49ers Training Camp Roster is Set

Unless the Niners make some last minute transactions the roster seems to be set for training camp.  The signing of Elvis Dumervil competes the roster which should be a upgrade from last year.  There are improvements at every position although QB seems to be better only from the standpoint that Hoyer knows Shannahan’s system.

It is striking how many players from the 2016 roster have been cut and replaced by Lynch and Shannahan especially on the offensive side of the ball.  QB, receivers and offensive line are essential new.  In addition there is a noticeable change of culture in the locker room and field.  Will this translate to wins?  We won’t know this until the season get on the way.

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Niners at the Combine

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan continue to say all the right things.  The rebuild is going to be a process that takes a while.  Both men seem to be on the same page and compliment each other unlike the previous coaches and GM (Trent Baalke). Both Lynch and Shanahan  emphasize that the 2017 season will be a building year especially with the QB situation still up in the air.

It is now apparent now that Kaepernick will be opting out of his contract and entering free agency. Frankly the 49ers welcome this outcome as they undoubtedly would have cut Kaepernick given his on-field performances the last 2 seasons, his $14 million contract, the regression of his “football acumen” and his on-going political distractions.  Moreover, the new 49ers management believe that his is a polarizing figure with the 49ers Faithful.  Thus they believe it is time got move from the bad blood that developed last year.

When looking at the Niners roster it is obvious that there is a glaring lack of top notch talent. Is the team better than 2-14?  Well achieving 3 or more wins isn’t much of a stretch but they are not likely to win 8 or more games for sure.  Under the right circumstances the 49ers could challenge the Rams and Cards in the NFC West next year because the Rams also rebuilding and the Cards are an aging team that has lost a step or two.

Free agency starts March 9th so we’ll see what Lynch and Shanahan’s next moves will be as they rebuild the roster.

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Trump Message Echos the & Deadly Sins

The Jesuits believe that St. Ignatius’ 7 deadly sins will corrupt and lead to downfall.  The deadly sins are pride, anger, lust, gluttony, envy, greed and sloth.  The Trump presidency seems to be built on 6 of the 7 sins and his followers have consciously fallen for his message.

Trumps’ thin skin is the epitome of overwhelming self pride.  He cannot and does not let any comment go unanswered.  He constantly tweets back to his foes always seeking to get in the last word with misleading facts, out right fiction and outrageous insults.  His followers admire Trump for his so-called strength yet isn’t it the stronger man that can walk away or ignore these insults and doesn’t seek to get in the last word every time.

Anger is the cornerstone of the Trump message.  Anger and hatred of immigrants, Muslims, the poor, the liberals, the media, etc.  Every Trump speech is laced with anger and hate or “red meat, as they say, for his followers.  Blame the other guy for Americas problems.  Whip the crowd up in a frenzy.  Trump proclaims that Mexicans are taking your jobs, raping your daughters, and selling drugs.  Beware of the Muslims because Trump says  they reject our values and are potential terrorist plotting to destroy our way of life.

Trump lavish lifestyle speak volumes of the his gluttonous appetite.   Trump Tower is adorned in gold fixtures and furniture.  Mara Lago is exclusive and designed for over indulgence.  The resort is restricted to the rich and famous.   The middle class need not apply as you can’t afford the initiation fees to join!

Trump is seeking to unwind the very laws that protect the middle class in order to further enrich the financial class that nearly brought down the American economy in the early and mid 2000.  As the Michael Douglas character Gordon Gekko said in the movie, Wall Street, “Greed is good”.  President Trump echo that sentiment with his his Wall Street trained Cabinet.

Trump throughout the campaign and now as president tells the American people that they are being ripped off by China, Mexico, the welfare cheats, etc.  America and the American people should be envious of the nations that are taking our jobs.

Trump spent a career chasing and harassing women hence the reason the bought and then produced the Miss Universe pageant.  What better way to get his pick of the world most beautiful women.  Trump was even caught on tape making crude, lustful remarks about women which he later dismissed as just “locker room” talk.

What kind of president has the American people elected?  A demented huckster? A cleaver manipulator?  A mentally ill billionaire?  All the above?

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Shanahan and Lynch in Place

Kyle Shanahan arrived at the Forty-Niners headquarters today after being greeted at the local private airport by Jed York and John Lynch.  Tomorrow is the official press conference introducing Kyle and John to the local media.  The honeymoon will be short as the local media and the Faithful are anxious for a return to respectability next season.

The first order of business is to hire a coaching staff and then to evaluate the current roster to determine how many of he current players are viable candidates for the 2017 season.  Once that is accomplished Kyle and John will scout the potential free agent market as well as review the college draft candidates.  There is no doubt the 49ers have a lot of holes to fill most notably at quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker.

The Niners will likely have to find a veteran QB to fill in for the near future.  There a a few veterans they can acquire through free agency or via a trade.  The most notable is Jimmy Garoppolo who may alsobe the most sought after by the Niners, Browns and Bears.  A far as the draft goes there doesn’t seem to any “sure fire” QB to use in the first 10 – 15 picks of the first round.  Kyle, John and the scouts will have to be cautious in making the second pick in the draft as there will be the temptation to use that slot to select a QB much like Mike Nolan did with Alex Smith in his first year.

Wide receivers are likely to picked through free agency and with lower round draft choices.  Hopefully Kyle and John have a better eye for receivers than the the previous GM who was terrible in this regard.

The draft is stocked with linebackers and edge rushers.  It is likely that they will use the #2 slot for a edge rusher or linebacker given the make-up of the QB class in 2017.

The Faithful are encouraged and the media is skeptical.  Good luck Kyle and John; please bail out Jed!

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Fiery John Lynch New Niners GM

In a surprise move on Sunday Jed York hired former NFL All Pro turned broadcaster John Lynch to be the next 49ers GM.  Lynch was not on the original interview list but was added recently after he approached Jed York through likely head coach Kyle Shanahan.  It has been reported that Lynch called Shanahan to discuss the GM position and the potential of them teaming up to run the the 49ers.  After their conversation Shanahan called Jed to recommend Lynch and to facilitate an interview between Lynch and York.

As they say the rest is history.  Lynch comes to the job with no front office or scouting experience but does have tremendous football acumen and loads of contacts in the NFL.  At his press introduction Lynch admitted as much but added that he knows what he doesn’t know and intends to hire good football people to support him.  Within a day Lynch hired Denver Broncos scout Adam Peter.  Peters comes to 49ers with years of experience with the Broncos and Patriots.

Lynch will no doubt bring fresh perspective to the 49ers front office as well as a competitive spirit and culture to the entire 49ers organization.  Lynch will assume the de facto lead officer of the football operations.  Lynch has always been know for his team building skills which will be needed when integrating the front office, the coaching staff under Kyle Shanahan, and the business operations under Jed York.

Over time if John Lynch and the 49ers are successful John will likely assume a far greater role and influence within the York business operations.  In fact its likely Lynch saw both the flaws and potential in the 49ers organization and thus saw lots of upside potential for him to grow and advance within 49ers organization.

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Niners Hunt Nearly Over … We Hope!

All indications are that the Niners top brass have narrowed the head coaching search down to one person … Kyle Shanahan.  Shanahan is the is the son of former Boncos head coach Mike Shanahan.   Kyle is the successful offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons and has been in the NFL since 2004 working his way up from offensive quality control coordinator under John Gruden.

A perk that goes with this job is that Kyle Shanahan will also have a large say in who the Niners hire as GM.  There seems to be only four GM canadates left in the running with the strong favorites coming from Green Bay front office.

The hold up on an official announcement is the fact that the Packers and Falcons are playing Sunday in the NFC Championship game and personnel cannot be hired until their respective team has finished its season.  In this case the head coach or GM position may not be finalized until after the Super Bowl.

Will this new dynamic duo revitalize the 49ers and instill a winning culture.  Only time will tell but it is clear that ownership dries a winning culture and its likely that the coach and GM will have complete control of the football operation and the resources to attract quality players.

The first order of business will be for each to hire a staff and then to begin the evaluation process of the current players, free agent and potential draft choices.  Its likely some players will not be back in 2017.  Its also likely that some of the front office will be let go in order to bring in people who are more invested in the head coach and GM’s new philosophy and culture.

What will be interesting is to watch what the level of support upper management to the changes gives  Shanahan and his GM as they bring changers to the 49ers organization.  As Jim Harbaugh found winning isn’t everything to the 49ers ownership group they also desire a certain level of community and social involvement and cooperation.

 

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“Championship Culture” is what York seeks

Oh really, Jed?  Isn’t that what you had with Jim Harbaugh?

Let’s review what a “Championship Culture” looks like:

  1. Focus on the main issue that generates success.
  2.  Always be on the lookout for new ideas.  If you don’t capitalize on new techniques, your opponent will.
  3. Collect data and let the data help you make decisions.
  4. Make sure the incentives you give your players line up with the goals you wish to achieve.
  5. Anticipate resistance when attempting to change the way things are done.  Be willing to address the “locker room lawyers” immediately.
  6. Your organization must be constantly improving.
  7. Be transparent about your decisions.  Let your team know why decisions were made.
  8. Create a sense of pride and appreciation for hard work.
  9. Be comfortable with conflict and competition.
  10. Create an environment where teammates can monitor the progress of each other and encourage  each other.

Well Jed these are Jim Harbaugh’s keys to success from the Leadership Case Studies series, “Strategies of Jim Harbaugh:  How the University of Michigan Head Football Coach Changes the Culture to Immediately Increase Performance”.   Sound familiar Jed?  As pointed out in the case study these are the same processes and techniques used by Jim Harbaugh to establish  championship cultures at University of San Diego, Stanford University, the San Francisco 49ers and now the University of Michigan.

Culture change isn’t easy and it can and will likely rub some people the wrong way.  When Bill Walsh was hired by the 49ers, nearly 40 years ago, he also instituted an organization- wide culture change process and reorganization.  Those executives, coaches and players that didn’t or wouldn’t get on board either left the organization on their own or were immediately fired by Bill.  Bill wasn’t necessarily popular with existing staff and players but he had the 100% support of his boss, Eddie Debartolo.  Mr. D was burning inside to bring a championship to San Francisco and knew what it took!

Yes Jim Harbaugh rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because, among other things, he wanted to totally focus on winning football not stadium opening ceremonies,  glad handing corporate sponsors, talking to the media and, most obviously, kissing management’s ass (that included you, Paraag Marathe or Trent Baalke).  His attitude and  culture processes certainly offended you, your family, Paraag and Trent.  No doubt if Bill Walsh was alive he would have endorsed and supported Jim in his efforts to build that championship culture in the 49ers’ organization.  In fact Bill Walsh, before he passed away, interviewed and hired Jim  to transform Stanford’s losing football program into a nationally ranked program.

Well Jed you screwed up when you took Trent Baalke’s side in the Harbaugh power struggle because Trent is gone and the 49ers are now one of the worst teams in the NFL.  To paraphrase Col. Nathan R. Jessup from the movie A Few Good Men, “Jed, you can’t handle the truth!”  Now what is needed is a complete culture transformation throughout the 49ers organization but not just on the football field, locker room and football front offices.   The culture change is most needed in the business executive offices.   You and your business leadership team need to embrace the culture change or you will continue to hire and fire GMs and coaches as well as lose football games, fans and, ultimately, revenue.

 

 

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