As the losses continue to pile on for the San Francisco 49ers, there’s one unfortunate consequence I’ve been dreading:
The locker room collapse.
The 49ers have found themselves in games committing an abundance of turnovers, falling further into the pits of mediocrity despite having a roster that would suggest otherwise (fight me on that). I keep waiting for someone to step up; Reports that Kyle Shanahan has lost the locker room; Reports that players are pointing the finger and getting tense; Reports that Richard Sherman, one of the most talented—and most important—members on the defense would want out of this swamp.
Nope. Not a peep. The team picks each other up. C.J. Beathard is playing terrible football? Shanahan won’t throw him under the bus. Players getting bad communications and not syncing up? Not hearing them point the finger, act frustrated, or give some sort of canned response holding back their annoyance of having to be in this situation.
When Sherman calls his players out (none by name) he says they need to execute, the coaches are calling good games. And the players don’t fight back, they listen. How do I know? Because you haven’t heard of the locker room falling apart.
For the last few days after the Rams loss, it seemed like the perfect time to for someone—my money was on Sherman—to say they had enough.
Nothing. In fact Sherman indicated the opposite.
There’s a lot of questionable moves you can place on John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan; their draft picks haven’t worked out, their free agency activity is questionable in their early goings, their teams are victims of bad coaching, but there’s one move that isn’t questionable—they got the right mindset in their locker room. The toxicity you may find for a team that had expectations that weren’t 1-6 at the very least is nowhere to be found.
Again: Sherman hasn’t asked for a trade or out. It’s all going according to plan for him. A long term plan. And the locker room stands behind him and for one another as they go through this very trying period.
There’s a lot of things we can raise an eyebrow for with this 49ers team. A unified and encouraging locker room is one thing Shanahan and Lynch got right.