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49ers in Five: Kyle Shanahan says the team’s best players aren’t playing like it every week

“Really good coaches get A players to play like A players every week.”

Everything you need to know in five minutes

Things have not gone well for Kyle Shanahan in 2021. First, they haven’t gone well in the draft room as almost every player he selected is apparently not good enough to see the field. Then, they didn’t go well in free agency as prized acquisition Samson Ebukam has had virtually no impact at all on the pass rush, and now, they aren’t going well from the podium, either.

During Thursday’s latest word salad, Shanahan said this when asked if the team’s leaders need to be their best players:

“Your best players got to play like, I say this to our team a lot, your A players got to play like A players every week. What I used to hear when I was younger is, any coach can get a C player to play like a B player, I believe. But really good coaches get A players to play like A players every week. And that’s how you push guys.”

Any coach, it would seem, except Kyle Shanahan. The simple truth is that whether through injury or ineffectiveness, the 49ers have been trotting out C players most of the time. Shanahan has been the head coach of this team. Unfortunately, they have not played like B players, despite Kyle’s suggestion that any old coach could make that happen. If they did, he wouldn’t be 32-40 in his four-plus seasons at the helm.

In addition, the fabled A-players that he is talking about are not A players because the coach pushes them to that level of performance every week. They’re A players for the exact opposite reason. The coach doesn’t have to push them to be their best all the time. No one has to give Trent Williams a talking-to before a game. He’s going to go out there and put fools on their backs—same thing with Nick Bosa. Bosa will dominate every single week he’s on the field, regardless of how much he’s pushed by a coach. That’s who those guys are, which is exactly what makes them elite players.

The team might have been better served if the coaching staff had spent more time trying to make the C players better and less time criticizing talented players like Fred Warner and Brandon Aiyuk.

You can hear that quote as well as what John Lynch said about Warner on KNBR that’s got my feathers all ruffled on today’s 49ers in Five Podcast. Available anywhere you get your podcasts.