The San Francisco 49ers front office and coaching staff appear to be turning over a new leaf with regard to transparency, but that is not going to stop the last few jokes about how things used to be.
HBO television show Ballers had a new episode Monday evening, and former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown made an appearance. I have only seen a couple episodes from the first season, but it appears some kind of information is leaking out of The Rock’s company (employer? his business? I don’t know). Tim Brown says, “We want to stay under the radar. Not like the 49ers, leaking every piece of information they get. What happens in the building stays in the building.”
Jay Glazer makes an occasional appearance on the show, with seven appearances over the course of three seasons. Given his involvement in the show, I would not be surprised if he might have had a hand in getting that line in the episode.
The past handful of years were filled with regular leaks about the head coach, the quarterback, and eventually the GM himself. There was speculation on the sources of the leaks, but whomever it was, it left the organization feeling entirely toxic. And given how bad things got on the field between 2014 and 2016, it was probably somewhat fitting.
This offseason however, we have seemingly seen a change in the organization. The team hired John Lynch to serve as general manager and Kyle Shanahan to serve as head coach. Both men received six year contracts, indicating they will get a serious opportunity to turn around the on-field product.
However, through six months, we are seeing a very distinct change in culture. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have brought a level of transparency we have not seen in a long time. And to be perfectly honest, the level of transparency is impressive for any NFL team. Lynch and Shanahan protect secrets, but they are open when it comes to answering questions about reports and news that is already out there. We saw it during the offseason with their responses to the Vance McDonald and NaVorro Bowman trade rumors. And we have seen it in training camp with the daily practice participation report.
The participation report may not seem like a huge deal, but dating back to when I started NN in December 2006, I don’t recall ever seeing a training camp participation report. It is not information that is going to make or break the team, but the coaching staff and front office had kept a tight lid on any injury news. The 49ers have been pretty straight forward about injuries through the first week and a half of training camp.
We don’t know if this will translate to on-field success, but changing the culture was a critical first move. The team takes the field this Friday for the first time against an opponent, so we’ll start to get some on-field answers at that point. In the meantime, things at least appear to be moving in the right direction.