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The 49ers drops are a problem

Some of the 49ers pass catchers are struggling in a big way. Kyle Shanahan discussed the issue of drops.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers offense has been inconsistent, to say the least. Brian Hoyer had his share of struggles, but one problem that was out of his control was the volume of drops by his pass catchers. In Sunday’s loss to Washington, the 49ers had seven drops, raising their league-leading total to 20, per Pro Football Focus. One player who has had as much of an issue as anybody is rookie tight end George Kittle. He has four drops this season, according to Matt Barrows.

The question is what to do about it. With the switch to C.J. Beathard, the 49ers really don’t want their rookie quarterback having to also deal with an excess of drops. His job is tough enough making his first career start this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys. He needs his pass catchers helping him out.

On Monday, Kyle Shanahan was asked about the drops, and how to coach it up.

“If you have good hands and you're having drops, it's a huge mental thing. It doesn't get easier. The more you drop it, it gets harder to catch it because now you're starting to think about stuff. I think the key to sports is playing with a very clear mind where you can just attack, don't flinch, don't hesitate and not think about that type of stuff. The more you drop, I mean, just human nature, the more it's going to be harder to catch it, just like the more a guy misses free throws and the more people talk about it, it doesn't get easier. You tighten up. So, how do you get through that? You have to gain that confidence. I know me personally, I always recommend getting on JUGS. Not just sitting there and playing catch, standing in place, but running back and forth full speed, attacking the ball, running through the ball. Doing it over and over again until your mind is shut off and it becomes automatic. If you're a guy who doesn't have very good hands, you'd better bring a lot of other stuff to the table, or it's just a matter of time before we've got to find someone else.”

Some players have mental issues, others have technical issues that can be addressed. It’s a tough thing to deal with, and something he and his coaching staff need to sort through soon.