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Kyle Shanahan says 49ers will run Seattle’s defensive system



Kyle Shanahan joined the Murph and Mac show Friday on KNBR and gave us a relatively newsworthy nugget.

New defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will run the Pete Carroll, Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley Seahawks defensive scheme in San Francisco. Shanahan explained why.

“Playing Seattle over the years and knowing how hard that system is to go against,” Shanahan said. “It’s not necessarily how hard it is, it’s how sound it is. They make you work for everything. It’s always an eight man front. It’s very tough to run the ball against. And they’re very sound in their coverages. You can get some completions and things like that, but they make you work all the way down the field.

“And when someone makes you work all the way down the field, no matter how talented they are, you have to be on as an offense to score points. You can get to the red zone, you can get yards, but in order to get touchdowns, you have to execute. And it’s a defense that makes you execute. And always when they can make you one-dimensional, when you’re playing an eight man front, it’s tougher to run the ball. And if you can make an offense one-dimensional, it makes it a lot tougher.”

Shanahan went on to say the 49ers will be looking for violent defenders who can hit hard and shrink the field. Like Seattle, there will be an emphasis placed on the secondary because they have so much responsibility with all the eight man fronts that will be employed.

And what about this Saleh character? Is he truly an X’s and O’s genius ready to handle scheming up a Seattle type of defense? Shanahan says he has all the faith in his first-time defensive coordinator.

“Knowing Saleh, knowing the type of person he is, getting to know him in Houston when he was a (quality control coach) — Robert Saleh is as smart as anyone I’ve been around,” Shanahan said. “He studies everything. He knows a lot of different systems, but he knows the true Seattle, Atlanta, Jacksonville system inside and out — as much as anybody I’ve been with.

“Went through a hard interview process with him. I wanted to see how far he’s come in the last eight years that we haven’t been together. And it was extremely impressive. I’m very confident in Saleh helping me put together this defensive staff. And he’s going to build a scheme, and we’re going to try and get players to fit that scheme, but we also know, we’re going to adjust to the players we have, too. Regardless of who we have, we’re going to make it work. And I think you guys’ll be real happy with what we put out there.”

Interesting stuff about the defense, which could entirely change who the 49ers want with the No. 2 overall pick — maybe even a safety like Malik Hooker from Ohio State.

We’ll have more articles from Shanahan’s insightful interview throughout the day.