MIAMI -- The 49ers have the perfect storm on offense: A schematic master mind, players who have the ability to implement the plan and the will to win. 

Over the last three seasons, there has been an evolution in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme but it’s hasn’t just been about him coming up with new ideas. Players now are able to execute and understand the "why" to the coach's offense.

The offensive line is where it all starts with different stunts and moves to confuse opposing defenses. While there were glimpses of Shanahan’s savant-like ability to create numeric imbalances on the field in previous seasons, the intricacies have been much more evident in his third season with the 49ers.

Offensive linemen Mike Person told NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday that it was just a matter of time before all of the pieces came together for Shanahan and the offense. 

“It takes time for things to gel in this offense,” Person said. “It’s been huge for our young guys to be able to step up like that and understand how everything works for us. I think it’s always been pretty exotic in what he does. Obviously he’s added a few wrinkles here and there, but it always puts a lot of stress on the blockers and mentally about targeting where to go.

“At first on Wednesdays he puts some crazy things in there, you’re just trying to process it all. It’s kind of a flurry before we go out to practice, but then once you do it, execute it and clean everything up, everything hits.” 


Laken Tomlinson is a student of the game and appreciates when Shanahan shows exactly how and why each play works. The offensive lineman told NBC Sports Bay Area that having players like tight end George Kittle and fullback Kyle Juszczyk make everything possible. 

“The interesting part is when he explains it and how everything ties together within the system,” Tomlinson said. “That’s the most interesting part of the whole scheme. When you have guys that can block on the edge like George and when you got guys like Juice, there’s so much you can do within the system.

"I feel like we have the right guys to execute this system.” 

Kittle also has seen the offense grow and develop over his three seasons. His role as a run-blocker, which he loves, has been able to transform what Shanahan can do schematically. 

“[It has] definitely evolved," Kittle said. “Our offense from my rookie year against Carolina opening game is much different than what it is now. Just being part of the evolution, how it's grown and how it's changed is really fun because you can look back, ‘Wow, man,’ that's what we were doing and now we're doing this stuff.  

“It is so much more fun. Just the fact we basically install new plays every single week, we have a whole new playbook every single week, it makes football really fun. You get to learn every single week techniques, how to block guys. The similarities always carry over, but the difference is what makes it exciting.” 

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Several 49ers offensive linemen believe what they are doing this year compared to the past really hasn't changed much. The difference, however, is this group's cohesiveness.

“The more you see how people try to defend you and how people stop you, the more things you try to put in to counteract that,” Shanahan said on Friday. “Playing with a group of guys, especially on the O-Line for going into our third year, I think helps guys execute all the stuff. 

“You can put in some new stuff and it doesn't overwhelm the guys, and then just add in some of the speed element with all of our backs, a number of our receivers who have helped in the run game, not just blocking, but also that they're a threat to get the ball out a lot of times. I think all that ties together.”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Saturday).


Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.