After Jed York extended a warm welcome to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to Levi’s Stadium Thursday afternoon, media members hurled questions at the newest members of the 49ers family.
After weeks of speculation, the 49ers named Lynch as general manager last month, and tapped Shanahan as head coach on Monday. Shanahan joins San Francisco after serving as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator during the 2015-16 season, finishing his brief tenure with a disheartening loss to New England in Super Bowl LI.
Shanahan thanked the 49ers’ front office for the head coach position, and then his former team, the Falcons:
“I want to be a head coach my whole life. For Jed (York) to allow John (Lynch) and I to come together and make changes, no matter what they are, there will be results…It’s that simple. We don’t always make the right decisions, but we’re going to hold people accountable. We’re going to do it the right way.”
Lynch also expressed gratitude to the 49ers’ front office, starting with a “Thanks Jed!”
“I first want a moment to show my appreciation for Jed, Danielle and the entire York family for really showing the confidence in Kyle (Shanahan) and I … They saw the opportunity. They saw my excitement … That being said, today (Thursday) is about the future of this team (49ers).”
Shanahan was generally seen as a quality head coaching candidate, though Lynch is a more questionable choice. Lynch played for 15 seasons as a standout smash-mouth safety, but possesses no experience working in an NFL front office. With the head coach reporting to the general manager, the upcoming duo of Lynch and Shanahan could raise concerns over the 49ers future.
When asked about his lack of experience, Lynch responded:
“I gotta surround myself with a great team. I’ve already done that. Adam Peters has joined us as the vice president of player personnel and Adam is an incredibly skilled evaluator in talent. We’ve also made another hire, a former teammate of mine and general manager, Martin Mayhew, has joined us as the senior personnel executive. We also have Tom Gamble in this room and he has experience … I’m encouraged with what we have already…I know people and I know how to lead, but I’ll learn the rest.”
The 49ers are in need of a quarterback, along with wide receivers and pass rushers. Shanahan has a wide range of options at quarterback, ranging from North Carolina prospect Mitch Trubisky to veteran Matt Schaub. With multiple offensive players on the injured reserve list, the 49ers’ offense needs to be revamped for the time being until regulars return.
When asked who he would like to see as a new quarterback, Shanahan responded:
“That’s a pretty easy answer because there’s not one absolute answer in the league (NFL). Everyone wants the best quarterback, left tackle, wide receiver there is … That’s what you’re always trying to find. That’s what you’re always hoping to get … That’s why there’s no offseason.”
Aside from underrated defensive end DeForest Buckner, the 49ers need to bolster their pass rush to improve their defense and force the opposing quarterback into mistakes. In 2016, Buckner recorded six sacks, 30 assisted tackles and 43 total tackles for a combined 73 tackles.