49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has no doubts about what his goals are for the 49ers in 2020.
“I know we were good enough to win that Super Bowl and we didn’t, and that’s something we have to live with,” Shanahan said during the 49ers' virtual State of the Franchise event on Wednesday. “And that’s why the state of the franchise right now is we got to get right back to that moment. We got to get right back to that fourth quarter and get to have a lead and we got to finish the job.”
ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio pushed back on Shanahan's ambitions for the upcoming season.
"The worst thing you can do going into a season is set unrealistic expectations," Florio said on "Pro Football Talk." "And the worst message you can send to your locker room is we want to fast forward to the point where it went off the rails for us last year. When you start thinking about that moment and getting back to that moment, I guarantee you, you're never going to get back to that moment.
"When I saw those quotes, I was blown away because I would expect it from Freddie Kitchens. I would expect it from a lesser coach."
Florio's co-host was NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms, who -- in case you somehow hadn't heard by now -- is a close friend of Shanahan's dating back to their days as teammates in college, and saw the 40-year-old's comments in a different light.
"He's confident, and he does set goals like that for himself," Simms said. "Even with him saying broad statements like that, first off, he's a different coach than most. He is. He's a little bit more honest. He's wired a different way. He's extremely honest with his players, and his team, and everything that way."
It's more than fair for Shanahan to say that the 49ers were good enough to win Super Bowl LIV. Up 10 points in the fourth quarter, not a lot of teams end up on the losing end in that scenario, especially a team with a defense like the 49ers had. But Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the NFL's best quarterback for a reason, and Jimmy Garoppolo didn't make the plays he needed to down the stretch.
Florio did go on to say he believes Shanahan is one of the league's top coaches and has a chance to ascend to being one of the NFL's all-time best head coaches. And he's right, there are only two NFL teams which have lost a Super Bowl and come back to win it the following year (Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII and New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII).
But the 49ers also didn't lose much talent in the offseason, as many teams who reach the Super Bowl have in the past. Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is the best player who departed, but he was replaced by the No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, which San Francisco used to select Javon Kinlaw out of South Carolina. Kinlaw is expected to earn significant playing time on the interior of the D-line, where Buckner excelled in 2019.
Coaches should have the highest expectations for their teams, especially when that team was 10 minutes away from a Super Bowl title. If you asked any player on the roster what their goal for 2020 was, almost every response likely would mimic what Shanahan explained.
He knows the championship window is open for the 49ers, but it won't be for very long if there is any sort of complacency.
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