49ers

49ers hire John Lynch as GM

49ers hire John Lynch as GM

The 49ers on Sunday hired former NFL star safety John Lynch as general manager, a source confirmed to CSNBayArea.com on Sunday night.

The team announced the hiring of Lynch at 7 p.m.

Lynch, 45, was hired to cap a weekend that saw presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, meet with known finalists George Paton and Terry McDonough. The hiring of Lynch is a surprise move. Lynch has been an NFL analyst for FOX. He worked the Falcons' 36-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional found of the NFC playoffs and was effusive in his praise of Shanahan.

Lynch and Shanahan will each receive a six-year contracts from the 49ers, a source said. The 49ers' two previous head coaches, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, received four-year contracts. Jim Harbaugh was hired in 2011 on a five-year deal.

Lynch spent Thursday night at the Bay Area home of CEO Jed York on Thursday night before traveling together to Atlanta to meet up with Shanahan. A week earlier, Lynch called Shanahan to offer his services for the GM position, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Lynch, who played football at Stanford under legendary 49ers coach Bill Walsh, is also one of 15 modern-day finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which will be voted on Saturday in Houston.

Shortly after the 49ers concluded the season with a 2-14 season, that included a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak, York announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.

Shanahan was closely involved in the process to hire the team’s general manager. The 49ers interviewed nine other candidates for the job that the team disclosed. CSNBayArea.com reported Sunday there was a mystery candidate, believed to be ESPN analyst Mark Dominik. While a source said the 49ers discussed Dominik, he did not receiver a formal interview.

Paton, Minnesota's assistant general manager, and McDonough, Arizona's vice president of player personnel, were the announced finalists for the job, while Lynch wished to keep his candidacy for the position a secret, a source said.

Among the topics Shanahan covered with the general manager candidates was how the 49ers’ personnel power would be handled, both contractually and functionally, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan has not insisted on control over personnel but he wants to be involved in the decision-making process, a source said.

Now with Lynch, who has no experience working in an NFL front office, Shanahan is expected to wield more power into personnel than he would have if the 49ers had hired an experienced NFL executive for the job.

The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan as head coach until after the Falcons finish their season in Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots on Feb. 5 in Houston.

Lynch played the final four seasons of his NFL career with the Denver Broncos under Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan. Lynch played the first 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a third-round draft pick in 1993.

Lynch was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times in his career. He finished his career with 26 interceptions.

Lynch was drafted to play for the Florida Marlins and in the early 1990s was considering leaving the Stanford football program to pursue a baseball career. But Walsh talked Lynch into continuing to play football after he transitioned from quarterback to safety.

“I’ll never forget the day Coach Walsh called me into his office,” Lynch told the Stanford Daily in 2013. “Bill saw something in me. He called me in that day and said, ‘Look, I understand you got a great opportunity with the Marlins, but I think you can play in the NFL and not only can you play, but you can be a Pro Bowl player. He sold me on coming back, and I did, and the rest is history.”

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

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AP

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

The 49ers got to Russell Wilson in Monday night's 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson was sacked a season-high five times at Levi's Stadium, posting his second-worst passer rating of 2019 (86.9) and a season-low 43.6 QBR. He also threw his second interception of the season and fumbled for the first time since Week 4. 

Yet Wilson did just enough to remain effective in spite of that pressure, showing why he is an MVP frontrunner when he led the Seahawks to their game-winning field-goal drive in overtime. Wilson also employed plenty of misdirection to keep the 49ers' dominant pass rush at bay, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. 

On the season, the 49ers have pressured QBs on 29.7 percent of dropbacks. That 17 percent pressure rate on play-action plays would be 30th-best in the NFL if extended over a full season, just behind the Cincinnati Bengals (17.1 percent) and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders (15.9 percent). 

For reference, those two teams have combined for five fewer sacks (30) than the 49ers have all season. 

Wilson's play-action success could give opposing teams something of a blueprint, and that could trip up the 49ers in their own division down the stretch. In addition to playing the Seahawks once more, the 49ers also will play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 at Levi's. Rams coach Sean McVay loves using play-action, and the Rams were far more efficient last season on play-action passes than traditional ones. The Rams have taken a step back this season and the 49ers kept LA's offense in check in Week 6, but play-action remains a big part of the Rams' offense and the 49ers will have to be ready for it.

[RELATED: 49ers ready to focus on Cardinals after tough Seahawks loss]

It doesn't stop with the Seahawks and Rams. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is known for his play-action abilities, too, while Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers also have been better in play-action this season. The 49ers play Green Bay and Arizona in each of the next two weeks. 

San Francisco has a difficult slate of QBs remaining on its schedule, including ones who succeed where Wilson did Monday night. That's one additional area the 49ers will have to shore up down the stretch. 

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

Despite the 49ers not suffering their first loss until Week 10, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his play in 2019.

He has done enough to lead his team to victories in all but one game this season, but the 49ers haven’t had to ask much of their signal-caller thanks to a dominant defense and a highly-potent running game.

His first chance to make a statement against a great team in prime time didn’t go as expected, as Garoppolo was just above a 50 percent completion percentage and had his worst QB rating (66.2) of the year in Monday night’s 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

"At one point, I remember looking up at the TV, and I said, 'I cannot remember Jimmy Garoppolo playing with happy feet like this,'" King told Mike Florio and Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk. "Look, this is whatever, like his 18th NFL start, so we don't really know him yet, but that was a bad night for Jimmy Garoppolo and for 49ers fans who want to love him, who want to have faith in him."

The 49ers might have fallen in the team’s first true test of 2019, but there are plenty of worthy opponents on the horizon for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why 49ers fans should be optimistic after loss to Seahawks]

After hosting the Cardinals in Week 11, San Francisco will take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a recently flexed matchup on "Sunday Night Football," followed up by trips to Baltimore and New Orleans in consecutive weeks.

So there will be ample opportunity for Jimmy G and his squad to rebound in front of a prime-time audience.