49ers

Kyle Shanahan has 49ers believing they can win regardless of opponent

Kyle Shanahan has 49ers believing they can win regardless of opponent

SANTA CLARA -- The rest of the football world might just be taking notice of the 49ers now that they are 5-0, but coach Kyle Shanahan said they have had the same confidence and expectations since the preseason. 

The 49ers have only won 17 games over the past four seasons and only 10 since Shanahan and general manager John Lynch arrived two years ago. Doubt from people outside of headquarters in Santa Clara is nothing new to the organization. 

Shanahan and Lynch have been playing the long game, avoiding personnel that would be deemed a quick fix. Now, after two full seasons of building their own roster and staff, Shanahan is not surprised by where they stand. 

“We sensed it going into the season,” Shanahan said. “I think we felt that in preseason. I think we felt we knew we had a better team in the preseason by the way that practices went, by the way we were in games.”

Each 49ers' win has continued to build the team’s confidence. Not all of the victories have been pretty and Shanahan knows San Francisco still has a lot to improve upon. 

“I think we were very confident going into the Tampa Bay game. By no means did we play perfect, but we found a way to win which gave us more confidence. And then the Cincinnati game gave us a lot. 

“Found a way to win a hard game versus Pittsburgh and we continued to do it, but our guys believe that they can win. I think we’ve done that so far. But by no means do we feel we have arrived.”
 
After the 20-7 win over the Rams, several players spoke about being unbothered by what outside voices are saying about them. They prefer their underdog status and just want to keep the momentum going. 

Shanahan sees the growing confidence and swagger of the team as a positive, knowing who they have in the building and how they work to take advantage of every possible aspect. He wants his players and staff to always believe they have a chance. 

“I want them to know that they can win every game that they go into no matter who is in front of them,” Shanahan said. “And I think that our team does believe that. We have the people. We can put the schemes together. We have the talent to do it and we have the people who work at that no matter what type of game we are in. I think we really do believe that we can win any game. 

“That’s where it starts with a good team. I don’t care how good you are, it’s very tough to do that but when you have that mindset from the work you put in, from how talented you can see some of the guys are next to you, then it becomes real and then the more you can win, the stronger it gets. 

Shanahan has said after games that he enjoys victories in which there are still a lot of things he can be hard on players about. He seems to like the balance that constructive criticism provides after a win, and knows that each game ahead will be its own challenge. 

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“I mean, there’s lots of things we can do better,” Shanahan said. “We know teams are going to get better as we keep going. The main thing is that we do, too.” 

Source: 49ers re-sign cornerback Dontae Johnson for depth

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Source: 49ers re-sign cornerback Dontae Johnson for depth

The 49ers have re-signed cornerback Dontae Johnson, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday morning.

The 49ers expect to be without starter Richard Sherman for multiple games due to a right hamstring injury. 

Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley are expected to be the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks as long as Sherman is out of action. Johnson provides depth in the 49ers’ defensive backfield, along with D.J. Reed.

Johnson, 28, was among the 49ers’ final cuts before the start of the regular season. He re-signed with the club on Oct. 3 and was waived on Nov. 11. Adam Caplan of Sirius-XM NFL Radio first reported the re-signing of Johnson.

Johnson (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) has appeared in 71 games in his NFL career with 22 starts. He played his first four NFL seasons with the 49ers from 2014 to ’17 after coming to the team as a fourth-round draft pick from North Carolina State.

Falcons' Dan Quinn also remembers the good plays Kyle Shanahan called in Super Bowl collapse

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Falcons' Dan Quinn also remembers the good plays Kyle Shanahan called in Super Bowl collapse

While a lot of the football world criticized Kyle Shanahan for how things went wrong in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 51, Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn remembers a lot of the things that went right that day.

“There’s always criticism after the fact, but he made a hell of a lot of good calls, too,” Quinn said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

Shanahan got out of his contract with the Cleveland Browns after the 2014 season, so he could join Quinn’s staff as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Shanahan spent two seasons working under Quinn.

Shanahan and Quinn will meet for the first time as head coaches on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium when the 49ers play host to the Atlanta Falcons.

Under Shanahan’s offensive guidance, the Falcons had the league’s highest-scoring team, the No. 2-ranked offense in yards, and quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL’s MVP with his career-best season. Shanahan was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

But after leading the New England Patriots, 28-3, in the second half of Super Bowl 51, things fell apart.

Shanahan was roundly criticized for being too aggressive with his play calls, the Falcons’ defense imploded, and the Patriots rallied for a 34-28 victory in overtime. Critics point to a strip sack of Ryan in the middle of the fourth quarter with the Falcons leading by 16 points and the failure to run the ball later to chew up more clock.

“If there were one or two (calls) that he’d like to have back, well, that is in any game,” Quinn said. “I’d love to have any game rip and go like you want. But all of it, you learn from. And then you don’t really get to apply it until you’re in that moment again.

“The guy is a hell of a play-caller, and a hell of a football coach. I think he proved that then, and continues to do that today.”

The following day, Feb. 6, 2017, the 49ers officially announced Shanahan as the organization’s 20th head coach.

The 49ers currently rank No. 2 in points (30.5) and fourth in yards (388.6), while the Falcons are 14th in points (23.1) and seventh in yards (376.5).

The 49ers (11-2) are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the best record in the NFL. The Falcons (4-9) are playing much better, winning three of their past five games.

Quinn said he has always been impressed with Shanahan’s ability to adapt his scheme, going back to when he implemented the read option in Washington with Robert Griffin as his quarterback.

“Here, we ripped it quite a bit with Matt,” Quinn said. “Now, he’s back in terms of the run game and how that’s a factor. I think he’s done it in a number of different ways. I wouldn’t say I don’t think it’s more emptying the playbook one side or the other. But what he’s always had is a really bold and aggressive nature to make plays.”

Shanahan was particularly creative with his play-calling in the 49ers’ 48-46 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Quinn said it goes back to Shanahan’s preparation and his “concrete way” he builds a game plan.

“I think that’s an example in that game of, ‘OK, we’re going to have to score some points,’ and find some ways to create some momentum, and he was bold enough to do that,” Quinn said. “That really sums up who he is as a play-caller.”