Kyle Shanahan

Why Shanahan is confident 49ers' hot start won't go to their heads

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Another week, another win.

That's been the storyline of the 49ers' 2023 NFL season thus far, as they remain one of two unbeaten teams in the league.

And after a "Sunday Night Football" blowout 42-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium in what was expected to be a four-quarter dogfight, San Francisco is looking like the real deal. There still is plenty of football to be played, but the 49ers know this team is special and fully capable of getting back to the Super Bowl.

The tricky part, though, is making sure the team stays humble and focused over the course of the long season. Coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't see that being a problem with his group.

“I'm definitely aware of the question and how that could happen. But it's honestly been real easy with our guys," Shanahan told reporters Monday via conference call. "We’ve got a real good team in that way. Just going into that game versus Dallas, how hyped that game was and just the way they carried themselves in our building throughout the week, they weren't making much out of it. It was kind of like any other game and just any other week.

"I think we’ve got a good group of veterans who have been through a lot of stuff, even still guys who were here from our ‘19 year when we started 8-0. I think the guys who have been here and who have gone through stuff, they passed it to the other guys. It's always our message that nothing can be taken for granted and it's just one week at a time. I think everyone preaches that, but I think through our life experiences together and stuff, our guys truly know it. And the guys who haven't been a part of that, they constantly hear it from the guys who have.”

The 49ers have plenty of motivation this season.

After a brutal playoff exit last season during an injury-filled NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, it felt as if San Francisco entered the 2023 season with some unfinished business.

But that sting didn't just linger over from this past January. San Francisco has made three conference championship appearances since the 2019 season, the same year they advanced to Super Bowl LVI and fell to the Kansas City Chiefs.

They've come close to the finish line so many times, and Shanahan knows that is what's fueling his guys this year.

“Yeah, I think every one of those [losses] do [motivate the team] for sure. I mean, players don't always get the chance over their careers to be in those type of situations. We've been in three pretty big situations in the last four years here," Shanahan said. "So a lot of our team has been in one of those three situations and some have been in all of them from the Super Bowl or both of those championship losses. You get that as a coach because you usually are in the league longer, as you get older and stuff. But, you always realize with it, your time in this league on how nothing could be taken for granted. The only time you do learn that stuff is when seasons end and when they end the hard way, like in a Super Bowl or like in two championships.

"And when that happens, you know how hard it is to get there and you know that’s really all that matters. That's why when you go through that stuff, you preach it and you actually truly mean it. When your players can go through that and they feel it along with the coaching staff, yeah that takes a toll and that makes offseasons different. That makes how you attack everything different. I feel it from our players a ton. They've been through a lot. We've added some new guys this year who I think have jumped right in, but I think our guys have been on a mission for a while.”

That mission continues Sunday when the 49ers head back on the road for a Week 6 matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

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