How the 49ers are preparing to stop the tush push

Dec 1, 2023, 8:45 AM | Updated: 8:50 pm

Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles prepares to snap the ball during the first half in the g...

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 24: Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles prepares to snap the ball during the first half in the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Whatever you want to call it, the tush push or Brotherly Shove has been perfected by the Philadelphia Eagles.

For those unfamiliar, the play has center Jason Kelce hike the ball to quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is then shoved from behind by his teammates.

Last season, the birds had a tush push success rate of 93.5 percent. So, how do the 49ers stop it? Players and coaches have different ideas.

Javon Hargrave came over to San Francisco from Philadelphia. He said this week that in the three years he was in Philadelphia, he doesn’t think the Eagles ever practiced that play. Linebacker Fred Warner joked that he couldn’t give away his “secret sauce” when asked how the 49ers will defend against the tush push.

Even the coaches initially took a light-hearted approach when asked about preparing for the Brotherly Shove.

“We’re going to do like 10 live reps of it today and see if we have anybody left after it,” coach Kyle Shanahan said with a laugh Wednesday.

After a beat, he gave a more sincere answer, telling reporters there’s no practicing against the popular Eagles play.

“You just coach it up, tell them where we want guys and stuff,” Shanahan said. “We’re not going to spend a lot of time on it, but we’re going to talk about it, show it, and do as good as we can.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, the man tasked with coming up with a plan against the push, says the best way to defend against it is to not let the Eagles get in a position to execute the play.

“It’s about leverage, power and whatnot. They have leverage. They push and they’re shoving. So I think it’s real tough right here to limit that for as one yard. I know it’s funny, but you can’t allow them to get in that situation. We’ve got to try to find a way to win on first and second down. I mean, they operate off, I think he said, first-and-eight for them because it’s automatically going forward on fourth down. If it’s fourth-and-one, you approach fourth-and-two.”

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How the 49ers are preparing to stop the tush push