During an interview on The Ringer’s Flying Coach with Sean McVay and Peter Schrager, 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan explains that he nearly canceled his interview with San Francisco’s owner Jed York back in 2016 when he was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator.
“It was an interesting time,” Shanahan said. “I mean, San Francisco wasn’t my first choice, on paper, like, before it. I had four interviews, and it was during the playoffs. You get two weeks to prepare, and then you get two days off as a coaching staff. And those two days are really to see your family and stuff because you’re in this grind that’s not going to end. And I almost canceled one just because I was so exhausted, and I almost canceled San Francisco. The reason being — it had nothing to do with San Francisco — it was just my whole goal in life was to be a head coach and stay a head coach. It wasn’t just to become one and say I got there.”
Shanahan adds that he took examples from his father’s career, Mike Shanahan, and wanted to sign with an organization that had an “established quarterback.”
“So, watching my dad’s career, watching stuff that I thought was important, I was never going to go anywhere without an established quarterback where we knew that was the plan,” said Shanahan. “Because you never know how an organization is until you get in there, until you go through some tough times. And if you have a good quarterback, one of those top-5 guys, you can survive anything. So, that was always my goal, is to wait until I had a good enough year and got an opportunity with that. And so, I didn’t want to be tempted on anything wrong. I mean, you get so excited for the chance to be a head coach that a lot of guys will accept anything, which I just had learned, and I had watched my dad (go through it) the hard way, that’s not what my goal was.”
Shanahan initially came away “nervous” about the 49ers given they didn’t have an established quarterback at the time with Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, while he also had interviews with the Jaguars and Broncos.
“So when I looked at San Francisco, I was nervous because they didn’t have that setup, and they had changed coaches three years in a row,” Shanahan said. “Their offense was ranked 31st. Their defensed was ranked 32nd. It wasn’t the best situation. But when I sat there, I had just interviewed [with] Jacksonville, just finished Jacksonville. … And I was setting all the stuff up for my Denver interview. That was going to be Saturday morning.”
As for his interview with York, Shanahan recollects that they had a great conversation and felt a particular connection to San Francisco given his father coached there from 1992-1994.
“And I told them all the issues that I thought that there was, the stuff I was worried about. And Jed told me where they thought they were, where he wanted to be. We had a connection because my dad was the coach there when [Jed’s] uncle was the owner. I was a ball boy there from sixth grade to ninth grade. The last time I was with the Niners was when Steve Young won the Super Bowl, and I was always the ball boy there.”
“This guy is a pro,” he said, via CardsWire. “There are no words I can use to describe how I feel about the kid. I’m extremely excited that he chose to be here with us. It’s going to be a good thing and it’s going to fun to watch.”
While Conner’s role has yet to be determined as the team gears up for the start of training camp, Saxon believes Conner is “capable of doing whatever you ask him to do.”
Saxon likes Conner’s ability to run between the tackles, as well as his ability to hit the hole and pick up the tough yards.
“He’s exactly what’s he’s advertised to be,” Saxon said. “He’s a downhill runner. There’s no B.S.”
While Saxon thinks Conner has the ability to stay on the field for all three downs, he downplayed the idea of Conner being a true receiving threat out of the backfield, like fellow RB Chase Edmonds.
“Oh yeah (he can catch), but I don’t think you want to ask an elephant to ride in a sailboat” Saxon responded.
49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said he was afraid the Falcons were going to trade WR Julio Jones to the Rams.
“That’s actually the most frustrating thing for me,” Shanahan said on Peter Schrager’s Flying Coach podcast, via Pro Football Talk. “I always say, ‘Let’s do it the right way,’ which, there’s no right way or wrong way, but you don’t want to have to risk your future to compete in one year. And that’s the hardest thing about being in our division because I know how Sean rolls. That’s very similar to me. And I can see that in the other two guys in our division. Julio would have helped everybody, but you know what it’s doing to your organization for that year and the years to come. That’s a really risky thing, but man, if Sean’s getting him, I’m going to risk that. I know that’s how he thinks, that’s how we all think. You’ve got to compete with your division first.”