The Falcons got so close to keeping Kyle Shanahan back in 2017. It is not clear if he could even come back after how the Super Bowl ended, but in retrospect, Dan Quinn had no backup plan to replace Shanahan. Shanahan was passed over by the Denver Broncos and was out on other teams.
The one team left was, of course, the San Francisco 49ers. Under three years later, a lot has changed. Shanahan has one of the best team’s in the league and Dan Quinn is only a few games from getting fired. In a way, everything has been terrible for the Falcons since halftime of the Super Bowl.
Now the Falcons, long out of the playoff race, limp to San Francisco for an almost guaranteed blowout. We talked to Kyle Posey of Niners Nation about Sunday’s matchup.
1) in 2017, the San Francisco 49ers signed Kyle Shanahan away from the Falcons. My question is: How dare you? Do you have any idea what you have done? To both the Falcons and the city of Atlanta?
It had to be done. We gave you your chance, and you didn’t appreciate Kyle. It was time for him to move on to greener pastures and more handsome quarterbacks. Will Atlanta ever recover? Well, we know what history says. I’m not looking forward to the day where I have to watch an offense that isn’t called by Shanahan. He’s a genius. I’m not sure anyone is close to him. So thank you. I’ll be sending a holiday card in the mail.
2) I’d threaten that the Falcons will steal Robert Saleh from the 49ers, but team owner Arthur Blank keeps hiring defensive coordinators and our defense has been awful. Since firing Dan Reeves in 2003, the Falcons have only had a few games with Bobby Petrino as the only offensive-minded coach. Saying that, can Saleh be the real deal as a head coach?
He can. Like Quinn, Saleh is relatable to the players and he gets you to buy-in. He’s a smart guy, but he’s very personable. This year he surrounded himself with a tremendous staff and we’ve seen the 49ers defense takeoff because of it. I think the biggest issues you see with first-time head coaches is game management and all the things that go into being a coach outside of the X’s and O’s. There’s no way for us to know how Saleh will handle that, but he’ll have you prepared.
3) Our mentions light up about once a month when Tevin Coleman has a good game. Whether under Shanahan or not, Coleman’s success in Atlanta depended entirely on matchups, making him a useful but fully inconsistent weapon. How are things in his first year in San Francisco?
He’s been okay. Coleman has been overshadowed by a guy who was a punt gunner heading into this season. There are always plays where Tevin will break a long run here and there, but he remains largely inconsistent. For me, he misses way too many holes and doesn’t do anything better than the other two main running backs on the team. Scratch that. He’s very good in pass protection.
4) Shanahan has a history of being a little... vengeful. When the offense fell apart in 2015, he received a lot of criticism for pushing Roddy White way down on the depth chart. Against the Matt Hasselbeck-led Indianapolis Colts, Shanahan started the game with three straight passes to White. Many saw that as a wasted drive to quiet criticism. The Falcons lost that game. Do you think Shanahan has this marked as some sort of a revenge game?
100% and there is no doubt he’s vengeful. Washington got lucky earlier this season because it was a monsoon and Shanahan couldn’t run up the score. Kyle coached for Cleveland and the 49ers won by 28. With people still talking about the Super Bowl loss, there is no doubt in my mind he’ll look to run up the score and get Coleman over 100.
5) How is it going to feel to replace Saleh with Dan Quinn this offseason?
This is where Atlanta messed up to begin with. You never hire someone to run your team with a goatee. It’s science. You deserve everything you are getting right now.