Richard Madrid's Latest Articles

  • By Richard Madrid
    Aug 31, 2019 at 10:00 AM 0 comments
    In part one of this series, we looked at the Air Raid's history and its running game concepts. Today we'll take a look at the passing game concepts. A lot of the passing game concepts in the Air Raid might look familiar to 49ers fans and football fans in general. All 32 teams run some variations of the concepts we'll see below, including the 49ers. The best coaches over the course of the last several decades in football have evolved and adapted the ideas of others into their own versions of whichever offense it is they run. The Air Raid and West Coast offenses in particular look very similar in a variety of different...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Aug 26, 2019 at 7:00 AM 18 comments
    The short answer is no. The longer answer is below. Second-year wide receiver Dante Pettis is under an enormous amount of pressure to perform up to his potential this year after turning in a decent rookie season, during which he played in 12 games and was the 49ers' best wide receiver overall. Pettis enters the 2019 season at worst the 2nd receiver on the depth chart. He's started every preseason game so far as the Z receiver, and has played some of the X as well as the slot too. Since training camp began last month, head coach Kyle Shanahan has been vocal in his criticism of Pettis in response to why the receiver was on the field in the 4th...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Aug 23, 2019 at 10:15 AM 0 comments
    This is a two part series exploring the inner workings of the air raid offense under Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, its history, and the basic running and passing concepts we can expect to see against the 49ers defense. On Tuesday January 8th, just a little over a week after the 2018 regular season ended, the Arizona Cardinals shocked the football world by hiring Kliff Kingsbury, as first reported by Sande Charles, Cardinals Fan Girl of the FanGirl Sports Network the previous night. The Arizona Cardinals official media site reported the signing the next...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Aug 9, 2019 at 6:00 AM 0 comments
    In the first part of this series, we laid out the theoretical background for different types of offensive operations and different types of attacks within those operations. Today, we'll look at 2 more types of attacks as well as some different tactics that further explain how head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense gains an advantage. Briefly, within the attack phase of an operation, there are several different ways a combat unit gains an advantage over its enemy. In the last article, we described two key plays on the opening drive against the Cardinals, two variations of a fullback screen, that sought to take advantage of a defense's pursuit angles and aggression. On the next play, Shanahan shows that after two successful attacks, it becomes imperative to exploit what you've...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Aug 8, 2019 at 6:00 AM 1 comment
    This past spring at Washington State University, Cougars head football coach Mike Leach and former Washington state Senator and current Spokane County Treasurer Mike Baumgartner taught a course entitled "Leadership Lessons in Insurgent Warfare and Football Strategies." The five week course incorporated insurgent warfare tactics and operations into football strategy. Modern warfare concepts and football are an interesting combination as really any tactical theory of the battlefield has some practical application to the gridiron. Head football coaches and their staffs operate in much the same manner as a general or admiral and their component command staffs. Whereas in football, coordinators and position coaches provide a level of expertise in their designated specialty, be...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Jul 25, 2019 at 10:45 AM 2 comments
    When the 49ers opened up training camp in 2018, one critical piece of the defense was missing: the pass rusher. The 49ers started 2018 with Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead as their base down defensive ends while Cassius Marsh and Ronald Blair also saw a significant amount of playing time in sub packages on defense after not bringing back Elvis Dumervil (who retired anyway). The result was a mediocre defensive unit that ranked tied 22nd in total sacks with 37. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF) the 49ers pass rush ranked 27th in the league and ranked 14th in total pressure rate. Not bad, but also not great. Entering 2019, they had the 2nd overall pick in the NFL draft plus nearly 80 million in cap space to go out and sign free...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Jun 28, 2019 at 10:36 AM 2 comments
    Today we round the 49ers draft prospects with a closer look at rookie tight end Kaden Smith. Could the 49ers have possibly added another late draft steal when they drafted tight end Kaden Smith out of Stanford with their 6th round, 176th overall pick? Based on his college tape alone, one would be hard pressed to not come to that conclusion. Of course, projecting how a given player will do is not an exact science and for the most part is just made up. Outside a handful of really good players, no one really knows. With Smith however, it's easy to see why head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch fell in love with the prospect: scheme versatility....
  • By Richard Madrid
    Jun 4, 2019 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    Today we take a look at the film of rookie receiver Jalen Hurd of Baylor. The 49ers made a surprise pick with their third round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft (67th overall) by selecting receiver Jalen Hurd out of Baylor. Presumably, the 49ers could've drafted Hurd in the later rounds with receivers like Terry McLaurin, Riley Ridley, and Hakeem Butler all still on the board after Hurd was selected. However, it's easy to see why head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch went the route they did with Hurd. Hurd is an interesting prospect who offers a lot of length, size, and versatility. He originally entered his college career as a running back at the University of Tennessee where he shared backfield duties with current New Orleans Saints start...
  • By Richard Madrid
    May 3, 2019 at 5:28 PM 1 comment
    Today we look at second round pick out of the University of South Carolina, wide receiver Deebo Samuel. With their second round pick (36th overall), the 49ers selected wide receiver Tyshun "Deebo" Samuel out of the University of South Carolina. Samuel is an instant upgrade to a position group that lacks a talented route runner outside of Dante Pettis and a consistent and reliable threat over the middle of the field. Samuel has enough versatility for Shanahan's offense that his role should see him threaten every level of the field and as you'll see below, he excelled in each spot. In some ways, the 49ers got the best possible receiver with their second pick but Samuel regularly showed up outside the top 5 but in the top of this receiver class, which was,...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Apr 22, 2019 at 7:58 AM 2 comments
    Today we look at University of Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. 49ers fans might riot if the 49ers select another defensive tackle in the first round. But hear me out: this wouldn't be a justifiable response to drafting Quinnen Williams, who, along with Nick Bosa, is considered to be a top three player in this year's draft. Williams isn't just another defensive tackle. He's a generational talent at the position who offers an immediate upgrade to the interior of any defensive line he lands on. And yes, he's a much better talent coming out of college than DeForest Buckner was. But fans shouldn't worry about what happens to Buckner's role if the 49ers were to hypothetically draft Williams. Buckner primarily plays the 3-and-5-technique...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Apr 10, 2019 at 5:27 PM 23 comments
    Nick Bosa deleted his pro-Trump tweets specifically on the chance the 49ers draft him. Therefore this post will probably anger some of you on both sides of the spectrum. For that I apologize. Last night ESPN reported, in a draft profile on Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, that Bosa reportedly deleted all his pro-Donald Trump tweets and his anti-Colin Kaepernick ones as well. The move was aimed at what Bosa said was a chance that he "might end up in San Francisco." The story was reported by a variety of sports and news media outlets such as Sports Illustrated, Fox News, The New York Post, USA Today's For the Win, and...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Apr 2, 2019 at 5:14 PM 4 comments
    Today we look at Ohio State University edge rusher Nick Bosa. Nick Bosa is widely considered the best player in the 2019 NFL draft class. He's head and shoulders above every single edge rusher in the class, and this is a deep draft class for the position that features such names as Josh Allen, Brian Burns, Montez Sweat, Jachai Polite, and others. Even though the 49ers just traded for outside linebacker/defensive end Dee Ford, there are still signs they are looking to add a player from the list above and so far all signs point to Bosa potentially being that guy depending on what Arizona does with the first pick. Recently the 49ers have met with Bosa three times, once at his pro day, once for lunch and once for dinner that same day. They were also in...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Mar 18, 2019 at 8:30 AM 6 comments
    Free agency is currently in full swing as the 49ers added outside linebacker/defensive end/pass rush specialist Dee Ford to the 2019 roster. They've addressed the position with a long term contract but should be looking to add a second pass rusher in the draft. One who could fit the mold is the University of Kentucky's Josh Allen. In his senior year at Kentucky, Allen posted 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for losses. He did all that despite playing a fair amount of coverage snaps as an outside linebacker on obvious passing situations, which makes his performances that much more...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Mar 12, 2019 at 10:08 AM 2 comments
    This is part two in a two-part series looking at Dante Pettis' rookie season. The first one can be found here. In the previous article, I showed how Pettis is effective at getting open and creating separation against man and zone coverage, the variety of routes he can run against those coverages, and how he creates separation on each one. Today, we look at other aspects of his game, specifically how he creates separation on out-breaking routes, how he can be used as a red zone target, his open field runner ability, and where he can improve. In both articles,...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Mar 11, 2019 at 11:57 AM 2 comments
    In this two-part series, we'll look at Dante Pettis' rookie season and why he's going to be an effective receiver for years to come in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Part one looks at his skill set against man coverage and zone coverage. Part two will look at the rest of the route tree as well as usage in the red zone, the open field, and where he'll need to improve. In both articles, we'll compare his college film to his pro film to see if anything translated to the NFL and how. Dante Pettis was selected by the 49ers in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft, 44th overall, out of the University of Washington. In four seasons with the Huskies, he totalled 2256 receiving yards and 24...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Jan 4, 2019 at 4:31 PM 3 comments
    How did he do it? By being an elite athlete playing tight end. Seriously though, George Kittle had a breakout year in his second year in the NFL. In 2018, he finished as the team's leading receiver and surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for receiving yards this season by Week 14 with a 210 yard receiving performance against the Broncos. He finished with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards, and five touchdowns, 890 yards more than the 49ers' second leading receiver. Kittle is the first 49ers pass catcher to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season since Anquan Boldin did it in 2014. In fact, he joins Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Terrell Owens, and Jerry Rice as the only 49ers receivers to go over 1,000 yards in a season in the last 20...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 28, 2018 at 10:54 AM 0 comments
    The Bears came into Santa Clara for a Week 16 game with the 49ers in what is becoming an annual tradition in a storied rivalry. The two teams have met six times in the last seven seasons, splitting those games 3-3. The rivalry itself favors the 49ers 34-32-1, with the 49ers also boasting a 3-0 playoff record against Chicago. The latest meeting featured a Bears team well on its way to making a deep playoff run sitting now at 11-4 and a 49ers team not quite able to find its edge yet with the obvious starters missing and on its way to their second losing season under head coach Kyle Shanahan. That didn't prevent the 49ers from making it a competitive game,...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 27, 2018 at 12:46 PM 0 comments
    A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at a brief moment in the Broncos game surrounding rookie safety Marcell Harris. The specific sequence on key third and fourth down stops propelled the 49ers to a win over a then Broncos team looking to make a playoff push and provided a glimpse into what the 49ers hope to be developing at the strong safety position in the event they do not bring back Jaquiski Tartt. Today we're going to look a little deeper at Harris' past three performances. Harris was a sixth round pick (184th) overall in the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Florida. The safety missed all of his 2017 season at Florida with an Achilles tear and the 49ers took a chance anyway. He began the 2018 season...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 19, 2018 at 11:59 AM 1 comment
    In what is arguably the best win since the move to Santa Clara, the 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 26-23 in an overtime thriller, their first win against Seattle exactly five years and eight days from their last win against the Seahawks in December 2013. The Seahawks had won the previous 10 contests until Sunday. The 2018 season has not been without its drama though, with Bay Area blogger prognostications that head coach Kyle Shanahan would, or should, be on the hot seat. The criticism is unwarranted and quite frankly, ridiculous to even suggest at this point. The 49ers' lack of...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 13, 2018 at 11:48 AM 1 comment
    The 49ers secondary has come under fire throughout the course of the season from fans and coaches alike. The lapses in coverage, big plays given up, late game breakdowns, and teams only targeting one side of the field have landed the secondary in a bit of hot water with the coaching staff as the season has progressed. None of that was on display against the Broncos though, a team very much in the playoff hunt in the AFC. Leading the way for the secondary's overall solid performance were cornerback Akhello Witherspoon and nickel corner D.J. Reed. Ahkello Witherspoon's upward trend At the center of the struggles of the 49ers secondary is former third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon, who made a strong showing late last season as he filled in the...
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