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Steve Young breaks down how 49ers’ tactical adjustment has benefited Garoppolo



© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the great takeaways from the 49ers Monday’s night win over the Rams, and a continuing theme over the past few weeks, is that Jimmy Garoppolo has played well, and that has come with a simultaneous increase in the use of the shotgun.

Over the last three weeks, San Francisco has made a clear shift from a play-action heavy offense, to a shotgun-heavy team.

From yesterday’s notebook:

  • Garoppolo enjoying the shotgun: One of the more stunning tactical components of Monday’s game was that the 49ers almost solely had Garoppolo work out of the shotgun, and have started cutting down on the number of bootlegs he runs. Per Pro Football Focus’ Jeff Deeney, from Weeks 1-7, the 49ers ran the fourth-most play-action, at 35.0 percent, and over the last three weeks, have run play action just 9.6 percent of the time, which is the lowest rate in the league. According to Next Gen Stats, Garoppolo has been in the shotgun on 96 percent of his snaps since Week 8 , and he admitted he’s more comfortable that way.

“I think it helps us. I think, obviously our play-action from under center has been good in the past too,” Garoppolo said. “So it’s kind of a pick your poison, I guess, with defenses. It’s a week to week thing though. It really is… I think any quarterback naturally is more comfortable in the gun, just you’re away from the D-Line and everything, but yeah, I’ve done both ways. So I’m pretty comfortable with both.”

Steve Young has noticed this shift. He joined the Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks Show as he does every week, and suggested the 49ers should stick with this shotgun-heavy offense.

“When you turn your back — I don’t care who you are — you’re turning your back and there’s a cost to your ability to come off of that fake and have the vaguest idea of what’s just happened,” Young said. “And so I think there’s some real expertise that’s built and it’s more complex. And I think that Jimmy clearly thrives when he’s facing the defense.

“Just sit there in the shotgun so that you know, don’t have to wonder, you don’t have to think about it. It’s all right in front of you. Play action stuff, turning your back from the center, look, it’s not the it’s not the simplest thing in the world. So the stats bearing that out, obviously makes sense to me. But if it’s glaring over a period of time, then look, let’s just, I don’t know what the word is, capitulate to it.”

Young’s edict to Shanahan, essentially, is to stop the madness and let Garoppolo run what he’s comfortable with.

“Like, Jimmy, let’s just put him in the shotgun and stop it. Let’s not mess with it anymore,” Young said. “… To me, if you’re if you’re throwing on third down, if you can thrive from the shotgun on third down, you can thrive from the shotgun on first and second down, let’s be honest. And maybe we just go all in on that.”

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks weekdays from 2 – 6 p.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.