It’s Thursday, and we’ve got football on our mind. Check out three stories for today.
1. The FNF Coaches Podcast Debuts in 2020 (FNF Coaches)
Coaches — We’re excited to bring to you our debut podcast of 2020. FNF Coaches contributor Derek Smith joins the podcast to talk about his experiences writing about coaching legends and covering HS football in North Carolina.
Smith writes the Coaching Legend feature for FNF Coaches every month, and it was interesting to hear some of his takeaways from interviewing some of the most successful coaches in the business. We’re planning to keep these going, so if you would like to suggest a guest or would like to volunteer to be on a podcast, let us know!
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST.
If you have feedback for the FNF Coaches podcast, let us know on Twitter @FNFCoaches.
2. 49ers Running Attack is From a Different Era (NBC Bay Area)
It seems teams at every level are passing more and more, and running less and less. Offenses are built on passing attacks, not off-tackle runs. Running backs almost have disappeared from the first round of many recent NFL draft classes.
Yet the 49ers under head coach Kyle Shanahan are a throwback team. They ran their way to the Super Bowl, with a combined 99 running plays in their two playoff victories. When San Francisco takes on Kansas City in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs will first have to focus on stopping a pounding running attack that ranked No. 2 in the NFL in 2019.
Shanahan has built a running game on the model used by his father, Mike, who won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos. The 49ers use a zone-blocking scheme and agile offensive linemen, along with multiple shifts and formations, to find cracks in the defensive front, using sweeps, traps, draws and combinations of running backs.
Nothing illustrates Shanahan’s commitment to the running game more than Raheem Mostert’s 36-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of San Francisco’s 37-20 victory over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game this past weekend.
With the game still scoreless, the 49ers faced a third-and-8, but decided to run the ball with Mostert instead of calling a pass. Mostert – who would run for 220 yards and four touchdowns – took the handoff from Jimmy Garoppolo and burst through a hole created by a trap block to sprint for the game’s first score. San Francisco would build a 27-0 lead by halftime en route to the win.
What can you steal from Kyle Shanahan’s offensive philosophy and play designs?
3. The Two Words That Helped Lift the Chiefs to the Super Bowl (Arrowhead Pride)
We’re always interested in slogans for teams. In fact, we’ve done stories on mottos and slogans before.
Very few teams at any level are unbeatable all year and avoid adversity; the season is too long. If there are no obstacles for a team to get past and learn from, it will be even tougher for it to overcome when they occur in the postseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs are an example of a team that has overcome some setbacks along the way to the top.
They’ve faced challenges with injuries, performance and the way they’ve started games. Starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes dealt with injuries for a significant portion of the season — and so did key players like wide receiver Tyreek Hill, left tackle Eric Fisher and defensive tackle Chris Jones. Both the offense and defense had some ugly play in a stretch of the season where the team went 2-4. And they trailed at the end of the first quarter in seven of their 16 games.
One of the first things Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said in his postgame press conference after Sunday’s 35-24 victory over the Titans — a victory that sent them to their first Super Bowl in 50 years — spoke to obstacles.
And the two words he said may be the underlying theme to the season.
“‘Never die’ is kind of their thing,” coach Reid said of his team. “I mean getting behind like this is tough on an old guy, but they did a nice job coming back.”
What is your team’s slogan for 2020? What does it mean to you?