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Greg Cosell breaks down 49ers’ unpredictability on KNBR: They ‘can really win only one way’



© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After reverting to their old ways from the first half of the season, the 49ers sit at .500. It begs asking whether this team will ever prove itself as more than average, or end this trend of unpredictability.

NFL Films’ Greg Cosell grinds tape as much as anyone, and joined the Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks show on Wednesday to provide some insight into this confounding 49ers team.

His analysis? They have one way to win games. When they get outside of their preferred way to win, things become unpredictable.

“I would say that this particular team right now is a team, offensively, that can really win only one way,” Cosell said. “And when that’s the case, I think that any given week you can be really good and look really good. But then other weeks, not so good.

“Because essentially, they’re a running football team out of base personnel with the passing game working off that and when I say working off that, I don’t mean every pass is play action, but I mean, they’re not going to drop back 35 or 40 times by choice. They’re a running football team and the pass game is kind of secondary to the run game.

“So you have to convert third downs because you can’t always gain eight yards on your first down runs. They’ll take some shots here and there, but they don’t really push it down the field by choice. You don’t see a lot of vertical throws in their offense… The point is, I think they have a formula or a profile. And if they have to step outside that profile, you just don’t know exactly how it’s going to work out in any given game.”

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.