MIAMI – It was very early.
At that point, Kyle Juszczyk realized what was going on with his new head coach. When he discovered that the NFL meeting he attended was more like a master class for offensive work and that the responsible trainer had a professorial competence.
That was three years ago, and the 49er defender was amazed at what he heard from Kyle Shanahan. This takes a lot when you consider that Juszczyk went to Harvard.
"It was a simple wide-zone game, but he literally broken down how every player on the field, all 22 players, affected this game," Juszczyk told Post this week. "His ability to explain each player's role and role in the game, how it affected the game, and how to respond to each and every one of them was extremely impressive."
Shanahan is only 40 years old, but in many ways he's prepared to send his team to the field against the Chiefs in Super Bowl 2020 on Sunday – almost forever. He was a 14-year-old ball boy for the 49ers in 1994 when his father, Mike Shanahan, won a Super Bowl as an offensive coordinator. He was 24 when Jon Gruden hired him as an offensive assistant for the Buccaneers. He was 28 when he became the youngest NFL play caller in 2008 with the Texans. He was 37 when he took the soaring hawks' lead over the patriots in the Super Bowl and then went on to blow and showered Kyle Shanahan with criticism that he accepted and went on.
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Those close to him are impressed with the way his mind sees and leads offensive football. He used the zone blocking scheme his father won two Super Bowls with the Broncos and added these concepts. He inhaled Gruden's massive playbook and later Gary Kubiak's simplified scheme to form his own system. He added all of this, with jet sweeps and creative moves and game actions that relieve his quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and that he adjusted from game to game by bending and designing the games depending on what works and what isn't. The 49ers won a game this season in which Garoppolo in New Orleans threw 349 yards with a shootout of 48:46 and in the playoffs of 37:20, when Garoppolo only threw eight passes since the 49ers ran at will again the packers.
"That's one of the things we love about Kyle, the way he calls games. He'll do anything to enable us to succeed," said Joe Staley.
"It is not classified in any particular scheme," said Juszczyk. "Whatever works that day, whether it's the wide-angle zone, whether it's a gap pattern, whether it's the inner zone, whether it's running the ball or throwing the ball, it just becomes use what works that day. "
He spent Shanahan's formative NFL years in defensive meeting rooms in Tampa, where he recognized the responsibility of every defensive player for every game. Therefore, it sometimes seems as if he knows how the opposing defense will react and is one step ahead.
According to Pro Football Focus, Shanahan's crimes in Cleveland, Atlanta and San Francisco have been in the top 5 in the league since 2014 when it comes to movement and shift. In the past three years, the 49ers have been No. 1.
The Shanahan Mantra: If you allow an opposing defense to make a mistake, it will usually do so.
The Shanahan method is often to have two setbacks on the field – usually a sign that a run is imminent. Still, Shanahan goes two-packs more than anyone else. He calls to cross routes until a defense awaits them, and then switches to pirated copies. Shanahan is known for his zone running game, but when a defense anticipates this, he adapts to gap or power runs.
For Mike McGlinchey, the right attacker, Shanahan uses "every game like a piece of the puzzle" to watch how the defense responds and then use that awareness to make another call that overdrafts the defense.
"He's constantly manipulating a defense's responsibilities against her," said McGlinchey.
In the third year of his work, Shanahan has expanded his game book.
"The more you see people trying to defend you and how people stop you, the more things you try to do to counteract that," Shanahan said.
Tight end George Kittle said his head coach was so familiar with locking angles that it was almost impossible to stop the game in progress.
"Just because we basically install new games every week, we have a whole new game book every week. Football is really fun," said Kittle.
Shanahan is not lacking in self-confidence, but he does not accept the labels attacked like velcro.
"No, I don't consider myself an objectionable guru," he said.
Others are sure that he deserves to be singled out.
"Whatever word you want to use for it," said Juszczyk. "I like to say" wizard ". I think he is unsurpassed in terms of insult."
And does that give the 49ers an advantage on Sunday?
"I think," said Juszczyk, "that's not a question."
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