On Super Bowl Sunday, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be focusing on beating the New England Patriots. As early as Monday, he could be starting the process of filling holes for his next team.
Barring a dramatic development, Shanahan will be named head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Among the candidates for his defensive coordinator job could be Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores, per Fox’s Jay Glazer. One other known candidate for the defensive coordinator position is Los Angeles Chargers linebacker coach Robert Saleh, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Rapoport also reported that another member of the Patriots — this one a quarterback — could also be on Shanahan’s wish list.
#49ers starting QB could be in the building today. If Kyle Shanahan doesn't get Kirk Cousins, his targets: Jimmy Garoppolo, then Matt Schaub
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 5, 2017
There could be a lot of reasons for this. Certainly the 49ers need a quarterback, or as Rapoport’s report suggests, possibly two (or more). Garoppolo was said to be a favorite of Shanahan’s when he was the Cleveland Browns’ coordinator — but the Browns went a different direction that year with Johnny Manziel at QB. Ouch.
We asked Shanahan this week about Garoppolo and what Shanahan saw when Garoppolo was coming out of Eastern Illinois. Shanahan kept his comments positive but also somewhat guarded.
“He was a very good thrower. Very tough. [He] would hang in the pocket,” Shanahan told Shutdown Corner on Wednesday. “He played in a different system, that Baylor [type of] system where they got rid of the ball fast. But he had good attributes. I can see why New England took him.”
When asked what Shanahan most sought in a quarterback, attributes-wise, he said: “There are so many different ways to be successful, but for the most part you want guys who are pure throwers. There are not many of them on the planet. They’re hard to find. But you want those guys who can do that and guys who are fearless. It’s very tough to succeed in this league if you’re not a natural thrower, and you can’t think about that pass rush at all.”
If the 49ers can’t avoid over-drafting a QB who might not be ready, it would prevent Shanahan from maybe having Schaub in as a starter and more in that veteran backup role. If the 49ers can swing a deal for Garoppolo, Schaub likely would be a good resource for him to learn Shanahan’s offensive system, which features more rollouts and bootlegs and varies from what the Patriots run.
Shanahan has a lot on his plate Sunday. But he has quite a tall order after that also, once he becomes the 49ers’ head coach. Who they peg to fill out their coaching staff and which QBs they target in the offseason certainly will be fascinating.
More Super Bowl coverage on Yahoo Sports:
• Patriots’ owner hopes President Trump can get his Super Bowl ring back from Putin
• Super Bowl commercials: Grading the best and worst
• There’s not good reason why Tom Brady is the player everyone loves to hate
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