Over the course of his nearly 20-year NFL coaching career, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has been tabbed as an offensive genius for complex scheme, meticulous game planning and ability to play to the strengths of his offensive weapons.
For proof of this, you don't need to look further back than the 2022 season. In his most recent campaign, the head coach helped lead the 49ers to their third NFC Championship Game appearance over the last four years with three different starting quarterbacks. The season ended with former seventh-round draft pick Brock Purdy leading the offense for eight-straight games and shattering NFL records on the way.
Shanahan's offense was one of the selling points that ultimately swayed seven-time Pro Bowler Kyle Juszczyk to sign on with San Francisco as a free agent prior to the 2017 season. During his interview on The Rich Eisen Show, the veteran fullback shared insight into the decision-making process that involved multiple NFL teams.
"I loved the idea of moving to California, and I loved what Kyle's offense was like," Juszczyk said. "I had just watched them (the Atlanta Falcons) in the playoffs and the Super Bowl in Atlanta. I saw what they did with their fullback then, and felt like I could really thrive in it."
And he did. Juszczyk has established himself as an elite playmaker, amassing 151 catches for 1,576 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air in addition to his 57 carries for 205 yards and five scores on the ground in his six seasons with the 49ers.
While his admiration for the Shanahan offense runs deep, Juszczyk got to see it through a fresh set of eyes last season when Christian McCaffrey arrived in The Bay via a mid-season trade.
"If you sit in his team meetings, you are just blown away by the football knowledge and what he teaches the entire room," Juszczyk shared. "It's cool now that we brought Christian McCaffrey in because he hasn't been around this. I've been around this for seven years now, so you get kind of used to it.
"He sits next to me in the team meeting, and Kyle will finish up, and he'll just look at me and be like, 'Dude, I could do this all day. This is incredible.' He just went through 22 people on the field and told you what their assignment was, how they are supposed to do it, how this guy being out of gap leads to the next guy opening up a hole... If you're a football nerd, you can sit in there for hours."
Juszczyk has seen various examples of Shanahan's mastermind at work over the last six seasons and offered up one his favorite examples from the 2019 season.
"There are videos of this, and we're about to run a branch route," Juszczyk said. "Right before the play, he tells the ref, he has an eight-yard route that he's going to break on in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. He's like, 'The defender has outside leverage, he's going to grab George Kittle when he breaks out, just be ready for it.'
"Seven seconds later, it plays out exactly how he said. The ref grabs the flag, throws it, and he just called his shot in the NFC Championship."