Even with all the ups and down in Kyle Shanahan’s tenure, last week was the first time I have seen 49ers fans calling for Kyle Shanahan’s job after a loss. Also, for the first time that I have seen, fans weren’t alone in their criticisms. NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger joined 95.7 The Game’s Morning Roast yesterday and didn’t pull any punches about San Francisco’s offense:
“You have to give your quarterback a chance to succeed. Putting Trey Lance last week in empty sets, spread formations, asking him to throw it against a Cardinals defense that’s lining up in a different defense than they’ve showed all year - you’re asking him to do too much.
You’re asking him to be Cam Newton, which he’s not and doesn’t need to be. What’s wrong with handing the ball off? What’s wrong with running a wide zone? What’s wrong with play-action? What’s wrong with a screen? We didn’t see any of that stuff. We saw Trey running powers and quarterback sneaks.
I saw him twice get hit on Sunday where his helmet is rolling on the ground and I’m cringing. Nobody can survive that type of assault...[The Bears] did the same thing to Justin Fields against Cleveland three weeks ago, and then Matt Nagy got smart. In the last two weeks, Justin Fields has helped them win games, and they stopped all this stuff.
That’s what bothered me on Sunday was, there’s a better game plan for a kid making his first start, to give him a chance to be successful, in a game that was never out of reach.”
Damn, Brian, tell us how you really feel!
The first and most important job of any coach is to put their players in a position to succeed. Clearly, Brian doesn’t think Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel did that last week. In my experience following Baldinger on Twitter, he usually favors praise over criticism in his analyses, so it was surprising not only to see him call a team out but also do it in such strong terms. Nevertheless, the whole interview was interesting and worth a listen if you have a few minutes.
For more on Baldinger’s opinions, including why I don’t quite agree with him, listen to today’s 49ers in Five Podcast!