San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan tipped his hand on his first order of business against the Green Bay Packers. On Saturday, the Packers will travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers in the Divisional Round.
Love put up impressive tape for the Packers on his opening drive against the Dallas Cowboys last weekend. The Packers chose to take the ball against the Cowboys rather than defer. That’s a decision most NFL teams wouldn’t make.
But it paid off for Green Bay. The Packers went on a 12-play 75-yard drive that ended on a three-yard Aaron Jones touchdown run. The Packers never looked back on their way to upsetting the Cowboys last week.
The San Francisco 49ers want to defer Saturday
Reporters asked Shanahan this week if the 49ers would consider taking the ball on offense to start the game instead of letting Love have an opportunity to get hot early in the game. According to a transcript of Shanahan’s statement by 49ers Webzone, the head coach said, “Nope.”
Shanahan thinks Love can get into rhythm at any time during the game:
“I think he can have rhythm in the beginning of the third quarter too. I think he had some good rhythm on the second drive, also. I don’t think it’s because he started with the ball personally, but that’s just everyone’s preference. It’s always good to get up to a big lead.
It’s also good to score at the end of the second quarter and get the ball first, just like Dallas did, which would’ve got them right back into it if they did score in the opening third and Green Bay didn’t answer.
If I felt our team was struggling in something that would change your mind. I usually think that’s just coincidence. When you play good football, usually you score. When things don’t happen, you don’t.”
Kyle Shanahan doesn’t want Jordan Love to gain a possession
Shanahan didn’t always consider deferring to the second half was necessary when he first entered the league. But he thinks deferring is the best opportunity to give the 49ers an extra possession:
“Yeah, just to kind of lap them. That’s the advantage. If not, I think it usually plays out even. But you’ve got a chance to get an extra possession. I didn’t used to know this or think it, but just listening to people for the last 15 years. I didn’t think about it all growing up or when I first got into the League, but watching it all now and really studying it since I was in Atlanta, I just feel pretty strong about it.”
The Green Bay Packers start hot with the ball against the Cowboys
Shanahan’s comments are interesting, given his take on the Cowboys/Packers game earlier in the week. Because of the Packers’ fast start in the first half against the Cowboys, Shanahan said the 49ers started preparing for the Packers in the second quarter of their eventual win over the Cowboys.
Shanahan doesn’t seem worried about what happened in Dallas repeating itself in San Francisco this weekend. And he shouldn’t, as the 49ers are a much more complete team than the Cowboys were. Shanahan is also a better coach than Mike McCarthy.
However, the 49ers must be prepared for the Packers to jump out of the gates fast on Saturday. The Packers are a dangerous team because they’re playing like they have nothing to lose. The 49ers might temper the Packers’ expectations by scoring first on this Packers team.
But that’s questionable to happen if Shanahan defers to the second half.
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