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Does Kyle Shanahan’s Zone Blocking Scheme Make His Quarterbacks Susceptible to Injury?

The San Francisco 49ers suffered a devastating defeat Sunday night losing 31-7 to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game. As heartbreaking of a defeat that it was, the team battled adversity the entire season. A season that started out with uncertainty, the 49ers named Trey Lance the starting quarterback to begin training camp. The 2021 3rd overall pick seemed poised to take over a team that was just one game shy from making the Super Bowl the year prior. However in week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks Lance suffered a right ankle injury that would end his season abruptly.

Luckily for the 49ers they and Jimmy Garoppolo had agreed to a restructured contract making him the highest paid backup quarterback in the NFL. Garoppolo led the team to a 7-4 record until breaking his foot against the Miami Dolphins in week 13 forcing rookie 7th round pick Brock Purdy to make his season debut. Purdy threw for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game leading the 49ers to a 33-17 victory. San Francisco did not lose a game the rest of the regular season finishing 13-4 and 2nd place in the NFC. Kyle Shanahan deserves a lot of credit for Purdy’s success, but is it Kyle Shanahan’s fault they got into this mess in the first place? Purdy is now recovering from a torn UCL in his throwing elbow after a blow to his right elbow by Eagles pass rusher Hassan Reddick. 4th stringer Josh Johnson was ruled out for a concussion.

It is uncertain who will start week 1 of the 2023 season, but is Kyle Shanahan to blame? Kyle Shanahan was named the 20th head coach in franchise history February 6, 2017. Shanahan is known for his zone blocking scheme most famously developed by his father Mike Shanahan and Alex Gibbs in the late 90’s with the Denver Broncos. This style of offense has become much more prominent in todays NFL. Despite the scheme being beneficial to running backs it also creates brutal mismatches that also lead to quarterbacks susceptible to wide open hits. With the NFL taking more of a cautious approach to player safety does the NFL need to revert back to man blocking? Let us know in the comments below

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