Before we get to the 49ers gushing over rookie head coach Kyle Shanahan’s brilliance, let’s get this out of the way: Some of these same players praised Shanahan’s predecessors — Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly — in the months after those coaches were hired.

In other words, it’s customary for athletes to initially exalt the new leader that controls their playing time.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get to the new-coach gushing. And, for what it’s worth, it has been more specific and convincing than the praise that was offered the past two offseasons.

Let’s start with Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, whose first 10 years with the 49ers have included three winning seasons, seven head coaches and eight offensive coordinators.

“This might sound kind of bad, but I’m enjoying football again. I’m excited to come to work every single day,” said Staley, who went on explain Shanahan’s acumen accounted for much of his new outlook: “You really, really respect him just because of the overall understanding and knowledge that he has. I can’t stress that enough. He’s the smartest coach I’ve been around.”

The 49ers were probably aware of Shanahan’s offensive-coordinator resume: His offenses have ranked among the top 10 in the NFL in six of the past nine seasons and the Falcons scored the eighth-most points (540) in league history last year.

Now, they’re aware of how Shanahan has done it. During the offseason, a host of players have said Shanahan has shown a savant-level grasp of the game while explaining plays during video sessions. In April, safety Eric Reid, a five-year veteran, emerged from one of Shannahan’s first meetings and told reporters he’d “learned a lot of football in 10 minutes.”

Said defensive tackle Arik Armstead: “It’s kind of like genius-crazy, the stuff he does.”

Quarterback Brian Hoyer? He said linebacker Dekoda Watson, a seven-year veteran, has turned to him in a meeting and said: “Man, I never even knew half of this stuff.”

Said Hoyer of the video breakdowns: “If you’re really paying attention, you’ll learn a lot about football and realize what he’s trying to do with his scheme.”

Staley said Shanahan excels at explaining what both the offense and defense are trying to accomplish on each play, and why each players’ assignment is important. Asked about Shanahan’s offseason video sessions Wednesday, Staley discussed a moment from hours earlier.

“I just kind of looked over to (center Daniel) Kilgore (today) and was like ‘This is awesome.’ You kind of get chills almost.” Staley said. “It’s just kind of cool to have football talked about that way instead of, ‘You’ve got to do your job.’ It’s like, ‘OK. Yes, sir.” But why do I have to do my job? Well, this is why.”

Of course, Shanahan’s new job requires him to be more than a X’s-and-O’s wizard.

And he’s earned high marks for being candid with players and creating a culture of accountability. Both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have directly addresses trade rumors involving tight end Vance McDonald and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman with the players and media.

“He’s been very open and honest with all his players,” Staley said. “He calls out myself and Bowman the same way he calls out a rookie free agent. He expects the same out of all of us. No one is above anybody …

“When you have leadership like that, you have to raise your game. Because you know that you have to be exactly on your assignments and your techniques because he leaves no stone unturned. So there’s not going to be any situation where ‘Hey, man, that coach has never covered that.’ Well, yeah they did because they’ll cover everything. And they expect every single person to know it and hold themselves to the same standard.”

As noted, optimism about the new head coach has also been expressed after the 49ers promoted Tomsula (5-11 in 2015) and hired Kelly (2-14 in 2016).

The 49ers are, again, gushing during their offseason program, which ends Thursday. And it only matters if similar sentiments about Shanahan are still being expressed at the end their first regular season together.

“I’m so excited,” Staley said of playing for Shanahan. “I’m just kind of bummed that it’s happening in year 11, instead of year 4, or, 3, or 1.”

Eric Branch is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @Eric_Branch

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