Over the weekend, I discussed the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch hiring with a friend and our combined optimism for the future. We also agreed we weren’t expecting much from the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. But he made a point:
“I wasn’t expecting much from them in 2016, because we were doing this same thing with Chip Kelly.”
The point was—the 49ers were rebuilding under Kelly and after only one year of this said project, Jed York hit the nuclear button and canned former 49ers GM Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly, after the latter had only one season.
That team showed no improvement through the season, only more and more decay. Fundamental mistake after fundamental mistake made a nice pile of pulled hair gather on floors everywhere. Getting outran/outhit/outcoached is one thing, but the questionable play delivered came more from a coaching level than a talent level.
When John Lynch was hired, the words “be patient” came in a lot of his opening speeches. He told the fans to be patient several times. The 49ers organization told the fans to be patient as well with a 6-year contract for both Lynch and Shanahan.
The problem is, how patient can fans be? No doubt over-analyzing schemes and play will again show up in 2017—especially if the 49ers go on to finish with just three or four wins. While the approval factor of the front office has gone up a few notches, it only takes a few losses for that crowd to completely turn on you. Former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was even booed from time to time.
Now that the draft has happened, free agency acquisitions are made, and the season is quickly approaching—patience is definitely now being put to the test. Especially when the 49ers made all those sweet moves during the offseason.
For me, 2017 is sort of a dummy year of sorts. The 49ers don’t even have an offensive coordinator, rather choosing to have Shanahan run the offense and figure out a coordinator later. That’s fine: if a chef opens up a restaurant, you’ll find he’ll delay on hiring a head chef until his recipes are implemented the way he wants it and he has someone who will make sure the food is to his liking. The same can be said for the 49ers. There will be scheming and installation. I’ll have to not take some missed assignments or missed opportunities as not being catastrophic.
Year 2, improvement is crucial. If I can see the team to 8-8, that’d be a success. 9-7 or 10-6, with or without a playoff appearance and Jed York may as well scratch out another check. The 49ers roster is that bad, and if it improves that much in two years, Shanahan is the second coming of Vince Lombardi. 7-9 or 8-8 is about the sweet spot. Year 3, give me some wins. If the 49ers can’t put together a winning record while losing close games (I always say it’s not losing but HOW you’re losing), then my patience is exhausted.
Of course, this structured expectation all gets thrown out the window if the 49ers go 10-6 and win the NFC West or some crazy thing like that in 2017. No one thought the 49ers would win so much as a Pong match in 2011, Jim Harbaugh’s first year as head coach (and many said the roster was in shambles), and the team wound up in the NFC Championship game with a roster many quoted as the best.
How much patience do you have for this? I have a poll.
How much patience do you give John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan?
This poll is closed
Only so many loses in 2017 before someone needs to go