Robert Saleh Shares His '10 Lessons of Coaching' and Sustaining Defensive Success in 2020

Last week, members of the 49ers front office and coaching staff participated in the third annual Quarterback Coaching Summit organized by the NFL in partnership with the Black College Football Hall of Fame. The two-day event, held virtually this year, aimed to build coaching and personnel development pipelines and strengthen diversity across the league.

Twenty-two teams participated in the summit that featured sessions, panel discussions and networking opportunities led by NFL owners, current and former NFL coaches and college football coaches. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and 49ers vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew joined more than 30 coaches and presenters to discuss varying topics including building a coaching staff, creating a winning culture and other best practices for career advancement.

Saleh held a presentation on his "10 Lessons of Coaching" to help minority coaches to climb the professional ladder. His list was highlighted on the NFL's social accounts:

  1. Ignore the noise, trust your process.
  2. Do what you love and love what you do with enthusiasm and passion.
  3. This profession (coaching) is hard! Dominate the things you have control over.
  4. Ready vs. prepared, there's a difference. Prepare for everything.
  5. The three most dangerous words: "I got it." You must approach each day with humility to get better.
  6. The NFL is a precision league. Every detail matters.
  7. Stay true to yourself, be authentic.
  8. Relationships matter, seek accountability.
  9. Put together the right team, create an identity.
  10. Invest in your team, make everybody around you better.

Saleh discussed several points from his lessons of coaching during the 49ers eight-part State of the Franchise series last week. The defensive coordinator highlighted the importance of stability and continuity heading into 2020 and how the team must keep their foot on the gas to supplant last season's success.

"The three most dangerous words in this league are 'I got it' and to assume that you have it," Saleh said in correlation to his fifth point on the list. "The challenge is to have humility and to focus on getting better every single day, and take the knowledge that you've gained over the last three years and try to find a way to apply it to Year 4 so we can try to get back to where we were."

Saleh's defense led the league with the fewest passing yards allowed last season (169.2) and were second in the NFL in total yards allowed (281.8). Saleh was a finalist for the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy this offseason and could have a number of suitors as one of the league's top defensive head-coaching candidates this January.

"Every year we keep him we'll be very fortunate," Kyle Shanahan said back in January. "Saleh's going to be a head coach in this league. Could have been one this year. Most likely, he'll be one next year. But he's going to have the right opportunity come around for him. It's just a matter of time."