How Shanahan evaluates Broncos' Wilson-Hackett offense


The Denver Broncos’ offense has gotten off to a slower-than-expected start with quarterback Russell Wilson taking over under center -- good news for the 49ers, who travel to Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday for a Week 3 matchup against their one-time NFC West foe and his new team.

But coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t expect Wilson to be subdued for long, and it isn’t because the former Seahawks signal-caller brought much of Seattle’s methods with him to Denver’s offense.

“I see a little more Green Bay than Seattle, you know, a mixture,” Shanahan told longtime 49ers play-by-play announcer Greg Papa on Friday’s episode of “49ers Game Plan.”

Former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is in his first season as Broncos coach after taking over for the fired Vic Fangio in late January.

With yet another branch of the Shanahan-Sean McVay offense taking root in Denver, it’s no surprise the 49ers coach has noticed some familiar plays.

“They do a lot of similar stuff that we do,” Shanahan told Papa. “Their O-line scheme and everything. Having Butch [Barry], who was our No. 2 O-line coach here last year as their coach. So there are some similarities with that, but I do see more Green Bay than Seattle.


“They’re spreading a lot around more. Russ has made some big plays already.”

It’s clear Denver has a game plan with Wilson’s athleticism in mind, with a system featuring a wide range of concepts based on foundations of the West Coast offense.

But with a 1-1 record so far, Wilson and the Broncos are averaging 16 points per game as they prepare to go up against a sturdy 49ers defense. Wilson has thrown just two touchdown passes compared to one interception, and his team has yet to score a touchdown in the red zone.

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And Shanahan wouldn’t like to see that happen anytime soon.

“[Wilson] hasn’t done much with his legs yet, but he’s done it with his arm, and it’s a matter of time,” Shanahan said. “I’ve seen that way too many times in the last decade, so I want to make sure we don’t see it this Sunday.”

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