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4 Kyle Shanahan designed run plays that show off the 49ers coach’s brilliance

Jason Aponte
Jun 18, 2020 at 7:30 AM


With the news of Kyle Shanahan's six-year extension through 2025, let's take a look at the San Francisco 49ers head coach's running scheme since it will be around for a while. After looking through his vast repertoire of running plays, it's easy to conclude that there are so many subtleties that contribute to a play's success. Whether those are blockers understanding their assignments, window dressing, or running different plays from the same looks, they were a recipe for success in 2019.

The 49ers finished second in both total rushing yards (2,305) and rushing yards per game (144.1) behind the Baltimore Ravens, who were aided by a historic season from quarterback Lamar Jackson. San Francisco running backs Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and even Jeff Wilson, Jr. all benefited from the complexity of the scheme with Mostert ending the season as the most effective.

Mostert's speed and ability to read blocks became a match made in heaven in 2019. Most of the highlighted plays will feature Mostert, but there are clips of Coleman and Breida that jump out as well. Let's highlight five plays that showcase the little things of this scheme.

Week 8 vs. Carolina

2nd-and-11, CAR 19
Outside Zone - Backside Lock with RPO's.


This concept has a variation that leaves the 3-tech unblocked. In this case, it's Gerald McCoy, who is hung up with the jet motion of wide receiver Dante Pettis and trying to decipher the RPO. The backside lock eliminates the pursuit of linebackers. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has the option to pass to the flat with Pettis, but read the front perfectly, and Coleman walks in. Window dressing with an RPO makes this look easy.

Week 5 vs. Cleveland

First play for the 49ers
Inside Zone - Weak - 21 Personnel


Fullback Kyle Juszczyk creates the cutback lane for Breida by selling the run to the front side and cleans up the linebacker. He moves in motion to the right, takes one step in that direction, and clears the hole for his running back. The slice block is executed to perfection, and Breida does the rest.

Week 12 vs. Green Bay

Inside Zone - Weak


There are two things to keep your eyes on here. Juszczyk begins left and reads the linebacker uncovered and cleans him up for another cut back lane. Tight end Garrett Celek does a fantastic job of blocking the tackle and then the linebacker to create a lane for Mostert to wiggle through for the touchdown. This is all concept and understanding from Juszczyk, Celek, and Mostert.

Week 14 vs. New Orleans

Inside Zone - Lead - Weak


The 28-yard gain from Breida starts with Kittle helping the guard in the "B" gap. Notice Vonn Bell, the safety, walk down as he appears to focus on Kittle. Kendrick Bourne opens the lane by getting to Bell, and there's your big gain. The play was executed to perfection in a game where the 49ers needed to be as close to perfect as possible. The successful play boils down to understanding the defensive front and play concept. Bourne and Kittle deserve gold stars on this one.

Kyle Shanahan has provided stability to a once wandering franchise. One can only assume, with the very fair amount of roster continuity and reps, this run game can pick right up where it left off last season. The addition of offensive tackle Trent Williams will only heighten expectations for this team going into 2020, which should have the highest of aspirations — raising the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa.
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.


1 Comment

  • Reed Thompson
    If this IDIOT is a such a genius, why did he run the ball a total of 4 times with a 25 point lead with less than 18 mins left in SB LI?
    Jun 26, 2020 at 6:03 AM
    0

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