Shana­han glad to be with 49ers in­stead of dad’s Bron­cos team

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Sports - BY JOSH DUBOW

When Kyle Shana­han was up for a head coach­ing job in the NFL two off­sea­sons ago, he had one of his in­ter­views in a very fa­mil­iar place.

Shana­han met with Den­ver gen­eral man­ager John El­way for about four hours to in­ter­view for a job his dad, Mike, held for 14 sea­sons, help­ing El­way and the Bron­cos win a pair of Su­per Bowl ti­tles.

El­way ended up giv­ing the job to Vance Joseph in 2017 and Shana­han got hired by the San Fran­cisco 49ers in­stead in what he be­lieves is a bet­ter spot to make his im­print.

“I’d like to say I made the de­ci­sion pretty hard on them. I’d like to think that,” Shana­han said. “I didn’t think I had much chance be­fore. I def­i­nitely am happy where I am, and I think it’s def­i­nitely a bet­ter sit­u­a­tion not be­ing there with my dad. Also, that’s my wife’s home. That’s my home. I en­joy go­ing back there to visit, but I like liv­ing where I’m at.”

Shana­han now gets the chance to coach against the fran­chise he spent so much time around as a kid when the 49ers (2-10) host the Bron­cos (6-6) on Sun­day.

Shana­han has plenty of mem­o­ries from his time in Den­ver, es­pe­cially be­ing the “cord boy” in Den­ver’s 1998 Su­per Bowl win over Green Bay when he held the cords for his fa­ther on the side­line.

“Af­ter that Green Bay Su­per Bowl, they went wire­less the next year,” Shana­han said. “I think they only won one more be­cause they didn’t have as good of a cord-holder, is what I al­ways tell my dad.”

Here are some other things to watch:

Un­drafted gems: Two of the three un­drafted quar­ter­backs to start a game in the NFL this

sea­son will square off on Sun­day.

Den­ver’s Case Keenum en­tered the league as an un­drafted free agent in Hous­ton in 2012 and emerged as a top-flight starter last year in Min­nesota. He signed with the Bron­cos this year and has the team in po­si­tion for a play­off run.

San Fran­cisco’s Nick Mul­lens en­tered the league last year as an un­drafted free agent and was fi­nally pro­moted from the prac­tice squad in Septem­ber af­ter Jimmy Garop­polo went down with a sea­son-end­ing knee in­jury in Week 3. Mul­lens has started four games and has the fifth-most yards pass­ing since the merger in his first four ca­reer games with 1,147. Un­drafted gems, part 2: Both teams will also fea­ture un­drafted start­ing run­ning backs as well. Den­ver’s Phillip Lind­say has 1,126 yards from scrim­mage this sea­son, join­ing Do­minic Rhodes (1,328), Clark Gaines (1,124) and LeGar­rette Blount (1,021) as the only un­drafted rook­ies to reach 1,000 yards from scrim­mage.

San Fran­cisco’s Jeff Wil­son gets his first start in place of an­other un­drafted gem, Matt Breida, who is out with an an­kle in­jury.

In­jury bug: The Bron­cos got a tough break this week when lead­ing re­ceiver Em­manuel San­ders went down with a torn left Achilles ten­don in prac­tice on Wed­nes­day. San­ders led the team with 71 catches for 868 yards and four touch­downs in a bounce-back year. Search­ing for take­aways: The 49ers are clos­ing in on a record for in­ep­ti­tude when it comes to caus­ing turnovers. Their five take­aways through 12 games are the fewest ever at this point in the sea­son, low­er­ing the pre­vi­ous mark of seven by Jack­sonville in 2016.

San Fran­cisco needs six take­aways in the fi­nal four games to avoid set­ting the mark of 11 for fewest ever in a non-strike sea­son, last done by Chicago in 2016.

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