By HCR Staff | Aug. 6, 2018
With a five-game winning streak to end the 2017 season, Shanahan announced his arrival as a rising star among head coaches.
Shanahan’s offensive acumen is among the best in the league. He obviously benefited from being around his esteemed father, Mike Shanahan, but he also has benefited from a lot of reps — he’s been an offensive coordinator for a long time. On top of having a natural feel for the game, he has the experience to pair with his natural talent.
Shanahan made a few critical game management errors early last season; his 0-9 start was avoidable. But as a rookie head coach, that is understandable. It just goes to show that every first-time head coach has some learning to do when your butt is actually in the seat — it doesn’t matter how much experience you’ve had as a coordinator.
But Shanahan learns quickly, and by season’s end, his game management improved and his record improved along with it.
Shanahan’s strengths go beyond mere play-calling. We like his breezy communication style, and we also especially like that he is even-keeled emotionally. That combination of traits suits him well, and is effective from a leadership standpoint with the contemporary football player.
Shanahan showed another important trait — the ability to maximize whatever talent he had on his roster. The 49ers were not a talented or veteran bunch last year. But by year’s end, undrafted back Matt Breida, late-round pick WR Trent Taylor, raw rookie corner Ahkello Witherspoon and others all contributed to the winning streak.
Along with Sean McVay, Shanahan gives the NFC West a coaching rivalry that will be attractive to follow. HCR is bullish on both of these coaches.