49ers coach Kyle Shanahan loves him some tight endings.
They are necessary for the way he prefers the crime. With players lining up on the scrimmage line who can help with running and meeting, Shanahan is able to disguise any given game without offering an edge over the opponent’s defense. George Kittle’s 49-month end is the best example of this kind of player, and Shanahan has clearly used him quite effectively.
The 49ers operated from 21 employees – a formation with two running backs, two wide receivers and one fixed end – 28 percent of the time last season, which was much more common than any other team in the league. San Francisco also used 22 employees ̵1; two backs, one receiver and two fixed ends – on 11 percent of its games; only the Baltimore Ravens ran more games out of this formation.
It is therefore no surprise that Shanahan places a high position in a tight end position. That explains why the 49ers allegedly dealt with Austin Hooper’s signature in a free agency, even though Kittle already had it on the list.
Hooper didn’t seem to be the only one.
Athlete Matt Barrows reported on Wednesday that the 49ers had “soft conversations” with Agent Delanie Walker in the spring, citing sources. San Francisco also “showed a similar level of interest” in the former close end of the Washington Jordan Jordan Reed football team.
Walker had previously played for San Francisco and Reed played under Shanahan when he was Washington’s offensive coordinator. So in both cases there is a certain level of familiarity.
Don’t expect the 49ers to sign one of them. They have limited salary space, and with Kittle, Ross Dwelley, and the recently signed sixth round, Charlie Woerner, who fills out an in-depth map, doesn’t seem necessary.
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Of course, if Dwelley proves unable to take more of the burden off Kittle and / or Woerner’s shoulders to accommodate the NFL game, everything could change.
Until then, however, the 49ers are expected to rely on their inner capabilities.
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