This time, the 49ers exited a preseason game with a 16-13 loss to the Texans, but like any preseason game, there's still some good to takeaway from it.
For this piece, I will be looking at what we can assume about the 49ers offense going into the 2018 season. Here, I found four specific things I could takeaway from this preseason game. They are listed as follows:
1. Marquise Goodwin is in line for a big season
Marquise Goodwin has had quite the turnaround in San Francisco. In four years in Buffalo (2013-16), he had 49 catches for 780 yards and six touchdowns. Last year with the 49ers (2017, but you didn't need parentheses there, did you?), Goodwin caught 56 catches for 962 yards and two touchdowns, earning him a contract extension in the Bay Area.
Goodwin was an awful player in Buffalo, being known for a stunningly low catch rate, but Kyle Shanahan saw where he was at his best and used him perfectly in 2017, helping him develop into a receiving threat.
With Jimmy Garoppolo as his quarterback for a full season, and in Kyle Shanahan's system, Goodwin is a dangerous speedster on vertical throws. Here, Shanahan makes everything simple for both Goodwin and Garoppolo. Goodwin isn't the most complete receiver in football, but in Shanahan's offense, you don't need to be.
Goodwin is particularly dangerous downfield when he's schemed open, like so, and Garoppolo has a simple read that offsets the interior pressure coming at him. The result is the connection with Goodwin for a big gain.
2. Kyle Juszczyk is a valuable part of the offense
Fullbacks these days are very scarce, but not in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Kyle Juszczyk just might be the best of his kind; He can clear space for runners up front, and is a dynamic skill player in his own right, possessing both the quickness and speed that seem to be Kyle Shanahan's caffeine.
One staple of Shanahan's offense as head coach is the fullback wheel route, which is essentially the exact same thing as a regular wheel route, only a monster fullback is running it.
Juszczyk acts as the safe option on this play, as well as the most crucial option because he's left all alone. Eventually, Garoppolo locates him, making this all too easy for the 49ers.
3. Kyle Shanahan knows how to spread receivers
If you're going to spread your receivers, make sure you do it efficiently. Mike Mularkey in Tennessee could not do that. Mike McCarthy in Green Bay can't do that. But Kyle Shanahan can.
Kyle Shanahan's take on the West Coast Offense is all about spreading his receivers open. Especially against zone coverage, this exploits a lot of open windows for the quarterback to throw to. The use of play action on this play only makes guarding it more difficult.
With the spread offense, the defense is moved around long enough that an opening eventually kicks in.
4. The 49ers have a nice amount of receiving talent
From Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, George Kittle, and rookie receiver Dante Pettis (shown above), the 49ers have an impressive amount of receiving talent, each possessing their own unique skill sets.
Garcon is the most well rounded of the receivers and can do damage anywhere on the field, while Goodwin's speed makes him dangerous downfield. Kittle was a nice possession receiver in his rookie season, Trent Taylor is a promising slot receiver, Bourne has shown flashes in the intermediate area, and Pettis looks like a Garcon replacement with an edge as a return specialist.
To conclude, not everything went right for San Francisco on Saturday night, but all things considered, 49ers fans should be excited.
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