2019 was the San Francisco 49ers' first taste of success under Kyle Shanahan.
A large part of why they were able to get to the Super Bowl was thanks to their terrorizing defense and steam-rolling running game. As great as that was to see from the 49ers, those factors that lead them to a Super Bowl appearance are not sustainable.
“I think the key to long success is having the right quarterback throughout that whole time and then having a good coaching staff and good personnel department," said Shanahan at his presser on Friday. "I think if you look at anyone, whether it's Pittsburgh, whether it's New England, whether it's New Orleans, Green Bay, Seattle, all the teams that have had great quarterbacks over the last decade with good coaches and with good personnel departments, they’ve got a shot to be in the playoffs year in and year out.”
Shanahan doesn't say anything shocking or new here. Having a talented quarterback will always give teams a chance to win games. The Seahawks would be a five- or six-win team without Russell Wilson because of how uplifting he is.
If the 49ers had a healthy and adequate starting quarterback this season, they would have won at least a few more games. And as much slack as Jimmy Garoppolo gets, had he started all 16 games the 49ers likely would be returning to the playoffs.
But the reality is that Garoppolo is an unreliable player.
And considering Shanahan's perspective on long-term success, he cannot accomplish that with Garoppolo as his quarterback. His health for a full season has worse odds than winning the lottery. This is why there has been this constant debate about what the 49ers WILL do and SHOULD do at quarterback.
Shanahan and John Lynch are definitely going to explore their options in the offseason. They did it last year with Tom Brady and that was coming off of a Super Bowl run. Whether it is drafting, signing, or even trading for a quarterback, the 49ers are going rearrange the quarterback room.
It is time that Shanahan finally gets the quarterback of his choosing since Garoppolo was Lynch's doing. Garoppolo may have aided the 49ers' efforts getting to Super Bowl LIV, but his game-managing style is not sufficient anymore with the amount of talent the 49ers are going to be losing. Not to mention the injury-prone talent that is already on the roster. They need a quarterback who does not have questionable health and can be consistent.
It is what Shanahan believes and is why this offseason for the 49ers will be a crucial one to maintain long-term success.