The 49ers could finally let out the worst kept secret in the NFL, that Kyle Shanahan was moving from Atlanta to be their new head coach, with former Broncos safety-turned-TV-analyst John Lynch as his general manager.
It really wasn’t a good week for any of us. Kyle Shanahan was roundly criticised for his play calling at the end of the Super Bowl. John Lynch didn’t make it into the Hall of Fame – again. And Uncle Sam lost internet connection for 72 hours.
The good news, though, is that we are back and the other two have shiny new jobs to go to in San Francisco. Which might be something of a mixed blessing for them.
In one sense, they are on to a winner, because things can’t get much worse for the Niners than the last three seasons have been. On the other hand, now that Trent Baalke‘s massive ego isn’t stalking the corridors of Levi’s Stadium, alienating the best coach they have had this century (Jim Harbaugh) and then booting the next one (Jim Tomsula) out of the door because a bigger name (Chip Kelly) was suddenly available, a turnaround is going to be expected pretty swiftly.
That’s going to be tricky. The roster is full of holes, caused by bad personnel choices, retirements and the inexplicable decline of Colin Kaepernick. Indeed, one of the biggest questions will be whether the pair decide to try and ‘fix’ the man known to us as Kaeper-pick or whether they discard him along with Blaine Gabbert.
To that end, it is known that Kaepernick loved Harbaugh, loved working with him, loved being coached by him and didn’t react at all well to him being replaced. Shanahan’s play calling might be dodgy at times but his success as a quarterbacks coach is undeniable. Whether he decides that number 7 is a project worth devoting some of his scare head coaching time to will almost certainly drive the decision here.
Lynch is an interesting choice as general manager, a complete outsider who has done a lot of research into how a football team should be run and yet who hid his ambitions well. He developed a reputation as the best-informed man in the broadcast booth during his short time in television, but has no experience of running any kind of business, yet alone a multi-million pound football one. His hiring is a bold move by owner Jed York. Things are about to get interesting for the 49ers.