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George Kittle talks about how Kyle Shanahan ‘unlocks defenses’

There’s no better play-caller in the NFL when it comes to window dressing and making everything look the same as Shanahan, as Kittle explains.

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

George Kittle is on his annual press tour and stopped by The Ringer’s podcast with Steven Ruiz and Kevin Clark to discuss all things 49ers. One fascinating nugget was given by Kittle regarding Kyle Shanahan and how his play calling can “unlock defenses.”

Kittle was asked: “If an alien came down and said, show me the play that defines Kyle Shanahan, what would it be?”

“Just going off what I was talking about, we played Seattle in the playoffs this year, and Kyle has this thing where if he wants to set up a play action or a bootleg type pass, he’ll like sometimes call a play, run play that he knows is not going to work.

I can’t remember what game this was, I want to say it might have been the Vikings one year or Seattle this year. We’re running a run play multiple times, and it’s got to be two yards a carry, two yards a carry, two yards a carry. And then we threw a play-action behind it, and Deebo goes for 75 yards against Seattle. And the whole thing is set up because it’s the exact same motion, it’s the exact same alignment, looks the exact same.

Then all of a sudden, Deebo is running a shallow, I’m faking on the defensive end. Linebacker thinks it’s power, he steps up four yards, and Deebo is uncovered in the flat running for a touchdown. So just stuff like that, that’s really fun.”

Kittle goes on to give other specific examples from different years of Shanahan using defenses reactions against them for big plays and touchdowns. This is just one fun example of how Shanahan takes whatever defenses are showing and uses their rules and tendencies against them.

Much like a boxer who uses the first few rounds to set up a power punch, Shanahan sizes up the defense before hitting with a body blow.

Check out the segment below here: