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. They are quarterbacks who can not only hurt you with their arms but improvise with their legs.

The 49ers defense will face another similar challenge on Sunday in Philadelphia Eagles second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. This year, however, DeMeco Ryans' unit should be more prepared. Not necessarily because of anything the first-year defensive coordinator has implemented this offseason but because of the team's first-round draft pick, Trey Lance, who the defense regularly faces in practices.

"It definitely helps them be more prepared," head coach Kyle Shanahan explained to NBC Sports Bay Area this past week. "I mean, you've got to do stuff like this every time you play a quarterback with his skill set, that Jalen has. But usually, when we do it, I don't have that type of quarterback.

"So the past couple of years, you have Nick Mullens and C.J. [Beathard] running the scout team, and whenever we want to do that type of play, someone like Richie James would come in and do it for us, which he'd always give a good look, but the defense knows what's happening when the throwers are taken out. Yeah, you give them the look, and you run the plays, but they're ready for it."

The 49ers are preparing for the unpredictable play of Hurts and the new Eagles coaching staff. The quarterback can improvise with his legs, but he also threw three touchdown passes during Philadelphia's 32-6 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last weekend.

"When you have a guy like Jalen Hurts in there, yeah, he might do those [RPO-style plays], but he also might play quarterback. And so that's good that our scout-team quarterback is wired the same way, so they've got to play it on us, which I believe makes them, the individuals and the whole defense, a lot more prepared for Sunday."






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