Versatility and Footwork
Emmanuel Sanders is also the elder statesmen in the wide receiver room. And with that, he provides head coach Kyle Shanahan plenty of opportunities to mix it up and add wrinkles other players may not be able to fully execute.
The play below, Sanders’ second touchdown with the Niners, was a wrinkle not many expected:
When talking about positionless offenses or offensive weapons in the context of the 49ers, most people think how the Niners use their running backs or fullbacks in the pass game.
But Sanders redefined that entire concept in this play.
The 49ers lined up on a 4th-and-goal to end the half after Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury called a timeout right before the 49ers had run their first 4th-and-goal play: a run play stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
The formation looks like a simple heavy package: three tight ends, a fullback and a running back. However, one of those tight ends looked to be wide receiver Deebo Samuel, while the fullback was Sanders.
The play was relatively simple: fullback slip to the flat off a quick snap. But the fact Kyle Shanahan could consider Sanders to play fullback in that play shows the versatility he provides. Also on the play was another flash of those sure hands and good footwork on the sideline.