Kyle Shanahan: 'I’m going to bet on John Lynch'

Kyle Shanahan: 'I’m going to bet on John Lynch'

HOUSTON – Presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not at all concerned about the team’s top football executive entering a situation with no previous personnel experience.

Shanahan, speaking Monday night at media night, said he is confident the Stanford-educated Lynch will figure out how to be a successful NFL general manager.

“I get that it’s new to him,” said Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator. “But if I’m going to bet on anybody, I’m going to bet on John Lynch. He’ll have to learn some stuff as he goes, just like we all do, but you’re going for the person. John Lynch has succeeded in everything, and that excites me about him.

“The people who know him know how special of a guy the 49ers got.”

Shanahan took part in the final interviews for the 49ers’ general manager position on Friday and Saturday in Atlanta with CEO Jed York and Paraag Marathe, the organiation’s chief strategy officer.

He met with Lynch and the two other known finalists, Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough and Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton.

“I believe any time you have a smart guy who’s very talented and has extremely high character and has no problem working extremely hard; I feel when you have a person like that who has all those qualities, and you give him the time, it’s a matter of time before he figures it all out," Shanahan said. "And John, as anybody who met him, he’s as impressive as a human being as there is. He’s succeeded in anything he’s done.”

Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl safety with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos during his 15-year career. He is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 will be announced on Saturday.

In addition to playing the final four years of his career with the Broncos under coach Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father, Lynch has also continued his relationship with Kyle Shanahan as an NFL television analyst on FOX for the past eight years.

The dialogue about Lynch possibly joining Shanahan with the 49ers began after Lynch called the Falcons’ NFC divisional-round playoff game two weeks ago against the Seattle Seahawks.

“Somewhere in that week after, Kyle and I caught up as we often do after a game that I broadcast of his and just told him how impressed I was and at that time I know that he was interviewing for a lot of jobs and we just started a conversation,” Lynch said.

Lynch said he held conversations with the Denver Broncos about joining the organization in a management position in recent years, so he had always thought it was a career path he could take in the future. Broncos general manager John Elway is the model for a former star player becoming successful in NFL management, Lynch said.

“John Elway is one of my good friends and I watched him,” Lynch said. “I was living in Denver when he went through that process. He was kind enough to invite me into the building for offseason meetings and such. That’s kind of been out there and I always said, I even said to my bosses at FOX, if the right situation arose that it would be something that I would have to consider.

“Kyle and I were in a conversation. He seemed to get excited. At that point he turned it over to Jed and Paraag and the rest moved fairly quickly.”

Lynch was hired on Sunday. On Tuesday, he hired his top target to join him in player personnel. The 49ers hired former Broncos scout Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Falcons wrap up the season Sunday against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

“John, I think, has been interested in it for a while, just talking to him,” Shanahan said. “John is a guy that I’ve developed a relationship with over the years. He’s a guy that lives and dies football. He’s a very smart guy, who I think, really wanted to get back into it, where he could compete on Sunday and there’s actually a winner and a loser at the end of the game.

"(We) just had some talks together and got him in. He did a great job this weekend, along with the two other guys, too. Obviously, they decided to go with John, so I’m excited.”

The NFL changed the definition of the 'catch rule' again and it won't be the last time


The NFL changed the definition of the 'catch rule' again and it won't be the last time

I’m going to miss “surviving the ground.” I’m going to miss “completing the process,” too. But I won’t miss the way the NFL rules committee likes to use words to refine officials’ training. That, fortunately, will never end.

After all, I believe the NFL has been marching boldly toward creating a sport that the people who are paid to play it and pay to watch it do not understand, and that’s a level of chaos I can enjoy because if we know anything at all about the NFL, it is that it has three levels of problem-solving.

#1 -- Denying that a problem exists, and calling people who say it does know-nothings, morons and potentially liable in a lawsuit.

#2 -- Admitting a problem exists only after years of careful study in which it starts with the desired result and then tailors any fact-finding to reach that result.

#3 -- Implementing a solution that solves nothing, and in doing so either makes the original problem worse or replaces it with a more vexing problem.

In fact, vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said that very thing in explaining the plan to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske. “We worked backward,” he said. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule. Slight movement of the ball, it looks like we’ll reverse that. Going to the ground, it looks like that’s going to be eliminated. And we’ll go back to the old replay standard of reverse the call on the field only when it’s indisputable.”

Of course, Vincent was also required to explain why “surviving the ground” and “completing the process” made sense when those were introduced, so let’s move past all that to the real issue here.

Football is essentially ungovernable, and becoming more so with each additional year. Part of it is the dichotomy between making a violent game less violent without making it sufficiently less violent. Part of it is large, fast people being asked to play at full speed to strike smaller targets. Part of it is taking simple common sense as a judgment tool away from officials because at its heart, the decision-makers hate its officials and give them increasingly absurd things to adjudicate on the fly and then punish them when it can’t be done.

And part of it is old football coaches being asked to tailor their sport to meet the entertainment demands of a younger demographic that isn’t sitting still for a convoluted game that lasts three hours. This is another way of saying that football is slowly but surely being viewed by the younger generation as “your dad’s game,” and are going to basketball or e-sports or even no sports at all for their fun.

In other words, the league is trying to change a rule to address a rule that was introduced to change a rule to take judgment from people who are supposed to apply structure to a game that already had plenty of it.

So the catch rule will be changed yet again, and in two years the complaints about that rule will overwhelm the league again. We will go from "surviving the ground" to "mastering the air space" or someone equally nonsensical verbiage, and the idea of simplifying a rule book that is beating the game it explains across our skulls is simply beyond these guys.

Ex-49er Daniel Kilgore describes 'crazy,' 'frustrating,' 'heart-breaking' week


Ex-49er Daniel Kilgore describes 'crazy,' 'frustrating,' 'heart-breaking' week

Daniel Kilgore’s mind was at ease on Feb. 14 after signing a three-year contract extension to remain with the 49ers – the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.

But all that changed on the first day of the open negotiating period when he learned the 49ers reached an agreement with New York Giants free-agent Weston Richburg on a five-year contract. The same firm, Rep1, represents Kilgore and Richburg.

“Originally, I knew Weston was on the Niners’ board for left guard,” Kilgore said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “When I knew that he was going to sign with the 49ers, I was thinking, ‘Hey, we just got a new left guard.’ I hate it for Laken (Tomlinson).

“But, then, you kind of find out he was coming for center. That’s when I was thrown for a loop.”

Kilgore described the days that followed as “crazy,” “frustrating” and “heart-breaking.”

One day after the 49ers officially signed Richburg to a five-year, $47.5 million contract, Kilgore was traded to the Miami Dolphins. The 49ers got little in return for delivering Kilgore to what appears to be a good situation. The team’s swapped draft spots in the seventh round, with the 49ers now choosing at No. 223 overall, while the Dolphins pick at No. 227.

Kilgore lands in a situation to be a starter. He also received, in essence, a 13.3-percent raise for leaving California to go to Florida, where there is no state income tax. The 49ers structured Kilgore's contract so the first payout of a $2.3 million roster bonus was scheduled for after the start of the new league year – after the trade. The Dolphins pick up the entirety of the three-year, $11.75 million contract the 49ers negotiated with Kilgore.

Kilgore said he was never asked to compete for a job at guard with the 49ers. He said he did not request a trade, either. He was told, in essence, he was no longer in the 49ers’ plans.

General manager John Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area last week both Richburg and Kilgore are best at center. To ask either to submit to a change of position would set up one of them for failure.

Looking back, Kilgore said he wonders if he should have turned down the 49ers’ offer and gone into free agency. But that approach had its risks, too. All he wanted, he said, was to be compensated fairly and remain with the 49ers.

“I was really thrown for a shock,” said Kilgore, who won the Bobb McKittrick Award last season for his displays of courage, intensity and sacrifice. “You just wonder, ‘What If I did go free agency?’ (But) that wasn’t me. I knew where that team was going. I’m familiar with the area, familiar with the coaching staff, my best friends are on the team. So I knew this is where I wanted to be. I didn’t see myself going anywhere else.”

Now, he will be moving to South Florida, where he will attempt to establish what he felt he had with the 49ers.

“You want to be there and be a part of something on the rise," Kilgore said. "That was the frustrating thing, that you’re no longer going to be there. It’s frustrating and heart-breaking, but you move on. I’m going to South Florida, and that makes things a heck of a lot better.”

Kilgore said he had some hard conversations with Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan last week. Ultimately, he said he respects both men for the way they handled an awkward situation. Lynch said last week when the 49ers signed Kilgore to an extension, the club believed there was a likelihood Richburg would not still be available a month later as a free agent. Richburg was the only center the 49ers would have sought to replace Kilgore, Lynch said.

“I hope the fans out there know the truth about everything and know that Kyle and John did it in the best interest of me and the best interest for the team moving forward,” Kilgore said. “There’s no bad grudges or anything like that. We’re all still friends at the end of the day.”