NFL owners conducted meetings last week, and while AFC West relocation issues were on the docket, that was not all that was discussed. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank had a chance to speak with San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York about Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Blank told Falcons media he spoke highly of Shanahan.
Blank acknowledged he would be disappointed to lose Shanahan, but he also recognized it was a fact of life in the NFL. In speaking with ESPN, he made an interesting comparison to the work at Home Depot, which he owns.
"Well, I think Kyle would be a big loss,'' Blank told ESPN in a phone interview Wednesday. "But great coaches and great teams, that's what happens in the National Football League, unlike when I was running (Home Depot). When we had somebody who was ready to run a large division, it wasn't a problem. You'd take (him) and move him out of his division and give him his own division. In the NFL, you only have one NFL team. And unless we're going to put Kyle in charge of our soccer team -- and we already have a good coach there -- that's it. We only have one great football coach.”
Atlanta Falcons fans have grown to love what Shanahan has done with the offense this past year. Matt Ryan has emerged as an MVP candidate, and their offense is coming off an impressive performance against the normally solid Seattle Seahawks defense. They have had the weapons for some time, but Shanahan deserves some manner of credit for helping guide this unit to a new level.
Whether he can do the same thing in San Francisco remains to be seen. He is getting a chance to pick a general manager to work with, and that means he will get a chance to implement whatever philosophy he has on the roster. It is going to make for an interesting rebuilding process, to say the least.