Kyle Shanahan hoping to delay Panthers breakout game

Neither the 49ers nor the Panthers have gotten off to particularly strong starts in 2022, but San Francisco has certainly shown more life than Carolina through four weeks. On the surface it appears the 49ers should roll Sunday in Carolina. Head coach Kyle Shanahan on Friday offered a couple reasons for concern for his club.

The first thing he pointed to has more to do with his own team than the Panthers. Carolina’s defense hasn’t been as big of a problem this season, and Shanahan talked about the perils of turnovers for a heavily-favored team – something the 49ers have already dealt with this year.

“First of all, I think similar to us, when you have a defense that has the talent they have and I think it’s extremely well-coached and they can get turnovers and pressure the quarterback,” Shanahan said. “Regardless of what you do on the other side, if it’s a turnover game, it’s very tough to win.”

In their two losses this season, the 49ers have turned the ball over five times and they’re minus-four in the turnover column. In their two wins, they’ve turned it over zero times and are plus-five in the turnover column.

Offensively Carolina has struggled to start the season. They’re last in total yards and tied for 26th in yards per play. Football Outsiders has them at No. 31 in offensive DVOA.

Despite all that, Shanahan believes a breakout is coming for that unit due to a handful of talented players.

“When you look at their offense, they have players over there, they have coaches who have done it, they have a good scheme,” Shanahan said. “I just think they haven’t gotten going yet. They’ve had times, but [RB Christian] McCaffrey’s healthy and he looks as the same as he used to. He is a problem. They have talented receivers and [QB] Baker [Mayfield] has done a lot of good things in this league. They got a young o-line that’s coming together, but it has the ability to do well. It’s not like you just see guys out there who can’t do it and you see a scheme that can do it, so it’s a matter of time, they’ll get it going. We just have to make sure it’s not this week.”

It would be pretty shocking if a struggling offense got right against a 49ers defense that ranks No. 1 in points allowed, yards allowed, and defensive DVOA.

Still, the 49ers have lost games under Shanahan they’ve had no business losing before, so going into a game with the mindset the head coach has is imperative. If they can go dominate a game like this one, it could be the 49ers that get back on track and reassert themselves as one of the NFC’s top contenders heading into the middle portion of their schedule.


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Story originally appeared on Niners Wire