This past season, the 49ers were able to occasionally take advantage of abrupt shifts featuring their tight ends and offensive lineman. A very structured and abrupt shift did a solid job drawing Giants DE Dave Tollefson offsides. 49ers TE Justin Peelle had a false start called against him in a similar play against the Redskins.
Now it appears the Peelle result is going to be the result moving forward. Although the NFL made no rule changes related to shifts, Mike Pereira reported that "points of emphasis" have been added related to shifts that will result in more frequent false start calls. According to the NFL Competition Committee report:
"Prior to a snap, any quick, abrupt movement by an offensive player, or several offensive players in unison, which simulates the start of a snap, is a foul. These acts include (a) a quarterback in shotgun formation thrusting his hands forward in an exaggerated manner when there is not a simultaneous snap, (b) abrupt movement of the ball by the center, (c) abrupt movement by the center's head or other body part, and (d) a quick abrupt shift by two or more players in unison."
This won't significantly hurt the 49ers, but it will shore up some of the "cute" plays Jim Harbaugh showed an affinity for in 2011. We saw all sorts of random plays from the 49ers as they tried to trick defenses and special teams. I have to think a full offseason with the team will provide Coach Harbaugh with a chance to insert a whole new set of trick plays.