SF 49ers: 5 items on Kyle Shanahan’s to-do list during bye week

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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SF 49ers, Nick Mullens, Kyle Shanahan
Head coach Kyle Shanahan speaks with Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Kyle Shanahan must set Nick Mullens up for success

Nick Mullens isn’t going to run Kyle Shanahan’s offense as effectively as the SF 49ers’ starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Over his last two starts, Mullens has generated passer ratings of 86.7 and 68.6 with a combined three interceptions thrown and three sacks taken. In conjunction with defenses looking to take the Niners run game away and force Mullens to throw, the approach seems to be working against San Francisco.

Like Garoppolo, Mullens isn’t going to air it out down the field. Per NextGen Stats, both quarterbacks are hovering around the 6-yard range for intended air yards, which is well towards the bottom of league qualifiers entering Week 11.

The good news, though, is Mullens still has some strengths. Especially when tossing just beyond the sticks to the strong side of the formation, as evidenced by his 2018 splits:

If Shanahan wants to give Mullens some confidence-building throws, especially on first downs when opponents are cheating against the run, tossing to that side of the formation would go a long way to improving the quarterback’s overall abilities.

In tandem, this would prevent defenses from cheating up on the line of scrimmage, particularly on the strong side in Mullens’ face.