Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Young credits great coaching, Deebo Samuel for 49ers’ turnaround, believes team can win it all

Jan 21, 2022 at 11:06 AM--

Things didn't look so hot for the San Francisco 49ers in October. The team was coming off a four-game losing streak, and their lofty postseason hopes looked more like wishful thinking. Then the season turned around. The Niners went on a run, and in the final week of the regular season, clinched a playoff berth.

That run, paired with the upset win against the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys in the opening round of the playoffs, has given the 49ers a lot of confidence. The team believes it can beat anyone. However, the next task isn't an easy one. San Francisco will have to knock off the Green Bay Packers this weekend at Lambeau Field if it hopes to reach the NFC Championship Game for the second time in three seasons.

Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young wouldn't put it past them. Like many, he was critical of the locker room earlier in the season but acknowledges that things have changed. Young joined KNBR on Friday morning and discussed that turnaround.

"Earlier in the year, the 49ers locker room was in—I'm not going to say disarray—just undefined," Young said on the Murph & Mac show.

Young feels the ups and downs and adversity of the season helped strengthen the locker room and remind San Francisco of its identity—a physical and gritty team that can't be overlooked.

"The 49ers have done something very unusual," Young said. "In one season, [they] have developed into an elite locker room. That doesn't usually happen. ... They craved it, and they found it. And I think Deebo [Samuel] had a lot to do with it. I think Deebo was the guy that I felt created that space, and then the team rallied."

That makes the Niners a tough playoff opponent. But is it enough to make them a Super Bowl contender?

"The only reason I say that they can—because they have weaknesses, there's no question—but they are going to be a very, very tough out because of the way that they're playing right now," Young responded. "And you can see the—I don't want to say genius because we reserve that for Bill Walsh—but when it comes to coaching, was it more stark in your life than last week's game against the Dallas Cowboys, to see a great coaching effort (Kyle Shanahan) and a terrible coaching effort (Mike McCarthy)? The difference in that game, in many ways, was the coaching effort. ... I'm telling you, we are supremely coached.

"So, with those things in place, and being a tough out, now, short of foibles that come every once in a while, turnovers, goofball stuff, I think we're going to be in every [game]. I don't care if it's this week, next week; we're going to be in every game. Who do we see that we're now afraid of? Nobody."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Young below.

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