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Rotoworld head coach rankings ask if Kyle Shanahan can find “it”

He dropped a spot from last year’s ranking, but Kyle Shanahan still makes the first half of head coaches.

The San Francisco 49ers were thought to be having a big push in 2018 with the rise of Jimmy Garoppolo and their strong 2017 finish. That didn’t exactly happen. They lost Jerick McKinnon before the season started and Garoppolo three weeks into it. At the end, the 49ers were holding on trying to get out of the season with as few IR-designations as possible.

But now we’re in March and it’s time to see how Kyle Shanahan ranks as a head coach. Rotoworld columnist Patrick Daugherty did his yearly rankings and this year Shanahan goes back one spot from 14 to 15. The top five were Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Sean McVay, Doug Pederson and Pete Carroll.

Here’s what Daugherty said about Shanahan:

Kyle Shanahan is close. There have been tantalizing reminders of his ability each of the past two Decembers, where the 49ers have combined for a 7-3 record. Never mind the fact that those seven wins account for 70 percent of Shanahan’s career total. His poor record does not lack for alibis. He did not have a quarterback in 2017 and 2018 was an injury washout. That includes under center, where Jimmy Garoppolo was limited to three appearances. Shanahan occasionally got the engine revved up with C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens, but there are only so many places you can go with second- and third-string quarterbacks. One of the them is the most receiving yards ever by a tight end, a record Shanny managed to set with George Kittle amidst the injury carnage. With Shanahan, we are still projecting. We have not seen “it” yet. With a little better health, 2019 could easily be the year Shanahan finds “it” and gets on the path to where he’s going.

I think that sums everything up. Honestly, 15 seems pretty generous given some of the things that happened this season. I do think Shanahan is the answer and was dealt an awful roster as opposed to how Jim Harbaugh had success immediately when he arrived or Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams.

This was put together on March 7. The 49ers had not yet gone into the free agency madness where they acquired LB Kwon Alexander, edge rusher Dee Ford, and WR Jordan Matthews. It remains to be seen how all this works and if it can have the defense get an upgrade and actually finish a game (something they couldn’t do in 2018).

How do you think Shanahan ranks on this list? If the 49ers have another season like 2018, how far do you think he falls? While 2018 was something beyond anyone’s control, if the 49ers have another season like this, no front office/coaching staff is going to be able to keep fronting excuses.