2. 49ers still have superior coaching
Not many people want to hear praise for Kyle Shanahan right now, and that’s valid. He’s earned most of the scathing criticism directed at him as of late.
But he’s far beyond Chicago head coach Matt Nagy in his ability to command a team.
Let’s start with their comparable quarterbacking situation this year. Nagy gave into constant fan and media pressure after just four weeks and named Justin Fields the starter after numerous denials he would do so this season. Nagy changed tune mid-week ahead of committing to Fields in Week 5. Going back on such a decisive preference for veteran Andy Dalton couldn’t have felt good for Fields and left him in a bit of an awkward, unprepared position to turn the team around.
Shanahan has at least hinted at starting his own rookie in the future. Should Trey Lance be starting this game? Maybe. But playing him with his knee injury could be putting him in an unnecessarily dangerous situation. Shanahan could be protecting his asset against a team Jimmy Garoppolo has the potential to put away.
It’s a controversial situation, but Shanahan’s handling of it still outshines Nagy’s.
For an added complication, Nagy might be out of this game after a positive COVID-19 test. He still has to make a return ahead of Week 8, but his absence would add another layer of instability to a fractured Bears staff that would advantage the Niners.
Nagy’s hold on the offense has completely slipped away anyway. He handed over play calling to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor against the Detroit Lions earlier this season and all but admitted he was an inadequate play caller. Chicago maintains a disjointed, unspiried offense even without Nagy at the helm.
Either way, Shanahan has a clear edge in this one and will give his team a much better chance to walk away with a win.