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Why Kyle Shanahan Should Take a Leaf out of Chip Kelly's Book

October 10, 2017

Few will remember Chip Kelly's brief time as San Francisco 49ers head coach fondly.

 

Kelly is far from a bad coach, but he was hired onto a sinking ship of a team with an absurd lack of talent by a desperate general manager trying and failing to cling onto his job.

 

Despite his best efforts, Kelly could only lead the 49ers to two wins in a miserable season. However, his successor Kyle Shanahan would be well served by making greater use of the up-tempo approach Kelly was known for -- though he was unable to employ it as much with Niners -- to try to ease San Francisco's woes at the quarterback position.

 

Though he had his second 300-yard game of the season in Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts, it would take a brave and foolish person to argue that Hoyer has been anything close to competent in 2017.

 

Seen as a capable bridge quarterback, Hoyer has been even worse than anticipated, consistently missing throws, performing dreadfully under pressure and showing a distinct lack of field vision, with Week 5 his first without an interception.

 

However, there are two situations in which Hoyer seems to flourish; when using the play-action pass and when in a hurry-up offense.

 

Two of the 49ers' best drives against the Colts came when they utilised the hurry-up. Late in the second quarter, Hoyer needed just 57 seconds and six plays to get the Niners from their own 25 and into position to hit the game-tying field goal before the half.

 

With nine minutes and 56 seconds left in the game and the 49ers two touchdowns behind, Hoyer led a five-play scoring drive that took just one minute and 56 seconds off the clock.

 

San Francisco's game-tying score came on a more methodical 14-play drive, but that was aided by an extremely fortunate third-and-10 conversion, which saw a batted Hoyer pass somehow land in the arms of Pierre Garcon.

 

The 49ers' offense seems to move the ball most efficiently when it can get teams on their heels and cut down Hoyer's window to make bad decisions.

 

With a viable deep threat in Marquise Goodwin, two very useful slot receivers in Aldrick Robinson and Trent Taylor and athletic players at other skill positions such as George Kittle and Matt Breida, the 49ers also have the tools to tire defenses quickly in the hurry-up.

 

In short, the 49ers are in a better position to utilize Kelly's high-tempo approach than they were last year. That is not to say it should be employed all the time, balance is a must with any offensive gameplan and San Francisco obviously would not want to risk fatiguing its own players.

 

But, if the Niners are to turn some of these competitive performances into wins and are intent on sticking with Hoyer for now, then they need to find ways to minimize his many flaws. Going with an approach similar to that of Kelly may well be the best way to do that.

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