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49ers in Five: Quarterback isn’t the only change you should be paying attention to

Replacing people is hard, and the 49ers have had to do plenty of it

While much of the world’s attention has been focused on the 49ers’ change at quarterback, there have been many other changes for the team recently that have gone overlooked. San Francisco’s coaching and executive ranks have undergone a massive turnover while we’ve all waited for Jimmy Garoppolo to find a new home.

Organizations cannot exist on their own. Governments, companies, and teams are only as good as the people of which they are composed. In San Francisco, those people have been changing pretty frequently.

As we’ve detailed before, the 49ers have new coaches at every position group on offense. Kyle Shanahan skipped the Combine in Indianapolis to do “scheme work,” as John Lynch put it, with all the new coaches on the staff. While some of those coaches have been promoted from within, that still leaves people in new positions and, just as important, new people under them. Those dominoes would be difficult enough to deal with, but the team has also seen losses at the executive and football operations levels as well.

In the past two seasons, here is a list of the people we’ve seen leave the organization:

Martin Mayhew

Robert Saleh

Mike McDaniel

Ethan Waugh

Demitrius Washington

Wes Welker

Richard Hightower

Jon Embree

Butch Barry

Zach Yenser

James Bettcher

Rich Scangarello

Bobby Turner (likely back next year)

Granted, change isn’t automatically bad. Many would argue that the 49ers are better off without Richard Hightower coaching the special teams, and I would agree with them. However, just as draft picks are essentially lottery tickets teams use to acquire players, so, too, are hires at other levels of the operation.

Anyone who has ever made a hiring decision can tell you that finding good people to fill a position is a tremendously difficult task. Even the best managers in the world are going to whiff on a few positions here and there with a big enough sample size.

So as we wait with bated breath for Trey Lance to take the field at OTAs so we can finally get an extended look at the future of the franchise, we need to remember that the players’ success is also determined by the team behind them. People like Martin Mayhew, Ethan Waugh, and former Director of Research and Development Demitrius Washington all help inform the decisions of more well-known figures like Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. In the case of the 49ers, those informants are going to look a lot different than they did even a few years ago.

Make sure you follow the Niners Nation Podcast Network, and you can get up to date on everything happening with the team with the 49ers in Five podcast. You’ll hear the best parts of press conferences, radio interviews, and anything else going on with the 49ers that you need to know - all in about five minutes.