John Lynch is already knee deep in his 49ers GM responsibilities and he gave a transparent, impromptu interview on Tuesday with Tolbert and Lund.
Among the revelations:
-In their scouting evaluations, the 49ers will create a separate competitiveness/toughness grade, to try and find players who love football the most.
-Building an offense similar to the Atlanta Falcons — predicated on speed — will be a priority.
-Finding the true answer at quarterback may extend into the 2018 offseason.
-He interviewed a defensive coordinator candidate at his house in San Diego, going along with my theory that he will serve as way more of a big picture person for this front office as opposed to your typical GM.
Later in the interview, Lynch was asked what’s the first major thing he and Kyle Shanahan need to work on? And the GM, who sought advice on this very topic from Tony Dungy, laid out his plan for the first four or five days with his new head coach.
“What are you looking for in your right defensive end, Kyle? What do you want from your fullback?” Lynch said. “And you don’t just talk about it, you watch it. And he gets out his old film. And then we turn on the 49er film. And we’re going to spend four or five days just doing that. So he and I are completely — we’ve talked broad strokes, I’ve known him for a long time, but now down to the nitty-gritty specifics. So that’s big on the priority list.”
There’s so much to learn about Lynch’s football philosophy, so here’s a partial transcript from his candid interview on KNBR.
That’s a big question. When I played, I had to play against those guys. So I don’t know if I ever — in my mind I think, I knew, but I couldn’t really admit it to myself, because it would almost be surreal because when you go against a great one, you’re helpless. That changed when I went up in the broadcast booth and you start seeing the effect these guys have on football teams. Like there was a stat I saw recently where on the AFC side, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowls have been Brady, Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. And that just speaks to how important that position is. The answer for us is that Kyle and I are going to get together and — we’ve already discussed it — but we’re going to get together and find out exactly what he’s looking for in a quarterback. And then we’re going to evaluate the guy’s path, evaluate the draft and look hard at free agency, trades. Whatever we need to do to get a guy, And it may not be this year. We draft and develop. We’re looking at every scenario but we both are big believers — I don’t think is anything revolutionary — everyone knows how important that position is. But we certainly place a huge emphasis on it and we’re going to work hard to get that right.
Scouting college QB’s
I think a perfect example is a guy like Dak Prescott. Why did he get drafted in the fourth round? Because no one ever saw him do the things that he would need to do in the NFL to be successful. The Dallas Cowboys can say, hey, we saw some things — but you drafted him in the fourth round. Why’d you wait until then? But we’ve been looking at quarterbacks all day and that’s just such a good question. Paxton Lynch, a guy on the Broncos, is an immensely talented kid. I was out at their training camp a lot last year. Every time they went into a two minute drill and it became street ball, he scored. But you put him in the huddle and he had to turn and look to his coach for help because he had never called a play. He had looked to the sideline, they had help up cards. And you get in Kyle Shanahan’s system, you’ve got 15-word plays. The coach is in your ear and you still have to replicate that with confidence, with authority. And so it’s a big challenge for this entire league and I think it extends deeper than just the quarterback position. But at that position in particular, that’s a challenge. So I think what you have to keep in mind, is if you get a guy like that, Paxton Lynch I think is going to be just fine. But you maybe should have known year one, it’s going to be a developmental year. And so you have to keep that in mind. It’s just the reality. These guys are playing a different style of football. I don’t think it’s great for the game, but it’s the reality because it’s all over college and high school. So that’s going to be a challenge moving forward.
On the advantages of him playing football in finding talent
That’s not just exclusive to former players. I think it helps, though. I’ve been in those rooms and you can tell when a guy is full of it. I believe you can. You can talk straight because you’ve been there. And I’m not just making this up, I’m telling you ‘Here’s what we need to see, and don’t just tell me with your words, because we need to see it.’ Had one of those conversations today. I think it is a huge advantage. You can talk all you want, but show up on the first day of camp in shape and then you’ll be speaking to me. Those kind of things are things, that having been a former player, can really help you. There’s a lot of GMs in this league that have that skill. Tom calls it the BS meter. But I think having been a player, I think you can understand it a little more. I think it is an advantage.
Are there things you were nervous about
Uh, yeah! (Laughter). You know what I did, I picked up the phone and I called people I respected greatly. I’ll be honest with you, I called Tony Dungy and I said, ‘Tony, alright. You’ve been here on the other side of it.’ Because it was a big one. Sometimes in life if you can just get started, you’re on a roll. But how do I get started? And I called Tony and I said what’s the first thing in your mind that would be important. And he says, ‘Well, I’ll tell you what Bill Polian and I did. You’re going to be at a little of a disadvantage because Kyle’s not there yet, but you two need to sit down and say what are you looking for in your right defensive end, Kyle? What do you want from your fullback? And you don’t just talk about it, you watch it. And he gets out his old film. And then we turn on the 49er film. And were going to spend four or five days just doing that. So he and I are completely — we’ve talked broad strokes, I’ve known him for a long time, but now down to the nitty-gritty specifics. So that’s big on the priority list. Fortunately, part of this was putting together a staff. So that became pretty clear. So here’s your first job. And frankly, I think that’s the biggest disadvantage. When I talked to (John) Elway, he said look, the draft, you’ll catch up on that. That’s doable. Your toughest challenge this late in the game, it’s kind of a weird rule, the coaches that are coaching the Super Bowl, they don’t get picked because often times they’re overlooked because people don’t want to wait. And one of those challenges is how do you put together a great staff? Because most of the good ones are taken. I can tell you, we are really excited with this staff we are putting together. People are excited to be here. That’s neat. That’s been a process I’ve been working on since the day I took this job. Been working really hard. It was great, we had a D-coordinator come down to San Diego and my wife was down at Office Depot getting a big grease board because I don’t have one those. And she got home a minute before he arrived and so it was all good. So we’ve been kind of making it up as we go along, but it’s working.