Earlier this week, Brian Baldinger put out a great video that illustrated how much Christian McCaffrey affects the defense, even without the ball in his hands. Yesterday on KNBR, Kyle Shanahan was asked if he saw the same thing on film.
“Oh yeah, definitely. You try to do that with all your guys. We get that huge with Deebo, we get it huge with Kittle. Just everything that you hit somebody with a play on, teams take that play away the next play. So if you put a guy in a position that you’re gonna keep showing that play, they know you’re going to take it if they give it to you, and that worries teams. So you keep putting guys in that area and they keep defending it, which makes that play suck but it makes everything else a lot more advantageous.
That’s the good thing about having threats places. Sometimes you can do some plays that are really good and if you only get four yards on it, defenses are like, ‘Yeah, call that again. Let’s see you do that eight times all the way down the field.’ But if you do it once and you get 12 yards, they kind of panic. They’re like, ‘All right, we gotta move a guy out there, we gotta rotate a safety there.’
We’re not going to beat a dead horse and keep trying to do that now for three yards, we’re gonna get the more advantageous look the other way. That’s kind of the whole thing with putting those guys out there. That’s why I try not to worry about targets and touches and stuff. You balance it out and usually good things happen.”
That comment really illustrates how Kyle thinks about creating a game plan and calling plays on the sidelines. He is never going to think, “I’ve got to dial up some plays for Deebo here.” Instead, he’s going to find the soft spot in the defense and press until it hurts.
While that can lead to some dominating offensive performances, it also explains how this offense can go for extended periods without its best playmakers touching the ball. Hopefully, a happy medium can be found down the stretch of this season.
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