While San Francisco 49ers fans may be chomping at the bit for the new-look 49ers front office to make some moves sooner rather than later, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan will benefit from patience in approaching the draft and rebuilding the team, and their recent personnel decisions only serve to support this idea.
Certainly more so toward the end of his tenure with the 49ers, former GM Trent Baalke was often criticized for taking an overly conservative, wait-and-see approach, as specifically evidenced by his inclination for long-term ACL reclamation projects, indignantly denying there was such a thing as rebuilding mode in the NFL until he actually found himself in rebuild mode without the time or personality to make it happen.
While Jed York has been heavily criticized over the past few years by the media and fans alike, he was right to carve out contracts that have patience built-in by giving both Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch 6 years to get the organization moving in the right direction. The length of the contract and Jed’s willingness to be patient with Lynch and Shanahan make sense if one considers that the 49ers have had 4 different head coaches in 4 years, just finished 2-14 and currently have one of the most talent-barren rosters in the entire NFL.
In addition, one must also consider that John Lynch will be a first time general manager, Kyle Shanahan is a first time head coach who will also be acting offensive coordinator and Robert Saleh is a first time defensive coordinator. While these are talented and smart men, the fact that they will be working in a position for the first time will demand a learning curve which will require patience from the organization and fans.
So what will a patient approach look like? It could very likely mean no splashy free agency acquisitions at skilled positions, taking the best value with the number two pick in the draft instead of a quarterback that will energize the fan-base and focusing on building the offensive line and defense. Sound like the Trent Baalke approach? That’s exactly why patience is needed now more than ever.