49ers Shanahan Clock Management

In today’s NFL, a game’s outcome is often determined in the final minutes of each half of play. San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan understands this, and regularly practices two-minute drills — as he did last week during situational drills prior to the 49ers’ NFL Preseason Week 1 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 49ers were afforded the opportunity to test both their four-minute offense and their two-minute offense at the end of the first half of last Friday’s game. The basic strategies for these situations was explained succinctly by former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh in his lecture, “A Method for Game Planning.”

Four minute offense does not mean you are trying to score. In the two-minute offense you want to score points. Four minute offense, you want to use the clock and control the ball.

As a first-time head coach, Shanahan has never been responsible for both calling offensive plays and managing the clock, and he learned last week that it’s often difficult to juggle the two important responsibilities.

It’s not surprising for Shanahan to struggle early with clock management, as many of the league’s top coaches consistently lose games due to their mismanagement of the clock. Across the field from Shanahan on Friday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid regularly demonstrates that you can be a good head coach, and still be perhaps the worst clock manager in the NFL.

On the bright side, as opposed to some coaches who will never get it right, Shanahan immediately recognized his mistake, which he brought up during his press conference on Tuesday:

Yeah, there was one time I should’ve called a timeout on an explosive play. I tried to hurry up and do it. It was a third-and-one and we got a 30-yarder and tried to hurry up and save a timeout, and just took too long. Shouldn’t have done that. Should’ve called a timeout right away. I knew I was going to get a text [from his father, former coach Mike Shanahan] about that very fast.

Let’s take a look at the 49ers’ final drive of the first half.

About the Author: Chris Wilson

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