5 facts about Mike Shanahan

Former Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan seems like the favorite to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Would you approve of this hire? Why or why not?

Here are five facts about Shanahan to help you make up your mind:

1. His teams have ranked top 10 in total offense 17 times.
2. His teams have ranked top 10 in rushing yards 19 times.
3. His teams have scored just 21.2 points per game since 2006.
4. His teams have won just 6.9 games per season since 2006.
5. His playoff record is 1-5 since John Elway retired.

This article has 105 Comments

    1. Shanny would be a pretty good short-term
      acquisition for Jedster ..bringing the Niners
      back to the Bill Walsh Offense … but, I wonder,
      about the assistant coaches he could bring in,
      as well ..

  1. Any particular reason you’ve decided 2006 is the starting point of your analysis? Let’s put some perspective on this shall we?

    During the six seasons you have singled out his QB’s were: Cutler at the start of his career, a washed up Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and RGIII. Those two seasons with Cutler produced the 11th overall offense and the 2nd overall offense. The defense in those two years was rated 19th and 29th.

    In Washington his offenses were ranked:


    While the defense was ranked:


    What this tells us is that Shanahan has the same question marks Payton had while we were supposedly looking at acquiring him: Great offense, bad defense. The Niners need a shot in the arm on offense while the defense is in decent shape. Shanahan would be a great hire for this team at this time.

      1. He didn’t even Coach for 4 of those years. You picked that timeline because it fit the narrative you wanted to portray. You also glossed over some pretty important stuff which is why I included it for you.

        1. 10 years is a round number, not coaching 4 of those years is part of his story and I didn’t portray a narrative. I included positive and negative facts.

          1. Grant,

            You wanted to isolate some numbers that portrayed a negative image. If you want to go back 10 years then include 10 seasons he actually Coached. You picked out his last 6 years – 4 of which he had some pretty crappy QB’s. Even then, the Skins ranked 4th overall in points scored RGIII’s rookie season.

            If you are going to make damning statements then put them in proper context is all I’m saying.

            1. It’s fair to look at what a coach has done the past 10 years. Not coaching is a big part of what Shanahan has done. The rest hasn’t been that impressive, other than 2012.

            2. Rocket,
              What else is new? I’ve learned to ignore Grant’s occasional nonsense because his argument always devolves to a ‘because I said so’ ending if he is incorrect. To me, Shanahan is very similar to Sean Payton. Everybody was so excited to have Payton, who has had three losing seasons in his last four years, while having a first ballot HOF QB. He also has played a pivotal role in the personnel decisions and contracts that have destroyed the Saints salary cap. What would he accomplish without Brees at the helm? Good coaches seem to look great when they have a HOF QB. I’d put Shanahan up there with those guys. You don’t win back to back SB’s by mistake. If he gets his QB I believe that he can be very successful.

              1. BigP,

                I just made the same point about Payton down below. I should have looked up here first because you said it better. There is also the fact Shanahan has nearly an identical record to Coughlin and yet some were on board with him and not Shanahan. I don’t understand how people can be disappointed over the possible hiring of one of the best offensive minds of our time when the offense was complete garbage last year, but that tends to be the way it goes around here sometimes.

                One thing great Coaches all have in common: a great QB.

          1. I’ll admit, Chip Kelly would likely be on my own “coaches to avoid” list, but not because he can’t rtun a dynamic offense. Perhaps, if Kelly understands his role, and has only limited imput into personnel decisions, he could be a good choice.

            However, I can’t really think of a reason Mike Shanahan wouldn’t be a “homerun” as the 49ers next HC. IT seems like a match made in heaven. According to reports, Joe Montana and Steve Young, are both lobbying for Shanahan. He has strong ties to the organization. He is on his way to the NFL’s coaching HOF if he has success with one more team. And, he’s known to be fantastic with working with QB’s.

            Sure, things didn’t end well in Washington, but I put the bulk of the blame on RG3, and Daniel Snyder. There are a lot of factors involved, and based on Mike’s incredible success prior to landing in Washington, we’d be crazy not to give him the benefit of doubt!

            1. Something else that is very important that you touch on here 49reasons, and that is the link to the past all time greats that would be brought back with Shanahan as HC. The franchise has lost it’s link to greatness in part because Young, Montana, Rice, Lott etc. are never around anymore because there has been no connection with this FO or Coaching staff. Having great players drop by the facility and talk to current players is a big deal and Shanny could bring that back.

    1. He has a history of developing QB’s and getting the most out of some pretty average players like Brian Griese, Bubby Brister, Jake Plummer. Steve Young credits Shanahan for his development from a pretty good QB to a great one. Shanahan has gotten a bad rep for the RGIII situation, but he had RGIII playing some great football his rookie year and well enough in his second to put up a top ten offense. There isn’t a better developer of QB’s available than Shanahan.

      1. The first 3 guys you listed aren’t really names that I would put on a QB developing resume. None of them were ever really considered anything better then just, ok while playing and all of them were erratically inconsistent throughout their careers.

      2. Pummers career QB rating; 74.6. Look at his career QB ratings per season: 68.8, 90.2, 84.5, 91.2, 65.7, 79.6, 66.0, 50.8, 75.0, 73.1.

        The guy had 3 decent years that still really weren’t anything special and that is the best you can say about Jake Plummer.

        Griese is slightly better with a career QB rating of 82.7. Again a look at this seasonal ratings show a QB that is all over the place. Not a starting caliber QB until late in his career and then only for the short term.

        Brister; 72.3. Again highy erratic and wasn’t a starter until the last few years in his career.

        Rocket none of those guys are names you should be pointing to in an attempt to make Shanahan sound like he’s a credible developer of QB’s.

        1. CFC,

          They aren’t great names; that’s the point. He got results out of great QB’s and also got results out of not so great QB’s. That means he has a system that works and is QB friendly.

            1. Which QB’s did he develop into great QB’s? You said there is no better developer of QB’s available yet other then Steve Young/Elway who were probably going to be great with or without Shanny none of the QB’s he’s worked with have ever been considered better then average.

              1. Both Elway and Young said Shanahan was a big part of their development. He made average talents like Griese and Plummer produce in his offense. He had Cutler playing some good football by his second year and RGIII playing like a future Pro Bowler in his first. He gets the most out of what he has.

              2. Tom Clements? Maybe, but Mike McCarthy took the play calling back away from him during the latter part of this season.

              3. Clements? Seriously? He is almost the same age as Shanahan and has never been a HC. He also didn’t call plays until this year and then lost the job.

          1. What results? Two of the guys you mentioned weren’t even starters for the first 2/3’s of their careers. What results did any team ever get from Plummer?

            1. He had top ten offenses in both yards and points scored for 5 straight years with Griese and then Plummer at QB. He had the #2 offense in the league with Cutler in his second year. #5 overall with RGIII in his first year. He gets results. He’s not perfect, nobody is, but he is a great offensive mind and the best available candidate to fix this offense imo. I like Koetter, but he’s likely going to be the HC in TB.

              1. Good research Rocket.

                It’s got to be Shanahan. It should have been Shanny last season! It just feels right, doesn’t it?

        2. He also went to the playoffs with Gus Frerotte and Jake Plummer. It’s all about finding the right fit. Great QB’s are the ultimate band aid for coaches. I see a guy who went to the playoffs with RG3, Plummer and Frerotte in Shanahan. I see a guy who has missed the playoffs three out of the last four years with a HOF QB at the helm in Sean Payton. Shanahan has done more with less than many highly respected HC’s. That’s a good litmus test for coaching proficiency, in my opinion.

      3. rocket,
        As much as I would be ok with Shanahan, the situation at Washington regarding his use of RGIII in a playoff game with an obvious knee injury still gnaws at me.

        My take on that was that Shanahan was more intent on winning at the risk of causing further injury to his QB.

        1. AES,

          We’ll have to agree to disagree. RGIII wanted to play, it was a playoff game and the story going in was that he was not at risk to further injury by playing. When he couldn’t play anymore he didn’t and the injury didn’t stop him from returning the next season.

          1. rocket,
            Every player wants to play in a playoff game even if it means playing through an injury.
            As HC, Shanahan should have overruled RGIII’ desire to play so as to not risk further injury.

            Shanahan had to be thinking that bringing a playoff game with possible SB overtones back to Washington was going to put more feathers on his proverbial cap.
            Just can’t get around the fact that as HC he should have made a call not to jeopardize a long term injury to his player.

            Yes, we will agree to disagree on this one my friend.

  2. Oh and as far as his playoff record goes, it’s very important to include the fact they lost to Manning and the Colts a few times with Jake Plummer leading the way.

  3. I hated the idea of Kelley but besides Coughlin he is the best option. Shanahan will not produce much better results that Tomasula,maybe 8 wins thats not going to get it done. There is enough talent on this team and with free agency and the draft we could get back to the playoffs. I’d rather draft Colin Kaepernicks replacement now and see what Chip could do with Kaepernick and a rookie.

      1. It’s just my gut opinion,I stated earlier this week that I don’t know all the x’s and o’s of coaching but Kelley besides last year has produced more recently in the new NFL and without having a good QB.

        1. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion Michael. Kelly has a lot of flaws, but he did put up some great offensive numbers his first 2 years. I just don’t see him lasting as a Pro Coach. He is better off in College where he can just run his system with new young talent every couple of years imo.

    1. What is wrong with you. Kap can not play. And he is not worth the $. To much risk. We can get by better with what we got. It bugs me that kap can not be fixed. Shan is known for good pick. We need him to come home. He is one of us. And he needs two years.

      1. Kaepernicks 2 worse years were with the turmoil of Harbaugh the year before and he had Tomasula with a bunch of rejects as his coach last year. See what Chip can do with him is my opinion.

  4. Has anyone noticed the irony of finally interviewing a candidate they put on hold. What if this was the plan all along. To really go get a super bowl winning coach who knows how to win. Remember Bill Parcels did say he didn’t really care for the hot coridanotors out there. And if Trent was really taking his advice, he would listen to Parcels. Remember this is a job saving hire. And why hire an unproven commodity win u can stake your job on winning experience. Just a thought

    1. That’s not really irony but it does fall in line with similar thoughts I had on Kelly, that the team hired their coach verbally many weeks ago but wanted to continue gathering information by conducting further interviews.

      However Shanhan is not part of the Parcels tree. I doubt that Bill is trying to convince Trent that Mike is the right guy.

  5. the choice is so obvious………. look jackson payton even coughlan are now all gone. who can handle the qb situation ( young elway etc.. ring a bell ? rg3 best year) who is respected int eh nfl to get real assistants , like kerr did for the warriors? ( tomsula nada, jackson 124 tweets mostly looking to be on his staff) who won super bowls? ( holmgren and shanhan) who has the backing of ronnie lott, steve young and brent jones? WHO BRINGS US BACK TO WCO? ( been in playoffs every year since walsh, coughlan fired and replaced by macadoo) The biggest problem is the Yorks version of joe them. Gms (i.e… baalke) don’t like head coaches who are smarter then they are. ( per vermeil) somehow if eddie really was in charge i think baalke would be standing with nolan sing and tomsula right now, unemployed.

  6. I wanted the 49ers to keep Mike on as the OC until Seifert retired but they let the Broncos have him. Not my first choice or my second but as long as there’s no nepotism by hiring his son as the OC, I’m fine with him taking the job. I’d be very curious to know who he can bring aboard to fill out his staff….

    1. It’s not like the 49ers didn’t try to keep Shanahan. DeBartolo and Policy had a plan to give him a raise and guarantee him the head coaching job by ’97. But as Shanhan noted at the time, it wasn’t worth it if Seifert didn’t support the deal. Plus, the 49ers were keeping with the spirit of Bill Walsh’s philosophy: allow your assistants to interview for and take higher positions with other teams. It makes your team an attractive destination for players and coaches because they know you will have their career interests in mind. Walsh did not want to do what Paul Brown had done to him in Cincinnati.

  7. Shanahan is perfect at this point in time. His roots to Walsh will please most Bay Area fans and in the last few days Brent Jones, Joe Montana and Steve Young have all voiced support of him. He’ll hire a good DC and we have plenty of talent on that side of the ball. With almost $50 M below the salary cap and plenty of draft picks available, Mike will have this team right back in the playoffs. He may consider his son, Kyle as OC. Not sure on that one, however.

    1. I like watching his offense. Not so sure on the DC part. He went through multiple DCs in Denver: Greg Robinson, Ray Rhodes, Larry Coyer, Jim Bates, Bob Slowik. In Washington, he went the opposite route and stuck with Jim Haslett, and the defense wasn’t that good.

  8. Shanahan has pedigree for sure but he has not done much in the last couple of years and not done much without Elway. Grant is right to point this out. Will he do much here? Someone pointed out that coaches who have won SBs elsewhere have never duplicated it on another team. Doubt that S. will break the trend. He seems like a safe pick for the front office.

  9. Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter 15m15 minutes ago
    49ers expected to choose between Chip Kelly and Mike Shanahan for their next HC, per league sources. Decision likely within next 24 hours.

  10. You also have to consider who his quarterbacks were over this time period, He had RGIII, Rex Grossman, Jake Plummer, Brian Griese, Bubby Brister, Jay Cutler, although a few decent choices, there was hardly anyone transcendent!

  11. What’s Belichicks record without Brady? Walsh’s without Montana? Everybody was on board for trading for Payton and yet he’s had losing seasons w-3 out of the last 4 years. There is no reason to be down on the hiring of one of the best offensive minds in the past 3 decades.

    1. If we were talking OC then sure there is no reason to be down but for head coach there are plenty of reasons.

      1. Coughlin was your preferred choice I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, and he and Shanahan have a nearly identical record as HC’s in this league.

        What it comes down to for me is who is the best candidate the SF 49ers can actually hire? Not somebody who is unavailable, has another job or just isnt’ interested. Of the HC’s we can actually bring in who want this job, Shanahan is the best choice imo.

      2. Yes, as soon as Coughlin as fired I was on board with him. My dream scenario was that Reese and Coughlin would be delivered to us on a golden cloud from angels on high but alas.

        I’m making the arguments but my firm belief from the very beginning is that it’s all totally moot until they remove Baalke. Whomever they hire will be replaced in a season or two anyway by the new G.M.

    2. If Belichick was to leave the Pats and go coach another team and fail miserably there then even I would make the statement that maybe Belichick was only as good as Brady made him look. However Beli’s short stint in Cleveland was immediately followed by the huge success he’s had in NE, hard to make a direct comparison between him and Shanny.

      1. The point is he has Brady in NE and he didn’t in Cleveland. In Cleveland he is fired and nobody is talking about him as a great HC. He goes to NE starts out slowly with Bledsoe and then Brady comes in and everything changes. I’m not saying Belichick is not a great Coach, he is, but so is Shanahan and trying to judge him on how good his record is with average QB’s completely glosses over how brilliant his offenses were and how he won when he had even a decent QB and a half ass defense.

    3. Not everybody was on board for Payton. I would have taken him over most of the other choices but not all of them and I would have been pissed if we traded away picks for him.

    1. I couldn’t either.

      But I only had one word…”Shanahan”

      I don’t think he’ll last long because I think he and Baalke are going to butt heads in a major way, but he’ll be better with the players on the field than Kelly.

      Ask yourself this question – how many NFL players have endorsed Chip Kelly as an outstanding leader who helped shape their carreers and how many have endorsed Shanahan? It’s really a no-brainer if this is the choice to make.

  12. Shanahan has been my 1st choice from the beginning. This team needs an experienced adult. There is way too much talk about quarter back development and records. The quality of the players is always the biggest factor in success. Can the man coach? It been proven time and again that he can. You have to compare him to the competition. I think hiring him is a no brainier.

  13. Who would he hire as his OC? His son? Could they bring over Sean McVay and give him OC/Asst Head Coach duties? Would he keep Mangini?

      1. No kiddin’… Grimey ..

        With Shanny.. Baalke would certainly lose
        some of his power over personnel decisions ..

        and that .. would be a good thing ..

      1. Shanahan was far less wrong than Kelly.

        We only have a few good players left – I predict another round of early retirements.

  14. This sounds like a departure from the “win the middle” Parcel’s model McCloughan/Baalke has been implementing. It will be an interesting ride.

    This time I’m hoping Baalke exerts control and influence. A team can do worse than hiring a losing coach. Nolan and Singletary were losing coaches, but they left their respective rosters (a little) better than it was the day they were made HC.

    But worse than a losing team… is a losing team packed with proprietary players that don’t do nearly as well in most other systems.

    I’ll withhold judgement till the season moves along. Kelly’s a genuine offensive innovator, which is what so many have pined for. This is going to be fun!

    1. “The Eagles team was significantly worse talent wise when Kelly left (a month ago) than the day he got here (three years ago)…” – Cosell on KNBR two minutes ago.

      Overall, he was complimentary of Kelly, but that’s my one concern. As bad as the talent may seem at the end of the season, its well above the “worse than expansion” team Walsh inherited.

      If Kelly doesn’t work out, he could leave the 49ers with a roster even worse than it is now.

  15. If Chip Kelly knows better, he better get rid of the loser CK and keep Blaine Gabbert as the starter. Blaine is more intelligent QB than CK,. The 49ers should use the their 1st round #7 choice with a QB and with all the draft picks that the 49ers has, they should build the offensive line in draft for OL help and add some young talent in the defense as well..

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