Niner Noise’s annual “Who Is?” series finishes up with an all-encompassing look at the San Francisco 49ers offense and what we should expect from this unit in 2018.
While there’s little questioning how effective head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system can be, the NFL is ultimately a talent-driven league. Between Weeks 1 and 12 last year, Shanahan’s offense had its moments but overwhelmingly suffered from a lack of cohesiveness and playmaking talent.
Particularly at quarterback.
Enter Garoppolo late in Week 12, and all that changed. Just how much, you ask? This, from Fantasy Guru’s Graham Barfield:
Garoppolo is merely the latest league-wide example of why a solid quarterback is an essential element to winning in today’s NFL.
The 49ers were a one-win team before Garoppolo. They haven’t lost since.
Yet this offseason, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch set about improving his supporting cast. There were key changes to the offensive line, headlined by bringing in free-agent center Weston Richburg and taking former Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
Shanahan also made it a point to grab former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon to fill the void left by former Niners starting tailback, Carlos Hyde, who left in free agency.
Tack on those additions with a healthy return of veteran wide receiver Pierre Garçon, along with numerous 2017 rookies hitting their second year at the pro level, it’s easy to see why Shanahan’s offense might reach those stages of being considered “elite” in NFL circles.
Niner Noise breaks down just how in this all-inclusive offensive “Who Is?” preview.