Spring renewal seems to be sweeping the 49ers.
Apparently there are a lot of good vibes going on between general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan in what is a very different era than when Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh tussled.
49ers owner Jed York talked to KNBR before the draft about general cooperation between Shanahan and Lynch, a sentiment shown strongly in a Lynch interview Monday with KNBR and in Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column.
“With (Lynch), the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” York told KNBR on Thursday. “Kyle, he’s very focused on what he wants. … They don’t just talk (everything) through, they watch it through with film. It sounds cliche to say that, but they will argue through film and they’ve come to an agreement on everything. It’s not like, Well we disagree let’s move on. It’s, We disagree? Why do we disagree? And we’re going to come to a resolution on anybody that’s going to be on our board.”
That should sound pretty reassuring to 49ers fans still wary of the wonky relationship between Baalke and Harbaugh, who left for Michigan after friction with the 49ers front office. (Remember when Harbaugh told Sports Illustrated, “What (York and Baalke) know could not blow up a small balloon“?)
Such strife does not exist in the early days of this 49ers regime. For example, York wasn’t needed to rule on any rubber matches.
“We never had to get to that tiebreaker, because… I think. as we hoped it would, we came to agreement on each and every (draft pick),” Lynch told KNBR about interacting with Shanahan on draft day.
Lynch clearly trusted Shanahan’s instincts on quarterback C.J. Beathard, whom some called a reach as a third round selection.
“We had really zeroed in on CJ Beathard, for a long time, during the draft process. We had studied him a lot,” Lynch told KNBR. “Kyle’s got a very specific kind of quarterback — the traits that he likes, the makeup he likes — and (Beathard) was a guy that we zeroed in on as being a great guy to work with a develop. … My feeling was, this is a guy that we want.”
In the case of running back Joe Williams, whom the 49ers took
King’s diagnosis for Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.com shows the copacetic nature of this 49ers regime so far.
“Three men, one plan,” is how King describes Lynch, Shanahan and chief strategy officer Paraag Marath. If you have time for King’s in-depth feature, which Lynch and Co. approved enthusiastically, give it a read.
In the case of Joe Williams, whom the 49ers took in the fourth round, Shanahan convinced Lynch to pick the running back against Lynch’s initial judgment. The crux of that situation: Williams missed a month dealing with personal issues last season, which some saw as him quitting on the team.
“I think I really gotta give a big thank you to Kyle for resurrecting Joe Williams,” Lynch told KNBR. “I’m going to be honest, when I heard the story the first time — he quit on his team — I said, ‘Throw him out.’ I watched 10 plays and I said, ‘Get rid of him.’ Somewhere in the process, Kyle threw on the tape and started seeing some big-time ability here with Joe Williams after he came back from his hiatus from the Utah team. Kyle started showing me that film and I agreed, and I agreed wholeheartedly on the talent, and I said, Kyle that doesn’t change the fact… and he said, ‘Let’s look more into the situation.’”
Particularly because, as Shanahan told King, the coach would be “sick” if the 49ers didn’t take Williams.
Eventually, Lynch talked to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and learned enough about what happened — that Williams was mourning the death of his sister — to change his mind. Or, have his mind changed by Shanahan.
Lynch added more details on KNBR.
“The biggest step, the first one, was that Kyle said, ‘John…’ — he was boarding the plane to go to the draft — and he said, ‘Listen, I’m getting that nasty look from the flight attendant so I’ve got to be quick, but here’s the deal: He did not quit the team. He was physically and mentally exhausted. He was worn out. He came in looking for help and (he and Whittingham) made a conscience decision together that he should take a break.’ … It’s a tremendous story. Once I could get won over on that side of it, the film spoke for himself.”
That story speaks for itself, as well.
What’s more, the triumvirate now handling the 49ers will be in place for a while, if York has his way.
In other words, there is no reason to believe San Francisco will again be plunged into the Baalke-Harbaugh nightmare again anytime soon.
“Kyle and I are about a year and a half apart in age. When we talked about it, it was, ‘We’re going to work together for decades,’” York told KNBR last week. “And when we look back, and count up championships that we won together, that’s how we’re going to measure success. Not how quickly did you win one, but how many did you win over the period of time that you’re working together.”
Win championships while working together — Niner Faithful would like nothing more.