49ers

Shanahan: York has been supportive of 49ers' building project

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AP

Shanahan: York has been supportive of 49ers' building project

SANTA CLARA – After moving on from Jim Harbaugh following the 2014 season, 49ers CEO Jed York fired back-to-back coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly after just one season apiece.

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is a lot more secure despite the team’s franchise-worst nine-game losing streak to open the season.

Shanahan said he speaks with York after games and, typically, on Monday evenings. He said their conversations are open and honest and they plot a course for future seasons he believes will result in more wins than losses.

“He’s somebody you can be honest with,” Shanahan said. “I don’t really beat around the bush with him. I’ve kind of told him direct how I feel about everything since the first day we met. I think that’s why we can get places together.

“We don’t try to hide things from each other. He knows what I’m expecting. I know what he’s expecting. He’s been great to me – very supportive.”

Shanahan said it has been difficult after every game to face 49ers ownership as the losses continue to mount. The 49ers’ roster was not strong to open the season. It is even more thin now due mostly to injuries to key players.

"It's hard after each game to look at the owners and say, 'We're sorry. I know we didn't do it again,'" Shanahan said. "That is very tough on me. I wish I could make this look better for him right now. I know it isn't there right now, but I know it will be. He's been great with that and understanding of that, too. They've really let us do our job.”

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have some time to get things right. Both men signed six-year contracts to replace Kelly and fired general manager Trent Baalke.

“I believe in the people here,” Shanahan said. “I believe in this organization. I believe in the resources we have to improve. People win in this league because you make good decisions, you’re committed to winning, you spend money in free agency, you make the right decisions for the short term and the long term, you don’t make (decisions) based off perception just to get people off your back.

“I know we haven’t (won) here in a while. I’d love to change it right away. But I do believe we’re in the process of changing it. I know the record doesn’t show that, so actions are much stronger than my words, but I’m extremely confident we’re going in the right direction and we’ll see that over time.”

Lynch: If charges are proven true, Reuben Foster 'won't be part of our organization'

Lynch: If charges are proven true, Reuben Foster 'won't be part of our organization'

Despite facing two felony charges for domestic violence and one felony for possession of an assault weapon, linebacker Reuben Foster is still a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

While Foster won't participate in the team's offseason program, he hasn't been cut.

On Monday, 49ers GM John Lynch addressed Foster's future with the team while talking to the media in Santa Clara. Lynch said he was speaking for CEO Jed York, the York ownership family and coach Kyle Shanahan.

"As you all know and as our release indicated, we take the gravity of these charges . . . has not been lost on us. We take it extremely seriously. We do feel like patience is the right approach right now, that we are going to learn things through this legal process. But I do want to be very clear, abundantly clear, that if these charges are proven true, that if Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won't be part of our organization going forward. That's the standard we want on our team, that's the standard we are going to operate under," Lynch said.

In a statement to announce criminal charges on April 12, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office stated the alleged victim told responding officers that Foster hit her eight to 10 times in the head during the Feb. 11 incident in Los Gatos. The DA's office said the woman was bruised and sustained a ruptured ear drum.

Lynch said the 49ers were surprised by the seriousness of the allegations made by the DA’s office. But he said he does not believe the 49ers have enough information to make an informed decision on Foster, who is not taking part in the club’s offseason program.

“We just feel right now that we don’t have all the information,” Lynch said. “Everyone looks at that and says, ‘The DA’s has levied charges, how is that not enough information?’ I would tell you that each one of these cases is unique, and in this case we don’t feel like we have that information, so we’re going to wait and let this play out.”

Lynch said the 49ers are preparing for the possibility that Foster might not play again for the 49ers. He said the club has been in contract with the league office, while also trying to facilitate structure for him outside the organization while his teammates are attending the offseason program.

Four important questions about 49ers' first-round pick

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AP

Four important questions about 49ers' first-round pick

The 49ers do not control their own draft destiny.

With the No. 9 overall pick, the 49ers’ selection will, in part, be based on what happens in the first eight draft slots. Of course, they could move up or back. But that would involve finding a trade partner.

The answers to these questions will shape the 49ers’ actions on Thursday in the first round of the NFL draft:

Will a linebacker be best on the board?
Reuben Foster’s time with the 49ers might not be over, but it is unclear how much time he is going to miss or how much the 49ers can rely on him to be a long-term member of the organization.

Roquan Smith (Georgia) and Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech) are considered the top two options at linebacker, and either one of them could be the best available player on the board when the 49ers select.

Smith is a high-character, instinctive, athletic player who can step in and immediately become the team’s leading tackler. Edmunds is big, young and raw. Smith is close to a sure thing. Edmunds’ upside is unlimited.

Could Chubb or Nelson be around?
The 49ers have struggled to find a pass rush since Aldon Smith’s departure. Bradley Chubb (North Carolina State) is the best edge rusher in the draft, and would be a nice fit for the 49ers’ scheme. But the 49ers should not hold their breath. Chubb and running back Saquon Barkley (Penn State) are expected be the first non-quarterbacks selected.

Although unlikely, it is possible guard Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame) could still be on the board when the 49ers select. The 49ers believe they have strengthened their guard positions – or at least strengthened the competition – with the signing of Jonathan Cooper. Laken Tomlinson and Joshua Garnett are slated to compete, along with Cooper, for the starting jobs.

Nelson is big and powerful. He is also athletic enough to fit into Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, which places a lot more responsibility on the shoulders of the guards that most systems. Nelson could be chosen at any of the three spots (Indianapolis, Tampa Bay or Chicago) before the 49ers are scheduled to go on the clock. If he remains there at No. 9, the guess is the 49ers would gladly call his name.

Who is the best fit in the secondary?
There are some very good defensive backs who will be drafted within the first dozen picks. But which of those players gives the 49ers what they need or want?

Cornerback Denzel Ward (Ohio State), and safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama) and Derwin James (Florida State) are the consensus top defensive backs available in this draft.

Ward’s speed and coverage skills are outstanding. But his size (5-11, 183) and non-physical style do not match what the 49ers want from their cornerbacks.

Fitzpatrick can play just about anywhere in the secondary. James is tough and aggressive. Strong safety is his best fit.

Fitzpatrick is good in the slot, where the 49ers already have K’Waun Williams at nickel back. At cornerback, the 49ers have presumptive starters Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. Safety Jimmie Ward will play on the outside in the offseason program.

At safety, Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are scheduled for unrestricted free agency next offseason, so the 49ers could look ahead to what might be a need a year from now. Adrian Colbert looks to be a keeper.

Will a surprise really be a surprise?
So who is the second-best pass rusher? Who is the second-best offensive lineman? And would the 49ers consider either of those players worthy of a top-10 selection?

The 49ers must look to address their looming issues at offensive tackle, and Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame) could be considered. Joe Staley might have a couple of good seasons left in him. But right tackle Trent Brown couild be gone after this season.

And how about the need for an edge rusher? It would not be much of a stretch for the 49ers to consider Marcus Davenport (Texas-San Antonio) or Harold Landry (Boston College).

Cornerback is also a position the 49ers could consider. Isaiah Oliver (Colorado) and Josh Jackson (Iowa) are the best fits for the 49ers’ scheme.

The 49ers were not willing to spend money for a wide receiver in free agency, so they can be expected to add someone in the draft. But a top-10 pick would seem too high to go target any of the top guys: Calvin Ridley (Alabama), D.J. Moore (Maryland) or Courtland Sutton (SMU).