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Steve Young: Bill Walsh would tip his cap to Kyle Shanahan

“I know Bill Walsh would say, ‘Dang, why didn’t I think of that?’”

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Things are going pretty well for the 49ers right now. They’ve won three straight games, the defense is as stout as ever, and the offense seems to have finally hit its stride. So much so that Steve Young told KNBR this week that Bill Walsh would be impressed by what Kyle Shanahan is doing offensively.

“Today, if Bill could watch what Kyle’s doing, I know what he would say. It would be like, ‘Dang, why didn’t I think about that?’ Because what’s happening is [Kyle’s] taking wide receiver routes, and he’s creating these loopy routes. You see [Brandon Aiyuk] starts off the ball, goes up, shakes, goes out, and comes looping back around. And by the time he’s ready for the ball, it’s the second read, which I think is kind of cool and genius.

And so, for Jimmy, I love it because it’s the receiver as a second read rather than the fullback or third read coming out of the backfield. The leverage is so much different on the defense. And so that’s why, all of a sudden, you come off across the field, Brandon’s done his thing, which is delayed, essentially. It’s not meant to be first. It’s delayed, and as he comes in, it’s now time because the first guy wasn’t open.

Now, you don’t have to worry about your footwork any more. The receivers and everybody are timing it up so that it’s created its own kind of check down. And it’s for a touchdown. It’s not for a five-yard gain.

There’s a bunch of stuff that Kyle’s doing that I know Bill would just tip his cap for all the cool stuff.”

Walsh, Young explained in the interview, tied the receivers’ routes to the quarterback’s feet. In today’s game, it’s not quite as easy to do that because of the prevalence of the shotgun formation and the different footwork needed for RPOs.

By having receivers run routes with staggered finishing times, Shanahan is maximizing the chances that each player has to get open while simultaneously giving Jimmy Garoppolo the best chance to throw to a receiver with separation. The result means easier; higher percentage throws for the quarterback and chances for the YAC Bros. to do what they do best. Over the last three games, that has proven to be a very successful formula.

Clearly, there are times when comparing a 49ers head coach to Bill Walsh makes no sense whatsoever. When talking about offenses, however, Steve Young thinks game would recognize game in terms of Walsh and Shanahan.

Hear more about this and other stories in today’s 49ers in Five podcast. Our five-minute daily update gives you the latest news, best audio clips, and everything else you need to know about the team. Subscribe to the Niners Nation Podcast Network today, so you don’t miss an episode!