The 49ers never got together, except over video technology, during their soon-to-be-completed offseason program.
But while teams around the NFL were not able to hone the physical aspects of installing their offenses and defenses this spring, they had the rare opportunity to spend more time teaching and discussing their systems.
Coach Kyle Shanahan, whose new six-year contract with the 49ers was announced on Monday, spoke recently about the luxury of being able to take a deep dive into game film and the pages of his playbook. Shanahan has many options built into each play to account for any tactic the defense deploys.
This offseason provided Shanahan and his staff a greater opportunity to meticulously go through the details.
"It's been awesome to go through all the cutups with the guys, to be able to just watch game tape with the guys, to be able to have an hour and a half meeting where I only talk about one play," Shanahan said. "Now, I showed that play 60 different ways and we go through all the variations of it, but I've never been able to do that.
"Usually, I've got to talk about 10 plays in that hour and a half. What sticks when you talk about 10 plays? Not very much."
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Training camps around the NFL are tentatively scheduled to open in late-July, but there are no guarantees what will occur due to concerns about spreading COVID-19. Repeated mental training has taken the place of the physical repetitions during this unique offseason.
Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said the added meeting time and discussion about defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's system has provided the young players with a greater understanding of the scheme.
Typically, when young players go to the practice field in the offseason, they might not have been afforded the opportunity to fully know what they're supposed to do. Sherman said he has witnessed his teammates gain an improved understanding of the defense.
"There's been a ton of growth for guys, and a ton of growth within the nuances of the defense and the nuances of coverage," Sherman said. "You kind of gloss over so many things because you're moving so fast. You just want to get to the next thing, get to the next thing, get to football and the on-the-field stuff.
"I think this time everyone has to step back and slow it down and take your time, so guys are learning more and understanding more than they ever have."
Kyle Shanahan, 49ers coaches using NFL offseason to hammer in details originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area