Over the week you may have come across that report that there are still scouts not satisfied with the current state of the 49ers, or as the report put it: “feeling demoralized.” Kyle wrote about it and brought some juicy quotes on the Solomon Thomas drafting and the lack of discussion over a quarterback in 2017.
Naturally, this would come up in a press conference. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch answered some questions on that and the reports of “friction” in the building. This is about as candid as one can get over the reports. Rather than paraphrase, I’m going to paste the lengthy answers to this:
John Lynch: “No, I think we have a really good process going. And I can’t speak for people that aren’t here anymore, but I know that change is never 100-percent comfortable. I think the way we chose to do this may be different from some others, it’s the way we think is best. Ultimately, I think one thing we’re really proud of is that we try to surround ourselves with a really good team. We really pride ourselves on listening to everyone and everyone’s voices being heard and ultimately two people have been charged with making decisions to give this team the best opportunity to win and that’s Kyle and myself and that’s the way it is. I think it’s what I feel and what our scouts feel are very harmonious and I think we feel really good about the process. Like I said, change is never easy so sometimes things are different, but I think we are in a really good place.”
Kyle Shanahan: “Yeah, I’ve been in a lot of buildings and more people have a voice in here than any place I’ve ever been in. But ultimately, you’ve got to take in a lot of information and when it comes down to it, in every building, one or possibly two people get to make a decision and in our building John and I ultimately have to do that. We listen to everyone, we take a lot in, but that’s the NFL, I get it. I remember being a quality control working 18 hours a day and being very upset when [Oakland Raiders head coach] Jon Gruden didn’t use the play I gave him and I was pissed about it. But, I also knew he was the head coach and the play caller and that’s the way it is and I had a job to do and that’s how this league works. You try to work your way up and you try to do as good as you can and always put yourself in every position. But ultimately, someone has that spot that has to make that and if we ever make a decision that 100-percent of our building is on the same page with then I think we have some phony people in the building, that never happens. You are going to always have people disagree. But ultimately, you’ve got to come to a decision. We explain to people that decision more than anyone and if people have a problem with that then I’m glad they’re in another building.”
From what the initial report said (or what I gathered anyways) it seemed like scouts were annoyed that their suggestions and reports were getting tossed aside. Shanahan makes a great point that someone is going to be making decisions and they won’t please everyone.
Something to bring up also is that this is different than when Trent Baalke was in charge. As many of you know, Baalke had a scout’s mentality and would go on the road, even as a general manager. There were reports he’d clash with the coaching staff over picks, most notably Dak Prescott.
There’s no way we’ll ever know who the disgruntled people are in the building, but it is important to note that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan held onto most of the scouting department in the transition from Baalke to the new regime. Just because Baalke wasn’t popular with the fans doesn’t mean everyone in and out of the building hated him. It’s probably nice having a boss who knows where you’re coming from and did the job before getting the promotion.
An obvious change of structure occurred when Lynch took over and when you go from the scout’s scout in Baalke to a head coach who is going to have more power in personnel decisions, that can cause some friction on change alone. Remember, Baalke had been running things since Mike Singletary, that’s over five years. Kyle Shanahan isn’t a scout, so when he walks in and is making decisions—especially when coaches didn’t have much say otherwise—some could resent the whole thing for the change, and concern Shanahan doesn’t see where they are coming from. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t, but perhaps it’s harder when he’s making decisions and didn’t come up from a scouting background.
Not everyone is going to be happy with every decision, change, etc. As Shanahan said, he’s happy those are out of the building. If the 49ers start winning in 2019, this should be a non-issue, but I wouldn’t be surprised if more of this starts brewing as losses pile up.