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.”