Your day drinking game of buzzwords for the Shanahan-Lynch press conference

Your day drinking game of buzzwords for the Shanahan-Lynch press conference

Programming note: Watch the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan introductory press conference on Thursday at 1pm on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Day drinking is not generally encouraged as a pastime for the obvious medical, social and cultural reasons, but you know someone is thinking about the 49ers’ annual Meet The New Guy press conference Thursday and thinking “drinking game.”
In this case it will be “Guys,” as in new general manager John Lynch and his co-worker/putative superior, head coach Kyle Shanahan, so the mood of the day will be “buzzwords.” Lots and lots of diffuse, amorphopus, obfuscatory Silicon Valley-quality buzzwords.
Like “culture.” The 49ers are big on talking about “culture,” as though the front office is just some giant social experiment of indulgent chatterboxes with agendas that need constant airing. Jed York has talked often about “re-establishing a championship culture,” which of course brings back thoughts of the winning culture that was there under the tenure of The Coach Who Shall Not Be Named. In other words, “culture” probably means “winning without giving the owner a crippling eye-throbbing migraine three of every four days.”
That’s a drink.
So is “culture’s” bastard son, “winning environment.” A “winning environment” is also known as “winning,” which the 49ers tried briefly earlier in the decade before giving it up for the greater glories of chain of command. Why the single word “winning” doesn’t suffice as a buzzword only reminds us that adding words does not link directly to added clarity, but it does help obfuscate whatever point is being made and makes the user sound like a middle-management nitwit sound more self-important than he or she deserves.
That’s a drink  -- probably a brandy snifter of whatever is closest to the bartender’s hand. And it’s also a memo from HR about disrespecting people in offices.
Another beauty that will be cited often is “one of the league’s marquee teams.” Yeah, a generation ago, maybe. That hasn’t been true for most of the last 15 years, and 15 years is one-seventh of the entire life span of the National Football League. In short, the Harbaugh Years were more an aberration than a link to the good old days, and using a distant past as a shield is not all that different than the Turks claiming they are a mighty nation based on once being the seat of the Ottoman Empire. In other words, the glorious past will not save the nebulous future – only the future will, which is why Lynchahan was brought in.
So yeah, that’s a drink. Probably a beer stein or Thermos, only filled to the brim with Glenmorangie neat to insure a smooth aftertaste and  temporary blindness.

And finally, the gold standard – “face of the franchise.” The 49ers are especially big on this one, because it means someone is designated to talk to the world while about eight other people quietly leak things to favored media types. It’s meant in this case to offer up one of the new hires as the designee who has to do the pressers when things go to crap.
The brutal fact is, faces of franchises aren’t designated, they just happen, and if your team’s FOTF isn’t a player, your team is eyelids-deep in five-win seasons. The face of the Patriots is Tom Brady. The face of the Packers is Aaron Rodgers. The face of the Raiders is Derek Carr, although it will be Mark Davis with a red slash across his haircut if the team gets permission to move to Las Vegas.
But Lynch and Shanahan will be cited as a great advancement in this pointless FOTF concept, and as long as that is so, the franchise will be feckless and weak and easily mocked. It is up to the two of them to draft, trade for, sign or otherwise develop the face of the franchise. If they do, they will have done very well indeed. If they don’t, the face of the franchise will continue to be a biplane with “Fire (Fill In The Blank), He Sucks.”
So yeah, a drink. Hell, if they pull that one out, buy drinks for the bar.
Thus, day drinking will happen Thursday, and unless we miss our guess, a lot of drinks will be poured. But a helpful warning from your friends at CSN (both of them; most of us couldn’t give a 47th of a damn either way) to you – just be careful out there. Oh, and make sure you bring someone along who doesn’t care about the 49ers at all. That’s the one you give the car keys to, got it?

Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season


Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season

Frank Gore is returning home to, in all likelihood, finish his professional football career.

Gore, 34, signed a one-year contract to enter his 14th NFL season with his hometown Miami Dolphins, the team announced Friday.

Gore grew up in Coconut Grove, Florida, and attended Coral Gables High School before playing collegiately at the University of Miami.

He played the first 10 NFL seasons with the 49ers and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. Gore ranks fifth in NFL history with 14,026 rushing yards – just 75 yards behind No. 4 Curtis Martin.

After rushing for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns with the 49ers, the club declined to offer him a multi-year contract following the 2014 season. Gore played the past three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Gore remains one of the most popular players in 49ers history. When asked recently if he would be willing to “retire” as a member of the 49ers after his final game, Gore reacted enthusiastically about the possibility.

1, Emmitt Smith 18,355
2, Walter Payton 16,726
3, Barry Sanders 15,269
4, Curtis Martin 14,101
5, Frank Gore 14,026

49ers increase competition for starting guard positions


49ers increase competition for starting guard positions

The 49ers are the fifth team to give Jonathan Cooper a chance after he arrived in the NFL as the No. 7 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 draft.

Cooper, 28, caught the attention of the 49ers with his career-high 13 starts last season with the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $4.95 million contract this week.

“We signed him to compete for one of the guard spots as a starter,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday at Stanford's pro day. “He played very well in our minds for Dallas last year and kind of resurrected his career. He’s battled injuries, but we really like the way he played, and we think he’s a very good fit for what we do. So we were pleased to add him.”

The 49ers plan to take it slowly this offseason with Cooper, who underwent surgery after tearing the medial-collateral ligament in his left knee during the final game of the season. The 49ers report for the offseason program in mid-April.

The 49ers are certain to have at least two new starters on the offensive line. Former New York Giants center Weston Richburg was signed to replace Daniel Kilgore, who was subsequently traded to the Miami Dolphins. Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games at right guard, signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent.

Laken Tomlinson has a chance to hold onto a starting job. Acquired shortly before the start of the regular season in a trade from the Detroit Lions, Tomlinson quickly moved into the starting lineup at left guard and started the final 15 games. Tomlinson was a first-round draft pick of the Lions in 2015.

“Laken played very well the longer he was there,” Lynch said. “I think people forget with Laken, he came here in Week 1. He was kind of force-fed. We didn’t have many options. But we saw a guy get better throughout the season. He’ll get his opportunity.”

Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2016, spent last season on injured reserve due to an a knee injury sustained in training camp. The 49ers challenged Garnett to get in better physical condition. He has been cleared for football activity.

“Joshua Garnett has been working extremely hard, so he’ll be in that mix,” Lynch said. “He did a great job embracing the time he has last year to improve as a player. He remade his body and we're looking forward to see him get after it in the offseason.

“I think he’s excited about it. He’s feeling sexy, as he says.”

Erik Magnuson, 24, won a spot on the 49ers’ roster after signing as an undrafted rookie from Michigan. Magnuson could enter into the competition at guard. He displayed unique versatility in his first season, starting two games at right tackle before sustaining a season-ending foot injury. He can also serve as a backup center.

And, perhaps, the 49ers are not finished adding to the competition. The team owns the No. 9 overall selection, and Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson could be on the radar in the unlikely event he is not selected within the top eight picks.

When asked if the 49ers could also add another player to the mix with a draft pick, Lynch answered, “We’ll see. We’re always looking to get better there.”