MIAMI – So what was Kyle Shanahan’s reaction to then-Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski getting the Browns head coaching job one day after the 49ers squashed the Purple’s offense like 11 powerless bugs in that 27-10 divisional rout?
“I was pumped,” the 49ers coach said.
The NFL’s usual rush to hire head coaches in January meant that all jobs disappeared while Shanahan’s defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, stays put for at least another year.
On the day the Vikings announced that Gary Kubiak would replace Stefanski with hopes of ending their Super Bowl drought at 43 years, Shanahan, Saleh and the 49ers were partaking in Super Bowl LIV’s Media Night at Marlins Park.
Two weeks earlier, Saleh’s defense held the Vikings to 147 yards, a postseason record for the 49ers franchise and the fewest by any playoff team in five years.
With that in mind, Saleh was asked if the system works against the hot coordinator whose team makes the deeper playoff run.
“I still think if you look at all these owners and people that have made up this league, they’re the smartest business people in the world in every sense you can imagine,” he said. “And I believe their intent is to hire the best people for the job they feel will run their organization and take it to another level. So, no, I don’t think this hinders you.”
As for thrashing the Vikings, he said, “We felt like we needed to stop the run and stop their screen game on first and second down. We talked about earning the right to rush the passer. All 11 really did a phenomenal job stopping the run, being cognizant of that screen game and giving us a chance to win.”