What Kyle Shanahan is Really Like
Did a podcast Wednesday with my dad talking about some of the key personalities on the 49ers. Here is Kyle Shanahan.
In Kyle Shanahan’s head, there’s a football field, and he’s always designing plays on it. He can’t stop. He’s a creative artist, and decidedly inward, the way creative people are.
Shanahan lives in his head.
He is capable of being social, but would rather spend the day alone drawing plays in an office. Bill Walsh was the same way.
Shanahan probably is the 49ers’ most creative offensive coach since Walsh. Shanahan isn’t always a brilliant play caller -- he makes some strange decisions in the fourth quarter of Super Bowls when the pressure is on. But Shanahan certainly is a flat-out brilliant play designer. He might be the best in the NFL right now, even better than Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. No one gets players more wide open than Shanahan. Every coach worth his salt studies Shanahan’s offensive scheme and steals from it. That’s standard homework.
Shanahan is so into his offense, he may not want input from other people. Again, Walsh was the same way. He grew out of that mentality, and Shanahan may as well.
This offseason, Shanahan decided not to sign Tom Brady, who was a free agent. Shanahan had lots of reasons not to sign him, but one might have been Brady’s age and experience. Brady is two years older than Shanahan and has won six Super Bowls. Brady probably would want input on the scheme. He might tell Shanahan, “I don’t like this play; it doesn’t work for me.” And Shanahan might feel threatened. Just a theory.
Shanahan is complicated. He’s nice, but also extremely blunt and honest. Sometimes he comes across as negative, because he doesn’t coddle players. Most modern coaches are coddlers. Shanahan tells players the truth. And he tells the media the truth about his players. From a journalist’s perspective, Shanahan is a gift from God.
Most coaches obscure the truth. They say, “I have to look at the film first.”
Shanahan never would say that. It’s beneath him.