Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Notebook: Aaron Banks ‘ready to go’; Javon Kinlaw looking good; What Brian Griese brings; Shanahan on overtime rules

Mar 29, 2022 at 9:07 AM--

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan answered a number of questions from reporters during his media session at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday, with many of those questions pertaining to the continually evolving situation at quarterback with Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. But there were other notable topics addressed on Tuesday, some of which we'll discuss in this edition of 49ers Notebook.

Shanahan spoke about the progress of guard Aaron Banks and defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw on Tuesday while also offering his thoughts on the NFL's overtime rules and explaining why he felt it was a good idea to add Brian Griese as the team's quarterbacks coach. Here's a recap.

Banks is the guy

After playing very sporadically as a rookie last season, 2021 second-round draft pick Aaron Banks figures to be a familiar face on the offensive line for the 49ers this season and beyond.

Banks is expected to start at guard for the 49ers this season, possibly taking over the left guard spot after longtime starter Laken Tomlinson signed with the New York Jets in free agency. Outside observers have wondered about if Banks is ready to fill the role after playing just five offensive snaps last season, but Shanahan revealed that Banks is not only ready but came close to taking over a spot at one point as a rookie.

"If you had asked me halfway through (the season) if he was going to be playing, I would have said, 'Yes.' And things just started clicking for our team and we didn't want to mess it up," Shanahan said, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "But he's ready to go."

Shanahan also gave an indication that second-year lineman Jaylon Moore was a strong candidate for the other guard spot, according to the Chronicle. Moore, a fifth-round pick in 2021, saw a larger amount of snaps on offense (145) than Banks did as a rookie but was primarily getting looks at tackle.

Kinlaw impresses

The 49ers could certainly use a leap forward from defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw this season. Fortunately it sounds like he's right on track to making that happen.

Kinlaw missed much of the 2021 season after undergoing knee surgery. He's been working out at team facilities lately and has caught the attention of Shanahan, who says Kinlaw appears to be as healthy as he's been since the team selected him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

"I see him every day working outside my window," Shanahan said, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN. "This is the healthiest I've seen him since he's been here. And I really think he fixed some of the things that were the issues. And I'm as excited for him as anyone."

Shanahan's positive words about Kinlaw come on the heels of the defensive tackle saying in a recent interview that he was "feeling amazing." It's all good news for Kinlaw and for the 49ers, who need the third-year player to step up after losing D.J. Jones in free agency.

Shanahan will roll with whatever overtime changes come his way

There have been a number of parties around the NFL that for some time have wanted to make a change to the league's overtime rules, but with the rules playing a controversial role in the 2021 playoffs, there currently seems to be more momentum towards a change than ever.

It's an issue to keep an eye on in the coming days after an overtime result in the AFC Divisional Playoffs saw the Buffalo Bills lose to the Kansas City Chiefs when the Chiefs ended the game with a touchdown on their first possession of the extra session after winning the coin toss. Perhaps there will be enough support from owners in the days ahead to make a change that ensures both teams get a possession in overtime, but Shanahan doesn't seem to be too passionate about either side of the debate.

"I think everyone wants a change I think," Shanahan said. "I don't mind too much. I don't have a preference either way. I don't mind how it is, to tell you the truth. I didn't mind when they changed it. I liked how it used to be also. So I've never had too big of an issue with it."

Per NFL Research/NFL.com, teams that have won the overtime coin toss in the postseason have gone on to win 10 of 11 games. But the margin is much lower overall, with coin toss winners coming out on top 52.8 percent of the time. The 49ers won the coin toss in their most recent overtime game—Week 18's 27-24 win over the Rams in Los Angeles—but they had to come up with a stop on defense after managing just a field goal on their opening possession.

"I've definitely lost games where we haven't gotten the ball, but we've also been able to hold people to a field goal and come back and win on a touchdown the next time," Shanahan said. "So I really don't have a strong opinion on which way it goes. What everyone else decides, just tell us the rules and we'll figure it out when we get to overtime."

Why Brian Griese?

The 49ers made a curious coaching addition this offseason with the hiring of Brian Griese, who was brought in as the team's new quarterbacks coach. It's the first-ever coaching gig for Griese, who previously worked as an on-air analyst for over a decade.

It'll be an important role for Griese, who will be moving from Monday Night Football to helping the 49ers develop 2021 first-round draft pick, Trey Lance. Shanahan explained what he likes about the addition of Griese, saying it'll add an experience factor the 49ers didn't previously have with himself and passing game coordinator Bobby Slowik.

"We thought it was neat to bring in somebody who could bring something a little bit different," Shanahan said. "We kind of have a partnership in there where we all can offer a little bit different stuff. I love that Trey has someone that has been through the battle. I can tell him about it and what I've seen with guys but someone who's actually had to go through the ups and downs and have pressures of having a good game, then throwing a pick that loses the next game, how to deal with the media, how to deal with the NFL season. I think it's hard to find a player always that's done it at such a high level that's willing to go through that commitment and stuff. Brian seems all on board. We've had him here for a month and he's been great."

Griese played a decade of NFL football, including two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Shanahan was working as an offensive quality control coach. Griese clearly left a lasting impression with Shanahan over those two seasons.

"I keep not getting how these TV announcers want to come coach or GM," Shanahan said. "They seem like they've got a pretty good gig. But he has a huge passion for football. I was able to work with Griese for two years in Tampa. I personally think he was the smartest football player I've ever been around. The way that he prepared, how organized he was, he's as detailed of a guy as I've ever been around."

Group photo

It's always a fun moment every single year to see the group photo of NFL coaches that comes out of the annual owner's meetings, which are being held at The Breakers Palm Beach luxury resort in Florida. Here's a look at one of the photos from this year, as posted by Colts owner Jim Irsay.

To say there's a Shanahan presence in that photo would be an understatement. Kyle Shanahan stands out in the middle of the photo in his pink polo shirt, with former 49ers defensive coordinator and current New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh at his side. Also in the photo are Shanahan's friends and former staff mates Matt LaFleur and Sean McVay, while former 49ers offensive coordinator and new Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is over in the right-hand corner. Chances are current 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans joins that group at some point in the future.

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