We really haven’t talk about Torrey Smith’s role in the potential new offense that Kyle Shanahan would bring (if hired). Most of the talk has been about how much of an offensive genius Shanahan is, who will be quarterbacking the 49ers and the upcoming draft.
Former Washington wide receiver Anthony Armstrong was on KNBR to go over the coaching change and talk about his time with Shanahan in Washington. The interview is lengthy, going over 22 minutes, but I dropped in two answers he gave regarding how he brings out the best in players and how this may translate to the 49ers, but most interesting is how he thinks this could benefit Torrey Smith. The entire interview is worth a listen, however.
Regarding Shanahan’s abilities to elevate wide receivers:
His whole offensive gameplan really ties into people being good at what they do best. With Taylor Gabriel he’s someone who can handle business from a tight area and he has deep speed. That’s why he’s having success doing that. I remember when I was having success in that offense, I was able to put my 4:2 speed to use and get behind defenders. So when you look at what somebody does best, his offense helps bolster that. And it makes something he’s going to build around.
What he was like in the meeting rooms, if there were signs he could be a head coach:
I think it’s a good idea. Kyle definitely, he’s a younger guy, so he’s going to resonate well with younger players. And I think that it makes it easy for guys to come and talk to him when they have issues. He’s not going to stand over the top of you like a dictator, but he’ll relate to a younger player is going through vs what an older coach will do. I think that’s big, especially in the transition in the league. There’s a lot of younger guys and you need to be able to have someone that can communicate with him. In the meeting room, he’s kind of dry. He has a Ben Stein kind of delivery but he puts some humor in there. He has a bit more slang a bit more soul than you can expect, but he’s definitely going to be enjoyable. I’ve been thinking who could benefit the most from joining that team? I can see a resurgence of Torrey Smith.
With or without Smith, the 49ers wide receivers have been laughable. Every week in 2016 there was a new receiver rising up with potential to become a dominant force, only to become a dud seven days later. Torrey Smith was no exception. In fact, he was downright invisible most of the season. Playing in 12 games, Smith finished with a crowd-pleasing 267 yards and a trip to IR in Week 14 after a nasty concussion. Compare this to his time with the Baltimore Ravens where not one of his four seasons ended under 700 yards.
On paper, this offensive change should benefit Smith a lot more than many other players the 49ers have. The Atlanta Falcons receivers have been absolutely filthy, and I’m not talking when Julio Jones is in the lineup. Even without Jones, quarterback Matt Ryan is able to find people open and in stride to gash defenses.
If Shanahan is able to take advantage of Torrey Smith’s speed and get him open deep , this removes one potential “need” from the 49ers. Whether Smith can get his resurgence is left to be seen, but Shanahan’s resume speaks for itself. His wide receivers catch balls.
The 49ers would still need a quarterback to get the ball to him though...