Over the last few decades, the 49ers had some moments of competence — but were hardly viewed as the essence of stability.
So it shows you what you need to know about everything being relative, for 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan to talk about the strength of the organization.
He and General Manager John Lynch gave them reason for doubt by going 10-22 the previous two years, but things have turned now.
“That’s why I’m happy where I’m at— it’s the organization we have,” Shanahan told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “We went through some tough times in our first two years, especially starting 0-9. I think the next year was 1-7. When you start that way, it’s very hard for a place not to splinter. That’s what was so different here in our first two years. Going 0-9 and finishing 6-10 helped finish with some momentum.
“Last year, never once throughout the year did you ever feel like the defense was against the offense or vice versa. Never once did I have an owner crushing me with, ‘Hey, we gotta change this guy.’ I mean, everyone here really just believed in each other. That was really tested with some of the times we went through but I think that was the neatest thing about it. We knew we had the right people around. We just had to get a couple difference-makers and stay healthy.”
That’s a direct shot at his tenure in Washington — and not his first one this season.
Shanahan wouldn’t need to be much of a student of history to see when the 49ers were going down that same road. The Jim Harbaugh-coached teams were successful on the field but came apart at the seams, with plenty of internal strife. That led them to the easy-to-get-along-with Jim Tomsula, which led them to the regrettable Chip Kelly year.
So it’s far from a culture like the Patriots or Steelers — but Shanahan knows from firsthand experience that it can always get worse.