Good morning folks, I hope y’all are maintaining your sanity during these dog days of the offseason. As per the usual for this time of year, we don’t have much to ruminate on, but the news we do get can often be a jumping off point for some good discussion.
First things first, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman has taken it upon himself to organize an unofficial mini-camp for a select few CBs around the league - top performers like the Los Angeles Rams’ Aqib Talib and Minnesota Vikings’ Xavier Rhodes are present for the workouts and drills. The best part, however, is that Sherman brought along expected
partner-in-crime (let’s not jinx things, shall we?) counterpart Ahkello Witherspoon, giving the young up-and-comer a chance to train with some of the best in the league. If, at the minimum, he can absorb some training techniques and work ethic from the group, it should serve him very well, and hopefully, help him overcome a dreaded sophomore slump.
The other article is something of a puff piece, but a well deserved one. Obviously, most 49ers fans have fairly high expectations for George Kittle - but he’s begun to garner some modest national attention, although mostly at the fantasy football level. The 49ers.com article cited quotations from TE coach Jon Embree and HC Kyle Shanahan praising Kittle for his versatility, as a guy who can both block and separate from coverage - which got me thinking of how his abilities might mesh with RB Jerick McKinnon and FB Kyle Juszczyk.
Earlier this year, our own Mark Saltveit put together a detailed analysis on Kyle Shanahan’s use of 13 personnel (3 TE sets) - and pointed out that he seems to be inclined to use such formations at a much higher clip than anyone else in the league. Although we don’t quite have a wealth of talent behind Kittle, we do have Juice, who, as an “offensive weapon”, may be an option for Shanahan’s heavy sets. Having Kittle, Juice, and McKinnon all on the field in such formations would seem to offer, on paper, an incredible amount of versatility. All three are well regarded as blockers, but more importantly, all three are very well regarded as pass catching options.
I personally don’t know the x’s and/or the o’s deeply enough to know if I’m talking much sense, but, heck if it isn’t exciting to think about.
Side note: Kittle Heismaning in the lead image is pretty awesome.