The San Francisco 49ers’ decision to hire John Lynch as general manager brought up flashbacks to when the Detroit Lions hired Matt Millen out of the broadcast booth with zero personnel experience. Millen’s time in Detroit was an absolute disaster, and so it is reasonable to be at least a little hesitant when it comes to hiring somebody with no executive experience.
On Thursday, former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci met with the media as part of NFL Network availability. Mariucci has plenty of opinions about the 49ers, but he also spent three seasons with the Detroit Lions after John York fired him. Millen fired Marty Mornhinweg, and replaced him with Mariucci. Millen fired Mariucci 12 games into his third season with the team.
Mariucci chatted with Matt Maiocco at the media session, and discussed the Millen-Lynch comparison. Mariucci said that one issue for Millen was that he made all the decisions. He said, “John will listen.” That reads like Millen was ignoring advice around him in making decisions. It does not read as a positive comment about Millen.
Mariucci acknowledged Lynch’s lack of experience, but he pointed to his relationships around the league. And as Maiocco pointed out in the article, the 49ers will likely have a more collaborative team in place between Lynch, Kyle Shanahan, and Adam Peters.
That’s what keeps me moderately optimistic for the time being. Lynch comes across as a guy who wants to get things done, but is not going to pretend he knows everything. It certainly does not guarantee success, but it at least gives us some room for optimism, for now.