Kyle Shanahan is enjoying his greatest year as the San Francisco 49ers head coach, so far. It’s been so spectacular that he could be the 2019 NFL Coach of the Year.
When the San Francisco 49ers “stole” Kyle Shanahan from the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, and every other team for that matter, they understood the type of person they were getting: off the charts football IQ, easy going personality and the desire to win.
General manager John Lynch had other options who may have met one or two of those qualifications, but ultimately it was Shanahan who was hired.
Shanahan went from almost winning a Super Bowl with the Falcons in 2016, to the basement which was being occupied by the 49ers. Let’s be real, that’s not an ideal situation for any new coach. The Niners Faithful had just watched their beloved team go a dismal 2-14 under one-and-done head coach Chip Kelly. Not only was their record horrible, every other stat was just as bad.
It wasn’t a secret what the Minnesota native was getting himself into. But he brought a sense of faith back to the Faithful, which had been missing for a couple years.
Shanahan’s first two years went as most expected: 6-10 in year one and 4-12 last season. However, everyone and their dog knew this was a rebuilding team. Shanahan wasn’t expected to bring this squad to the promised land over night.
In 2017, San Francisco struck gold when it made a deal with the New England Patriots: a 2018 second-round NFL Draft pick for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G and Shanahan were a match made in heaven, until Garoppolo was injured last year with a torn ACL in Week 3.
Now with a healthy quarterback, a defense that could have stopped the Titanic from crashing and offensive weapons in every holster, Shanahan finally has a legitimate chance to exceed the hype around him.
Through the first three weeks of the 2019 campaign, the former NFL Assistant Coach of the Year is proving he should be in consideration for the NFL Coach of the Year award.
Shanahan has the team sitting within the top five of 11 categories between the offense and defense. It’s worth noting the defensive numbers, as he’s always served as the Niners offensive coordinator.
This has been the soon-to-be 40 year old’s best offensive season since his trip to Super Bowl LI. The 49ers are ranked fourth in total offensive yards, third in points scored and have the second most rush yards in the league despite playing one less game this season than 30 other squads.
Niner Noise’s Peter Panacy discussed Coleman’s return here.
There are still some growing pains when it comes to the aerial attack. Through three weeks, the Niners are in the middle of the pack in passing yards and touchdowns.
If the offensive mastermind wants to truly solidify his position in the coach of the year talks, he’ll have to make sure the 49ers red-zone percentage is better than it is.
It may be early in the season. But with an important Monday Night Football bout on the horizon against the Cleveland Browns, and a date with the division-rival Los Angeles Rams the week after, Shanahan has given voters a lot to think about.
Who knows, maybe his name is called when the envelope is open during the NFL awards ceremony.