York: 'You have to be willing to change path if you've made a mistake'

York: 'You have to be willing to change path if you've made a mistake'

CEO Jed York and the 49ers are coming off what was universally regarded as one of the most-successful hauls in this year’s NFL draft.

But the 49ers entered with the No. 2 overall pick because the club fell over the past three seasons from 8-8 to 5-11 to 2-14 under three different head coaches. York has been criticized, and that’s the way it should be, York said Wednesday during an appearance on the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”

“That’s who you should question,” York said. “This isn’t where we want to be. We don’t want to be a 2-14 team. And you don’t want to be a team that has its fourth head coach in four years. But you also have to be willing to change path if you’ve made a mistake and know that we’re not going to settle for being a 9-7 team.

“That’s not where we want to be. If you want to make your team great, you have to do everything that you can to get back up to that level. And that’s where we are. And we will get there. We had three NFC Championship games in a row sandwiched between a Super Bowl loss. It’s close, but that’s not where we want to be. We want to be a team that consistently competes for it. And when it’s all said and done, and John (Lynch), Kyle (Shanahan) and I look backward, we want to know that we won more together than anybody else.”

On the final weekend of the season, York fired general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly. He ultimately hired Lynch as general manager to pair with Shanahan, the former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, as head coach.

York was in the 49ers’ draft room and watched how the new 49ers regime navigated the seven-round draft with six trades, including two first-day blockbusters that enabled the organization to select Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas and Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. Thomas and Foster were two of the top three players on the 49ers’ draft board.

“I don’t know that there’s enough data to assess where are they and where do they stack against everybody else,” York said. “What I’ll say is, I think the draft was a perfect example of how they work together.

“And watching John and Kyle work together, and watching how the scouts and the coaches work together. I have no idea whether it was a good draft or not -- we’ll find out three years from now -- but it certainly worked out the way we wanted it to because we planned for it. We were ready. And we executed because we were all on the same page.”

One of the big questions as the 49ers enter this season is whether the quarterback position is strong enough to win a lot of games this season. The 49ers have gone through a transition at quarterback with the depth chart comprised of veterans Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, draft pick C.J. Beathard of Iowa, and undrafted rookie Nick Mullens of Southern Mississippi.

“When you look at Kyle Shanahan, an offensive-minded guy who has history with the 49ers, directly and indirectly, I think he’s going to do a great job – he’s done a great job with Brian Hoyer in the past,” York said. “And I think he’s going to continue to do a great job with Brian. Brian has grown in his career, and I think he’s ready to be a good quarterback for us.

“So that’s a position, until you get your guy, you have to keep taking shots. As much as we compete with the guys up north (Seattle), they did that very well. They signed (Matt) Flynn to a big contract but they still drafted one they like, who happens to be Russell Wilson. And until you’re set, you can never stop taking shots to get your guy at quarterback because that’s what ultimately drives this league.”

49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks


49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks

The 49ers hosted two veteran cornerbacks on free-agent visits the past two days and could be signing either Jaylen Watkins or LaDarius Gunter as they wind down their activity on the free-agent market.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve done,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday. “I’ll never say never. We’ve had a couple of guys visit in the last couple of days. Perhaps we’ll do something there. But for the most part, we’re wrapped up and pleased with what we’ve been able to do.”

The 49ers do not have much depth behind presumptive starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. The team is also likely to add to its depth in the draft.

The 49ers met with Gunter (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) on Thursday. Gunter, 25, started 15 games for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He recorded 54 tackles and broke up 12 passes. He signed with the Packers in 2015 as an undrafted rookie from Miami.

Gunter was waived at the beginning of last season and the Carolina Panthers claimed him. He appeared in just four games with Carolina, which did not tender him as a restricted free agent.

The 49ers on Wednesday met with Watkins, 26, a versatile defensive back who appeared in 36 games with five starts in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Watkins (5-11, 195) played three snaps on defense and 17 plays on special teams in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. He entered the NFL in 2014 as a fourth-round draft pick from Florida.

Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'


Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'

STANFORD – Free-agent safety Eric Reid chatted with 49ers general manager John Lynch on the sideline, then moved into position onto the field for an up-close view of his brother’s pro day workout Thursday at Stanford University.

Younger brother, Justin, is aiming to be a first-round draft pick like Eric, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Both football futures of the Reid brothers remain uncertain. Justin's fate will be determined on draft day. Eric Reid remains in limbo as an NFL free agent. He has not gotten any action in the first week of free agency, and the 49ers have not made him a contract offer, he said.

But Lynch said the 49ers are closely monitoring Reid’s situation. However, the organization already has three safeties they like: Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert.

“Eric played and played well for us last year,” Lynch said. “I think he’s stuck in a safety market that’s been quiet. And I would anticipate things starting to shake for him and we’ll see.

“I’d never say never. I really do think opportunities will start to come his way. We’ve been monitoring it closely and we’ll see how that shakes out.”

Reid, 26, a six-year NFL veteran, said his agent has spoken recently to “a couple of teams,” but no contracts or visits have been proposed.

Reid’s market might be impacted by his up-front role in the protests of racial inequality of the past two seasons. Reid and Colin Kaepernick were the first players to take a knee during the national anthem at the beginning of the 2016 season.

Reid said he would probably not take part in any future protests during the national anthem.

“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on.

“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”

Reid said he has no regrets. He said he is willing to deal with the consequences of how NFL teams viewed his role in the protests.

“I stand by what I’ve done,” Reid said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident I did what I was called to do. I’m just gong to stay positive and keep trying to stay in shape and wait and see what happens.

“I said at the end of last season I’m OK no matter what happens.”