Last week, the San Francisco 49ers—and their fanbase by extension—got a jolt by a report from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. Miller said there was “friction” between Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, with potential breakup a possibility. Naturally, that prompted a flurry of denials from the 49ers and the beat writers also saying they hadn’t seen anything as Miller suggested. One week later, Miller joined Matt Maiocco on the 49ers Insider Podcast to go over the report and offer a bit of background behind it.
They don’t waste any time and jump right into the report at the 3:26-minute mark:
“First of all, I was so surprised. I was on a flight when this article [Miller’s notebook]. So I missed a lot the initial reaction. I honestly thought some other tidbits in this story would be bigger news than this. I think to answer your question, I know that Kyle said what he said and John has come out and been a little more political about his denial of the story. From everything I’ve been told, there is some friction there. Or was some friction there. Maybe this draft has patched it all up. I think having a duo that’s been together now a couple years and they haven’t been able to win, they haven’t been productive. I think that, at least one of the things that I heard, was there was some finger pointing. That picks like Joe Williams, Solomon Thomas or C.J. Beathard, picks like that didn’t work out. Those are early picks. Guys that you expect, several years in to be, if not starters, at least high-level backups, building blocks for your team. The fact that those picks have not panned out that there was some—and I’ll keep using that same word, because the word that was told to me—there is some friction right there. LIke I said, I’m a Niners fan. I still identify as one. I want this team to win. I was at the Super Bowl they lost to the Ravens and I’m screaming like a fan like everyone else. I want this team to do well and win in my heart of hearts. In that same side of that, I have to—just like you [Maiocco] have to—report on the information people give me.”
Whether Miller—and his source by extension— are correct in this friction is in the eye of the beholder. He’s sticking by his report, that’s for sure. The other question fans have had wasn’t the report itself but why, with a team like the 49ers that have had a history of leaks, burned bridges and a front office that won’t play nice, would this report go into his draft notebook and not be its own story? Given the history of the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh—and to a lesser extent Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly—the report on its own is huge, or at the very least, possibly higher up than third as Maiocco pointed out.
Which led to a question on that very issue:
“That’s on me, honestly. I would love to tell you that the editors picked the order for this, but maybe I’m just so O.C.D., but I carry a legal pad around with me. People who follow my work for a long time will laugh at that because it’s like an inside joke. So on my legal pad, as I was working on this story, It was honestly just the third article or the third story I have notes on. I had the bit about the Giants misplaying their hand and kind of panicking, the Cardinals not leveraging Josh Rosen correctly and the next item that I worked on or I heard about was the story in San Francisco. So I just went down the line of what hit as the story came to me, more so than “let me shift this around to put what might be the most explosive story at the top. I really thought, I truly believe the note about the Giants taking Daniel Jones and I couldn’t find any other team that had him as their No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback. To me as a draft analyst, a draft fan, that was the bigger story. Maybe because I was in New York for the draft and surrounded by that environment of people losing their minds of the Giants took a quarterback at six and it was Daniel Jones and not Dwayne Haskins or they didn’t wait until 17, in that moment for me, that was the bigger story. ”
Following this, Miller doubled down on his initial report. Miller spoke of a text he received earlier on the day of the podcast. The text was from someone within the 49ers organization who, upon Miller saying he knew the team was not happy with him, the source replied, “because you know what’s going on and aren’t afraid to tell people about it.”
So there you have it, more background on the friction. There’s good stuff on some hypotheticals and what happened in the aftermath of the 2017 season where the 49ers won five straight. I went ahead and time-stamped the entire podcast for you to jump to a specific question. The entire thing is worth a listen.
As far as if there is friction, it’s still up to you.
You can listen to the podcast using the widget above, click here if it doesn’t appear.
01:06 - Background and Miller’s fandom
03:26 - The state of the relationship between Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch
05:10 - Why he had this report as the third item in an NFL-wide article
07:14 - Does he still think there’s friction?
09:20 - The background of Kyle Shanahan hiring
10:14 - Bringing a personnel exec in during the summer of 2017
13:19 - What Maiocco hears
15:13 - Kyle Shanahan’s response to Maiocco
15:27 - A possible calculated move with the source
17:45 - The “joke” that Miller is not a 49ers fan anymore
20:54 - Ties to the Trent Baalke regime
23:40 - His draft sources
25:06 - His view of the 49ers after the 2019 draft