When Kyle Shanahan took over as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, it gave the fanbase a reason for optimism.
The Niners were in the basement of the NFL when he was hired after the conclusion of the 2016 season. The roster left by former general manager Trent Baalke was one of the worst in the NFL, so Shanahan and current GM John Lynch had their work cut out for them.
Although San Francisco had Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard, you saw Shanahan’s offensive genius on full display early in the 2017 season. Even though the 49ers were short on talent, they were staying in games. At one point, the Niners lost four-straight games by a combined 13 points.
When San Francisco acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, everything changed. The team won its last five games, turning up the expectations for 2018. Unfortunately, Garoppolo tore his ACL in the third game of the season, resulting in a 4-12 record. The silver lining was that the 49ers were able to get Nick Bosa with the second pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With Garoppolo back and healthy, the Niners turned into a juggernaut in Shanahan’s third season. San Francisco went 13-3, and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. We finally got to see what Shanahan could do with high-end talent at his disposal.
CBS Sports released its rankings of the top-10 coaches in the NFL, and Shanahan made the cut:
Top 10 coaches in the NFL— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 29, 2020
(According to @seanjwagner)
1. Bill Belichick
2. Andy Reid
3. John Harbaugh
4. Sean Payton
5. Kyle Shanahan
6. Sean McVay
7. Mike Tomlin
8. Pete Carroll
9. Doug Pederson
10. Mike Zimmer pic.twitter.com/JVVuns5Oj8
I think Shanahan is in the right spot ... for now. The four coaches in front of him have all won Super Bowls, and have sustained success with their respective teams.
Shanahan’s impact on the offense can’t be understated. The 49ers ranked 19th in offensive DVOA during his first year as head coach, and climbed up to No. 7 in 2019 (per Football Outsiders.)
The haters will point to last season’s Super Bowl loss, and the Atlanta Falcons choke job against the New England Patriots as reasons why Shanahan can’t win the big one. With his new six-year extension that runs through 2025, he will have plenty of time to silence the doubters.
What do you think of CBS’ rankings?
On to some links:
It will be hard for the 49ers’ defense to replicate its success from last season. NBC Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco wrote about how tough it will be for the unit to attain its goal in 2020.
Aaron Rodgers was famously upset when the Niners passed on him at the 2005 NFL Draft. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says San Francisco could be a landing spot for Rodgers in the future, and shared his thoughts on what would have happened in the Super Bowl if Rodgers was the Niners’ QB. (h/t David Bonilla of 49ers Web Zone)
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw was a pleasant surprise for the 49ers during his rookie season. Fansided’s Peter Panacy previews what the expectations are for Greenlaw going into his second year.
One current 49ers’ player isn’t happy with Newton’s contract. Cornerback Richard Sherman weighed in with his thoughts on the former MVP’s new deal with the Pats. (The Score)
Which players would be on the Niners’ all-time Mount Rushmore? Fox gave its list, and the names you see on there are no surprise.