49ers

Shanahan's career indicates he's ready to adjust on the fly as head coach

Shanahan's career indicates he's ready to adjust on the fly as head coach

Change is the one constant in life and definitely, the one constant in life in the NFL. Mastering that change is why Kyle Shanahan is now the 49ers head coach.

“You have to learn how to adjust. Me, going around having to work with different quarterbacks, being on different teams, I’ve been forced to do that,” Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in a recent sit-down interview. “Being forced to do that makes you better, because you start to realize that there’s different ways to succeed. You have to know that from an X’s and O’s standpoint, and you have to be able to commit to it to get your players good at it.

"When you get the experience of trying different things, it does give you confidence. It feels that no matter what the situation is, you can figure out something that gives you a chance to be successful.”

The crux of Shanahan’s experience came as he managed two starting quarterbacks in each of his four seasons as the OC in Washington and continually reworked the offense for three starting quarterbacks in his one season in the same position with Cleveland. But the difficulty of the task before him now is the most monumental.

The 37-year-old was hired to figure out what something will give the 49ers a chance to be successful again. Shanahan seeks balance on offense, defense and special teams. But success starts with the quarterback, he explains, and rolls from there. The head coach, who is also offensive coordinator with San Francisco, is not set on which players are going to roll with him following Thursday night's final exhibition game against the Chargers.

“I’m not sure who the 53 are going to be. Most of the times in my career I’ve gone into this game knowing, ‘Alright, there are just a couple positions we’re not sure about. We’ve got to really watch these two guys.’ I feel much different this year. There are a lot of things that can happen, a lot of things that could change.” 

Such as sending a draft pick to the Lions in exchange for offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson, as the 49ers did Thursday. Teams have until Saturday at 1 p.m. PT to determine their 53-man rosters. But as the trade for Tomlinson hours before kick off indicates, that deadline doesn’t mean much for the 49ers this season.

“We’re going to have the best 53 possible when it’s all said and done, but I know that’s something that might look different in Week 16. We’re going to have to continue to get better throughout this year. Hopefully we’ll be better from it and be better next year.”

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

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USATSI

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

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Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”