If there is one thing we can say about the new-look San Francisco 49ers, it’s that the people that now occupy the important roles, General Manager, Vice President of Player Personnel, Head Coach, and now the franchise quarterback, “get” it. The “it” can mean different things to different people, but ultimately to me it means that they not only understand what is expected of them and how to produce at a high level, but they also understand how to perform at a high level from a fan’s perspective.
For GM John Lynch, that means being the face of the franchise, a title he gladly displayed before Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as he rode out on the famed “helmet mobile” with Team President Al Guido to meet fans and pass out prizes. Lynch understands that to inspire and rejuvenate the Faithful, he needs to become one himself.
Adam Peters, the Vice President of Player Personnel, arguably has the hardest job: replenishing a roster that had sunken into mediocrity prior to his hiring in Santa Clara. Thankfully, he’s incredibly good at his job, and the 2017 draft class for the Niners is shaping up to be one of the best in the NFL. More than 10 players who were either drafted or signed as UDFAs have contributed in significant fashion to the team this year, a stat thats nearly unheard of these days.
I’ve always been hesitant in using the phrase “Offensive Genius”, but Head Coach Kyle Shanahan has certainly earned that moniker. Over the last 3 weeks he has developed the confidence of the Faithful while leading the team to a streak of wins, and while it seems absurd to think that a playoff contender such as the Rams would be beaten by a 5-10 team, the results of the last four games have given fans enough confidence to think that the Niners can actually win this one.
Fans weren’t quite sure what to expect from QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Tom Brady's backups in New England generally have never panned out. Garoppolo, though, has been nothing short of spectacular. Breaking Kurt Warner's record for most passing yards in first four games with a team, Garoppolo has made everyone, even the players on defense, better.
It’s this cohesiveness that is leading the team to these recent accomplishments. It takes Adam Peters to accurately scout and rank players, while Lynch looks at the make up of the team its needs, thus allowing him to push for and trade for a player like Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo, in turn, allows Kyle Shanahan to be the best play caller he can be, and because his quarterback has the talent to allow him to call the creative plays that require pinpoint accuracy and execution. All of those factors added up to a then 4-10 team put 44 points up on the league’s best defense in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
During Sunday’s win, I tweeted out something without thinking, and the more I think about it, the truer it feels.
It could though. The improvement we’ve seen is extraordinary and unprecedented, and there is little to suggest that it won’t keep up.
I fully expect a win to the final game of the season against the LA Rams. Most importantly, I’m excited to see how long this win streak lasts into next season.