San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has consistently coached one of the best units in the NFL and the league is taking notice. After the Lions fired Matt Patricia, Saleh emerged as one of the early favorites to be Detroit’s next head coach.
The good news for Saleh is he appears to be a no-brain hire for the Lions given his Detroit roots. This could present a challenge for the Niners who may be looking for a new defensive coordinator heading into the 2021 season. NFL insider Peter Shrager reported on Fox NFL Sunday that Saleh is generating a lot of early buzz for the Lions job.
“Everyone is talking about the new offensive mastermind that’s going to come into Detroit and be their next head coach,” Schrager noted, via 49ersWebZone.com. “Let me bring up another name that’s getting a lot of heat in circles around Detroit. That’s Robert Saleh, who is the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. Saleh has some real roots in the state of Michigan. He was born and raised in Dearborn, two miles from the facility. …He grew up idolizing Barry Sanders, played at Northern Michigan University, went to Michigan State for a master’s degree. Also coached at Michigan State, and his family is all still there.”
Sherman Is Pushing for Saleh to be the Next Lions Head Coach
After the 49ers’ upset win over the Rams, Richard Sherman used the opportunity as a teaching point for why Saleh should be an NFL head coach. Sherman pointed to the number of injuries on the Niners defense as just one of the many weekly obstacles Saleh has overcome to be among the best in the business.
“You’ve got to give Robert Saleh an abundance of credit,” Sherman noted after the win, via 49ersWebZone.com. “You have to give him an unusual amount of credit, and I don’t think he’s getting enough credit, not only here but in the league in general. It’s week after week and he never makes an excuse. And statistically, we’re still a top-five defense in almost every category. …I expect him to be a head coach next year because of what he’s able to do. He’s able to rally men. He’s a leader of men, and that goes a long way.”
Sherman does not have any say in the Lions’ hiring process, but it shows just how respected Saleh is by players. The 49ers star corner is not alone as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport expects the Lions to take a serious look at Saleh.
“A Michigan native who began his coaching career at Michigan St. I imagine he’ll be considered by the Lions,” Rapoport tweeted.
Shanahan on Saleh: ‘It’s a Matter of Time’ Before He Becomes a Head Coach
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has been vocal in his support for Saleh. Shanahan admitted it is only a matter of time before the team loses Saleh for a head coaching opportunity.
“I’m always concerned,” Shanahan said after the team’s win over the Rams, per Yahoo Sports. “You never want to lose Saleh. I never want to lose any of our coaches, to tell you the truth. I thought he deserved one last year, so, whether this game happened or not, it’s a matter of time before he becomes one. I keep telling him, ‘Don’t get mad at me,’ because I know he’s going to be one eventually. I hope he stays here as long as possible. He needs to be in no rush. So hopefully people don’t figure it out, and he stays here for a little bit.”
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