Packers aware ‘dynamic' Deebo presents matchup challenges


One of the main reasons the 49ers are such a dangerous team, especially come playoff time, is their offense has several versatile weapons they can deploy in a number of different ways. This makes it hard for a defense to match personnel and often creates mismatches for Kyle Shanahan to exploit.

Deebo Samuel is the 49ers' lead Swiss army knife on offense. The electric wide receiver has done it all for the 49ers this season, catching 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns while also adding 365 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.

Since the 49ers started featuring Samuel in the backfield more in Week 10, their offense has taken on new life, and Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur knows it's something that can give his team issues in Saturday's NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lambeau Field.

"It definitely adds another layer to their complex offense," LaFleur told reporters Tuesday when asked about Samuel running the ball. "They do such a great job of formationing, motioning, giving very complimentary plays. You have got to be disciplined with your eyes and your rules and responsibilities. Deebo is a dynamic player. He is one of the more elite players in this league, and they just try to find different ways to get him the ball, whether it's handoffs, reverses, in the passing game. He's a physical guy, and I think it does present some problems when you just aren't quite sure where he is going to line up.

"Is he going to be in the halfback position, and the halfback is going to be out wide or vice-versa? He is a guy that we certainly have to account for on every play?"

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Players like Samuel and Kyle Juszczyk allow Shanahan and the 49ers to give defenses one look and then shift to a different look that the defense doesn't have the personnel to match.

Defense is boiled down, in the simplest terms, to matching personnel to what you believe the formation tendencies of your opponent are. But with Samuel, Juszczyk, George Kittle and others, the 49ers can come out and give a 12-personnel look (one running back, two tight ends), but shift pre-snap to a different formation that the defense is less prepared for and can give them a more favorable matchup.

When the 49ers and Packers met back in Week 3, Samuel carried the ball just two times for zero yards while catching five passes for 52 yards.

LaFleur and the Packers know they will see a different side of one of the NFL's most dangerous weapons on Saturday. Whether or not the Packers contain Samuel could determine who advances from the divisional-round playoff deathmatch on the frozen tundra.

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