Fresh off the news that garbage person but smart football mind Josh McDaniels backed out on a deal with the Indianapolis Colts, ESPN’s Adam Schefter passed along the info that Kyle Shanahan considered bailing on the San Francisco 49ers. As it turns out, the Atlanta Falcons made a strong push to keep the guy with an almost perfect season calling plays for the team’s offense.
”Last year, I don’t know if people realize this, but Atlanta made a last-ditch effort at keeping Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta and preventing him from leaving to the 49ers — and he thought about it. What if he had decided at that point in time, ‘I’m not going to leave Atlanta?’ And I’m telling you, there was a day there where it was really tempting to stay in Atlanta and not take the 49ers job. There was a day, there was a time where that was possible.
“But in the end, ultimately, Kyle did what he felt was best for him and the credit goes to the 49ers for presenting it in such a way that they made it as attractive as it could be for him. And he felt as comfortable as it could be.
”But that was a situation where he almost stayed in Atlanta last year. There was some thought given to that at that time. And in the end, he didn’t do it because in the end, whether it’s Kyle Shanahan or Josh McDaniels or Dave McGinnis, who walked out on the Bears in 1990 (1999) before they hired Dick Jauron — whoever it is, ultimately your responsibility comes down to you and your family and you must do what’s best for you and your family. Kyle decided it was best to move. Josh decided it was best to not move.”
I’ve been a pretty big critic of Shanahan since the Falcons offense bottomed out and never rebounded in 2015. I confirmed I was correct in week one of 2016, admitted I was wrong by midseason, then jumped back on the anti-Shanahan bus after the Super Bowl.
It was quite a roller coaster ride.
The news that Shanahan considered returning to Atlanta leaves me wondering what could have been. Both of Atlanta’s seasons with Shanahan ended in offensive failures on both sides of the spectrum. Could Shanahan be like Darrell Bevell, a smart offensive mind that struggles at times with personnel and play calling? At the same time, Atlanta allowed multiple assistant offensive coaches to leave and hired an unprepared Steve Sarkisian. There was too much turnover and too many coaches on a learning curve in a short offseason to repeat what we saw in 2016.
Could Shanahan have done more with this offense in 2017? Undoubtedly.
It is a little unclear how close Shanahan was to sticking it out in Flowery Branch, but it is a little disappointing the team couldn’t do what the Patriots did this week. I’m still not sure how many more collapses and almost wins I can watch.