49ers

Why Kyle Shanahan openly talks about Falcons' Super Bowl disappointment

Why Kyle Shanahan openly talks about Falcons' Super Bowl disappointment

MIAMI, Fla. -- Kyle Shanahan has been asked a question or two, or 50, about his role in the Atlanta Falcons’ Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.

The Falcons held a 25-point second-half lead before the Patriots came charging back to win in overtime. Shanahan officially was hired the next day as the 49ers' head coach.

Shanahan’s play-calling as Falcons offensive coordinator was subject to immediate scrutiny and second-guessing. Interestingly, the Falcons' defensive breakdown did not face the same level of criticism.

And the rehash continues this week.

Shanahan has not bristled at the questions. He was asked this week why he does not try to “run from” the disappointment of Super Bowl LI.

“Because I don’t think there’s anything to run away from,” Shanahan answered. “I’m very proud of that year. I was proud of our team in Atlanta. I was proud of our players. And I thought we played a pretty darn good game.

“We were up 28-3 in the (third quarter) and we all know we did not play well in the fourth, didn’t coach well. But to sit there and run from something, I’m not going to run from that.”

Shanahan said the experience was valuable in his growth as a coach. One thing he learned is that no lead is ever safe. He said he does not like to label experiences “good” or “bad.” He said he views everything he experiences as something from which to learn.

It is why Shanahan said he nearly freaked out when 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh started to pull some of his defensive starters late in the 49ers’ 17-point victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

He said the most difficult part of the Falcons blowing the lead was how it impacted his loved ones.

“I’m very disappointed about losing a 28-3 (lead), and that was very hard on our entire team,” Shanahan said. “I understand, perception-wise, how much I had to take of that. But I think I can deal with that. It’s something I’ve been able to.

“Knowing that has made me a little bit stronger. You don’t always know what you can deal with and stuff. I think it was hard for people who love me, like my wife and my family members and stuff, because they’re very defensive about things like that.”

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Shanahan said there probably was only one play call that he would have changed during the pivotal part of the game. Instead of attempting a pass on second-and-11, which resulted in a sack, Shanahan said he wish he would have run the ball.

“I was involved in the game,” Shanahan said. “I know exactly what happened on every single play. I know I can live with that. I’d do it all over again, maybe a play or so, I’d call differently. But I’d do it all over again. I feel a lot stronger and better from it.”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (9:30 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

The Los Angeles Rams' rebuild continues.

After releasing former All-Pros Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews during free agency, the Rams continued their roster overhaul by reportedly agreeing to send wideout Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for several draft picks, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, citing a source.

LA has been dealing with salary cap issues, trying to find money to pay franchise quarterback Jared Goff, all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the other 49 players needed to fill out an NFL roster.

The team still ends up taking a dead cap hit on Cooks in 2020, but at least removes the remaining four years of his deal from the books.

With the departure of offensive weapons Gurley and Cooks along with Matthews’ defensive presence, it will be a very different LA attack the next time the team takes on the 49ers.

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After four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks struggled through injuries and inconsistency on his way to just 583 receiving yards in 14 games during the 2019 season.

ProFootballTalk reported Thursday that the team already took a financial hit by holding onto Cooks this far into his contract.

With the 49ers aiming to defend their title as NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks remaining strong and the Arizona Cardinals fleecing Bill O’Brien and those head-scratching Texans for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this spring, there’s a clear new team at the bottom of the NFC West.

If we end up getting an NFL season in 2020, expect the division’s doormat to be in Tinseltown.

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

The NFL draft demonstrates to fans just how bold their team’s general managers can be.

Those willing to take a risk and try to move up in the first round sacrifice significant draft capital in exchange for a chance at a home run.

The 49ers happen to be one of those select few teams possessing multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, giving GM John Lynch an opportunity to make a big splash.

One potential way Lynch could extend San Francisco’s championship window is by fortifying the secondary with Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, writes Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher.

In this trade, the 49ers make the bold jump up to secure the former Ohio State Buckeye. But with the 49ers lacking in trade capital this year, they could send picks No. 13, No. 31 and another 2021 third-round selection. 

The 49ers have a win-now roster and could use a stud cover man to pair with Richard Sherman. Okudah is one of the best players in the draft and would give the team another versatile corner who could be used in both man and zone coverage. 

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Okudah is the consensus top defensive back in this year’s draft, combining length to disrupt the passing game with top-line speed, putting up a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Niners came up just short of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, despite holding dynamic gunslinger Patrick Mahomes to just 286 yards passing and the lowest postseason quarterback rating of his career.

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Okudah could provide an immediate impact in the secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman, but should the team sacrifice both of its first-round draft picks to fortify a position that is lower on the list of needs for Lynch’s roster?

Many fans likely rather would see the team grab one of this year's seemingly endless crop of talented wide receivers at No. 13 and then waiting and nabbing a cornerback later like TCU product Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall.

We’ll find out just how bold this 49ers' front office wants to be in exactly two week’s time.