Making a Case for Kyle Shanahan
Another year, another head coaching vacancy for the 49ers. After a terrible, no good, very bad season, Jed York made the decision to part ways with Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly, paving way for the new GM to make a decision on who he wants as his head coach. With all the interviews made over the last two years, one name intrigues me the most, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan.
For the past two years, the 49ers have met with former offensive coordinator for the 49ers, Mike Shanahan, for a lengthy period of time. Mike Shanahan, father of Kyle, has made it known that he is not interested in coaching again, but feels like he could offer an organization good input from top to bottom. He even went as far as to say (on the Colin Cowherd show) that hiring Kyle Shanahan over him would be "smart".
Back in 2015, the 49ers requested to interview Kyle Shanahan, until ultimately hiring Jim Tomsula in a move that seemed like complete desperation. The Shanahans have floated around the organization for two years now, and with the Atlanta Falcons rated as the #2 total offense (#3 passing/#7 rushing) in the league, it seems as if now is the perfect opportunity to make the hire.
What makes Shanahan a very interesting hire is his west coast type offense he likes to run. During his time in Washington, he brought out the best in Robert Griffin and Kirk Cousins, so much so that Kirk Cousins had this to say;
“When you look at creativity and the ability to not be predictable, I was on the Redskins with Kyle, knew the system and didn’t know what was coming,” Cousins said. “I don’t mean to say he was pulling stuff out of left field. The ability to be thinking of the next play and being a step ahead, I think there’s a level of having the innate ability to do it that requires a quick mind. Kyle has that. I remember our very first game against the Saints, when Robert Griffin and I were rookies, I remember calling my dad after the game and saying, ‘I cannot believe how well-called that game was.’ They kept the Saints on their toes the whole game. They had no idea what was coming next. All of it was positive plays that put (Griffin) and the offense in a good situation to be successful. So, that was kind of my first taste of how good of a play-caller Kyle really was."
Shanahan mixes together ideas of the west coast offense and puts it together with the vertical offense. Kyle wants to stretch the field, but also runs a plethora of bootlegs, play action and miss direction. This was one of the reasons the Falcons became so dangerous this season, and the 49ers were witness to it all.
Kyle Shanahan will be a hot name this coming off-season, especially with so many coaching vacancies, but if 49ers fans can hold on to any sort of hope for Shanahan coming to Santa Clara, it's in knowing that we have a ton of cap space, a high draft pick and a new GM to grow with.