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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

PFF ranks 3 play-callers ahead of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan

Jun 16, 2022 at 9:14 AM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is still widely regarded as one of the NFL's top play-callers, which is reflected in Pro Football Focus' 2022 ranking of the best offensive play-callers.

How did the analytics site determine its ranking? Contributor Eric Eager used the massive amount of data available to him and adjusted each coach's success based on opponents faced. He also factored in expected points based on available talent and the play-caller's success rate, among other things.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay were left off last year's ranking. Eager explained that Pro Football Focus dinged the two coaches because they often forwent the chance to do something more efficient in "an effort to be amazing at something less valuable."

"Anyone who watched the final two games of the 2021 NFL season can see that, while the two men are brilliant, their offenses leave a lot on the table by running the ball too much, not to mention their fourth-down decisions," Eager added.

Both Shanahan and McVay find themselves in this year's ranking of the top six play-callers. They come in at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. Ahead of them are Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

Eager notes that linebackers do not feel comfortable flowing against Shanahan's and McVay's offenses, making the play-callers' jobs much easier. That's a testament to how much respect both coaches have earned.

"[Linebackers] don't flow in the run game, and they don't bite on play action," Eager wrote. "With linebackers standing still, quarterbacks of Jimmy Garoppolo's caliber can simply 'throw what's called' — be a Ron Burgundy of sorts — and it ends up working out.

"Last year, Jimmy G posted a 107.4 passer rating when throwing the ball between 10-19 yards downfield, even though PFF charted him as having just two big-time throws and 15 turnover-worthy plays on such passes."

Rounding out Pro Football Focus' list of the top six play-callers is Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.


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