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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan knows 49ers haven’t played their best yet, grateful for roster continuity

Sep 14, 2023 at 3:55 PM--

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On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers looked dominant in their 30-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. They seemed to be playing at a championship level on both sides of the football. Things weren't perfect, though. Head coach Kyle Shanahan pointed out the imperfections on Monday, showing his players that there is always room for improvement.

The NFL season is long, and you can't assess anything from a single game. The 49ers don't have time to pat themselves on the back because things can change in an instant.

"We're still not close to that (playing our best football) yet," head coach Kyle Shanahan told Adam Copeland and Dieter Kurtenbach Thursday on KNBR. "I mean, I know the score, and everything was great, but we still need to play more together this year, and I expect us to get better as we go.

"And it's cool having guys on your team who've been through it before because they believe me in that. They know what I mean. They know when it's as good as they can be, and they know when they're not there yet."

Shanahan is appreciative of the continuity the 49ers enjoyed this offseason. While they lost some players in free agency, the coach believes the team's core was retained. The roster was even improved in some areas.

"We did add some free agents on defense, but even going into the draft, this was the first year going into the draft that we didn't feel like we needed to draft a starter," Shanahan said. "We felt like we had our starters at all the positions, and the only spot we felt we needed to draft a starter was a starting kicker. So we thought we were able to go in there and add depth and competition.

"And just to feel that way in the draft was something a little unusual. Sometimes, we're going into it like, 'Hey, we got to find this position wherever we can because we got a little bit of a hole here,' and we didn't. So we added some depth, and our guys have been playing together for a little bit, especially on offense. It made it smoother going through OTAs, smoother going through training camp."

Next up are the rival Los Angeles Rams. Both teams won in Week 1, and Sunday's winner will take an early lead in the NFC West. Los Angeles is coming off a 30-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

"[Rams defensive coordinator] Raheem Morris is as good of a coach as there is in this league," Shanahan shared. "They run a great scheme. He gets guys to play very hard for him. And they got a bunch of young, hungry guys who are playing extremely fast, very hard, that are coached well.

"They're playing in a really good scheme, and they got a generational talent out there [in DT Aaron Donald], which kind of makes it very similar to what it's always been. ... The young guys that they do have can still play. And that's what Seattle saw.

"Seattle's got some really good players, and they've got a good scheme. You saw what they did last year. But if you're off and going against a team like that, especially that's coached that well and especially that's got a player like Aaron, they can make you look very bad very fast."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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