Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers are off to a rough start for the second year in a row. They’re 3-5 through their first eight games of the season, firmly out of the NFC West picture due to the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams surging ahead.
Unfortunately for San Fran, their luck doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
The 49ers placed RT Mike McGlinchey on IR
The 49ers have already dealt with their fair share of injuries this season. The NFL injury bug has clearly not taken a liking to them as of late. However, it’s only getting worse moving forward. Starting right tackle Mike McGlinchey tore his quadriceps during the team’s Week 9 loss.
The 49ers placed McGlinchey on injured reserve and expect him to miss the remainder of the 2021 season.
Veteran Tom Compton and rookie Jaylon Moore are candidates to start at RT moving forward. However, neither of them will be able to replicate McGlinchey’s success on the right side of the line. He’s been a mainstay on the 49ers’ offensive line since being drafted in 2018 (No. 39 overall). Replacing him won’t be an easy task.
Pressure shifts back toward struggling HC Kyle Shanahan
While McGlinchey’s injury is the latest example of the 49ers dealing with some terrible luck, the crux of their problems the past two seasons circles back toward the team’s leadership. Head coach Kyle Shanahan hasn’t looked the same since he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2019, and it shows on Sundays.
Known for his playbook wizardry and elite offensive mind, Shanahan has primarily looked like a shell of his former self this season. The 49ers rank 21st in total offense and 17th in expected points contributed by the offense — below average in both regards.
Sure, Shanahan and the 49ers have dealt with more injuries than most. However, the whole point of having an elite head coach is the expectation they can overcome obstacles and hurdles.
To make matters even worse, Shanahan still can’t come to a conclusion on the quarterback position. The franchise sold their souls to trade up and acquire rookie QB Trey Lance during the 2021 NFL Draft. Yet, Jimmy Garoppolo appears primed to remain Shanahan’s QB1 for the remainder of the season.
The whole vibe surrounding the once-dominant 49ers is bizarre, and the recent injury to McGlinchey only further adds to the confusion and chaos.
Are the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan nearing a divorce?
As the losses continue piling up in San Francisco, more and more attention is being shifted toward Shanahan’s job status. Should the 49ers finish below .500 this season, it’ll mark the fourth time they’ve done so in five years under Shanahan’s watch.
Super Bowl appearance aside for the moment, that’s enough to cost most coaches their job.
It’s plausible that 49ers’ ownership wants to give Shanahan one more year to sort things out, especially with Lance the presumptive starting QB in 2022. However, a messy finish to the season following McGlinchey’s season-ending injury could quickly accelerate Shanahan’s expiration date.
It’s certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.