Can Quinton Patton’s Skill Set Be Utilized Better in Chip Kelly’s Offense?

Can San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Quinton Patton’s skill set be utilized better in Chip Kelly’s offense? Recently, on Niners Live we ask the question: Is Carlos Hyde Being Utilized Effectively in Chip Kelly’s Offense? Now Niners Live turns it’s attention to Quinton Patton.


San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Quinton Patton’s numbers have been pedestrian.Through seven weeks of the season, the 49ers offense is ranked dead last in the NFL in offensive efficiency. Looking at Patton’s number thus far in the year, 19 receptions for a meager 187 yards and zero touchdowns aren’t helping the offense as best as it could be and, therefore, has led much to be desired by this offensive unit as a whole.

Why is that? Could it be head coach Chip Kelly’s scheme isn’t featuring his talents or skill set enough? Let’s take a moment to investigate a little deeper, shall we?

At first glance, it seemed Chip Kelly’s scheme would be the perfect kind of offensive system to utilize the speed and elusiveness of Patton (closely resembling some of the things he did with D’Anthony Thomas at Oregon); however, the numbers don’t lie, and the production is just not there. So, at what point do we begin to question his ability? I guess it’s not a surprise the 49ers were actively seeking a #2 receiver besides Torrey Smith in the draft and free agency this year. Even after the season started, the 49ers picked up F.A. Jeremey Kerley and just as late as a few weeks ago, veteran Rod Streater.  All that being said, this was supposed to be the year Patton was expected to step up and solidify his spot as the #2 and become a difference maker for this team. Thus far, he has failed to meet those expectations.

Could some of this be attributed to bringing in a new coaching staff? Maybe, but the disturbing trend we have seen so far this year, however, is that the play calling has been lacking any identity and ability to be able to adjust and, therefore, not being able to incorporate its personnel properly. It seems, at times, as if this offense is still trying to figure out who can do what and how to utilize them to their full capabilities and talent level. To be fair, this is the first season Patton has had an opportunity to show what he can do and when he has gotten the opportunity he has shown some flashes and some (YAC) yards after the catch ability. It always seems like he is just one move away from taking it all the way or a big gain waiting to happen when he gets his limited opportunities to get the ball in his hands.

Patton could be the guy to give you valuable contributions on offense if used properly. Not saying he’s a true #2, but in the Bills game you saw glimpses of his abilities that could provide a spark, and right now, the 49ers could use anybody and anyone that can provide a spark or a big play on offense. However, with Patton only standing at 6’0″ and weighing in at 204 lbs, he’s not a guy who’s going to beat anybody with brute strength like some of the guys the 49ers have had in the past à la wide receiver’s Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.

At times, Patton struggles to get off the line especially against big corners who can jam him and disrupt his timing, and could stand to be more disciplined in his route running. This has only lead to him being targeted a total of 31 times on the season, which is CLEARLY not enough when you have a guy that if you put him in a position to showcase what he does well, can give you some play making ability that Patton possesses. You have to find opportunities to get him the ball via shuffle passes, flare passes, bubble screens, end arounds, and jet sweeps; Thomas ?These are some ways that we have seen this type of player be effective.


I’ll leave you with this:

Remember those offensive machines Chip Kelly produced at Oregon and the skill sets of some of those players he had on those teams, such as the aforementioned player named D’Thomas? With a very similar skill set, one has to feel that if utilized correctly, Patton could have a similar impact on Chip Kelly’s offense as Thomas did or, at the very least, become more of a consistent contributor. Both players possess that extra burst of speed with Thomas being a more explosive athlete of the two of course.

However,  it could very well present a potential challenge or at least threaten an opposing defense trying to matchup up against the 49ers’ offense. Going forward, the consensus would be that if this offense can find a way to get Patton more involved and he can emerge as a more featured contributor in Chip Kelly’s offense, it will be something they can potentially build on and help them start to discover some level of continuity and offensive identity maybe during the by week and beyond.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of, Pro Football Focus,,, unless otherwise indicated. Author Irvin Johnson Staff Writer at Niners Live. Co-Author/Editor Niners Live.