Kyle Shanahan's Presser

The world could end on Sunday. Ok.

Jim Rome
April 27, 2021 - 9:14 am
Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo

USA Today

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Ever since the 49ers made their move to get the third pick in the draft, the question has been: what do the 49ers have planned for Thursday night? I mean, we know they’re taking a quarterback: you don’t give up what they gave up, and not to take one. We just don’t know which one. And while you can’t assume anything this time of year, you can assume it won’t’ be Trevor Lawrence, because we know he’s going first overall to Jacksonville. And it almost certainly you can assume it won’t be Zach Wilson, who most believe will go second to the Jets. But it’s anyone’s guess who the Niners grab next at no. 3.  I don’t know who it will be, but seeing the guy who’s making that call, Kyle Shanahan, yesterday: I am little concerned. Because my man, son of the lobster, got all dark with it: really dark:

Whoa! Coach, I know you and pops are clairvoyant as bleep, but is there something you two know that the rest of don’t? Because I’m pretty sure that was just a question about what the team was going to do with Jimmy G and not about how much longer we all have on this planet. We’re trying to talk to you about your qb-1 and you rambling on about the impermanence of man.

We think we’re showing up for a pre-draft press conference and instead, an existential crisis breaks out. Run that back again.

 Damn... That got dark in a hurry.

Coach, how do you feel about your running game this season? 

If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.

Coach, when you look at the possible quarterbacks available to you with the third pick, how do you compare them?

I am become Death, destroyer of worlds. 

Coach, is Mac Jones the guy for you?

Life has no inherent meaning and therefore, all humans have no purpose. 

Coach, what do you think about the team picking up the fifth-year option on Mike McGlinchey?

To live is to suffer. To survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. 

And the thing is, Shanahan’s not wrong. There is no guarantee that any of us will be here on Sunday. It’s horrifying and true, and the challenge of being human is recognizing how fragile we all are, but not being paralyzed by that fear.

But I’m pretty sure that when that press conference was announced, everyone was expecting a conversation about the team’s plans for the third pick, not a discussion of life, death, and man’s inhumanity to man.

But there was some other interesting stuff. Like the fact that Shanahan explained why they made the move. 

“We decided we needed a starting quarterback. So we traded two 1s to get a starting quarterback. Hopefully, we end up picking the best one. But I know we’re going to get a starting quarterback with that. That’s a smart move to me. Not necessarily a smart move, but that’s the move you have to do and how much it costs to do these type of things. You just sit there and wait and keep your fingers crossed and hope things work out. And that’s something we didn’t want to do this year.”

So that tells you two things – he doesn’t think Jimmy G is his starting quarterback anymore. Despite the team’s best efforts since trading for the third pick to make it sound like they’d be happy keeping James G for a while and that he is their starter, Shanahan pretty much came right out and confirmed that he doesn’t think that Jimmy G is their starter.

And that leads to the natural question about whether they plan to trade Jimmy during the draft and that leads to the inevitable answer about life and death. 

If you were hoping that press conference would provide answers about the 49ers plans with the third pick, aside from the one about the potential end of the world on Saturday, you were begging. Sort of. 

Because Shanahan said that they made the move with a player in mind and “That one has gotten better since and so have all the other candidates. Do we know exactly who we want? Maybe. Probably. But maybe not. I don’t feel like we need to say that.”

There isn’t much reason for the 49ers to tell anyone what they’re doing and why. But if you’re reading between the lines, it sure seems like its Mac Jones. 

For example, there was the report from NFL Network that the Niners have eliminated the Justin Fields from consideration and down to Jones and Trey Lance. 

And then you have Shanahan’s known appreciation for pocket passers. 

And then you have him bringing up Drew Brees out of nowhere when he was asked about the league valuing mobility now more than ever. “I don’t care when Drew Brees comes out, whether it’s 30 years from now, 30 years ago or today, Drew’s going to be pretty good.”

And there was this line from Shanahan: “If you had been excited about one of these guys at (pick No.) 12, then you should be excited at 3.”

That seems to be a Jones reference as well, because there’s the suggestion that Niners fans aren’t fired up about trading for Jones when they believe they could’ve gotten him with the 12thpick they originally had.

So while there seemed to be hints that it’s Jones, it might not really be. It could be more smoke. Generally speaking, if I hear anything consistently this time of year, I just assume the opposite is true: if there’s information floating around out there, it’s because someone put it out there; and they did it for a reason. So the more I hear Mac Jones is a lock at no. 3, the more I think he might not be. Then again, picking there, there is no reason for there to be any smokescreen; we know who the first two picks are going to be, and they’ll have their choice of the remaining qb; so there’s no need for any smoke. Then, again, who the hell knows? Is he being straight or is he playing tricks? Or is he playing tricks by being straight? Is this a bluff, a double-bluff, a triple-bluff?!? Who the hell knows?

Either way, I love the move. I love a coach and an organization digging in and taking an enormous swing, because that’s what this is. They’re all in; if they’re right, they’re geniuses; if they’re wrong, it’s going to set the franchise back and effect careers and possibly legacies: its brass as hell. I couldn’t’ respect it any more than I do.

I love when a team says that very good is not good enough. I totally respect that. I respect the hell out of it. Some organizations just want to hang around, sell tickets, move merch, and hope to get lucky.

The 49ers are looking to make something happen. They aren’t dining out on an NFC championship trophy that they won last year. And they aren’t telling stories about how close they came to winning it all.

And Kyle Shanahan is staking a lot on this. He’s saying we need to get better and I’m going to put my name, my reputation, and my career on it. And I love that. This dude is a competitor. And he is tough as hell. You could see that in his team last year when they kept battling despite an avalanche of injuries. 

He wants to win, all the time. And you can’t say that about everyone in the league. 

Shanahan and the 49ers are looking to make something happen. And I dig it. Then again, none of this might matter, because you know, the world could end on Sunday.