There was a different air in the room during the 49ers press conference introducing the future of the franchise, GM John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan.
It was not the sink or swim feel that it left fans and writers alike. It was a breath of fresh air into a 49ers franchise that has seen the truest dark-age it had experienced when the 49ers had finally reached its rock bottom worse than any of the years that proceeded the Steve Marriucci era and before the Jim Harbaugh era.
It was a feeling of true change. A change that had current players excited (a feeling even Harbaugh didn’t inspire initially until they went on a win streak to start the first season). A change that had writers optimistic with glowing reports. A change in the air that had pending free agents calling GM John Lynch to discuss their future with the franchise.
John Lynch is surrounding himself with excellent football minds.
Today’s conference also included the announcement that GM John Lynch has hired former Lions GM Martin Mayhew to become the Senior Personnel Executive. This is after hiring Adam Peters as VP of Player Personnel. Combining these guys and Tom Gamble will provide John Lynch with a wealth of knowledge that he can utilize. John Lynch wowed in this press conference with a demeanor of a Hall of Famer and a confidence that he can right the ship. He answered questions honestly and tactfully. He welcomed writers and learned them by name. He opened the doors back up to 49er legends of the past who may have felt disenfranchised by the 49ers front office and wants to regain that winning culture. Most of all, Lynch is transparent. John Lynch looks like he had nothing to hide and is willing to put everything on the table for all to see.
Of course, time will tell how well John Lynch does. Yet, he is already impressing and would win over the fans, players, writers, and owner even if this hire was made after a playoff run.
Dream job for Kyle Shanahan
It is one thing to get a coach that is excited for the opportunity. It is a bonus to find a coach whose dream was to coach the 49ers. Of course, Kyle Shanahan had been part of the 49ers culture when he was a ball boy during his father’s tenure as an assistant for the 49ers.
“The 49ers have always had a special place in my heart.”
Shanahan had a deep respect for the history and even recent history as he named Jim Harbaugh in the pantheon of great head coaches that proceeded him.
Kyle Shanahan is playing catchup
Kyle Shanahan has said that he has a lot of work to finish his staff hiring and has already acquired some key cogs in the offensive side while retaining two stalwarts on the defensive side in Tarver and Hafley.
His hiring of Embree at tight ends coach, LaFleur at wide receivers, Turner at running backs, and McDaniel as run guru are already some quality hires.
Kyle did not go into details on plans with Tom Rathman or what he is looking for in a defensive coordinator. He did say that he hopes to finish hiring soon and get right into the film room to analyze the players that are on contract.
The roster control allows Shanahan to focus on the players already on the roster
John Lynch and former college scouting VP Adam Peters will be the ones to scout the upcoming draft prospects while Kyle Shanahan evaluates the team’s current assets. John Lynch said that he will be the one in charge of the 49ers 90-man roster while Shanahan will control the 53-man roster. This gained praise from Safety Eric Reid because he feels that the one making decisions on the 53-man roster should rest on the man who sees the players work everyday.
Torrey Smith believes that he will thrive in a Shanahan system
Wide receiver Torrey Smith says that he can run in a Shanahan system due to its similarities to Gary Kubiak’s system that Torrey ran in Baltimore.
Torrey has yet to replicate his numbers he had while with the Ravens even when being paired opposite of Anquan Boldin who played with Torrey on the same squad in Baltimore.
Free agency and draft looms for John Lynch
Lynch has already been holding meetings with Adam Peters and are already in scouting mode. This will be the first opportunity we have to grade Lynch as a general manager. With a support system like he has, we are expecting to see building blocks immediately.
Quarterback should be top priority to Kyle Shanahan
In response to a question posed about what he is looking for in a quarterback, Kyle gave a generic answer. “We want the best quarterback available.”
Kyle is looking to start winning games right away, but does not have a quarterback on contract in 2017.
It is still unknown whether the 49ers intend to sign, trade, or draft a quarterback.
The future is now with this tandem
Jed York appears to be willing to let these two go to work. It will be exciting to see what these two can do with a high ranking running game (the 49ers ranked 4th in total rushing despite having to resort to passing during blowout losses), 2nd draft pick in each round, and an 81M cap space (more if Colin Kaepernick opts out of his contract) .
This is the blank check that any head coach and general manager tandem would need to shape the future.