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49ers GM John Lynch was named the Pro Football Writers 2019 Executive of the Year

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What a year for San Francisco

Cleveland Browns v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

It’s been quite the season for the San Francisco 49ers. A year ago, the team was selecting second overall and coming off a four-win season. Injuries to several key players, especially your quarterback, will put you in a position to draft high. Fortunately for the Niners, Nick Bosa was sitting at No. 2 overall:

“It’s definitely helped. Everything happens for a reason, and you need to get good players in, some difference-makers, and Bosa has definitely been a difference-maker. I’m very glad we have him. I don’t wish 4-12 on anybody, but after going through it, it was nice what it brought us.”

Lynch helped changed the culture of this team and brought in guys that have high character and a strong passion for the game. If you look at box scores and games played, you’ll come away with this take:

Before his injury, Alexander was arguably the best coverage linebacker in the game. If Ford plays like he did last week, his contract is worth it because San Francisco may not lose again if he’s healthy. So spare me on those injuries. Coleman just ran for 100 yards in a playoff game. To be fair, Packer fans have been talking themselves into how their defensive line is better than the Niners all morning because ESPN’s “pass block win/rush rate” says so. A stat that uses shoulder chips to measure offensive and defensive line play. What could go wrong?

Anyway, this is about Lynch and his incredible season. Trading for Emmanuel Sanders didn’t just help Jimmy Garoppolo; it helped Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne understand what it takes to be receivers in the NFL. His leadership, along with Richard Sherman’s, has gone a long way in the growth of this team. Those are the type of moves that should be celebrated. The moves that have a domino effect. Every NFL team suffers injuries throughout the season, and their depth is tested. The 49ers rolled out a rookie fifth-round pick to replace their prized free-agent linebacker and hardly missed a beat. Signing Jimmie Ward to a one-year deal proved to be arguably Lynch’s best move. Ward has been incredible this season. You can go down the list, from Ben Garland and Daniel Brunskill to gems like Emmanuel Moseley. The personnel staff for the 49ers did an excellent job of finding players that fit what this team wants to do on both sides of the ball.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh won the PFWA Coach of the Year, while Baltimore’s offensive coordinator and former 49ers coordinator Greg Roman won the assistant coach of the year. I understand the frustrating that Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh didn’t win, but Baltimore was rolling all season. You could make an argument for Bills coach Sean McDermott as well. Shanahan would much rather be playing this weekend than accepting an award.