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Akash's Monday Morning Blitz XI: Is it time to start questioning Kyle Shanahan?

October 30, 2017

As I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline after the game was over, there was a lot of negativity among the 49ers' fan base. Most were upset that the team has lost 22 of the last 23 games and don't really seem competitive the last few weeks. Injuries are starting to pile up and the games are becoming a snoozefest. 

 

But Taylor Price of the Taylor Price Talk podcast made a fantastic point, Jim Tomsula in his first -- and only -- season, went 5-11 with an abysmal 49ers' roster. Since that point, Chip Kelly has won two games -- against the Rams -- and Kyle Shanahan has an 0-fer in the win column. 

 

So why has winning become so hard to come by in Santa Clara? Was Jim Tomsula really a talented coach and we were all just blind to it? Ummmm, probably not, but it does give way to an interesting thought I've had the last few weeks. 

 

Is it time to start doubting the offensive genius -- Kyle Shanahan? Yes it's a bare cupboard of talent and they're starting a rookie quarterback behind a third-string offensive line, but the operation seems to be anything but smooth. 

 

Let's take a look at some offensive rankings. They're 29th in the NFL in scoring offense and 24th in yardage per game. They're third in passing attempts in the league, but 26th in rushing attempts. 

 

The last ranking is what absolutely baffles me about this offense. We can all agree that the best player in the offensive room for the 49ers is RB Carlos Hyde, right? Like WR Pierre Garcon is close, but Hyde's impact on the game has been far greater?

 

Then why are the 49ers rushing the ball so few times? With QBs Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard, it makes little to no sense in having a pass-heavy offense. They've attempted 315 passes to only 182 rushes, that kind of disparity is eye-opening and makes you start to doubt Shanahan a little bit.

 

There are clearly a few staple plays in Shanahan's offense. A lot of it's off the play-action, where he lets the quarterback roll out and hit an open receiver or tight end for an easy completion and gain of five to 10 yards. 

 

But other than that, there seems to be a lack of rhythm and balance in the offense. Shanahan's resume and coaching ability has been praised repeatedly in the past. With Washington, he transformed the offense for Robert Griffin III to win Rookie of the Year. With Cleveland, he was able to make Hoyer and Johnny Manziel look competent and actually have them at a 7-4 record. With Atlanta and weapons at his fingertips, Shanahan led Atlanta to the No. 1 offense in the league and made QB Matt Ryan an MVP.

 

But with San Francisco, the struggles have been real. Their offense consistently struggles to find a rhythm and string together plays. Eight weeks into the season, Robert Saleh and the defense has been their best unit. 

 

I'm not saying it's time to turn on Kyle Shanahan and what they're building here in Santa Clara. The talent on offense is putrid and with the injuries piling up, Shanahan's working with a lot of rookies. But that doesn't mean I can't doubt the imbalance in his offense between running and throwing the ball. But these next eight weeks may be important for Kyle Shanahan to start to show more consistency on offense and prove he can coach up young players to be successful. 

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