There’s a saying among lawyers: When the facts are on your side, hammer out the facts. When the law is on your side, get rid of the law. When neither of them is on your side, hit the table. Kyle Shanahan has become excellent at hitting the table over the past year or so with 49ers. He has repeatedly contradicted himself about the decisions he made and the injury timelines. Anytime he faces a difficult question or tries to hold him accountable for his past situations, he attacks the wording of the question rather than the substance of the question. He did both yesterday.
First, here’s Kyle about a Tre Lance knee injury:
“Tree has had a major injury and we will continue to face him and continue to prepare him as best we can to be always ready to come in and help with the plays that we ask of him.”
However, when Kyle first explained what was wrong with Tre Lance on October 11, he said this:
“It’s not a long-term injury…We should have a good idea by the end of next week, whether he has a chance for Andy or not. If he doesn’t, they told me it should be like one to two weeks, but maybe only one week.”
So what is Kyle? Is it a 1-2 week injury or is it “too big?” These two things are not close to being the same. There are no major injuries that only take a week or two to heal. They, in fact, would not be “big injuries” if they healed quickly. More and more, Shanahan seems to be saying whatever he needs to say in order to justify his current position and keep follow-up questions to a minimum.
Then, at the end of the conference call, the following exchange took place:
Jimmy lost three games in a row, why are you so confident that he gives you the best chance of winning now?
“Our team has lost four games in a row. I don’t look at football like bowlers. This is a team sport. So when you run out of wins and losses for one person, I don’t think that’s fair to anyone and I don’t think that’s accurate when you’re dealing with football. It means that A lot of our guys have lost four games in a row if you look at it that way.”
Smart Kyle. He knows exactly what question was asked, but rather than the answer; Uses a tried and true strategy. First, he intentionally attacked the wording of the question so you don’t have to actually answer the gist of the question, which is why Jimmy Garoppolo gives him the best chance of winning. In this case, use the opening phrase as a shield.
In fact, it’s a smart strategy for anyone who doesn’t want to answer questions. I doubt that many other coaches in the league will be able to succeed. But the truth is that the question is legitimate. Shanahan has said repeatedly that he will start playing in the middle that gives the team the best chance of winning. It’s fair to wonder how a quarterback who’s been 7-7 in his last 14 games (including the playoffs) with 16 total TDs and 15 total turnovers still gives the team a better chance of winning than the third overall pick in the draft.
Fortunately for Cale, he made sure not to answer the question.
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