Kyle Shanahan needs to be held accountable!
If you have been on social media in recent years, there is a very good chance you have seen this trope more times than you can count.
You may be asking yourself, ‘what are we holding him accountable for?’ That’s a great question, especially when you consider the 49ers have been one of the best teams in the NFL over the last four seasons.
San Francisco has won 63.6 percent of its regular season games since the start of 2019. This puts the 49ers fifth in the NFL and second to only Green Bay in the NFC. In addition, they have reached the Super Bowl and consecutive NFC Championship Games over this period.
Let’s be real for a minute if we can. For those calling to “hold Kyle Shanahan accountable” it isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about not liking the quarterback he’s been winning with, and the belief Shanahan mishandled Trey Lance.
Apart from five weeks at the end of the 2017 season, Jimmy Garoppolo was a constant lightning rod of negativity.
When Garoppolo was healthy the 49ers found success, going 38-17 in his 55 regular season starts. He also helped them reach the Super Bowl and conference championship game. The problem for San Francisco is he couldn’t stay on the field. Injuries limited Garoppolo to just nine games in 2018 and 2020.
Enter Brock Purdy.
The final pick of the 2022 draft stepped in when Garoppolo went down against Miami in week 13 and didn’t lose until an injury in the NFC championship game left him unable to throw.
Despite Purdy’s terrific performance, his detractors spent the offseason picking it apart. Every positive turned into a negative. He doesn’t have enough arm strength. He can’t get bigger. He was playing with Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle.
This was all about doing one thing, putting down Purdy to lift Lance.
Those who argue Lance was mishandled by Shanahan most often point to two things, he should have started as a rookie, and they gave up on him after just four starts.
Kyle Shanahan gave Lance every opportunity to win the starting job during training camp his rookie year. He couldn’t beat out Jimmy Garoppolo. Still, Shanahan tried to get Lance onto the field. First there was an attempt to play both, but veterans and Garoppolo pushed back, and it was scrapped.
The door opened again for Lance to take over the job after Garoppolo went down with an injury in week four against Seattle. A knee injury in his first start put Lance on the shelf and forced the 49ers to rush Garoppolo back to face Indianapolis two weeks later.
Lance getting just four starts has everything to do with injuries. The 49ers were ready to ride with Lance for 2022. If he had not gone down for the season with an ankle injury the plan was for him to get 17 starts. Those would have been on top of starts missed during his rookie season due to injury.
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are set to move forward with Brock Purdy as their starting quarterback. They believe he has what it takes to lead them to their first Super Bowl.
On Friday they pulled the plug on Trey Lance’s time in San Francisco, sending him to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2024 pick.
Was the trade up to three in 2021 a mistake? Absolutely. It is the worst draft trade in 49ers history.
The NFL is about wins and losses, not draft picks. While Shanahan missed on the pick, he is still winning which is packing Levi’s Stadium and lining Jed York’s pockets. If things don’t work out with Purdy and the 49ers fail to win, you can bet Shanahan will be held accountable by York.
Until then, enjoy all the winning.