It is against the law of the unwritten norm book for a head coach to fiddle with favorites, but many times Kyle Shanahan cannot assist himself.

He adores Jimmie Ward, for example. Shanahan implied he would pull off Ward’s jersey on the sidelines if he might.

On Wednesday, Shanahan moved into a big smile when questioned about Kendrick Bourne, the huge third-year receiver with the reputation for being kind of a goofball and a ball-dropper.

Bourne’s a hilarious guy,” Shanahan said. “He recalls me a lot of my lad. I do not mean that as an insult. In away.”

Shanahan’s lad is 9.

The fact that Bourne is yet a 49er, and a crucial one, implies something regarding Shanahan. He is getting huge praises these days for his harmful genius and his laid-back, player-friendly assisting style, but there is more.

Kendrick Bourne and Kyle Shanahan 49 journey of Goofball to a gamer.

Like a talent for discerning personal flaws and dropped passes, then discerning deeper.

Bourne arrived at the 49ers two years prior as an undrafted free agent from Eastern Washington, wherever that is. Not a burner (4.6 40), did not seem to acquire anything seriously, involving team meetings. He was not early to a few and ultimately missed one.

Shanahan agitated. He considered slicing Bourne. Some coaches would have discerned that as important, maybe even useful. You know, supply a message to the team. Bill Walsh sometimes cut a player in dramatic style to acquire his team’s attention.

Shanahan lit up the kid huge-time, in personal. He acquired Bourne’s attention. Then the hurdle was making sure the ever-smiling lad was locked in, aimed.

In the previous season, Bourne ran the incorrect route once. This season, against the Seahawks, he possessed two crucial drops.

Shanahan protected Bourne that day, implying the wideout has such huge hands and confidence that sometimes his concentration moves away.

Shanahan implied Wednesday that it has been a problematic journey, from almost slicing Bourne to project appreciating and going through him, quirks and everything.