Shanahan’s Tight Ends
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense requires at least three tight ends who are threats in the receiving game.
The NFL may be a three-wide-receiver league, but Shanahan prefers heavier sets. While the rest of the league used 11 personnel on 60 percent of their plays in 2016, Shanahan’s Atlanta Falcons used 11 personnel only 44 percent of the time.
In 2016, only two teams used three-tight-end sets more often than the Falcons. But when the Falcons offense lined up in these big sets, they didn’t just run the ball; the Falcons threw out of 13 personnel more than any team in the league.
As I discussed last week, when Shanahan’s offense is in a heavy set, the defense still needs to protect the deep portion of the field:
Atlanta’s tight ends were a major reason why Shanahan’s offense lead the NFL in explosive passing plays in 2016. Even though they weren’t the most talented group, they looked the part with Shanahan calling the plays.