The Empire Strikes back: The belief in something special coming


BY Niner Faithful

The last game of the 2016 season ended like so many others for the Niners with a loss. A 25-23 loss to rival Seattle to be exact. Trent Blake had already been fired (which was known because of another leak coming out of the building) and soon after Chip Kelly would be out the door as well. The search had already begun to rebuild not only the team but the image of this storied franchise. Jed saw the planes flying over the stadium that he had worked so hard to build and he didn’t like it. It was clear from pretty much the beginning that Trent and Chip wouldn’t work well together. Chip wanted to go full speed all the time and didn’t care about time of possession were Trent wanted to run the ball grind out the clock and keep his defense off the field. The two couldn’t have had more opposite football philosophies. So, it was clear that he needed two men who shared the same views or at least work well together. Would he go with youth or experience? Who would want to work with him? After his firing of Jim Harbaugh and hiring of yes man Jim Tomsula he’s credibility was shot with fans before this year now he had none. On January 2nd, the day after the season ended he gave his yearly press conference and it seemed like the last few season took their toll. He seemed humbled. He gave a short opening statement in which he apologized to fans and gave the normal we are going to bring back a championship culture speech. Little did we know that this time he might get it right. Right away Jed went to work interviewing Anthony Lynn, Josh McDaniels, Kyle Shanahan, and Sean McVay, Tom Cable and Sean McDermott for the head coaching position and interviewing Eliot Wolf, Brian Gutekunst, George Paton, Jimmy Raye III, Brandon Beane, Louis Riddick, Terry McDonough, Trent Kirchner, Scott Fitterer and John Lynch for General Manager ultimately deciding on John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to be our new GM and Head Coach. Step one complete.

Now I’m not going to set here and pretend that I was sold on the John Lynch hiring right away. After all the people who we had years of experience we went with a man who spent the years after his retirement from football in a broadcast booth. It’s one thing to know football it’s another to be able to spot talent, hire the best coach, pick a roster, and run a draft. Then I heard him talk and more than that I saw who he hired and the fact that he wasn’t scared to put people who had more experience around him to help guide him in teach him in what he doesn’t know. Now this was done before Kyle Shanahan was hired as the head coach, all though once Josh McDaniels withdrew his name it was clear who they were going to hire. So, we get to the day where the Niners have John Lynch’s and Kyle Shanahan’s interdictory press conference. And you could just feel the energy in the room changing. These men had a plan, a vision for how they wanted to build our roster, what kind of players they wanted and, the best part about it was they both had the same plan. They laid it out all right there on the table for everyone to know something that I felt lacked in the past. So, began the journey to get us back to respectability. In previous years, free agency has been generally a bore only 23 players though 2013-2016. There was a lot of worries if anyone would want to come play for us coming off a 2-14 season with a GM who just a few months ago was working with fox? Those people witch I was not one of were quickly quitted when in just the first few days of free agency 7 different players of note signed with the Niners.  Stating either that our GM was a player or that being a part of Kyle Shanahan’s system being a factor in signing here. Then there was the Draft. To say that the feeling was anticipation is an understatement. The number two pick was the highest we have drafted since 2006 when we took Vernon Davis with the 6th overall pick. John Lynch had been pumping up the pick pretty much since her was hired. Any chance he got he would say how it was a blessing and how the Niners were “open for business” when it came to trading the pick. Draft day the deal is done John Lynch in his first draft commitments highway robbery getting the 3rd overall a 3rd rounder number 67 overall a 4th rounder number 111 overall and a 3rd rounder in next year’s draft. All that just to move up one spot and to get the player we had number two on our board (Myles Garrett was number one) this trade set the tone for the rest of the draft. Because of this trade alone we could get Solomon Thomas, Ruben Foster and Adrian Colbert along with a 2nd round and 3rd round pick next year. In all there was ten players were picked two picks were added to next year’s draft and six trades were made. (one away from a Niners record) not bad for a self-proclaimed “pretty conservative guy” with no experience. With the draft, over with hit the undrafted free agent market and picked up 18 players bring the total of new players added to the roster to 49. Step two complete.

The vibe all throughout the offseason program has been one of high excitement and energy. Many reporters have said that hasn’t been felt around team headquarters since the first year of Harbaugh. Joe Staley said in an interview during mandatory minicamp that he “hasn’t felt like this in a long time” and that “the energy is back in the building”. To a man pretty much every player echoed the same thing. You can bring in Bill Walsh from the grave to coach the team if the players don’t buy in it means nothing and so far, it seems like they have. From the reports coming out of minicamp the defense has made great strides” winning” most reps at practice but that is to be expected this early especially without pads. Training camp is a little over 3 weeks away with the first preseason game set for two weeks after that, so we have awhile until we can see if any of the changes will get results this year. But one thing is sure there is reason for hope not just I have faith in my team hope no real hope that can be backed up with facts and logic and that is more than we can say at any point in the last 2 years.


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