The Christian McCaffrey, Anthony Lynn connection is paying dividends for the 49ers


The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

That’s how San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Anthony Lynn describes his team’s dynamic offseason addition in Christian McCaffrey.

Lynn should know because he and McCaffrey’s father, Ed McCaffrey, played on the Denver Broncos’ back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the 1990s.

According to Lynn, the highly talented running back reflects the professionalism his father had when he was in the league.

“Of course, he is a hardworking and conscientious guy. And just a great teammate,” Lynn told FOX Sports. “He is a perfectionist. And we all know that we are not perfect as humans. But like coach (Bill) Walsh said, strive for perfection, if you fail, it’s just that, and in this league, you win a lot of games by being perfect.

“It’s just his way of thinking, his personality. He wants to be perfect in everything. And I know exactly where it comes from. His parents were also great athletes. But because his father knew him better than his mother, his father was the same.”

A former NFL tight end and special teams star who coached in the NFL for two decades, Lynn was in his first season as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers when McCaffrey entered the 2017 NFL Draft. Lynn said he rated McCaffrey. from Stanford.

The Chargers selected receiver Mike Williams at No. 7 that year, the pick before McCaffrey went to the Carolina Panthers at No. 8. The Bolts selected the running back in the first round two years ago. Early on Melvin Gordon.

“I was impressed with his ability to run between the tackles,” Lynn said of his evaluation of McCaffrey before the draft. “I always thought he was a speed and space guy. But then when you researched it and saw it at Stanford, they just ran at speed. power. And he ran at an incredible level. this young man can run inside, he can run outside, he can attack every hole. And when you have a running back like that, you can do a lot of great things.”

Now that he has McCaffrey in the running back room, Lynn and the 49ers are doing a lot of great things with McCaffrey. Since San Francisco acquired McCaffrey in an offseason trade with the Panthers in Week 7, the 26-year-old running back has amassed 1,365 scrimmage yards and 12 total touchdowns, including two playoff games.

“We never know what we’re going to get in terms of coverage because of him sometimes,” Lynn said. “Are they going to double it?” Do they put a DB on him instead of a lineman? It’s a tough game for a linebacker. It opens up other things in our offense when teams try to shut him down. , getting the ball to George Kittle and getting the ball to our No. 1 receiver and like Deebo (Samuel), etc.

McCaffrey has scored in eight consecutive games, tying a franchise record set by wide receiver Terrell Owens.

“He was great,” McCaffrey said, when asked what it was like working with Lynn. “One of the important things is to understand the whole crime. And being the head coach, having been in this league for a long time and playing in that league, it is clear that he fully understands the concept of the game. Therefore, it is clear that he has a lot of wisdom.’

Lynn said he was impressed by several things about McCaffrey: his ability to run routes like a catcher, his attention to detail and his dedication.

“What makes him stand out is his approach to dirty work,” Lynn said. “When we put him outside, we ask him to explode (block). We ask him to manage the block. And he blocks linebackers and safeties in space. And it doesn’t blink.

“I’ve been studying these runs for a long time, and when you run out of the box, they’re often like a fish out of water. Christian has a unique skill where you can line up outside the box and he can do it comfortably.”

McCaffrey passes Cowboys for TD

Christian McCaffrey was unstoppable as his fourth-quarter rushing touchdown helped the Cowboys win.

Lynn said McCaffrey played like a perimeter receiver thanks to his relentless work ethic on the road, clearing the line of scrimmage and causing defenders to miss.

“He’s not afraid to try something new or different,” Lynn said. “I remember when he first came here we talked about running this whip road. I have taught him a certain way all my life. And he said, “What if I do it this way? , and that I am going out with the third step instead of the fourth’. I thought, “No, I’ve never seen that before.”

“He did, and I was like, ‘Damn, that looked good. That’s why it’s working. He is looking for ways to break up. We are all elite athletes in this league. And you must have advantages and disadvantages. And he’s looking for things like that.”

McCaffrey is part of a talented running back room that includes Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, quarterback Kyle Juscic and, at times, a versatile receiver in Samuel.

Lynn Shanahan’s focus on football management comes from his father, Mike Shanahan, with the Broncos and the Zone Management program.

However, Shanahan took those fundamentals and adapted them to the modern game, Lynn said. San Francisco averaged 147 rushing yards per game in two playoff games. McCaffrey has 154 rushing yards in the playoffs.

“A lot of times you’re good at football because you’re committed to it,” Lynn said. “A lot of teams talk about playing football, but they don’t commit to it. So when you commit to it, you do it better than anyone else because you work at it and you’re very intentional. about it.

“Everything Kyle does is intentional. There’s a reason he’s going against that defense or that front. And it always depends on another play or passing concept, just to be honest on your end. protect the ball”.

Eric D. Williams has covered the NFL for more than a decade, including the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @eric_d_williams.

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