49ers end-of-year grades for Kyle Shanahan, his coordinators

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan  Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers coaching staff did an admirable job getting the team out of a 3-5 hole and into the NFC Championship game last season.

In many regards, the San Francisco 49ers’ collective coaching staff should be commended for proverbially righting the ship after the team got off to a horrendous 3-5 start with a nasty four-game losing streak mixed within.

The turnaround ultimately translated into a 10-7 regular-season finish, followed by two road victories in the playoffs and a near win in the 2022 NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams, who eventually went on to become Super Bowl LVI champions.

Was it a perfect season? No, not in the slightest. Did head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. largely exceed expectations?

Probably. FanSided’s initial predictions for the Niners had them going 10-7, only to lose in the Wild Card round.

Considering the team got well beyond that point and within an earshot of making the Super Bowl, that has to turn 2021 into a successful season, right? Coaching had a lot to do with that.

Shanahan, former offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and now-Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower all had signature moments over the course of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Yet those were also offset by multiple gaffes, poor roster choices and not-the-best in-game decisions, too.

In the nature of always wanting to improve, it’s always worth pointing out what coaches and assistants did well but also highlighting areas that will ultimately need improvement. As such, Niner Noise dishes out end-of-year grades for Shanahan, Ryans and Hightower while looking ahead to 2022.