Though he’s been a member of the San Francisco 49ers for less than a week, Christian McCaffrey is trying his darndest to keep his iron man streak alive in Week 7, when his new team takes on the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of the 2020 Super Bowl.
Would it be a tad unprecedented for a running back to go from one scheme to another in just under three days and have a good enough grasp of the offensive scheme to be an every-down contributor? Yes, but McCaffrey is willing to embrace the challenge, as he told reporters on October 21.
“I’ve obviously watched them for a long time. In my opinion, the best run game and one of the most explosive offenses in the league,” McCaffrey said, via NBC Sports BayArea. “I think you just go down the roster and you look at all the guys … How could you not want to play here as an offensive weapon?”
Later in the session, McCaffrey discussed his admiration for Kyle Shanahan as a play caller, declaring that playing for the sixth-year head coach is “an honor.”
“I don’t know if there’s anyone better at putting guys in position to have success [than Shanahan] and tailor into what they’re good at,” McCaffrey said. “For me, I’ve watched him do some unbelievable things with some great running backs, even the running backs in the room right now. I’m just excited to learn from them and to hear how coach Shanahan coaches not just the running back position but every single position on the field.
“… You just hear legends about how good of an offensive mind he is.”
John Lynch Believes McCaffrey Checks All the 49ers’ Boxes
When asked about how Lynch fits into the 49ers’ scheme moving forward and if he will have his snaps capped to avoid unnecessary tread on his tires, John Lynch highlighted just how perfect of a fit McCaffrey is in the Niners’ offensive scheme, as transcribed by 49ers WebZone.
“No, we discussed it all. First of all, you have to look at his history coming out of Stanford, really a pristine health record. The last couple of years have been rough, but it really felt like this year he had reestablished that health. I’ve been there in my own career. I started off and struggled to stay on the field then went eight, nine years without missing a game.
“Sometimes there’s those ebbs and flows. You can never have complete certainty on that, that’s beyond our control, but we try to make the best decision we can. This guy has played a lot of football this year, really good football throughout his career and he’s an extremely versatile player. He’s an explosive football player, he’s a smart football guy. I can go on and on. He checks all the boxes.”
While conventional wisdom would suggest paying big money to a running back in their late 20s and early 30s is a disastrous proposition, Lynch Believes that McCaffrey’s multi-faceted offensive talent could make him the exception to that typical rule.
Kyle Shanahan Has Similar Praise for Christian McCaffrey
Though he wouldn’t comment on if, let alone how the Niners would use McCaffrey in Week 7, Kyle Shanahan was much more excited to discuss CMC’s fit in his offense scheme, as again transcribed by 49ers Webzone.
“I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do. Just whether it’s in the pass game, the run game, blocking, I think he’s a very talented player. And just watching how he plays, he’s a very smart player. He always gets to the right hole, is very smooth, and we’ve seen that at every level he’s played in.”
Later in his media availability session, a reporter commented on how Lynch described McCaffrey as a perfect fit in Shanahan’s offense. Did the second-generation head coach agree with that assessment?
“I think he’s a real good player in every system and that’s John, I think there’s a lot of, I mean, any really good player is perfect player for our system. But I mean, he’s a very good runner so he’s going to be good in everything. He also has very good hands. He also has separation ability in the pass game. And I also think he’s a guy, just mentally, who can handle a lot. So, the more guys can handle, the more you put on them.”
After growing up around the McCaffreys during his developmental years, Shanahan is excited to coach Christian just like his father Mike coached Ed McCaffrey during their shared tenure in Denver.