A year later, 49ers' Kyle Shanahan settles in as expectations increase
/ 49ers

By Nick WagonerESPN Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The night before the San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their first season under Kyle Shanahan, the first-year head coach stood up in front of his team and took the assembled players and coaches on a short walk down recent memory lane.

Shanahan talked about his team's 0-9 start, the work it took to get that long-awaited first win, against the New York Giants, and the four-game winning streak the 49ers took into the season finale against the Los Angeles Rams. The next day, the Niners would wallop the resting Rams, allowing them to finish the season as the NFL's hottest team and post a 6-10 record.

In a way, the roller-coaster of a season was a logical conclusion to the wild ride that was the first year of the Shanahan era.

"One of the main things that I wanted to find out this year was really who we were," Shanahan said. "Who the coaches were, who the players were. I always say I don’t think you can find out about people until you can see how they handle adversity. To start 0-9, that was a lot of adversity for us, and I think it’s not a coincidence that not many teams have finished after that with more than three wins. That’s adversity, and it usually tears people apart, but we’ve got a bunch of good people in our locker room and they stayed...

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