The San Francisco 49ers head coach search is underway, and the 49ers likely already have some kind of list of potential candidates. One candidate that could emerge is former Denver, Washington and Oakland head coach, and one-time 49ers assistant Mike Shanahan. Cleveland Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot is reporting his son Kyle Shanahan, currently the Browns offensive coordinator, is on the 49ers list of potential candidates as well
Bleacher Report's Jason Cole is the one reporting Mike Shanahan could be a possibility. Cole reported over the weekend that Joe Montana and Steve Young were among former 49ers pushing for Shanahan. They believed his brand of discipline would help the 49ers right the ship. He tweeted today that he heard from a second source that Shanahan is a possibility.
I spoke with our Washington bloggers at Hogs Haven, and they provided some intriguing thoughts on Shanahan. I asked how much of his departure from Washington had to do with RG3, and what else might have been involved. I am skeptical that Shanahan would work with Baalke already in place as the clear No. 1 man, and HH's report seems to back that up. However, if Shanahan is really interested in going somewhere with strong talent in place for one final run, I suppose he could park his ego for at least a little bit. That being said, if he signed a 4- or 5-year contract, I see virtually no way he would last the length of it.
We'll work up some more on Kyle Shanahan as well.
Thanks to Hogs Haven for this report on Mike Shanahan:
The Washington organization is toxic and has been an impossible place for professional coaches to ply their trade, with the exception of Joe Gibbs. I was surprised that Shanny could not escape that because when I interviewed Dan Snyder a few years ago, he told he me tried to trade for Mike Shanahan early in his ownership tenure. He was friends with Pat Bowlen, but Pat had no intention of doing that deal. When Shanny became available, it was only a matter of time and we all thought Snyder would step aside so that the very established head coach could work.
The plan when Shanny came was for them to suck for a year under Rex Grossman and build in key areas before adding a future QB. The trade for Donovan McNabb blew that up, and it is unclear to this day how much say Shanahan had in that deal. Snyder told me the first thing he heard about it was after it was done. I have since found out that was a lie.
That trade could be blamed heavily for everything that happened after it in my opinion. You had a player that was borderline Hall of Fame material (BORDERLINE) and a coach that was probably a little closer to the Hall than that forced to work together in a terrible environment. Things went south by midseason.
As for RG3/Cousins, the Shanahans were the coaches at the Senior Bowl that year and that is where they met and fell in love with Kirk Cousins. I am convinced they wanted to draft him and build around him. The trade for RG3 completely subverted that, even though they still drafted him which made everyone crazy.
At this point, egos became the problem. Shanny's ego is legendarily gargantuan. Griffin's ego, Snyder's ego...
Washington was never good under Shanahan. They were only hot at the end of 2012, which was good enough to take the division. People forget we were 3-6 that season and Shanny stood in the post game presser and announced the season was over.
I think Shanny is a good coach that can win games in this league. He is not right for rebuilds because they take time and he is not at a point in his career where he wants to invest five or more years in mediocrity being relevant on the league landscape. That said, he is definitely capable of taking a team with pieces in place and getting the extra two or three wins that qualify you for the playoffs.
Long story short, he is probably a good fit in San Fran, IF you believe Colin is the kind of quarterback who will work hard in the film room and minimize turnovers.
From a very solid source, I know that Shanny's biggest problem with Griffin was that he refused to work as hard in the film room as he did in the training room. Shanny said he had never been around an athlete like Griffin before in the NFL. He trained like an Olympic track star and maintained that, but he didn't have the same kind of focus in the film room and it literally drove Shanny insane.