Kyle Shanahan takes a building-block approach to 49ers rebuild

The reboot of the 49ers officially began days after the last game of last season. Rebuilding something worthwhile from the wreckage is going to take time.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan knows he has a long leash to take care of that process. That’s why he’s implementing his complicated offense slowly, from the foundation up.

Through six days of training camp in Santa Clara, the Niners have been slow to work on end-of-game drills and last-second field goals.

“I don’t want to come out and start jumping into the red zone and things right away,” Shanahan explained. “I want to make sure we can get to the red zone first, and if we can get to the red zone, then I want to focus on being good in the red zone. It’s just a process.”

Get used to it, 49ers fans. It’s going to be a “process is more important than results” season in Santa Clara. And after a couple seasons without either, fans can afford to be patient with the knowledge that better days are ahead.

Shanahan is taking a methodical approach to teaching the system, ensuring his players know exactly what he expects from them.  

“He goes back and actually makes sure that we understand it in football terms, not necessarily just on paper,” receiver Jeremy Kerley said. “That’s one thing I really respect and like about Kyle.”

Shanahan’s approach is on full display when he explains why he won’t let his quarterbacks wear wristbands.

“Why don’t I?” the first-year head coach scoffed. “I think you’d have to ask other people why they have their quarterbacks use wrist bands.”

No cheat sheets allowed in Shanahan’s world — especially not after he was forced to make an exception for Johnny Manziel when he was an assistant for the Cleveland Browns.

Diversifying WR corps

The 49ers on Thursday cut wide receiver Bruce Ellington, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2014.

Ellington was on the injured reserve last season and suffered a hamstring strain to prevent him from playing in spring practices.

Shanahan said the decision was to add more variety to a receiving corps that didn’t need any more small pass-catchers.

“I thought we were a little front-loaded with some more inside receivers, the slot-type position. We had a little bit of a back-up there, we’re trying to get some other guys who can play a little bit more on the outside.”

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

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