The San Francisco 49ers travel to Tampa to take on the Buccaneers to kickoff their 2019 regular season. With head coach Kyle Shanahan at the helm, let’s take a look at how the Niners offense could best attack the Bucs defensive unit.
Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season is finally here, and the San Francisco 49ers will begin with a road trip to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs had a strange 2018 that, in some ways, looked a lot like the Niners season. Tampa Bay finished 12th in points scored with 396, but were abysmal on the other side of the ball, allowing 464 points, good for 31st in the league. The Buccaneers ended the season at 5-11, last place in the NFC South behind the division-winning New Orleans Saints and a pair of 7-9 teams, in the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers.
The discrepancy got now-Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter fired from his head coaching position after three disappointing seasons in charge, ending his term with a 19-29 record.
Tampa Bay’s brass responded by coaxing former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians out of retirement, which has got a lot of people excited about the upcoming season, even if the Bucs likely remain the worst team in their division.
One of the jobs Arians was tasked with was to try to shore up a defense which was even worse than their counting stats suggested. They finished 29th in Weighted Defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, a year after ending 2017 at the very bottom by that same measure.
The 2018 Bucs didn’t fare much better, according to Pro Football Focus, where they ranked 30th in the league for total defense, a massive discrepancy from their 10th overall offense and Weighted Offensive DVOA of 12th from Football Outsiders.
The 49ers offense, on the other hand, didn’t look great by either the advanced metrics or the counting stats last year, although you need to take into account that the team spent much of its season with lesser talent at quarterback.
The Niners ended last season ranked 21st in points scored and 28th in points against, both bottom of the league numbers that don’t inspire a lot of confidence as they move into the 2019 season.
But the presence of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, back from his ACL injury, the hopeful emergence of second-year wideout Dante Pettis and rookie receiver Deebo Samuel, and the expected continued dominance of third-year tight end George Kittle, not to mention running backs Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, has 49ers fans excited about the possibilities that head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense has shown in flashes these past two seasons.
So, how do these players figure to attack Tampa Bay’s defense?
Let’s take a look.