Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Simms: 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo helped show the potential of Kyle Shanahan as a head coach

Jun 16, 2020 at 12:30 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan won just 10 games during his first two seasons with the team. Despite the respect he garnered as a play-caller, there were still some who questioned the coach's ability to take a team to the next level.

Shanahan dispelled that doubt last season, leading his squad to a division title and a trip to the Super Bowl.

While the 49ers didn't emerge as champions, team CEO Jed York was impressed enough to reward Shanahan with a contract extension, keeping him in the Bay Area through 2025.

NBC Sports' Chris Simms, while speaking with Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk Live, discussed the new contract earned by the 49ers coach, and his close friend, joking that he'll never have to pay for dinner again when joining Shanahan.

Simms also noted that Shanahan's added money is well-deserved.

"This is a guy that, as you know, Mike, and you've been around Kyle a little bit, he's very passionate about his job," Simms told Florio. "He lives it. He's been invested in it for a long, long time. He's brought a new energy to the 49ers organization.

"Even when they went 6-10 and 4-12 the first two years, it was a quarterback issue. I think everybody still saw that this offense is good. How many close games did they lose, and things like that, because of the lack of that quarterback?

"But they got Jimmy Garoppolo, and a full season of being healthy and everything like that, and I think it truly showed you the potential of Shanahan as the head coach, what his offense could be all about. We don't even think Jimmy Garoppolo is hitting on all cylinders yet."

Garoppolo completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions during his first full NFL season as a starter. Only two 49ers quarterbacks have passed for more yards in franchise history. Steve Young did it twice, and the record belongs to Jeff Garcia, who threw for 4,278 yards in 2000.

Simms admits that his friendship with Shanahan creates some level of bias, but notes that the coach is one of the smartest individuals he's been around when it comes to football knowledge.

"I think this is the start of an era in San Francisco," Simms added. "I think you found a coach to be a guy that can be the face of your franchise for the next 10, 20 years. That's the kind of talent and mind I think Kyle Shanahan has."

Added Simms: "Kyle is cutting edge in all aspects, bringing new ways to train to the football team, and new ways to study. He's cutting edge that way. He's like a Belichick, and he's never afraid to learn more football."

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