49ers' Kyle Shanahan recalls Mike Pettine tiff, 'most nervous' play call

49ers' Kyle Shanahan recalls Mike Pettine tiff, 'most nervous' play call

SANTA CLARA – 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will line up on opposite sidelines during Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium.

They paced the same one back in 2014 as members of the Cleveland Browns. That might be fresh in your mind after an old video went viral recently showing Shanahan disagreeing with Pettine on an offensive play call.

Pettine wanted a run. Shanahan wanted to throw it and wasn't amused about a suggestion otherwise.

There was a moment of clear, yet unspoken conflict between Pettine, the Browns head coach at the time, and his offensive play caller.

Pettine finally relented, in the clip you’ve seen above, issuing a terse vote of confidence after Shanahan’s look of disdain after a suggested run.

“It was the most nervous play call I've ever made,” Shanahan said on Friday, two days before the 49ers and Packers clash with a trip to Super Bowl LIV on the line.

Shanahan said the exchange was representative of his relationship with Pettine during his only season as Cleveland offensive coordinator, after which he submitted his resignation. And no, there hasn’t been tension between the two, and there isn’t any now.

“I think that shows how cool of a guy Mike was and is,” Shanahan said. “A head coach is going to always pop in here and there and tell a coordinator to do something. And I promise you, I know what my role is, and I don’t always do what they tell you to do.”

Shanahan likened his relationship with Pettine to what he has with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, only with him in the captain’s chair.

“I am not involved with the defense a lot, and I get in to see a couple things when I want to do something,” Shanahan said. “And I really hope that when I tell Saleh something, if he strongly disagrees, I really hope that he tells me that back. And then I have the decision to say, I don't care what you're saying, do it anyways or I listen. And that's how Mike and I were. Mike could see probably by my facial expression I thought we should pass. And we had, and he trusted me. If he didn't, he would have said no, and I would have called a run.”

Those exchanges happen more that fans think, but simply aren’t caught on camera. That’s a healthy dialogue between a head coach and someone running the one side of the ball with great autonomy. Most of the time at least.

Shanahan says it was in the Browns instance making rounds on social media and what happens with him and Saleh regularly.

[RELATED: When Shanahan knew 49ers were good]

“I think it's very important for a play caller, whether you’re on offense or defense, to have that relationship with the head coach, because I'm very nervous sometimes to just hop in and tell Saleh to do something,” Shanahan said. “[That’s the case] because, unless you're in it all week and you're looking at it down in and down out, and your mind is coming from that point of view, when you just jump in something real fast, sometimes it can be the right answer.

“But I want to make sure I have confident enough people that when it's not someone tells me they don't believe it is, especially someone that should have more expertise than me in that area. And if you do have that confidence then you're not afraid to tell people that because you know if you're wrong, you hope they'll tell you back.”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa might have been the best player in last year’s draft, but the top spot went to a quarterback to fill a need for the team with the No. 1 overall pick.

Things could very well go the same way this year, with the Cincinnati Bengals taking quarterback Joe Burrow with the first selection.

That would leave the consensus top player, Chase Young, for Washington at No. 2.

Again, that player is a defensive end. Again, that player is a defensive end from Ohio State.

“Nick, he's always setting the standard,” Young said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “That's just motivation for me to achieve a lot of real good things.

“It's definitely been a blessing to watch him grow into the player that he is. He's definitely helped me along this passage. He hasn't stopped. I'm just grateful to be able to see him grow.”

The 49ers selected Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick last year after the Arizona Cardinals went with quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1.

Bosa registered nine sacks during the regular season and four more in the postseason. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He and Young also have been in contact as Young goes through the same process Bosa experienced a year ago.

“He just told me to be myself,” Young said. “That's what I have been trying to do the whole time I've been here.”

Young, like Bosa, declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. He enters the draft after compiling a more impressive college career than Bosa, who was hampered by injuries throughout his time at Ohio State.

In 34 college games, Young registered 30.5 sacks and 40.5 tackles for loss. Last season, he had 16.5 sacks, all of which came in the first nine games of the season. In 29 games at Ohio State, Bosa had 17.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss.

[RELATEDBosa intuitively drawn to sport that shaped his life, NFL draft future]

Bosa’s brother, Joey, went to Ohio State, where he was coached by defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Nick Bosa did not have much of a decision where to attend college because the family was already sold on Johnson’s ability to groom defensive linemen.

“I think the technique that ‘Coach J’ teaches in college works in the NFL as well,” Young said. “I'll continue to perfect my technique. The toolbox that I have now, I know that it'll bring me success in the NFL. That's one thing that I took from Nick and Joey.”

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

The 49ers saw firsthand how a blazing-fast receiver like Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs can change a game when Hill's deep catch on third-and-15 swung the momentum in Super Bowl LIV. Henry Ruggs, believe it or not, might be even faster. 

As San Francisco looks to upgrade its receivers for coach Kyle Shanahan's motion-heavy offense, a speedster like Ruggs could be a game-changer. The Alabama receiver said Thursday that he has met with the 49ers at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Ruggs put on an absolute show Thursday at the combine. After measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, Ruggs ran a ridiculous 4.27 40-yard dash. That is the fastest among receivers this year, and the best time thus far at the combine. His time also is tied with current 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, who could be on his way out of San Francisco, as the fourth-fastest at the combine since 2006.

That was just the start of Ruggs' big day, too. He also recorded a 42-inch vertical leap and had a 10'11" broad jump. His athleticism simply is off the charts. 

Ruggs joins a growing list of receivers the 49ers have met with at the combine. But it seems highly unlikely he will be available for the NFC champions. The 49ers own the No. 31 pick in the draft this year, and a handful of teams ahead of them make sense as a landing spot for Ruggs. 

[RELATED: Baylor receiver Mims believes his skills match with 49ers]

Before the combine, Ruggs was selected No. 18 overall by the Miami Dolphins in our latest mock draft. It would be a big surprise to see him fall past the New Orleans Saints at No. 24 overall.

It's clear the 49ers are doing their due diligence on a loaded receiver class and could be eyeing a future star at the end of the first round. Adding Ruggs would be gold to Shanahan's offense.