Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday, December 4, 2020
“We understand the difficulty of these upcoming decisions,” the letter reads (h/t ESPN’s Michael Rothstein). “As passionate and loyal Lions fans, we are asking you to hire Robert Saleh as the head coach of our team. He is the best candidate for the job and measures as such across every metric. A head coach like Robert can bring tremendous energy and heart to the franchise and would help us reach peaks that have seemed unobtainable for so long. We have an exceptional opportunity here and we trust you to make the best decision.
“To turn the corner and become a winning franchise, these next hiring decisions are critical. We hope that you will consider Robert Saleh as the head coach, not only for us, but for everyone across the loyal fanbase of our beloved Detroit Lions.”
Here’s the narrative, more or less:
Football fans are emotional and not smart enough to understand what they’re looking at. So when they see Mike McGlinchey, Colton McKivitiz, Daniel Brunskill, Laken Tomlinson and Trent Williams get beaten repeatedly every week, they overreact like the overemotional fans they are.
Smart, sensible, objective observers understand the 49ers offensive line is much better than it seems, Mike McGlinchey is much better than he gets credit for and this entire unit should come back and stay together next season because it has potential.
If this narrative seems utterly ridiculous to you, that’s because it is utterly ridiculous.
You are smart enough to judge these offensive linemen yourself. Your eyes do not deceive you. The offensive line is the biggest problem the 49ers have. It’s the reason Jimmy Garoppolo is injured, and the reason the offense is inconsistent.
“It was him with a number of other guys,” said Shanahan. “Guys I was hoping were going to come out earlier, but they didn’t and so we looked at guys more that year and next year we had Jimmy (Garoppolo).”
Shanahan could have taken any quarterback that he wanted in the 2017 NFL Draft as the team originally held the No. 2 pick, but it’s possible that he was looking for a late day one or day two target to mold with San Francisco having plenty of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball.
Saleh’s also a coach who’s been through multiple systems — Pete Carroll’s in Seattle, Kyle Shanahan’s in San Francisco, Gus Bradley’s in Jacksonville and Gary Kubiak’s in Houston just within the NFL and a combination of Brian Kelly, Bobby Williams, John L. Smith and Mark Richt in college. That could offer a diversity of viewpoints from him as well, which could be attractive to the Lions.
Without head-coaching experience, it’s an unknown how someone will do in the new role, but Saleh’s resume, and testimony from Sherman would suggest Saleh to be a candidate worth talking to.
Saleh also has ties to multiple potential general manager candidates, including San Francisco vice president of player personnel Adam Peters, Indianapolis assistant general manager Ed Dodds, Seattle vice president of football operations Scott Fitterer and Seattle vice president of player personnel Trent Kirchner.
Surtain has the ideal measurables to fit into the 49ers system with his 6-foot-2, 203-pound frame. He isn’t the kind of player who can run with a speedy wide receivers like Tyreek Hill or Henry Ruggs, but he’s solid in coverage and plays big and physical while making plays on the ball.
Surtain has exactly the kind of attributes in terms of measurables, play style and mental ability to be a perfect understudy to Sherman. Surtain doesn’t have to start right away ideally, and Sherman can use the time to help him develop the finer points of the game at cornerback, as long as Sherman is re-signed (he should be), before the 49ers unleash the 2021 draftee in full.