Kyle Shanahan on next 49ers QB: 'You don’t want that to just be a short-term fix'

Two weeks ago, Kyle Shanahan was the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator and in charge of the league’s most explosive offense. A storybook season and a nightmarish final chapter thanks to the New England Patriots ’ improbable Super Bowl comeback, but Shanahan parlayed his success in Atlanta into the head coaching gig in San Francisco. And now he’s tasked with breathing life into an otherwise lifeless San Francisco 49ers ’ offense.

For some perspective on the difference between Shanahan’s current and former team, consider this: According to Football Outsiders’ metrics, the Falcons’ offense ranked No. 1 last season while the 49ers were 23rd -- and that includes a 28th-ranked passing game. Put another way: X’s and O’s will only get you so far; a team is only as good as its quarterback.

Which brings us back to Shanahan, who currently has Colin Kaepernick , Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder to choose from.

“When you make a decision on a quarterback, you don’t want that to just be a short-term fix,” Shanahan said, via the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman. “You want to make a commitment to somebody. In order to do that, you better make sure you’re on the same page with everyone else and you put the time in, you talk to people who’ve been with these guys.” 

Shanahan has been studying his options at the position -- both on the roster, on other teams and through the upcoming draft -- and has exchanged texts with Kaepernick but has yet to meet the man who started 11 games for the 49ers last season and finished with 16 touchdowns against four interceptions, but completed just 59 percent of his throws, and ranked 30th among passers in total value, ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick , Brock Osweiler and the two Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks, Case Keenum and Jared Goff (In case you were wondering: Matt Ryan was No. 1).

“In order to feel good about a quarterback, I need to spend a lot of time on them,” Shanahan continued. “It’s not always the first time you watch them. You might come back the next day, see the same stuff and feel a little different. … It’s too important a decision to just make an impulsive move.”

The Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo remains a popular candidate to be traded this offseason, but it’s unclear if New England will trade him, and even if it does, the reported first-round price tag may be too steep for the 49ers, who have the No. 2 pick in the draft. The Washington Redskins Kirk Cousins ’ name has also come up -- Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington early in Cousins’ career -- but again, the price to land Cousins, who will likely be signed to a lucrative long-term deal by the ‘Skins, would be prohibitive.

Meanwhile, in the latest CBSSports.com mock draft, Dane Brugler has the 49ers taking UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky with that second-overall pick while Rob Rang has Alabama Crimson Tide defensive tackle Jonathan Allen going to San Francisco with that pick.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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