How many offensive weapons is too many? San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked this very question on January 10 during his media availability session and provided an interesting answer to how he keeps everyone on offense happy.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a challenge,” Shanahan said, via 49ers WebZone. “You can’t get everyone involved. You have to see how the game plays out, but you try to balance it out that way, and when you can balance it out that way and you have solid people and better-than-solid people at every single position, usually it takes care of itself.
“You have to see how the game goes,” he said. “If you end up getting one-dimensional or you don’t move the chains on third down and you can’t stay out there, then things can get skewed. But if you’re playing the right way, you’re moving the chains and the defense usually adjusts, then I feel it usually balances out and everyone has an impact.”
To Shanahan’s credit, the 49ers’ offense has been versatile, with 11 different players leading the team in passing, rushing or receiving in a game during the regular season. If the 49ers can keep up that optionality up on wild-card weekend against the Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Brock Purdy should have the pieces in place to become the first-ever Mr. Irrelevant to win a playoff game as a starting quarterback.
Brock Purdy Is Happy to Build Further Chemistry With His Teammates
One of the least-heralded aspects of Purdy’s rookie season has been his ability to consistently move the ball through the air regardless of who joins him in the huddle from snap to snap. Asked about how exciting it is to get Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell back heading into wild-card weekend after the Arizona Cardinals game in Week 18, Purdy expressed gratitude for his wealth of offensive riches.
“Yeah, that’s the other thing is like, man, we get these guys back,” Purdy said, via 49ers WebZone. “It was good to get some work in with Deebo today, Elijah getting his reps. So, it’s like, man, once we’re all in rhythm and in sync then I feel like we can play our full potential. So, I feel like today we got a little glimpse of it, but definitely some room to improve, but I’m excited for all of them to be healthy going into the playoffs it’s going to be fun.”
As tough as it may be to believe, Purdy has started only one game for the 49ers with Mitchell and Samuel both on the game-day roster. If the Niners are going to put their best foot forward and their best product on the field in Week 19, it’s paramount for Purdy to distribute the ball around to his playmakers and put them in the best position to succeed. Fortunately, Shanahan knows that, too, and he’s making a point out of building up chemistry before the team’s first postseason game.
Kyle Shanahan Wants to Get the San Francisco 49ers on the Same Page
Asked after Week 18 about how important it is to get all of his teammates back on the same page now that Samuel and Mitchell are back to full strength, Shanahan asserted that it’s his job to put all of his players in the best position to succeed.
“Just keep doing it the same way we’ve done it when they have been in or when they haven’t been in,” he said. “We balance it out, we spread it around, we see how it ends up at the end of the game, but you never go in saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to just get this guy the ball this much or that guy, you have a game plan and we have opportunities to spread it around a lot and then you just see how the game unfolds. You see how they’re defending people and that usually takes care of itself.”
Despite watching many of their top-level talents turn in elite production over the 2022 NFL season, with Brandon Aiyuk clearing the 1,000-yard threshold for the first time in his career, the 49ers locker room has stayed remarkably together. In the past, George Kittle has discussed how team success is more valuable than individual accolades and credited the 49ers’ ability to stick together despite outside adversity, and that trend continued through the end of the regular season.