You are slowly but surely starting to see the new writers we’ve brought on board here at Niners Nation. I couldn’t be more proud of their work so far. Each writer will bring unique perspectives and passion.
The 49ers return to the practice field on Tuesday, as they begin to prep for their first preseason game Saturday against the Chiefs.
“I’ve never been in a situation like that,” Garoppolo told me. “I think at any level of football, you get two quarterbacks playing, it’s tough. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. There is the whole Taysom Hill thing in New Orleans, they were doing a version of that. There is a place for it. It’s tough, but Kyle, he’s a revolutionary guy, he’s done some crazy s--- in the past, so you never know.”Lance echoed his position-mate almost word-for-word, saying, “I’ve never been in a situation like that. But whatever Coach Shanahan thinks is best to help this team win, I’m for it.”There were points when Garoppolo let himself vent this offseason—his brothers were on the other side of that as sounding boards for some colorful conversations—and others where he created scenarios in his head that weren’t very realistic.
“Defenses have been playing 11 against 10 for so long and now all of a sudden you have to play 11 on 11 and if you’re not, it changes everything you do. So, it’s not that they’ve caught up, you just need the right people, the right commitment, you have to stay healthy and you’ve got to have a whole package together. It’s not ‘we’re just running zone-read’. Well they’ll stop that. It’s what you’re doing off of it.”
So Shanahan himself still clearly believes in the scheme, but emphasized the importance of building an entire package of plays around it. The last point he made was crucial, it’s what you do off of it. So what did Shanahan do to build a package around the read-option?
Shocked, I said to him, “Coach Walsh, with all due respect, I played safety for one year and only played half the snaps. How can you possibly arrive at that opinion?”
He said, simply, “The film. I watched it and you can be a Pro Bowl safety in the NFL.”
When I returned to school, in true Bill Walsh fashion, he not only told me, he showed me. He showed a tape of me making a play, then a play of perhaps the greatest safety of all time, Ronnie Lott, making a similar play. There were only five plays on that tape, but after watching it, I was all in. Coach Walsh you gave me the confidence to follow my heart to an NFL career. Without you I’m not standing on this stage today.
“It’s both of them. That’s why we’ve got to keep repping it,” Shanahan said of the QB-RB exchange. “I mean, that’s the hard thing about it. That’s why, I mean, when you just dabble in that stuff, you’re going to get turnovers. And our D-Line has seen it a bunch, so they’re trying to play it right and there’s just some give and take between both of them. But yeah, if you’re going to fumble the ball we can’t do it. So we’ve just got to keep repping that. It’s going to take some time.”
Getting Lance to jell with his running backs is going to matter whether he winds up starting or not. Shanahan said Lance is going to play and those run plays where the quarterback is a threat to keep the ball and take off are going to be hallmarks of his entrance into the lineup.
“Ever since then, it’s been really helping me moving faster and just feeling good,” Mitchell told reporters this weekend of his weight loss.
He later added: “I got way faster.”
“Most definitely, it’s a lot different (than what I’ve done before), but I’m catching on pretty
Later in practice, however, it was a different story. Defensive tackles Hurst and Kentavius Street seemed to be constantly in the backfield against Banks and the second-string offensive line with Hurst zipping past Banks on one snap to force a throw-away by Lance and then blowing up a run by rookie Elijah Mitchell two plays later.
Neither veteran who has lined up at right guard with the first-team offense, Daniel Brunskill or Tom Compton, has flourished in practice and the team clearly wants Banks to take over that spot at some point. But until he starts showing more consistency, the 49ers seem reluctant to insert him with the top unit.