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Despite Early Troubles, 49ers Offense Poised to Finish the Season Strong

Nov 3, 2022 at 11:51 AM--

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The 49ers offense has sputtered out of the gates for the second year in a row. Last season through eight games, the team found themselves at 3-5. This season, they are 4-4 and hovering around the middle of the pack in all statistical categories. Ironically, the reason for the team's offensive inconsistency in back-to-back seasons can be attributed to the same source—Kyle Shanahan had to establish two offenses.

Last season, with the highly anticipated addition of the dynamic Trey Lance, head coach Kyle Shanahan spent a nice portion of last year's off-season developing what was often referred to as the "Trey" offense during training camp. Trey Lance's skillset added dimensions to the offense that were unavailable to the team, with Jimmy Garropolo possessing a starkly different skillset. This meant that the 49ers would present different challenges to the opposing team's defense based on who was under center.

Kyle Shanahan anticipated causing headaches for defenses. However, what eventually took place was that the offensive personnel struggled to find consistency and, at times, appeared a bit overwhelmed by what some could argue was information overload. To Shanahan's credit, after the 3-5 start, a line was drawn in the sand, and Trey Lance and the packages designed for him became less of the weekly game plan. The offense played faster and became more efficient with the game plan focused solely on one QB. The 49ers scored 30-plus points for three consecutive weeks after making the shift and finished 7-2 in the team's final nine games.

This season, albeit for different reasons, the 49ers, through the first eight games of the season, have been shuffling through two offenses again, and it shows. This year, the 49ers spent the entire training camp developing an offense around Trey Lance, and we all know that Jimmy Garoppolo was either rehabbing or not involved with the team's activities to the point that he wasn't given a playbook.

In a series of strange events, Garoppolo becomes the backup on a reworked deal, and in Week 2, Trey Lance is lost for the season due to injury. Over the next six games, we see up-and-down play from the offense that is trying to piece things together by running plays that were not installed throughout the preseason. This is more difficult when you factor in the new offensive line pieces, particularly the interior. The bye week will allow the 49ers to make the necessary adjustments and find their footing as they look to repeat or improve on last season's 7-2 record over the final nine games.

What gives 49ers fans the optimism that this team can recreate last year's magic? I don't know; maybe Christian McCaffrey? The addition of the dynamic running back to this offense is the definition of a force multiplier. His impact on Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Kyle Jucysck may not be quantifiable. McCaffrey will garner so much attention that each of the team's offensive weapons will likely see an increase in production with less usage, which bodes extremely well for a team consistently plagued by injuries.

McCaffrey allows Shanahan to reinstitute the "Deadpool" package for Deebo Samuel, which took advantage of his elite "broken field" running ability as the package got him the ball in creative ways via pre-snap motion. Samuel's ground production was down this year because the element of surprise was gone when he lined up in the backfield. With McCaffrey in the fold, defenses can't key on Samuel like they did before the blockbuster trade.

Finally, the ultimate benefactor of McCaffrey's addition is Jimmy Garoppolo. 49ers fans know all too well that the team's hopes ride on the arm and decision-making of the much-maligned quarterback. Blitzes and quarterback pressures have often led to ill-advised throws from the quarterback. With the addition of McCaffrey, teams are going to be less likely to bring exotic blitzes and pressures because a simple check down to McCaffrey that beats the blitz is always a potential game-changer.

All things considered, the 49ers are in the perfect position to lead an offensive explosion en route to Glendale and Super Bowl LVII.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • BigAl
    I would add that the OL developing together will be the biggest factor offensively this year as well. Buford may have a higher ceiling but how many times are you NOT gonna block Aaron Donald in a season? On a pass play! Were not talking a trap play....But drop back passes. I mean thats gotta be the stupidest play in all of football, anywhere. Hey guys lets not block Aaron Donald, maybe he wont realize you snapped the ball. Maybe he will get bored and go home. Im saying, I seen enough of Burford after that. Get him out the game! (The 1st time this happened is when Brunskill started coming in) Weeks later, this 2nd time? They shouldve just let Brunskill stay in....Anyway.. I told anyone that would listen that Banks is an upgrade over Laken Tomlinson. Its early but come on, hes playing at a pro bowl level. Trent Williams has played less games and allowed more sacks than Banks. ( Zero) JG is always going to be JG which means his offense will always be better with a productive running game and will always be very streaky and inconsistent. Will CM help there? Yea its nice to think so but yea. Probably not. We did not stay hot last year either even though the narrative is different.
    Nov 3, 2022 at 5:15 PM
  • BigAl
    While the reacclimation is true for this year, I definitely didnt see that last year. In fact, that didnt happen. Lance only came in literally like 3 plays the first couple games or something. That did not effect the offense or make anyone 'confused'. The fact is after the Lions we had faced some pretty good defenses, including the Colts in that terrible weather game. But week 2 was the Eagles b4 their coach somehow caught a clue. Yet the Eagles dominated us in the trenches that game, and they are only better now. (Not eager to play them)....And ARZ is one of those teams that just matches up well versus us. JG has always struggled versus talented LBs. ARZ has 2 hyper plus athletes at the position, and of course Watt and Co were giving us fits on passing downs. And one of those ARZ games had been with Lance as the starter and a terrible gameplan by KS. Meanwhile Colt Mccoy played one of the most frustratingly efficient games in recent memory. I think any year in football teams clearly develop cohesion, especially along the OL. That has more to do with offenses getting progressively better than anything.
    Nov 3, 2022 at 4:59 PM


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