“Fraught with terror … “
“A dysfunctional domino fall . . . “
“The honeymoon is over . . .”
All of the above are:
- Descriptions of the ‘Murph and Mac’ show on KNBR;
- Descriptions heard this week about Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers
- All of the above
Hoo boy. They say into each life, a little rain must fall.
If that’s the case, the 49ers experienced both a literal and metaphorical atmospheric river of disdain after last Sunday’s loss at home to the Colts.
This is easily the lowest point of the Shanahan/John Lynch regime.
Add in the news that 2020 first-round draft pick Javon Kinlaw — you know, the guy who is supposed to replace DeForest Buckner, who just sacked Jimmy Garoppolo to end the Colts win — is likely facing season-ending knee surgery, just to spice things up.
The above phrases of disgust came from Hall of Fame QB Steve Young, David Lombardi of The Athletic on our show, and Eric Branch’s piece on the 49ers in the SF Chronicle, in order. After the Kinlaw news, I’d add one more:
Other than that, Kyle Shanahan and Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
Is it an overstatement to say Shanahan and Lynch are at a crossroads in their 49ers’ tenure?
I’d love for the Jock Blog to come in hot and say ‘yes’, but the fact is that they can rely on the argument that they see Trey Lance as a transformational quarterback, and that the future is so bright, there are many atmospheric rivers of glory to cross, to mix Jock Blog metaphors. While many of us want to see the Bears game as a do-or-die for the franchise, the fact is, it isn’t.
At the least, however, a spin-out into double-digit losses with no first-round pick to supplement such a free-fall would see Shanahan and Lynch lose the faith of the fans. How can you be Faithful when there is no faith? The memories of the NFC Championship at Levi’s just two years ago would seem as ancient as Bob St. Clair roaming Kezar.
But, as Matt Maiocco pointed out on our show today, despite the howls of rain-soaked fans last Sunday in Santa Clara, Jed York is not firing Kyle Shanahan anytime soon. He just handed him a contract extension and traded two first-round picks for the QB of the future. Jed will ride out this storm, even as Port-A-Potties slide across the empty Levi’s parking lot.
The only reasonable answer is to hasten the Trey Lance Era.
Jimmy Garoppolo is not just playing poorly, he’s also seeing the sands of time run through his 49ers hourglass. How can you be a leader when the team you lead sees the moving boxes in your locker? I suppose we were all blinded by the summertime optimism, when everyone spoke of Garoppolo’s professionalism. It seemed his level-headed maturity, the sound head of a blue-collar electrician’s son, would buoy the 49ers through this transition.
Catch is, that was all dependent on Garoppolo playing well and the 49ers winning. Neither is happening. We were supposed to fall back on Jimmy G’s excellent win percentage as a QB, and that would make for a pleasant environment in which Trey Lance could do the Patrick Mahomes-sit-for-a-year thing and learn the speed and film of the NFL.
A 2-4 start — and a road game in Chicago possibly making it worse — undermines all that.
So now, you have to junk the summertime plan. Now, you have to see that when Lance is healthy, you give him the keys, even if that means just a few series at a time. Jimmy G will have to be a pro and trot on and off the field — just like Steve DeBerg did for Joe Montana in 1980.
Forty Niners fans have a fever, and the only cure is to speed up Trey Lance’s reps.
Because who wants to live in a 49ers world fraught with terror? Not me.