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John Lynch: ‘We have to understand Elijah Mitchell is a heckuva football player’

The 49ers GM also mentioned that Brandon Aiyuk’s decision to play tonight will go down to the wire

San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

49ers general manager John Lynch joined KNBR’s Murph & Mac Show on Wednesday to provide an update on star wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and whether we’ll see more of Elijah Mitchell tonight against the New York Giants.

Let’s start with Mitchell:

“It’s hard to take Christian McCaffrey off the field. It really is. He’s such a dynamic player. But we have to understand that Elijah Mitchell is a heckuva a football player. As is J.P. Mason. So, we’ve got options.

I think Kyle [Shanahan] recognized that. We want to put teams away. We were in a dog fight. But these other guys are really good players. Kyle acknowledged that. Took responsibility. Christian is an excellent football player. Christian wants to be out there.

If we didn’t have guys, that’d be another thing. But we have guys that we’re excited about working into our offense and rhythm.”

Not much insight into whether we’ll see Mitchell. However, Lynch’s overarching point is clear. Christian McCaffrey is one of your best weapons. Not including him in a play feels like you’re doing your offense a disservice — especially when you factor in how the opposing defense reacts to CMC.

If we’re looking at this from Shanahan’s perspective, taking out your top player makes little to no sense. But from a big picture point of view, No. 23 needs to last into January.

As for Aiyuk, the 49ers are going to take the decision to make him active up until game time:

“I think with Brandon, with the Thursday night games, they’re quick turnarounds. So he’s clearly got something irritated in his chest, shoulder area. He’s working really hard to try to get ready. And with these Thursday night games, you take it all the way down there. You don’t have to make your inactives until on Thursday.

So Brandon’s working really hard. He’s a warrior. You can see it in his play. He’s having fun, because everything’s starting to click for him. So I know he’s a guy who doesn’t want to miss. We clearly won’t put them out there if it’s not in his best interest but I think that situation is very fluid.”

Finally, Lynch spoke about newly acquired cornerback Anthony Brown and what the team saw in him:

“We liked the fact that he was on a practice squad. So, he had been getting practice. This is a seven-year starter in our league. We had some injuries with Sammy Womack. Ambry Thomas a little banged up. We’ve been looking for some veteran depth at the cornerback position.

And to be able to find a former starter at a high level who has played both outside and inside gives us a little more versatility. It’s a nice find for us at this point of the season. We kinda have to assess where he’s at at this point of the season. He just got here yesterday, and we’re excited about the opportunity to work with him.

I’ve always liked the player. Rod Marinelli is a good friend of mine and former coach of mine. He always spoke highly of him. It’s somebody that we’ve had our eye on for some time. Everyone is looking for corners all the time. So to be able to add a guy, yeah, there’s a reason he’s available since he is coming off an Achilles. But we’ll learn a little more here in the coming days exactly where he’s at health wise.”

Lynch said there’s a chance Brown could be in uniform tonight as a backup, but “that’s a tall order” since Brown just signed this week.