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Coaching Turnover With 49ers is Having a Negative Impact

The 49ers saw 10 coaches depart from the team this offseason. It is clearly having a negative impact on them now.

2021 has been a massively disappointing year so far for the San Francisco 49ers.

After starting out 2-0, the 49ers have completely fallen on their face. This team needs a lifeline like no other right now. Unfortunately for them, there just doesn't look to be any real hope in sight that they can turn it around so quickly. 

What is happening with this team? They were poised to be playoff contenders. They have the elite players to do it and at least make some noise, but there is definitely something lacking and it has more to do with the coaching this time than the players. You can point to multiple aspects as to what is failing the 49ers as it isn't just one thing that is causing them to freefall this early in the season.

But the coaching turnover with the 49ers this offseason is having a negative impact.

Back in February, the 49ers saw 10 coaches depart from the team. The two most notable to leave were defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and Kyle Shanahan's right hand man Mike LaFleur. At the time, I had written about whether or not the mass exodus of coaches would hurt the 49ers. I took the side that Saleh would be the most painful because it would difficult for DeMeco Ryans to step in and match the greatness of Saleh.

Clearly, Ryans is the least of the problems with the 49ers. Losing LaFleur looks to be the most painful loss for Shanahan. He has been with LaFleur throughout the majority of his coaching career. It makes sense why some of the game planning or plays called seem out of whack. LaFleur was a huge part of Shanahan creating the plans and the pool of plays to use on gameday. Anytime Shanahan was asked about LaFleur and Mike McDaniel, he would praise them highly as to how great of a help they were to him with calling the offense. So when Shanahan looks out of sorts, you can't help but think that losing LaFleur is part of it.

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Another aspect of the team to look at is with the secondary.

The 49ers for three straight seasons have rolled out new secondary coaches. In 2019 it was Joe Woods who would be hired as the Browns defensive coordinator. In 2020, it was Tony Oden who would follow Saleh to the Jets on his staff. Now it is Cory Undlin who had just spent a year as the Lions defensive coordinator. 

This constant change has to have some impact as to why the defensive backs are continually getting flagged for pass interference. Now it could also be that Undlin is not a good coach, but the ultimate point is the change is not helping either. The secondary of the 49ers has remained relatively the same the last few seasons and they never accumulated this many flags before.

You can also look at quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. He returns to the 49ers after a stint as the Broncos offensive coordinator. After seeing Trey Lance against the Cardinals and Eagles, you just have to wonder what it is Scangarello is even doing with him? It is part of why I believe Lance needs to play. How much better is he going to get working solely with Scangarello? Because that is the main coach he works with since he isn't the starter. At least starting forces McDaniel and Shanahan to get involved with him.

Lastly, as solid as Ryans has been, he really doesn't have any juice yet. Not like Saleh did. At practice, Saleh more times than not would be next to Shanahan conversing and tossing the football around with him. The two were close. And now that Saleh is gone, that is another voice in Shanahan's ear that is gone. 

Losing 10 coaches is absurd. It isn't the sole or even majority reason the 49ers are failing this season. But one thing is for certain is that it isn't having a positive impact.

The coaching turnover has definitely made a negative impact on this team.