• James Jones

OTA's, State of the Franchise, a 1994 and "a little into 1995" icon.

Even as John Lynch continued his transparent, open book style of general managing, (something that is serious breath of fresh air in these parts) fans already knew some of what he said on NFL Network this week to be true. There is little doubt that the 49ers franchise quarterback has yet step foot on the Santa Clara practice field, let alone don the red and gold.

Yes, Brian Hoyer will be given first crack at proving that he can once again flourish in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, hopefully for a full 16-game campaign this time. The chances that he is the franchise QB Shanahan is looking for border on slim at best to none at worst. That’s not to say the journeyman signal caller can’t have success this season back in an offense he is familiar with.

Still though, Hoyer played in 14-games for Cleveland with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator in 2014. He completed only 55.3% of his passes that season with 12-touchdowns and 13-interceptions, far from franchise QB numbers. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think that he’s nothing more than a bridge to the future for the 49ers.

Is it just me or did seeing the elder Shanahan at OTA’s this week and in 49ers attire no less, give you a warm and tingly feeling all over? A 1994-1995 offense, warm and tingly feeling at that. Of course Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Brent Jones, and Ricky Watters aren’t taking the field this season, but knowing that the team is going to have an offensive identity that doesn’t include the read option, is reason for joy.

As was reported earlier this week, the team worked out Jairus Byrd, formerly of Bills and Saints fame. They also brought in Leon Hall, proving yet again that no stone will be left unturned in the effort to upgrade the roster. Even if those stones uncover two defensive backs on the wrong side of 30, who had fallen out of favor with their last teams. Veteran presence in a secondary that has little, would be a positive as the season approaches.

Defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh had this to say about presumed starting cornerback Rashard Robinson, “He’s a dog. I like him. He’s made of the right stuff. His attitude, his mindset is unique for a corner. He does not want to get beat.” This was after a day that saw Robinson break up a pass from Hoyer intended for Pierre Garcon during practice.

Sidenote, Saleh might have the shiniest head in all of football. Matt Barrows should ask for some advice in this department.

Time will tell but I like the possible transition of Arik Armstead to the LEO spot. Yes it’s a position he hasn’t played at the NFL level. Yes it could take time for him to be productive there. However with his size and speed, he could prove to be what the 49ers have been missing since they released Aldon Smith. Saleh was quoted as saying; “He looks lean. He’s in amazing shape and he looks good out there.” Whether that will translate into sacks this season, remains to be seen.

The 49ers held their annual State of the Franchise event Wednesday night and while there was a great deal of pertinent information given, this news brought even more joy than seeing Papa Shanahan at practice.

The powers that be have decided (finally) to make some changes to Levi’s Stadium that will harken back to the glory years of the franchise. One of the most glaring knocks that fans seemed to have after the team moved from Candlestick Point to their new digs in Santa Clara, was the complete disconnect with their storied history. There even appeared to be no effort to make such a connection to any of the teams Hall of Fame, Super Bowl winning, iconic players from the 80’s and 90’s.

That has completely changed under the leadership of Lynch and Shanahan with the former making it clear from day one that the team will foster relationships with it’s historic past. As such they announced that a new ring of honor, the kind which adorned Candlestick Park, will make is debut this season at Levi’s.

There will be 26 49ers represented on the top of the suite tower on the west side of the stadium, 21 of which are former players. The team will add a 27th name when Tom Rathman is enshrined in the 49ers hall of fame during the Sept. 10th season opener.

Along with Walsh, those who will be represented in the new ring of honor are all Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame members.

Tony and Vic Morabito

Eddie Debartolo Jr.

Bill Walsh

John McVay

George Seifert

#8 Steve Young

#12 John Brodie

#14 Y.A. Tittle

#16 Joe Montana

#27 R.C. Owens

#33 Roger Craig

#34 Joe Perry

#35 John Henry Johnson

#37 Jimmy Johnson

#39 Hugh McElhenny

#42 Ronnie Lott

#44 Tom Rathman

#64 Dave Wilcox

#70 Charlie Krueger

#73 Leo Nomellini

#74 Fred Dean

#79 Bob St. Clair

#80 Jerry Rice

#82 Gordy Soltau

#87 Dwight Clark

#94 Charles Haley

With a list of former players, coaches, and personnel men like this, it raises the question, why was this not done sooner? The ring of honor should have been in the initial plans of the stadium and unveiled at the first home game in 2014. Lynch is making changes across the board, not just on the roster. Kudos John, keep it coming!