SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — They were great, weren’t they? John Lynch workin’ the room in Don Nelson-like fashion. Kyle Shanahan dropping by the media room to yuk it up with the scribes. Bringing in players from the heydays. If you judge these guys on first impressions, “touchdown, 49ers!”
Granted, the bar is lower than a 1930’s Speakeasy. But I really like these guys. Nobody seemed nervous. No short answers or filibusters. Just seemed like genuine people who seem to understand the task at hand and ready to roll up their sleeves.
Lynch revealed a sliver of news during the glorified photo-op when he said that Colin Kaepernick reached out to him. Smart business move on Kaepernick’s part but the new regime isn’t here for a “Back to the Future” sequel. There are few quarterback options but I doubt Kaepernick is one of them. The Faithful have seen the best and worst of Kaepernick; he’s 29 years old and will never have the consistency that Shanahan’s offense will dictate. Time to turn the page on number 7.
Lynch announced that he hired Martin Mayhew at the 49ers Senior Personnel Executive. I doubt this part of the press conference convinced 49er fans to lean forward, but it was probably the most significant nugget of the afternoon.
A 2-14 team needs help everywhere. Lynch and Shanahan need to nail the draft like the Raiders did in 2014, in which one draft changed the culture of the franchise. Mayhew makes up for Lynch’s lack of experience, having spent 15 years in Detroit – including seven as a general manager where he drafted Matthew Stafford. He spent last year as director of football operations with the New York Giants. I suspect Lynch and Shanahan will rely heavily on Mayhew on April 27.
Quite frankly, I don’t care whether Lynch or Shanahan has “the hammer,” as long as they don’t miss the nail. Chip Kelly didn’t stand a chance because he didn’t have the players. The decisions in the coming months will dictate success or failure in the fall, regardless of Shanahan’s ability to draw X’s and O’s. If the new regime succeeds it will be a team built through the draft, improved through trades, and bolstered via free agency.
Shanahan and Lynch proved they can talk the talk. Oh, man, can they talk the talk. Now it’s time to walk, one small step at a time.
See you on TV.