After several disappointing seasons, the San Francisco 49ers have reason to hope – and that hope is Kyle Shanahan.
The fourth 49ers head coach in four years, Shanahan, one of the top offensive minds in the game, is fresh off a Super Bowl run with the Atlanta Falcons. His first job in San Fran: improve an offense that last season ranked 27th in scoring (19.3 points per game).
“I think our offense is going to do great this year,” 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It’s been hard for us to play against them every day in training camp and I think they’re going to shock a lot of people and be able to move the ball and put up some points, which, in turn, is going to help us. I think that defensively we take that challenge and being the focal point of the team, but that by no means diminishes our offense and what they’re capable of.”
The 49ers finished 31st in total yards last season en route to finishing 2-14 – their worst record since 2004. Nevertheless, the 49ers are optimistic.
“I think (the offense is) going to attack people,” Armstead said. “I think Kyle puts guys in position to make plays. I think that undisciplined teams will struggle playing against our offense. I think they put a strain on the defense showing different looks. I think that’s going to allow them to move the ball.”
Shanahan is yet to coach a regular-season game for the Niners, but his presence has already been felt.
“He always tell us, well, for one, we’re a team, and he speaks about togetherness all the time,” Armstead explained. “And 2, just the process, enjoying the process – not so much the end result, but enjoying the process. He wants guys that love football, that love to play football, all they want to do is football, and enjoying that process and realizing how blessed we are to be in this position and then attacking every day.”
The Niners open the season at home against Carolina on Sept. 10 before facing the Seahawks in Seattle on Sept. 17. Kickoff for both games is at 4:25 p.m. ET.
Armstead, a first-round draft pick in 2015, was also asked about Colin Kaepernick. The two were teammates in 2015 and 2016.
“I can only speak for my own personal opinion,” Armstead said. “I feel like Kap is a very good guy, he’s a stand-up guy, he’s a guy that is a leader – he’s a guy that stands up for what he believes in. Everything that he’s done has bene really inspiring. I respect him as a man and as a human being.”
Asked whether Kaepernick will play in the NFL this season, Armstead said he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t make those decisions,” he said. “I’m a player on the 49ers. There’s 32 other teams with staffs and GMs and owners and all types of people that make those decisions. Who knows what will happen?”