No. 3: 49ers Red-Zone Efficiency
The Niners’ efforts on third down aren’t the only pressing concern for Kyle Shanahan. No, his team’s abilities in the red zone are far more problematic.
Last offseason, the team did little to address its 2017 red-zone woes, only drafting wide receiver Dante Pettis (6-foot-1 and 195 pounds) and grabbing undrafted free-agent wideout Steven Dunbar Jr. to add to the practice squad until Week 17.
The hope was, of course, Pettis’ route-running abilities and separation skills would be good enough to create space in this confined area. But the lack of a true go-and-get-it receiving target, aside from tight end George Kittle, certainly has hurt Shanahan’s play-calling efforts here.
This stat is all you need to know: San Francisco has scored touchdowns in the red zone just 39.1 percent of the time. That’s dead last among all 32 teams, meaning Shanahan’s skilled play calling isn’t getting the job done where it counts the most.
A lot of it could be the lack of personnel, of course. And it’s likely the Niners make some moves to address the shortcomings this season.
But when you consider Shanahan’s offense ranks 16th in total yards (5,378) despite a slew of injuries on this side of the ball, yet ranks 23rd in points scored (310), stating the lack of red-zone prowess is a vast understatement.