Last week I was fortunate enough to get an interview with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia. The interview was part of a promotion for the new American Flag Football League. The league is holding a Launch Game on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in San Jose. Garcia will be providing color commentary for a stream of it.
I went into that interview planning to ask him a lot of the obvious, hoping for another perspective. What actually happened was I wound up asking more about his journey through the NFL, one he wasn’t supposed to even be on. Words cannot describe how fascinating it was to hear him tell that story.
But I also did get a chance to ask him about the current state of the 49ers, past and present. One of the first questions I asked him was about the hires of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. I brought up his own prior interest in the then-vacant head coaching role via a tweet he thumbed out.
Garcia chuckled as I read the tweet and had this to say:
“Well, first of all I know John Lynch real well. We lived in the same neighborhood in San Diego, our kids go to school together. I’ve gotten to see a lot of him over the last couple of years. He’s a very smart, intellectual football player. I think even though he doesn’t come in with front office experience, he comes in with football experience.
“As far as Shanahan is concerned; The guy is a very good offensive mind. He’s had great success in the National Football League with the Atlanta Falcons in running his style of offense which is from his dad’s lineage, coaching tree. He can handle very well in being able to put that into place in creating a culture where guys will buy and believe what he’s coaching and preaching. I think that it’s a step in the right direction. We’ll only know through time and how they access and how they bring a team together and how they add athletes to create a better locker room environment to where these guys are working together and battling one another and doing the necessary things that will allow them to compete at the highest level in the national football league. “
Lynch does address one concern Garcia had stated in an interview with KNBR a few months back and that was hiring executives who have no playing experience at the NFL level. Rather than hire an executive they hired someone with NFL playing experience.
I then asked him what he thought of the decisions made by the duo after their hiring and if he approved or if he was on the fence about them.
“I’m not sitting here watching every move that they are making. I thought what they did in the draft, they made some very positive picks assessing defensive needs and going about it in that sort of a direction. I think before you can have really have a team that competes at a high level, you really need to have a strong defense. Now, granted, that was something the 49ers had when Patrick Willis was in the mix and those guys were playing on all cylinders. Well that’s kind of fallen off a bit the last couple of years. So getting back to that platform where they are a top-10 defensive team in the league is going to be important. Along the way they can showcase things on offense. I think bringing in a guy like Brian Hoyer who has a good understanding of the system. When he was in Cleveland and on the field, he actually ran it well and was successful. It wasn’t able to happen throughout the entire season due to injury and due to situations that were out there in Cleveland. But I think he’s a good guy to use right now to step in and be a leader. He has good NFL experience he can continue to translate that into a performance on the field.”
Garcia also doesn’t have any resentment for not getting more interest than he did (which was next to nothing), instead taking it as a blessing. He admitted that not coaching lets have time with his wife and kids. Time that would most likely not be there had he become the next coach of the 49ers.