In the matter of the assistant coaches of Kyle Shanahan, head coach, San Francisco 49ers.
This investigation has found that Shanahan’s choices:
1. Were restricted by the lateness of his hire, as other assistant coaches took jobs elsewhere while Shanahan still was coaching the Atlanta Falcons offense during the playoffs.
2. Mostly worked with Shanahan in Atlanta, which is good.
3. Mostly lack experience, which may not be so good.
Brief bios of each assistant follow.
Jon Embree, Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends Coach
From 2011 to 2012, Embree was the head coach at the University of Colorado, where he compiled a record of 4-21. Not a distinguished tenure, but still four more wins than any other coach on Shanahan’s staff, including Shanahan. Embree is the only person who has head-coaching experience on the 49ers.
After getting fired by Colorado in 2012, Embree became the tight ends coach for the Cleveland Browns, then he got fired again after just one season. Then he got hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he coached tight ends from 2014 to 2016.
Embree has eight years of NFL coaching experience – all working with tight ends. Before he came to the NFL, he was an assistant coach at Colorado from 1993 to 2002. In 2003, he became the assistant head coach at UCLA where he worked with Shanahan, a 23-year-old graduate assistant at the time.
Taylor Embree, Offensive Quality Control
This is Jon Embree’s son. Taylor was a starting wide receiver at UCLA from 2008 to 2011 – he caught 137 passes. He was pretty good. After he graduated, he took two years off and then became a graduate assistant with the Bruins in 2014. Then he took another year off in 2015 before becoming a defensive assistant with the Chiefs in 2016. Embree is 28-years old.
Nick Kray, Administrative Assistant to the Head Coach
Kray basically is Shanahan’s secretary. He won’t coach players. He has no experience in the NFL. He comes from North Carolina State where he was the director of football operations the past two years. He held the same position at Yale from 2012 to 2013. He’s 31.
Mike LaFleur, Wide Receivers Coach
He is the younger brother of Matt LaFleur, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach the past two seasons in Atlanta and the new offensive coordinator for the LA Rams.
Matt LaFleur has eight years of NFL experience. Mike LaFleur has three. He was an offensive coaching intern under Shanahan with the Cleveland Browns in 2014, then went with Shanahan to the Falcons in 2015 and became an offensive assistant. He’s 29.
Before LaFleur came to the NFL, he coached wide receivers at Davidson College for one season. Now he’ll coach Torrey Smith, who probably knows more about the wide-receiver position than LaFleur.
T.C. McCartney, Offensive Assistant
McCartney is 27. He was a graduate assistant in 2012 at Colorado under Jon Embree and a quality control coach in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns, where he worked with Shanahan. Those are McCartney’s connections to this staff. He also was an offensive assistant with the 49ers in 2015 under Jim Tomsula.
Mike McDaniel, Run Game Specialist
McDaniel may have the title of “Run Game Specialist,” but he is not the Run Game Specialist. Bobby Turner is. More on him below.