When Kyle Shanahan was on Chris Simms’ podcast, he was asked when he felt like San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started to take his game to the next level. Simms asked, was it due to the acquisition of Emmanuel Sanders, which Shanahan responded:
That was the timing of it. Our defense carried us at the beginning of the year. Then our run game carried our offense at the beginning of the year, to where we didn’t have to do much and put a lot on Jimmy. We didn’t have to call a lot of passes. During that time, though, it allowed us to be undefeated while all of a sudden, Jimmy never thought about his ACL come Week 6, 7, 8. It allowed us to weather that storm that so many players go through when come back from an injury like that. We were able to go through it without really having to address it because of how good our defense was and our running game.
Then, by the time Emmanuel got here, the ACL was an afterthought. And when our defense had a couple of bad games, Jimmy was ready; he was the quarterback he could be. He wasn’t the guy coming back from an ACL. That’s kind of when, ‘alright, we have a whole team. It’s everything’ The receivers got ready with him [Jimmy]. The running backs did. Raheem started coming on strong. We were understanding our rotation better. We lost Staley and McGlinchey, and Brunskill and Skule came in. One guy from the AAF and a seventh-round (it’s sixth, but we all know what he means), and we still ran the ball well, we still won those games. It gave everyone a confidence who’s out there that we are still a good team. So when we lost Kittle, and we lost Dwelley, we still did great. Our team fed off it, and everyone felt it. That’s why we were very confident going into the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
Shanahan said you never really get over a Super Bowl loss. He said your depression leaves. He said during February and March; he wasn’t in the best state. While acknowledging nobody died, and he still had his health and family, how much the loss hurt, and how he felt the Niners had earned it. “It’s just a sport, but it’s my livelihood,” Shanahan said he’d never let the loss go, and he’s not scared to lose. He also said he felt like the loss made him stronger, wiser, and, most importantly, better.
“I promise it made me better. When you have a Super Bowl ring, it makes you look better. I want to make sure we get one of those because that’s what we all work for.”
Shanahan said he had not watched the Super Bowl with the team from play one to the end but had planned to do so during OTAs. While the game was last year, Shanahan said he still plans on watching it with the team.
“I’m going to do something similar when we get back. There’s parts about it that it is a new year, but you want to address it. You don’t want guys to run from it at all. You want them to be hungry over it. It’s not rocket science. This is why we lost; this is why we could have one. It’s these plays, and it adds up. However, you want the mood to be; you can dictate that. ‘Oh my god, we can easily do this again.’ Or you can just crush guys and make them feel horrible. I don’t want to do that. I want them to see how easily we could have done it. Also, I want them to remember how hard it was to get there. Yeah, we have a good team on paper, but all of our guys right now are independent contractors. I guarantee our guys have been working hard, but our team hasn’t been working hard. You become a team by working hard together. That’s what none of us have done. So when our players get here, they need to know, ‘we haven’t done sh*t yet,’ and we have to put in the work as a team. We’re ready to put the work in. I want to get the Niners better, not just individual guys.”