The 49ers wrapped up a highly entertaining regular season with a 13-3 record, NFC West championship and homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

The 49ers earned plenty of accolades for their outstanding regular season, and there could be some individuals from the organization to earn recognition for their 2019 job performances.

While the 49ers are moving ahead in preparation for the postseason, we look at which 49ers are strong candidates for league-wide honors:

Coach of the Year

Being around Kyle Shanahan for the entire season you got the feeling he never felt like things were coming particularly easy for the offense. After all, this was not the 2016 Atlanta Falcons.

Shanahan and his young, bright offensive staff pieced things together, playing a lot of the season without both starting offensive tackles, a true No. 1 wide receiver, and an ever-changing running game.

It is surprising to look at the statistics to see that the 49ers’ offense ranked behind only the Baltimore Ravens in scoring (29.9 points per game) and No. 4 in total yards, averaging 381.1 yards per game.

But even extending beyond the offense, Shanahan had a great touch with this team.

He brought a relatable personality and compassion, which made his players excited to be part of the organization. He was hard on them. He also showed humanity. He built loyalty and so much more.

Shanahan spent the early morning before a late-season game comforting quarterback C.J. Beathard after finding out Beathard’s younger brother, Clayton, was a victim of a fatal stabbing. Then, he only shared after the game with his team that Beathard requested the team go win the game. Shanahan did not want to create a misperception that there was any comparison between the tragedy experienced by the Beathard family and the football game.

 

Shanahan makes players better on the field by explaining to them why things happen and how each individual can get better. He makes them want to work even harder because he has built a sense of ownership with every player who walks into the locker room.

Shanahan was born to be an NFL head coach. It almost is impossible to come up with areas or situations that he has not handled with aplomb. Everything he has done since his arrival has contributed to the 49ers' turnaround after winning just 10 games in his first two seasons.

Others to consider: Sean McDermott, Buffalo; Matt LaFleur, Green Bay; John Harbaugh, Baltimore; Mike Vrabel, Tennessee.

Executive of the Year

There was some jealousy in NFL personnel circles when John Lynch was hired as general manager to join Shanahan. After all, he did not invest the years of scouting road trips consisting of rental cars, cheap hotels and Denny’s at 1 a.m.

Lynch stepped from the TV broadcast booth into the 49ers’ top job on the personnel side because Shanahan felt a connection and trust in him. Just count that as another situation Shanahan handled perfectly.

The first round of Lynch’s first draft was a disaster. That was his mulligan. But in the first two years, the 49ers accumulated some vital players, such as tight end George Kittle, the team’s best player and one of the top stars in the NFL.

What pushed the 49ers to the top of the NFC in the 2019 offseason was an outstanding draft, which brought in Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel with their top-two picks. And don’t forget about linebacker Dre Greenlaw, punter Mitch Wishnowsky and tackle Justin Skule, each of whom did their parts along the way.

Others to consider: Eric DeCosta,Baltimore; John Schneider, Seattle; Brandon Beane, Buffalo; Brian Gutekunst, Green Bay; Jon Robinson, Tennessee.

Assistant Coach of the Year

A year ago, the conversation was whether defensive coordinator Robert Saleh should be back in the same role for a third season. That thought of replacing Saleh seems absolutely laughable now.

Saleh’s energy on the sideline was contagious. His players fly around and play hard for him.

The 49ers ranked second-best in the NFL in yards allowed (behind New England) after being 13th a year ago. Perhaps, the best move made on the defensive side was to hire defensive line coach Kris Kocurek to replace Jeff Zgonina.

The 49ers’ pass rush took off this season. The team recorded 48 sacks, tied for fifth in the league, after supplying virtually no threat to the comfort of opposing quarterbacks the past two seasons.

 

Saleh did a good job of tying together all levels of the 49ers’ defense to work together. The unit was coached-up and rarely had glaring breakdowns. As a result, the 49ers were tied for allowing the fewest plays (34) of 20 yards or more this season.

Others to consider: Greg Roman, Baltimore.

Comeback Player of the Year

There were no doubts from the moment he arrived with the 49ers and stepped on the field that Jimmy Garoppolo was the man to lead this team.

And, certainly, after he started 16 games this season, nobody is doubting Jimmy Garoppolo -- aside, perhaps, from those whose main objectives are to stir it up and try to get a reaction from preposterous statements.

Garoppolo tore his left ACL in the third game of 2018. The 49ers brought him along slowly in the offseason. (And he did have that one truly awful five-interception practice.) But the knee was never an issue once the season started.

Garoppolo got better and better and better as the season went on. And Garoppolo remained humble and extremely popular among his teammates.

The 49ers won games early in the season with their defense and running game. Later in the season, Garoppolo was prolific when the team needed him. He ranked third in the NFL with an 8.4-yard average per pass attempt.

Garoppolo had one of the best seasons for a quarterback in 49ers history. His 3,978 passing yards are fourth-most in franchise history, and his 69.1 completion percentage ranks third with an organization that brought the ball-control passing game to the NFL.

Others to consider: QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee; TE Darren Waller, Oakland; WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams; C Travis Frederick, Dallas; RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

The only legitimate question about Nick Bosa at the time the 49ers selected him with the No. 2 overall pick was his durability.

Then, he sustained a hamstring injury that knocked him out of the offseason program. When training camp opened, he sustained a high ankle sprain that sidelined him until the start of the regular season.

But once the real season began, the 49ers have been virtually unable to keep Bosa off the field.

Bosa’s sack numbers remained static late in the season, but he still made significant contributions. His play made offenses change what they want to do in attempts to neutralize him. And he also provided big plays in the running game, such as his fourth-down stop of Marshawn Lynch in the 49ers’ NFC West-clinching win over the Seattle Seahawks.

 

Bosa finished with nine sacks (third in the NFL among rookies behind Josh Allen and Maxx Crosby). His 80 quarterback pressures on the season -- despite facing constant double-teams -- is the most Pro Football Focus has ever counted for a rookie.

Bosa twice was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, and he was the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October.

Others to consider: DE Josh Allen, Jacksonville; DE Maxx Crosby, Oakland; LB Devin Bush, Pittsburgh; S Juan Thornhill, Kansas City.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Although a longshot, 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel deserves a spot at the table in this conversation for the NFL’s best rookie on offense.

Samuel played way more this season than the 49ers had expected or wanted. It was out of necessity as a couple of the wide receivers the 49ers were depending on -- Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin -- became non-factors due to injuries and issues with consistency.

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Samuel made a ton of mistakes along the way. But he caught on. And when he caught the ball, he proved to be extremely difficult to bring down. Samuel ranked fourth among rookies with 802 receiving yards. He led all rookies with 17 receptions of 20 yards or more.

He also led all NFL wide receivers with 159 rushing yards and three touchdowns. And despite admittedly experiencing a lot of nerves during the Week 17 game in Seattle, Samuel came through in a big way with 102 yards receiving and a 30-yard touchdown run.

Others to consider: RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland; QB Kyler Murray, Arizona; QB Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville; WR A.J. Brown, Tennessee; WR Terry McLaurin, Washington.