It may be difficult for Kyle Shanahan to live up to all the hype he’s been getting this offseason.
Shanahan, the offensive coordinator of the NFC champion-Falcons in 2016, will take the 49ers into their first training camp in his first head-coaching gig later this month. Though he’s a rookie head coach, NFL players and analysts who’ve either worked with him or observed him have been effusive in their praise of his coaching talents.
Quarterback Matt Ryan, who led the Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2016 with a terrific season, called himself a “big proponent” of Shanahan who believes he’ll be excellent as a head coach.
And, said 49ers CEO Jed York when Shanahan’s hiring was announced: “Kyle’s leadership has brought the best out of his players at every phase of his career.”
Now, Shanahan is being compared to Bill Belichick, the architect of the New England Patriots’ long run of success and Super Bowl titles.
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who recently retired and will begin work this season as an analyst for CBS NFL broadcasts, made the comparision this week, according to Bill Williamson, a longtime reporter covering the league who is now with the Fanrag Sports Network.
Wrote Williamson: “Romo … thinks the San Francisco 49ers hit a home run in their hiring of new head coach Kyle Shanahan. He said Shanahan has special offensive coaching abilities and he is like a second quarterback. He compared Shanahan’s offensive coaching skills to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s defensive coaching chops.”
That’s a lot to live up to for a rookie head coach taking over one of the NFL’s worst teams.
But, with a six-year deal in place, Shanahan at least will have some time. He won’t have to take the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2017. If he can stabilize the franchise in his first season, then build on that momentum in Year 2 (with possibly a new quarterback), Shanahan will certainly get a chance to prove his proponents know what they’re talking about.
Players are scheduled to report for training camp July 27.