San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was ecstatic that his defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, failed to land the Cleveland Browns coaching job. If that sounds a little harsh, you are probably justified for feeling that way. Shanahan, however, just wanted to be honest on Monday while speaking with reporters and was asked what it was like learning Saleh would remain on his coaching staff for at least another season.

Shanahan used words like "pumped," "fortunate," and "happy" to go along with "excited." The team-minded head coach knows it would have been a good opportunity for Saleh, but also knows what the defensive coordinator means to the 49ers.

"I'm just very happy that we're going to have him going into next [season]," Shanahan said.

Shanahan is also thrilled that he doesn't have to think about potential replacements for Saleh.

"It would've been very hard," Shanahan admitted. "There's definitely guys on our staff who I've got a lot of confidence in and stuff, but it's always in the back of your head. ... I thought we would deal with that when the season ended. Now I'm glad I don't have to deal with it."

One of those assistant coaches who may have been in line to replace Saleh is passing-game coordinator and defensive backs coach Joe Woods, who spent two seasons as the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator from 2017 through 2018.

There is a feeling in the building, according to Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee, that Woods would have been a "prominent internal candidate" to land the defensive coordinator job had the Browns hired Saleh rather than Kevin Stefanski.


As Biderman mentions, it's a moot point now, but it could be Woods, not Saleh, who actually ends up elsewhere during the upcoming offseason. Cleveland sports radio host, Dustin Fox, mentioned Woods as a name to keep an eye on for the Browns' defensive coordinator job (h/t to Patrick Tulini for the find).

Woods and Stefanski worked together in Minnesota from 2006 through 2013.


Meanwhile, Saleh, Woods, and the 49ers are preparing for the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.