The 49ers raised a few eyebrows when they announced Brian Griese as their new quarterback coach.
Griese had worked as a broadcaster since joining ESPN in 2009 and has never been a coach at any level.
Let’s look at the case for this move making sense.
Griese is a football lifer. His father Bob was a Hall of Fame quarterback, leading the Miami Dolphins to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the early 1970s.
He knows the 49ers system. Griese played for Kyle Shanahan’s father Mike and sat behind John Elway during his rookie season with the Denver Broncos. He took over as the starter in 1999. Kyle Shanahan and Griese also crossed paths in Tampa Bay from 2004-2005, where Shanahan began his NFL coaching career as an offensive quality control assistant.
During his 11-year career, Griese played in 93 games for Denver, Miami, Tampa Bay, and Chicago. He was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2000 season.
In the NFL, the role of a quarterback’s coach is different than at lower levels. They don’t have the time on task available to focus on mechanics. Instead, quarterbacks focus on those areas throughout the offseason with personal coaches.
For example, Trey Lance spent most of 2020 working on his mechanics with Quincy Avery and Sean McEvoy. Following OTA practices last season Lance spent time in Southern California working with John Beck.
Once training camp and the season begins, it’s all about diving into the playbook and scheme.
This is where Griese’s experience comes in.
During an interview with KNBR in early February, Steve Young was asked who the 49ers should put around Lance.
“I’m a big fan of putting someone around you who can push you,” replied Young. “So, I’m not looking to not do that. But more than anything, he needs someone older who can tell him ‘this matters’ or ‘this doesn’t matter.’ … Teach him how to study. How to memorize. How to be reflective recall. So that everything that comes out of him is reflective, and he doesn’t have to think about it.”
“Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s dad, it was driven into you … the data. We need an older guy that can show him in the meeting room and then watch the film every week and go, ‘Trey this does not work,’ or, ‘This is what we need to build on.’ He needs somebody to go tell him all of this stuff, because he’s going to need it.”
Based on the type of person Young described, Griese is a perfect fit in San Francisco.