49ers Week 8 Overreactions: Kyle Shanahan must change QB evaluation

Matt Maiocco
·4 min read

49ers Overreactions: Shanahan must change QB evaluation originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

When the boss man approached me after Week 1 and suggested a new weekly feature, “49ers Overreactions,” I’ll admit I was skeptical.

After all, how can the team’s fan base supply enough “overreactions” every Tuesday to keep this thing going for an entire season?

Now, here we are. We are halfway through the season, and while the 49ers are weakening due to an evaporating number of able-bodied players, the overreactions are quite healthy.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle are going to be out for a while. There is no guarantee either will suit up again this season.

And there is the possibility Garoppolo has played his final game with the 49ers. (That is not an overreaction, by the way.)

Here are some other reactions -- and overreactions? -- from 49ers fans:

Overreaction? No.

Kyle Shanahan likes to see quarterbacks in college do the kinds of things he would ask of them in his offense. The problem is that, generally, the top prep quarterbacks go to the top college programs. And most of the top college programs do not run NFL-style offenses.

Shanahan addressed this issue last week:

“I think some of the challenges over the last, at least in my career, is you get some of these unbelievable athletes who've never had to sit in a pocket because they could just win games in Pop Warner just running around. They can win it in high school just running around. They can win Heismans and do whatever, just running around in college.

“Eventually you get in the NFL and there are times that you’ve got to (make plays from the pocket) and it's really tough. But I think there's more and more guys coming out who have been doing both forever. When you have that, then you’ve got a chance to do both, and that's why you can see that the league is finding more and more of those guys.”

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I do not believe Shanahan thinks he can mold any quarterback into his system. That’s why he has been picky with his quarterbacks, leaning toward players who he has seen carry out play fakes, hang in the pocket, read defenses and go through progressions.

Obviously, the problem with that approach is it seems to eliminate the best athletes -- and, potentially, the best quarterbacks -- from consideration.

Overreaction? Yes.

The vast majority of football players fall into at least one of three categories: Those who have been injured; those who are injured; and those who will be injured.

Of course, a player’s injury history factors into the cost of acquisition. Top-flight players who have been lucky enough to remain healthy and productive either are not available or the cost of acquiring them is prohibitive.

So teams certainly have to pick their spots and take some calculated risks along the way.

The key is to manage the best- and worst-case scenarios so that the hit is not too difficult if the player is sidelined. But, by and large, taking those chances is unavoidable.

Overreaction? No.

Brandon Aiyuk already is the best wide receiver on the team. (And that includes when everybody is healthy.)

The pairing of Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel as the starting wide receiver spots should supply the 49ers with a pair of quality receivers on the outside for at least the next two seasons after this year.

Then, the onus falls on the organization to keep both of those players around beyond their first contracts.

Overreaction? No.

I was wary of the whole “revenge tour” mindset from the beginning, though.

RELATED: Why 49ers are primed for a return to elite status in 2021

It seemed as if everyone just assumed the 49ers would find themselves in the same position as a year ago and they only had to win one game: The Super Bowl.

But it was never going to be that simple.

It would have been difficult for the 49ers to get back to the Super Bowl even if they had remained healthy from start to finish. But with all the injuries to key players, their goal of winning it all was made impossible.