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Peter Schrager sees Robert Saleh as a possible head coach candidate in 2020

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Oh boy. The Saleh arguments are about to get wild.

Could Robert Saleh be a 2020 head coaching candidate? Peter Schrager thinks so.

The San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator has been getting quite the polarizing reception with fans. After the 49ers defense showed its only consistency was blowing games, many here at Niners Nation called for Saleh’s head. The players have defended him, saying he’s called good games and Kyle Shanahan has stood behind his coach despite some backlash. The heat-o-meters published indicated that there’s a bit of warmth under Saleh’s seat, but the community never thought Saleh was walking on eggshells.

Schrager was on NFL Network’s Around the NFL podcast and suggested that Saleh could be getting looks as a possible NFL head coach in 2020:

“They [the 49ers] haven’t had the pieces but this guy leads by example. If you walk in that building, Kyle Shanahan is bonafide “the guy,” but that defense would run through a brick wall and anything for Saleh . Around the league; he’s been in Jacksonville, Seattle, he’s just viewed as one of these morally, straight edge guy. Next year he will be a name that everyone’s talking about of a guy who has never had an opportunity in the past.”

A lot of this will ride on how the 49ers defense performs in 2019. It’s been said they are out of excuses and there is no unit that statement is more appropriate than the defense. The pass rush has been addressed, the defensive line coaches have been switched around, and they’ve grabbed Jason Verrett at cornerback. There are still a few holes, but the days of the defense blowing games at the last minute should be over with.

If the 49ers defense continues to let opposing teams run all over them, there will be looks at Kyle Shanahan, but it won’t bode well for Saleh who’s now had three years to turn the defense around.

The big problem with Saleh hasn’t been calling games, it’s been the busted coverages and missed assignments that have led to huge plays. Richard Sherman among others has said the players need to be held accountable and that Saleh has called fine games, but another question besides the players is why are all these mistakes happening? Is it the players or on Saleh for not holding players accountable or making things too complicated? The defense did improve as time went on in this regard, but it’s something to think about.

All that said, Saleh as a head coach in 2020? If the 49ers defense turns into a top-10 unit (and it very well could with what they have now) Saleh could be brought in for interviews. Doesn’t mean he’d land a job, but at least be in the process. If the 49ers defense can do magic in 2021, that’d be the time Saleh would be considered as a coaching candidate with a bit more seriousness.

Or maybe it’s his last year in SF, but he’s going to get a promotion instead of a pink slip.