And, I’m going to do everything that I can to get this right.
- Jed York. January 2, 2017. (Source)
Let me take you back twenty years or so, back to hot, dusty Turlock, CA.
Me: Dad, I’m going to do everything that I can to finally pass geometry this year.
Larry: No, not just pass. You are going to get at least a B-plus.
Me: Absolutely. ‘Everything I can’ means getting a good grade.
Now, I’m sure my dad knew my new math mantra was totally farcical, but, it no doubt made him feel good as parent.
Once football season was over, and the San Joaquin Valley fog rolled onto campus, my attitude shifted from doing everything I could to get it right, to praying to any deity that would give me a C-minus.
Dear Deity, I don’t want to be a senior in geometry. Please let me get at least a C-grade. Thank you, sir/ma’am. Bret.
Once the final junior year bell tolled at Turlock High, I reviewed my report card and was very pleased with my history and English grades. My geometry grade? I got my C-minus, but I surely didn’t do everything I could to earn it.
At least it was over, and I’d never have to do that again.
Waking up Monday to the news of John Lynch as the new San Francisco 49ers general manager gives me that same feeling.
The 49ers have a general manager, but they didn’t do much to find him.
At least it’s over, and we don’t have to do that again. . . maybe.
It’s interesting to track where Lynch’s support, adulation or opposition is from. In fact, it reminds me of the opening scene in Macbeth with the First Witch asking, “When shall Lynch win a game? In hot sun, chunked turf or in rain?”
There’s no witches brew for a general manager, no more than we can read the bones of a dead elk and know the future of a draft pick. Lynch has obvious flaws against him: total lack of executive experience, little to no background evaluating college or professional talent, he’s never built a roster and he’s never managed a large group of men.
A golden straw-colored Hall of Fame jacket isn’t an indicator for greatness either. This is not to say Lynch cannot achieve greatness in this new position. It’s entirely possible he exceeds all expectations. Rather, do not look at his on-the-field successes as some Rosetta stone for success behind a desk.
Right now, he’s a month behind most of the NFL in building for the 2017 season.
Lynch has at least 16 players entering free agency in 2017, including Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis. Colin Kaepernick can opt to be a free agent when the new league year begins, giving Lynch approximately zero quarterbacks on the roster starting March 9.
The 49ers have to find a big play receiver for Shanahan’s new offense, a middle linebacker to complement NaVorro Bowman and new offensive and defensive coordinators.
There’s probably a pile of scouting tape to chew through, finding the right young players to build this new culture of… well, whatever Jed dreamed up while sipping drinks in his pool cabana.
Speaking of culture, what is Jed seeking to change by hiring a former FOX Sports analyst/reporter and making him a key figure in an organization infamous for whispering sweet nothings in the ear of Jay Glazer?
With the efficiency and reliability of a liquor store condom, Glazer tweeted out, “John Lynch is EXACTLY who you'd want turning a place around. Ultimate out-work-the-world type with zero politics to him and has different level of respect from players and coaches.” (Source)
There is a depth of experienced executives floating around the NFL, and Jed felt the best candidate was a FOX football analyst? It’s certainly a step in the direction of keeping things the same.
But, Jed has his reasons: “Having spent the last eight seasons as an analyst with FOX, he (Lynch) has honed his skills as a talented communicator.” (Source)
This is the continued odd thinking that gives some 49ers fans a nauseous, uneasy feeling, like watching the high school dance scene in Teen Wolf.
What settles like an ice axe on the brain is Jed’s inability to hire an experienced general manager. Why did executives like Nick Caserio and Chris Ballard turn down an interview with Jed and Paarag? How come three other candidates removed themselves entirely from consideration?
These unanswered questions leave Lynch’s hiring feeling like Jed’s options were limited and he settled on someone he could control.
For now, we wait for the last jagged piece to finish the trillion-piece jigsaw puzzle.