Dear Kyle Shanahan,
You know you have to win this game against the Seahawks. You know if you lose, you might have to pull the plug on the Trey Lance project and bench him after just two measly games. And I know you don't want to do that.
So here are three things you have to do to make sure the 49ers win this Sunday. I'm not going to mention defense, because DeMeco Ryans' unit probably will give up no more than 17 points. I also won't mention penalties, because it goes without saying that your team must eliminate those.
I want to focus on your offense, Kyle, which scored a mere 10 points last week. It needs to show up this week. So here's what you need to do differently as the offensive coordinator and play caller.
1. Rotate running backs
Against the Bears, Elijah Mitchell injured his knee in the second quarter, which means you had more than half the game to rotate other running backs in and find the hot hand.
But you didn't do that, Kyle. Instead, you gave all the remaining running-back carries to Jeff Wilson Jr., who gained just 22 yards on 9 carries. And so your offense scored zero points in the second half and you lost. You'll never know if you had a better option than Wilson, because you didn't give anyone else a chance.
This week, your job is to rotate running backs and find the hot hand in the first quarter. Not the second quarter. Not the third quarter. The first. Don't just sink or swim with Wilson. Because if you don't find an effective running back this week, you will lose.
2. Repeat pass plays that work
Why don't you do this, Kyle? You repeat run plays that work all the time. But you act as if you have to call every single pass on your play sheet once and no more.
When you find a pass that works for Trey Lance, stick with it. Come back to it. Keep calling it until the other team stops it. Because you haven't figured out a ton of passes to call for Lance that work just yet. You're still figuring him out.
Last week, you called two deep crossing routes -- one to Brandon Aiyuk in the first quarter, and one to Ray-Ray McCloud in the second quarter. Lance completed both passes for a combined 51 yards.
So what did you do, Kyle? You never called another deep crossing route. Why? Lance throws that pass extremely well.
You also called one out route for Aiyuk in the second quarter, and Lance nailed him for a gain of 14. The play didn't count because Aiyuk was flagged for offensive pass interference, but the throw was perfect. Lance clearly throws the out route to Aiyuk well. Call it again, Kyle. Call it lots of times this week. Don't force Lance to throw passes over the middle out of sheer habit like you did in the second half last week.
3. Stop using Trey Lance as a fullback
I shouldn't have to tell you this, Kyle. I watched in disbelief in Chicago when not once but twice you called quarterback power runs between the tackles for Lance on 3rd and 2. Each time, he picked up the first down. And each time, he got crunched by three linebackers.
Can't you find another way to gain two yards? Aren't you a genius? How is it smart to use your franchise quarterback to pick up two yards that don't result in a touchdown? Why do you want him taking those extra hits?
You drafted a running back in Round 3 this year -- Ty Davis-Price. Can't he get you two yards on 3rd and 2? Or how about Jordan Mason, the undrafted rookie free agent who looked fantastic in preseason?
Lance should not be an option. If he gets hurt running quarterback power on 3rd and short, it's your fault, Kyle.
Follow these instructions carefully, and you'll beat the Seahawks 17-13. Ignore these instructions, and the 49ers will lose 17-13.
Let's see what you got.