Kyle Shanahan: 5 biggest mistakes 49ers coach has made in 2021

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: Kyle Shanahan has failed to establish an identity with 49ers this season

In 2019, Kyle Shanahan’s formula was simple: The 49ers will smother you with a potent defense, run the ball down your throat and build off that with play-action passing from Jimmy Garoppolo.

It worked, all the way up to within 10 minutes of a Super Bowl victory.

What’s the identity in 2021?

The Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman pointed out the notably obvious viewpoint, stressing how a lack of leadership from both Shanahan and the locker room has led to an uninspiring overall performance this season in all facets:

"Right now coach Kyle Shanahan’s club is without personality, verve and a sense of urgency. The season is slipping away, and the team doesn’t have an identity, a purpose beyond the usual platitudes. That was evident during Sunday’s embarrassing home loss to the Arizona Cardinals, 31-17, who were without star quarterback Kyler Murray, receiver DeAndre Hopkins and defensive end J.J. Watt."

Spot on.

Read More: Kyle Shanahan has one ‘ace’ left to salvage 2021

“Champions behave like champions before they’re champions,” or so the saying goes. But the Niners aren’t behaving in that fashion. If anything, they’re adrift and not anywhere close to being sure what direction Shanahan wants to take them. Either Shanahan hasn’t identified the correct leaders to help make this happen, or Shanahan hasn’t done enough to ensure those leaders are correctly propelling the team forward.

Either way, that falls upon the head coach. And it’s been a season-long issue, one which likely isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

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