SF 49ers: 4 painful realities over first half of 2020
By Tee Epps
No. 3: SF 49ers’ inconsistent offense
As previously mentioned, injuries are very problematic and can lead to a host of inconsistencies on offense.
Case in point, the 2020 San Francisco 49ers.
A team full of expectations after a special run in 2019 has been reduced to a squad of walking-wounded players who are hanging onto their playoff lives. Although the Niners still have a top-15 offense in both passing and rushing over nine games, they don’t generate a ton of points, which doesn’t put any fear in opposing defenses.
Currently, San Francisco is ranked 18th in points scored, and that total will dip more when Week 9 is fully complete.
When the SF 49ers are firing on all cylinders with the zone-running game working to perfection, they become much more formidable opponents for any team on game day. Unfortunately, injuries along with a global pandemic have altered player preparation, which forced a lot of us guys to adjust on the fly. Just like most things in life, it’s a 50-50 situation where some guys can handle change while positively progressing. But on the flip side, others seem to struggle with the learning curve of the NFL.
Of course, players are partly responsible for self-development and execution, but when the game plan fails and doesn’t produce positive results, the coaching staff should be under the scope as well. Going into their Week 8 matchup, for example, San Francisco rushed for over 120 yards in two games prior to facing the Seahawks. By the end of the game, the Niners had only accumulated 52 yards on the ground with 12 yards being the longest run of the day. I’m not sure why head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t try to extend the zone-running game like he did a week earlier versus the New England Patriots. Jet sweeps, swing passes and quick screens are all creative ways to create new lanes for their playmakers.
This was a brilliantly effective strategy and it should’ve been implemented again.
Once the coaching staff adapts the idea of in-game flexibility, the SF 49ers will become a much more consistent offense.