The 49ers have made numerous offseason personnel changes since going to the Super Bowl at the start of this year.
They’ve signed veteran free agents, made trades and drafted young talent – including two athletes in the first round.
Yet one of the most significant personnel moves was out of their control.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, whose unit allowed the second-fewest yards in the NFL in 2019 while also allowing the fewest passing yards and being eighth in total defense, was a hot commodity in the annual coaching carousel. But Saleh wound up staying with the Niners and now goes into 2020 with a chance to take the San Francisco defense to an even higher level.
His defensive scheme has been in place since head coach Kyle Shanahan arrived, and his players now have a firm grasp of its nuances.
Shanahan says the fact Saleh didn’t get a job this offseason is a big plus for his team in its quest to get back to the Super Bowl.
“Every year we keep him we’ll be very fortunate,” Shanahan told reporters earlier this year. “Saleh’s going to be a head coach in this league. Could have been one this year. Most likely, he’ll be one next year. But he’s going to have the right opportunity come around for him. It’s just a matter of time.”
Recently, Saleh spoke at the NFL’s annual Quarterback Coaching Summit, with the topic “10 Lessons of Coaching.” His fifth lesson provides a hint he won’t rest on his accomplishments from 2019:
“The three most dangerous words: ‘I got it,’ ” he said. “You must approach each day with humility to get better.”