Short of anything really weird happening, it appears as if Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
While the 49ers linger in an odd state of high school prom limbo, we sit on the couch hoping our date shows up in his dad’s Corvette and we avoid the mass humiliation from our peers about being a dateless loser.
Whether or not Shanahan is a successful coach isn’t important right now. I trust he can fix the dysfunction we’ve seen on the field, and I trust when we need 5 yards for a first down, Shanahan has a long list of plays that can gain 6 yards or more. I’m looking forward to seeing a quarterback be a true field general, and I believe Shanahan can make that happen.
The better question is if Jed York is ready to take the step forward to be a better owner. We’ll never know because Jed refuses to admit his own faults.
The slow hiring process to find a coach or general manager doesn’t bleach out the stink from the last three years of failures. Previously, Jed went into a coaching search like the guy at speed dating event, only to walk away with the first girl who laughs at his bad joke. Now, he’s learned his lesson and is trying to be patient, only to find himself standing in the dark restaurant with Paraag Marathe to soothe Jed’s fragile ego.
I’m burnt out from the continued nonsense from so-called leaders in the 49ers executive office about how they want to win with class or create a better culture within the organization, and then can’t follow their own words with meaningful action.
A new coach is not going to bring this magical culture Jed craves.
Josh McDaniels, the best candidate in my opinion, removed himself from consideration. And, while the public relations spin is all about uprooting his family, we’ll never know what made him reconsider a head coaching job. Uprooting a wife and kids is the life of a coach; dealing with an unstable CEO and his Band of Merry Yes Men is not a culture where success breeds like rabbits.
No doubt, McDaniels asked for roster control, draft input, a new coaching staff, free agents to target, a prime parking spot and catered lunch from In ‘n Out Burger. Jed probably waived his scepter and granted these wishes.
But imagine the scene when McDaniels asked for a leak-free, positive working environment without input from Paraag or Jed.
The Young, Balding Prince probably went ballistic. How dare a future employee question Lord York’s brilliance in building a winning culture in Santa Clara!
And that’s how the 49ers lost McDaniels; Jed’s ego continues to weaken the culture he so wishes to install.
I’d believe McDaniels if he said he wants to continue to work with Tom Brady until the end of time. And don’t discount the culture of the Patriots as a reason McDaniels wanted to stay put. Belichick runs the football operation with the heavy hand of a military junta. Robert Kraft has the culture Jed wants, but Kraft actually follows up on his promises.
Even for all of Shanahan’s supposed leverage in the current situation, there’s no amount of force that will fix Jed.
Fostering change is more than just a slow, deliberate process to find a head coach and general manager. Jed continues to be the cheese standing alone in the middle of a three-ring circus he tries to lead.
As much as a new on-the-field direction is needed for the 49ers, if Jed cannot alter the way he runs the organization, very little will improve. It’s time to end Jed’s empty promises, and start building the 49ers into the class organization it used to be.