My dad and I can be overly critical of Kyle Shanahan. So in the interest of fair and balanced journalism, we'd like to focus on his positives today.
Here are Shanahan's best qualities. The ones that set him apart from the rest of the coaches in the NFL.
1. Shanahan is the best play-action-pass designer in the NFL.
Sean McVay also is a good play-action-pass designer, but Shanahan is better. Shanahan's father, Mike Shanahan, was the original play-action master, but Kyle Shanahan has expanded on father's ideas. And Shanahan has shown the NFL that play-action passes are the best way to create wide-open receivers downfield. Because Shanahan's play-action passes look exactly like his run plays. They completely fool opposing defenses.
2. Shanahan's players play extremely hard for him.
LC: "Even when the 49ers have a losing record or it's clear they're not going to the playoffs, like last season, his players play hard for him. And there's something to be said for that. Because Chip Kelly's players gave up on him fast. They threw in the towel, and you could see it by how many times they'd be winning at halftime and still lose. I don't see that in Shanahan. It really speaks well for him that his players always fight for him."
3. Shanahan is excellent at identifying talented coaches and developing them.
Most of the coaches on his staff are people he has worked with since they were in their 20s. He has groomed them. And then there's the former defensive coordinator -- Robert Saleh. Shanahan discovered him in a sense. No one other head coach would have made Saleh a defensive coordinator in 2017. Shanahan gave him an interview anyway, and was smart enough to realize how special Saleh is. Which means Shanahan is developing a coach's tree the way Bill Walsh did.
4. There is no scandal or controversy on Shanahan's teams.
LC: "Right now, the Packers have complete chaos. We've never seen anything like that with Shanahan. He must really relate to the players very well, and they must respect him. And there's no scandal. You know how much I like and admire Jim Harbaugh, but there was scandal on that team. There's nothing like that with Shanahan. He runs a team that fans can be proud of. That doesn't mean he always wins, but they can be proud of how they comport themselves."
5. Shanahan is one of the most driven people I've ever met.
He has a giant chip on his shoulder. It reminds me of the one I have, in the sense that we've both been of accused of nepotism, and we both had to work double time to prove that perception wrong. I admire his self confidence.