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Packers-49ers Q&A: Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur run different versions of same offense

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Kyle Posey of SB Nation’s San Francisco 49ers blog Niners Nation answers our questions about the team.

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers battle for the No. 1 spot in the NFC with the San Francisco 49ers. Kyle Posey of Niners Nation kindly volunteered to answer our questions about the 49ers and provide some insight into their strengths and weaknesses.

APC: Though the Kyle Shanahan’s offense looks schematically similar to the one now run in Green Bay by former understudy Matt LaFleur, the two head coaches operate differently. Shanahan calls far more run plays (349 versus 243), leans heavier on 21 personnel (22.0 percent versus 14.1 percent), leans less on 11 personnel (39.8 percent versus 60.8 percent), and uses more play-action (sixth most by percentage versus 17th most). How do you account for those differences considering the two coaches came up within the same offensive system, and how do see those differences manifest on the field?

Shanahan hasn’t had three receivers he can trust to run 11 personnel. It’s also easier to execute against base defense than it is Nickel defense matchup wise, not to mention from a protection standpoint. Personnel has a lot to do with it, and Shanahan has been adamant about how important a fullback is in his offense.

As for the run/pass splits, Shanahan is also a run-first, play-action type of play-caller. In the last few weeks, the 49ers running game has stalled, which has led to far more passing. In the last game, they only ran the ball 19 times, compared to 48 dropbacks for Jimmy Garoppolo. Shanahan has no issue throwing it around if the running game isn’t working. Bigger leads early in the season and a couple of blowout games have made the run/pass splits look worse than they truly are.

We’d like to thank Kyle. Be sure to check out the rest of our Q&A session with Niners Nation over the course of the week as well as our Q&A session over there. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Packers versus 49ers.