Kyle Shanahan has yet to take the field as an NFL head coach, yet he’s already drawing comparisons to one of the greatest of all time. Tony Romo, speaking in his press conference for the American Century golf tournament, said Shanahan has a “special ability” offensively that compares to none other than Bill Belichick on the defensive side of the ball.
Another Tony Romo nugget: said new 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has special ability. Compared him to Belichick on defense.
— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonNFL) July 12, 2017
That Shanahan has a knack for driving offenses is an undeniable fact.
In his first stint as an offensive coordinator, with the Houston Texans during the 2008-09 seasons, Shanahan orchestrated the No. 3 and No. 4-ranked offense in the NFL.
Then when he moved on to Washington from 2010-13, he showed off his prowess once again. With an end-of-the-road Donavan McNabb in 2010, Washington wasn’t that great, finishing No. 18 in the league. With career journeyman Rex Grossman in 2011, Washington was middle of the road, finishing No. 16 in the league.
One can hardly fault Shanahan for not being able to orchestrate top-level offenses with those guys. Once he got Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins the next year, things quickly turned around. The Redskins featured the No. 5-ranked offense in 2012 when RG3 took over. Then in Shanahan’s final season with Washington, despite complications with Griffin III’s health, the team featured the league’s No. 9-ranked offense.
With the awful Cleveland Browns in 2014, he helped Brian Hoyer (his current quarterback in San Francisco) become a starter for the first time, though the results were mediocre.
Finally, he ended up in Atlanta, where he transformed the Falcons into an NFL powerhouse that almost beat the mighty Belichick and the Patriots last year in the Super Bowl.
Clearly, Shanahan has some coaching chops. Whether he can translate those abilities into a career that even remotely resembles the one Belichick has put together is another story. We can’t wait to find out what happens next, though it’s worth pointing out San Francisco is quite the rebuilding project. So he has his work cut out.
Maybe a reunion with Cousins could help spur things along. And based on what we’ve been hearing, that’s a distinct possibility.