49ers

Kyle Shanahan's former QB Matt Ryan explains what makes coach special

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USATSI

Kyle Shanahan's former QB Matt Ryan explains what makes coach special

It's typical for there to be some friendly competition between friends, even those in the NFL who represent different teams.

Although, when Matt Ryan's Atlanta Falcons defeated the 49ers 29-22 last weekend, the quarterback chose to not rub the win in former coach Kyle Shanahan's face.

"You don't need to say anything after you've won, you know?" Ryan chuckled when he joined the "Stick to Football" podcast earlier this week.

Matty Ice did reveal, however, that he stays in touch with Shanahan, who was an assistant coach in Atlanta the year Ryan captained the team to a Super Bowl appearance. And he even gave a little insight into why Shanahan has turned San Francisco into a successful team.

"I think, as a head coach, he knows exactly what he wants from the players," Ryan told the program. "He knows exactly what he's looking for at certain spots. That, first and foremost, is his greatest strength."

Shanahan won Assistant Coach of the Year honors for the 2016 season, in part because of his play-calling capacity and how well the Ryan-led offense was able to follow it. Ryan himself said that ability that makes Shanahan such a special coach.

"He has a great feel for play-calling and diagnosing how a defense is trying to take away certain things and then being able to expose that," Ryan said. "I was always impressed with that during my time with him."

It doesn't hurt, either, that San Francisco has some great weapons for Shanahan to work with these days.

"He knows exactly what he wants from X wide receiver, what he wants from his Z wide receiver, what his tight end looks like," Ryan said. "He has a pretty good one in (George) Kittle too, he's an X factor for them."

[RELATED: Why Pro Bowl selection means more for Richard Sherman]

But while coach and player represent different teams now, the two have remained friends.

"We stay in touch a lot, and I've texted him throughout the season," Ryan said. "I'm happy for his success because he's a good friend of mine and (we) certainly had a good working relationship together. I'm happy for him and he deserves it. He works extremely hard."

Ryan did add make sure to add on the podcast, however: "But it was nice to get the W on Sunday."

2020 NFL Draft: How 49ers' John Lynch prepares while working from home

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AP

2020 NFL Draft: How 49ers' John Lynch prepares while working from home

The 2020 NFL Draft will be held as scheduled -- albeit remotely -- amid the coronavirus pandemic, keeping 49ers general manager John Lynch plenty busy during California's shelter-in-place order.

In-person visits with prospects at the team's facility or elsewhere are off, but Lynch said he is able to make the most of watching film of potential picks while working from his home office.

“People have a lot bigger problems than we do, I can tell you that,” Lynch told NBC Sports' Peter King for his "Football Morning in America" column. “This year’s a lot different than any year scouts and GMs have had, obviously, with all the challenges. But this time of year, what you really need is time.

"The other day, [coach] Kyle [Shanahan] called and said, ‘This is unbelievable! I’m getting so much done.’ And he’s right. He and I, this time of year, would be watching this tape in our offices, and the difference is our doors aren’t getting knocked on 50 times a day. I’m really getting a lot done.”

Lynch and Shanahan have more prospects to examine than they did a month ago. The 49ers acquired another first-round draft pick -- No. 13 overall -- when they traded dominant defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco, before then, was scheduled to make its first pick with the No. 31 overall selection.

[RELATED: 49ers' Jones switches agencies entering final year of deal]

That additional prep very well could've included watching Louisville's Mekhi Becton, whose Cardinals were on-screen in footage Lynch was watching during a video posted to social media last week showing how he was preparing for the draft at home. The offensive lineman is projected to be a top-10 pick next month, and Lynch simply wouldn't have had much reason to watch him with the 49ers' first pick set for the very end of the first round.

We'll know some of the players whom Lynch, Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers closely watched when the NFL draft begins April 23. The 49ers currently have seven picks: Two in the first round, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Colts' DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day driven by 49ers' Super Bowl loss

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USATSI

Colts' DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day driven by 49ers' Super Bowl loss

Sheldon Day and DeForest Buckner will be teammates on a new team next season, driven by the last loss with their old one.

The defensive linemen joined the Indianapolis Colts this offseason via free agency and trade, respectively, after playing together for the 49ers since midway through the 2017 season. Day and Buckner's final games with San Francisco were in the 49ers' 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, and Day said the pair has additional motivation after not lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy last season.

"It was right there in our hands, and all we had to do was squeeze it and grab it (in Super Bowl LIV), and we let up," Day told reporters on his introductory conference call last week (via Colts.com). "So ultimately we have a chip on our shoulders and we know how to get there, and now we know what to do to overcome that shortcoming that we had."

Buckner sacked eventual Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes 1.5 times in the game, accounting for three of the 49ers' nine QB hits. Day, meanwhile, played a little over half of San Francisco's 76 defensive snaps and picked up a tackle.

[RELATED: 49ers' Jones switches agencies entering final year of deal]

The Indianapolis native played in a career-high 16 games with the 49ers during the 2019 regular season, and Day started each of San Francisco's playoff games. Day credited his growth to playing with Buckner, and he's going to continue picking his brain while they're still teammates.

"DeForest (has) made me detail my game," Day said. "So we would be working on pass-rush moves, bouncing ideas off of each other, just trying to make sure that our game grew together, and we're always giving each other tips. If I see something on film [I'm reaching] out to him, and vice versa. So, man, what a special guy he is."

All the while, the 49ers' Super Bowl LIV won't be far from either player's mind.