SANTA CLARA — We haven’t really talked to Aaron Lynch since late October, when he suspiciously told reporters the 49ers were one of the best teams in the NFC.
Six losses later, Lynch has not changed his opinion, and will refuse to judge this 2016 season on wins and losses.
“I think we showed in the beginning of the game that we have one the best, better teams in the league,” Lynch said in the locker room Tuesday. “But you know, the record isn’t going to show that. We’re 1-11, whatever it is, 1-12, whatever that is. I don’t really look at the record, I look at how we all play and I think we all played our asses off this game. And I still fee like we have a really great team. Obviously, the stats aren’t going to show we have one of the best teams, but as far as the way we play together and we are on the field, I think we have a great team. We just got to keep building off of that.”
The 49ers are currently ranked dead last in both run defense and points allowed per game. The 12 losses have averaged out to be a margin of 14 points. The franchise has never gone a season winning just one football game.
So I asked Lynch, do you understand why some fans and people in the media are not buying the message he’s selling?
“I don’t care,” Lynch said. “They are not in this locker room. They don’t do what we do.”
The quick rebuttal, is there actually positive momentum from this 12 game losing streak the team can use for next season?
“Oh, for sure. Yeah, we may be losing, but like I said, not everybody has a great year,” Lynch said. “You can’t go to back-to-back (NFC) Championships every year. It doesn’t happen that way. You don’t have an undefeated season every year. You don’t have a winning season every year. You’re going to have your ups and downs. That’s a human being, that’s with football, that’s with life.
“Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes losing. Nobody wants to be 1 and… nobody wants to have one win in the season. I don’t think it’s getting us down, I think it’s wanting to make us push even harder, because we want to get that win, we want to show everybody how good we really are. So I don’t think it’s got anybody down. And nobody is looking forward to next season because we still got to finish this year off.”
Colin Kaepernick, whose interview featured even more cliches than normal, complied with Lynch’s message, that this 49ers team is on the right track.
“We are very close,” Kaepernick said. “We’ve been very close in a lot of games. Once again, we have to finish better. That’ll change the outcome of a lot of these football games.”
I get it: 49ers players aren’t going to diminish themselves to the media. Lynch realizes his job could be on the line with a new GM and/or coaching staff in place. You might as well stay positive. The only other choice is a depressing reality.
But there’s an old NFL adage that says you are what your record says you are. The 49ers are 1-12, their fan base is among the angriest you’ll ever see in professional sports, and they certainly don’t like reading nonsense from a player who was touted as a leader and potential franchise cornerstone.
Lynch has played four games this season after serving a suspension to start the year and fighting through an ankle injury. He has six tackles and 1.5 sacks on the season. He’s contributed virtually nothing to this team, which might be the real reason he seems so disconnected from it.