Simms breaks down how Shanahan's 49ers offense uses motion


The 49ers’ offense has used motion to its benefit on numerous occasions this season, as the group currently is tied with the Tennessee Titans by scoring eight touchdowns on plays utilizing pre-snap motion.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has been among the most liberal users of motion in his schemes, as he has led the NFL in percentage of snaps utilizing pre-snap motion in each of the past four years, and so far in the 2020 season.

But how exactly does Shanahan confound opposing defenses with his myriad of movement before the snap? NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms goes in-depth below on all the ways the 49ers’ offense can beat defenses with this concept, in “Chris Simms Unbuttoned.”

Shanahan’s run game often is sprung by motion, as Simms demonstrates with the concepts below.

Plus, in Shanahan’s last stint as an offensive coordinator, he had Atlanta Falcons franchise quarterback Matt Ryan already in place, and helped him win an NFL MVP in 2016. But in San Francisco, Shanahan has Jimmy Garoppolo, a QB that while proficient in helping lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl a season ago, is much less experienced than some of his head coach’s past quarterbacks. Building an offensive scheme around him that makes his life easier with pre-snap motion allows the 49ers to thrive and not be completely reliant on Garoppolo and his arm to win games.

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Even when backup Nick Mullens has had to step in to replace Garoppolo after injuries, this motion scheme has allowed him to thrive as well without being forced to throw it excessively.


Simms and Shanahan were college teammates as players at the University of Texas, so Simms likely has seen plenty of plays drawn up by the 49ers head coach over the years.

Look out for plenty of pre-snap motion when the 49ers welcome the winless Philadelphia Eagles into Levi’s Stadium for Week 4, as the team looks to cement a 3-1 start despite a seemingly unrelenting wave of injured starters.

After the afternoon NFL games end Sunday, go to NBC Sports Bay Area or the MyTeams app at 4 p.m. PT for "49ers Pregame Live," as Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams, Matt Maiocco, Jennifer Lee Chan and Grant Liffmann preview the "Sunday Night Football" matchup against the Eagles. Then, after the game, come back for "49ers Postgame Live," with highlights, analysis, interviews and more.

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