The San Francisco 49ers made history this season when they hired Katie Sowers to serve as a full-time assistant coach.
Sowers became the second woman in league history to hold a full-time coaching position, and the first openly gay coach in the NFL.
Sowers works with the 49ers’ wide receivers, and was likely caught off guard this week when Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton responded to a female reporter’s question and said he finds it “funny” that a woman would talk about routes.
On Friday morning, 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan joined The Murph & Mac Show on KNBR and said that his team is accustomed to hearing a woman talk about routes.
“Honestly, I didn’t even think about that, but you’re right, we definitely have a woman that talks about routes all the time,” Shanahan said. “I think our players definitely listen to her so it definitely caught me off when I saw Cam’s comments. I read them, I never saw them when he said it, but I heard he apologized last night which I think was definitely needed but that’s definitely something we don’t look at it that way around here.”
Through the first four games of the season, the 49ers’ wide receivers have struggled to connect with quarterback Brian Hoyer, and on Friday morning, Shanahan said it’s up to the rest of the offense to put Hoyer in a better position to succeed.
“To make things easier on a quarterback, you’ve got to play on a very high level around him,” Shanahan said. “You try to get the run game going, you try to get some completions to where you get the ball in guys’ hands and allow them to make plays. The more you can do that, the easier you can make it for him and usually it breeds a little bit more confidence and it takes some pressure off the guy. You don’t want a guy to feel like he has to play perfect.”
At 0-4 the 49ers head into Indianapolis this weekend looking for the first victory of the Shanahan era. After an 18-15 overtime loss in Arizona last week, Shanahan said the team is eager to find the win column, and he said San Francisco needs to start making plays down the stretch that will help the team overcome some of the miscues they’ve made thus far.
“There’s certain plays in a game that can finish a game and especially in that Arizona game, we had some opportunities in that first half to get some points and when you come up short and whatever it is where you get down in the red zone and you get a penalty and it gets you into some longer distances or you drop a ball, you miss a pass, you only get so many of those opportunities in a game,” Shanahan said. “Even when you drop an interception or something like that, those plays are usually the difference between winning and losing.”
To listen to Shanahan’s full comments, click the link below. To hear Shanahan describe his reaction to Newton’s comments, skip ahead to the 11:04 mark.