Over the weekend, Bucky Brooks attempted to identify the engine for each of the NFL’s 32 different offenses. Almost all of these were players who could make those around them better. Whether it’s Julio Jones with the Atlanta Falcons, Ben Roethlisberger with the Pittsburgh Steelers, or a decision up in the air with the Miami Dolphins, Brooks tried to identify who made the offense go to the next level.
For the San Francisco 49ers? He didn’t even bother with a player. He went straight to the coaching staff and picked 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, one of two coaches picked as engines, the other being Matt Nagy with the Chicago Bears
For Shanahan, Bucks was pretty candid in the decision:
The 49ers’ offensive architect can seemingly make any quarterback look like a solid player. Just look at his work with Nick Mullens, and you quickly realize San Francisco’s offensive success comes through scheming and tactics, not individual performance. While Jimmy Garoppolo’s return will add a dimension to the offense, the 49ers’ offensive output will always hinge on Shanahan’s ability to find and exploit defensive weaknesses through creative play designs.
It makes sense, but I always felt Garoppolo was the engine per-say. Sure, Garoppolo hasn’t played many games, but you’ve seen what happens when he’s on the field. Look to 2017 when he came in for C.J. Beathard and how the 49ers transformed into another team entirely. We never got to see much of this when the 2018 season rolled around thanks to that knee injury, but when Garoppolo was gone, the 49ers became a different team as well.
Kyle Shanahan does elevate the entire team. He does a great job scheming them open, and he has kept the locker room playing hard despite it being a lost cause. It just seems like Garoppolo was the guy to elevate this team truly. Kyle Shanahan’s scheme didn’t do much with Brian Hoyer under center, now compare that to when Jimmy Garoppolo took over.
Who do you think is the engine of the 49ers offense? Shanahan? Garoppolo? Someone else?