The San Francisco 49ers are one of six teams that hired a new head coach this offseason, joining the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, and Los Angeles Chargers. Expectations are high for Kyle Shanahan, but I think most people acknowledge it will take some time to get this thing back on track.
A couple weeks back, Rotoworld columnist Patrick Daugherty put together their annual ranking of head coaches. Their top five included Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin, and Bruce Arians. They do not include the new head coaches, even if they have previous head coach experience. Of the six new coaches, Doug Marrone is the only one with previous head coaching experience.
Here is what Daugherty had to say about Shanahan:
Kyle Shanahan arrives in San Francisco having just coordinated the seventh-highest scoring team in NFL history. An offensive boss since 2008, Shanahan has experience that belies his youth (he turned 37 in December). He’s also had success with a wide variety of signal callers, inducing career years out of system-quarterback Matt Schaub, dual-threat Robert Griffin III and traditional pocket passer Matt Ryan. Shanahan is not one-dimensional, overseeing ground attacks as potent as his aerial assaults. He is going to handle his side of the ball, which is half the battle for many head coaches. The catch is a roster almost entirely bereft of talent. The 49ers require a complete gut job. It’s the kind of situation where even a Bill Belichick or Bill Parcells could fail. Shanahan was the right hire. The 49ers could be the wrong job.
This was put together on March 1. The 49ers had signed DT Earl Mitchell, CB K’Waun Williams, and WR DeAndre Carter, but had not reached their flurry of free agency moves. It remains to be seen how the moves will pan out, but we have seen an influx of talent.
Shanahan and Lynch are working together to develop the team’s roster. Head coaches have insight into the roster, but it seems like Shanahan has a bit more say than your average head coach. That does not mean he and Lynch will get the roster sufficiently rebuilt, but the opportunity is there for them.
A year from now, where do you think Shanahan ranks in this list? After the top five mentioned above, the next five are John Harbaugh, Bill O’Brien, Mike McCarthy, Ron Rivera, and Adam Gase. The bottom five are Ben McAdoo, Doug Pederson, Mike Mularkey, Todd Bowles, and Chuck Pagano. How high does Shanahan leap on this list over the next year?