The San Francisco 49ers announced that the team has hired former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to become the 20th head coach in franchise history.
“It is truly an honor to be named head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the marquee franchises in all of sports,” said new 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. “As a young man, I had the unique benefit of being exposed to the storied history of the San Francisco 49ers firsthand. From that exposure, I developed great respect for those who created a world-class, championship standard. As this team begins the task of reestablishing that standard, I could not ask for a better partner than [General Manager] John Lynch. He is a man who certainly has personal knowledge of what championship organizations look like. John and I look forward to establishing a strong culture that will serve as our foundation for constructing this team."
Shanahan, the son of veteran coach Mike Shanahan, has 13 seasons of coaching experience at the NFL level, including the past nine as an offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16), Cleveland Browns (2014), Washington Redskins (2010-13), and Houston Texans (2008-09). In six of his nine seasons as an offensive coordinator (2008-09, 2012-13 and 2015-16), Shanahan has guided an offense that ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in yards gained.
“I am very excited to dedicate myself to the process that lies ahead," said Shanahan. "The first step in that process is identifying talented individuals who love the game of football as much as John and I do – coaches, players and staff. We are looking for individuals who work hard and are dedicated to doing things the right way, always in the best interest of the team. Most importantly, we want to give our fans a team they can be proud of on and off the field.”
Following the 2016 season, Shanahan was named Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year, Coordinator of the Year by The Sporting News, and Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America after a record-setting performance by the Falcons offense en route to capturing the NFC South division title and an appearance in Super Bowl LI.
“The San Francisco 49ers are very fortunate to be able to bring in a coach of the caliber of Kyle Shanahan,” said new 49ers General Manager John Lynch. “As an offensive mind, I think he stands alone in the National Football League, as evidenced by the explosive and record-setting offense in Atlanta. Though he grew up around coaching, what has most impressed me about Kyle is that he’s become his own man in the profession. Our philosophies on football and our visions for leading the 49ers back to being a championship team align in every way. I am thrilled to have Kyle Shanahan on board.”
Under Shanahan, the 2016 Falcons set franchise records in yards per game (415.8), points scored (540), net passing yards per game (295.3) and average yards per play (6.7).
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who was named Associated Press Most Valuable Player, Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player/Offensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America, and FedEx Air Player of the Year, threw for a single-season franchise record and career-high 4,944 passing yards and 38 touchdowns, ranking second in the NFL in both categories. He led the NFL with a passer rating of 117.1 on the season and threw a career-low seven interceptions.
Wide receiver Julio Jones recorded 83 receptions for 1,409 yards (17.0 average) and six touchdowns in 14 games played. His 1,409 receiving yards were the second-most in the NFL this past season. Both Jones and Ryan earned Associated Press First-Team All-Pro and 2017 Pro Bowl honors.
On the ground, Atlanta averaged 120.5 rushing yards per game and tallied 20 rushing touchdowns in 2016. Running back Devonta Freeman registered 227 carries for a career-high 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns, on his way to earning his second-consecutive Pro Bowl appearance.
In Shanahan’s first year in Atlanta, the Falcons offense ranked seventh in the NFL, averaging 374.1 yards per game, ranked sixth with a 273.7 passing yards per game average and led the league in time of possession (32:19) in 2015. Julio Jones led the NFL with a career-high 1,871 receiving yards, while notching a career-high 136 receptions to share the League high with the Steelers Antonio Brown. Jones’ receiving yards marked the second-highest total in a single season in NFL history, behind wideout Calvin Johnson’s 1,964-yard performance in 2012.
In other NFL news . . .
NFL 2017 Draft order determined
With the Super Bowl in the books, the 2017 NFL Draft first round order is now complete. The first round will start on Thursday, April 27, in Philadelphia with the second and third rounds on Friday, April 28, followed by rounds four through seven on Saturday, April 29. See below for the first round order of selection:
2017 FIRST ROUND DRAFT ORDER
1. Cleveland Browns
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Chicago Bears
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
5. Los Angeles Rams (traded to Tennessee)
6. New York Jets
7. Los Angeles Chargers
8. Carolina Panthers
9. Cincinnati Bengals
10. Buffalo Bills
11. New Orleans Saints
12. Philadelphia Eagles (traded to Cleveland)
13. Arizona Cardinals
14. Indianapolis Colts ^
15. Minnesota Vikings (traded to Philadelphia)
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Washington Redskins
18. Tennessee Titans
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Denver Broncos
21. Detroit Lions
22. Miami Dolphins
23 New York Giants
24. Oakland Raiders
25. Houston Texans
26. Seattle Seahawks
27. Kansas City Chiefs
28. Dallas Cowboys
29. Green Bay Packers
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
31. Atlanta Falcons
32. New England Patriots
^ The 14th and 15th selections will be decided by coin flip
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services