Saturday morning, I explained that the situation in San Francisco is more about urgency than friction. My argument would have been a little stronger if I’d known at the time that, one day earlier, 49ers G.M. John Lynch had uttered similar words.
“We fully understand we’re going into Year Three,” Lynch said Friday in an appearance on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, via the San Jose Mercury News. “This is a production-based business and we have to start winning games. We feel really good about where our team is in terms of being set up to do that. We feel great about the progress we’ve made. It’s put-up time. We understand that.”
The 49ers haven’t won nearly enough games during the first two years of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch relationship. That doesn’t mean the relationship is ending. It does mean that the relationship will perhaps be tested a little more strongly, if Year Three ends up more like Year One and Year Two and less like some of the better years the franchise has experienced. Regardless, Lynch insists that he and the head coach are still working together as they try to turn things around.
“The notion we’re not working together couldn’t be further from the truth,” Lynch said. “We have a tremendous working relationship. We’re great friends off field. There’s a lot of trust. We came into this together knowing there’d be tough times and it wouldn’t be easy, but it would be worth it.”
Lynch, a former player with a clear no-nonsense vibe, had a message for the faithful: “I can tell Niner fans that, hey, we’re as strong as ever and there’s a lot of trust and faith. I feel so great for this organization that they have Kyle Shanahan, a tremendous leader, tremendous mind. . . . Our players love him. I love him. We’ve got each other’s back, and that’s all I will say on that. That’s the truth, and as they say, the truth shall set you free.”
The original argument that was made in support of the idea that change could be coming pushed the idea that Shanahan wants to hire his own guy to handle personnel decisions. This overlooks the reality that Lynch was Shanahan’s own guy, hired by Shanahan in large part because Shanahan’s authority over the roster would have made it much harder to hire an executive under contract with another team.
Whether it’s Lynch or someone else, Shanahan will have to find a way to make it work with someone, unless and until he’s willing to surrender final say to a G.M. whom Shanahan essentially would be working for. That’s the truth, and it’s one of the many reasons why Shanahan isn’t setting Lynch free.