General Manager John Lynch Press Conference
General Manager John Lynch
Press Conference – August 30, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
“A lot of tough decisions. Real happy with our 53-man roster where it sits. Real proud of the process. Everybody from our pro staff, just really clean. [Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and I sat down with every single player who we released or moved to our practice squad and really proud of the organization for handling a tough deal. It’s tough on those players. They put their heart and soul into it. It doesn’t work out for every one of them, but we also let these guys know that this isn’t the final 53, it’s our 53 right now. And I love the practice squad as it stands now. One good byproduct of COVID getting that thing up to 16. It really serves as our developmental league. And gives the opportunity to have some vets that are ready to play, to have some developmental guys that you want to pour more time into because their talent and make up warrants it. So, we’re excited about this team.”
Do you see you guys carrying three quarterbacks on the 53 throughout the season?
“That’s where we’re at right now and we like them all. So, happy with that group, happy with the depth of it. Happy with the quality of it and excited about that.”
As far as kicker, has it been harder to bring a guy in knowing that it’s just a short-term job for that guy and that there’s so many other teams looking for kickers out there?
“I had no idea there were this many kickers out there. I’ve got more texts from people who kicked at one point in their life, pop warner to very accomplished kickers. So, that process has been good as well. [K] Jake Moody’s tracking well. His recovery’s going well, but we’ll be prepared for anything.”
There’s been a bunch of conflicting reports. Is there any percentage chance that you guys would consider trading DE Nick Bosa?
“No. Real simple.”
Are you going to have more tryouts for kickers or workouts for kickers or are you settled on one guy?
“We’ve got some things in motion, some people traveling here, and I think we’ll have something here probably early next week.”
Is there any update with Nick?
“No. No updates.”
When you said Friday night there’s still a lot of hard work to do, it did not appear sound as if a deal with Nick was imminent. Has some of that work been completed? Is there more progress?
“No updates. I’m going to stick to that, but communication, and that’s a good thing. So, I’ll leave it at that.”
Are you surprised at all that it’s taking this long?
“Yeah, but that’s where it’s at.”
Outside of Nick, in that room, how do you feel about your other edge rushing options, especially if this reaches the point where you really need to rely on them?
“I really like the group. For you guys to know, we announced, I think Kyle talked about [WR] Danny Gray going to IR, [DL] Robert Beal [Jr.] will as well. He’s coming off a hamstring that he re-injured. We thought the best thing for Robert, he’s a guy we really like and are excited to work for, but we’ve got to get that thing right. To qualify for the short term, he had to make our 53. He’s a guy who showed a lot and we’re thrilled about the prospect of working with him going forward, but we’ve got to get him back so that he’s ready. So, we’ll go through that process. [DL] Drake Jackson has had a tremendous offseason and we’re very excited to see that come to fruition on the field. Cle, [DL] Clelin Ferrell, he’s a fit, he’s a Niner. The way he plays, how he plays, his talents, his skillset, he plays hard, all those things. We’re excited about him. [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.] is just a pro’s pro, always in the right place. He’s a good football player. [DL] Austin Bryant is another guy who’s a very good scheme fit that we identified. Very excited about him moving forward.”
You placed TE Cameron Latu on IR. Is this a season-long injury?
“Yeah, he didn’t make the 53, so that’s a season-long deal for him. A season-long thing. He did not make the 53, so now he doesn’t qualify to return. He’s likely going to have a surgical procedure to fix a mechanical issue in his knee. The good news is Cam got better throughout camp and we’re very excited about him moving forward, but this is going to be a year of growth for him and he’s got to embrace that we’ve got to be on point in setting him up for success.”
You expect you’ll hold onto him?
“Oh, yeah. Yeah. We’re excited about Cam.”
You have had a lot going on at quarterback three, four, maybe more years than that. Do you have a sense of that’s over now? Do you have a sense with the way things are set up that that kind of drama is over?
“You know, I wouldn’t call it drama, I just call it what has transpired. One thing I’ve learned in this business is it’s never over. I mean, it’s ongoing. I like what we have at the quarterback room. I mentioned that earlier both in the quality and the depth. And I’m excited about the group moving forward.”
Did it sting to lose CB D’Shawn Jamison?
“It did. A lot of the guys, Jamison, [OL] Ilm Manning, those are good players. Our guys did a great job identifying them. Our process worked, good football players. A lot of competition though. Some teams saw fit to put them on their 53. You always run that risk. We kept a lot of good players here too, that we’re excited about.”
Kyle was saying that your first couple of years here when you put the 53 together, leaned more towards long-term, kind of the big picture, what they could be. And that maybe has changed a little bit now. How do you view that in terms of trying to balance out, ‘we have to get guys who can help us now, but we also don’t want to lose somebody who long term could be good?’
“I think the 53 and then I think the practice squad helps with that too. To be able to keep two vets, for instance, at wide receiver like [WR] Chris Conley and [WR] Willie Snead IV, those guys are battle-tested, they’ve played, they’re ready, they’ve gone out and impressed. I think that’s a perfect group. Then you’ve got young guys like [WR] Tay Martin and [WR Isaiah] Winstead that you want to pour into and see if we can pull that talent out. So more developmental. I think that that’s a great illustration, that position right there, that it’s a combination of both.”
The ability to put veterans on the practice squad since COVID, has that kind of elevated the importance of the roster to the younger guys on practice squad who may think ‘I’m kind of a second-tier guy’, whereas now they might not, because if they have a guy like Snead who’s out there on the practice squad with you, you wouldn’t think that anymore.
“Well, if you notice, I think the vets that are on these practice squads, they’re tone setters. There’s a reason they’re still around. And I know that’s a tough thing for them not to make the 53, but to have a viable option where they feel like, and then the thing is, these guys get flexed. It’s not as if it’s static. I mean, they’ve got the opportunity to get flexed and they will be. And so, I’m excited for those guys and, and they share that excitement.”
What was your evaluation of K Jake Moody before he got hurt? And is there a chance that he was hurt before and maybe that affected some of those kicks?
“You know, you always worry about that with rookies. They’re new to a place, a lot of pressure in his situation. I think he did a good job of communicating though when, you know, I think at first he thought it was fatigue, it turned out to be a little more than that. And I’m just glad he talked with the trainers. We were able to address it, and now he’s on the path to getting better. I still believe we’ve got a rare talent at that position who’s going to be our answer there for a long, long time.”
Kyle cited some numbers as far as the number of throws that QB Brock Purdy, it was designed for. He said 700 per week and this week kind of taper back to 350. Is that accurate?
“Yeah, we’re calling it a de-load week. He went through a lot to get through camp and he needed to do that. This was all part of a previous plan. This week was going to be set up for, let’s freshen it back up and give him the opportunity to go into the season as fresh as he can be. I’m thrilled with Brock, thrilled with our staff and all the people that helped him in an excellent recovery. And this is just another step in that. The great news is, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would imagine he will go into next week feeling a lot better just because the volume was reduced on him this week. And it’s all part of the plan.”
Are you in a position now with your salary cap to where you’re going to have the in-season flexibility that you want? And will getting Nick done help that for 2023? Is that a piece of that equation?
“I hope that’s part of the equation. We’re in a good spot there. We’re good there and, you know, I always want to be pressing that window and we certainly are. But, we’ve got enough room to be able to do some things if need be.”
Things change on the fly so much in the NFL. Are you, I don’t know if amazed is the right word, that with Brock, everything seemed to go perfectly? I mean, from the time that he got this surgery to the plan that he had, and Brock had told us that it’s never deviated from it. It’s just like exactly the way it’s down on paper.
“I think the only hurdles were early on right before the surgery being delayed, and it was a tight timeline to start, so that felt like a big deal at the time. But, he overcame that. And in order to do that, it almost had to go without a setback. He never had a setback. And oftentimes in these things, there’s some natural, ‘oh, you got sore today,’ that never happened. And so, I think that’s a real positive thing. I think it speaks to first and foremost, Brock and the good Lord gave him a good set of gene that heals fast, and then he’s a worker, and he’ll stick to a plan and he’ll challenge the plan and he was very invested, took ownership in the plan and saw it to fruition. It’s not done yet. It continues as evidenced by what we’re doing with him this week. And we think it puts him in great position just to go play football, starting Week 1 against Pittsburgh.”
Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has talked about the idea of having two nickels. A bigger nickel. A smaller nickel. Does that concern you that there’s not one guy who’s taken hold of that position going into the season?
“I think optionality is always a good thing. And you know, I think a lot of people like [CB] Isaiah Oliver, you know, a shaky preseason or whatever, I don’t see it as that. I see a player who’s adjusting to the way we play and we’re very excited about Isaiah. I think Isaiah brings some unique skillset to the nickel position with his length and abilities. He also has some flex to play safety when we get in a pinch. So, you’re always looking for optionality, versatility at positions. And you know, you’ve seen what we’ve done with [CB] Ambry [Thomas] moving him to the outside nickel and [CB Deommodore Lenoir] Demo Lenoir being able to go inside. I think those things are all good. My experience is you’ll need them all at some point during the season and that position. It’s good to have some depth and I think we have good depth at that position.”
You added a corner from Green Bay. What can you tell us about him and the process that led you guys to him?
“Yeah, again a guy who’s got some traits, but I would say a couple of things, Larry. I think outside inside versatility, plays some nickel, plays some outside, has some speed, and a very good special team player. And when you’re going to be vying to be a flex or be developed, that special team’s value is really huge. And we felt like our pro guys did a real good job of identifying him and then selling him on our opportunity.”
Former NFL quarterbacks have talked about the chaos of playing the position and so much is coming at you and obviously we talked about Purdy’s poise and that he just seems to be at peace with all that chaos. Was that, I mean, among other things, I guess most surprising thing about what he did last year?
“Yeah. I’ve got a great [former 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh book that sits up in my desk, up in my shelves, up in my office. He’s got a great chapter on that, being able to function with chaos all around you, that’s what you’re looking for at that position. So, Brock does that very well. He’s a quick processor, a smart processor, makes really good decisions. I would say the thing that probably surprised me most, his ability to extend, his athleticism. I thought he did that a lot in addition to, because at some point the pocket’s going to break down in this league, the D-Lines are just getting too good, the athletes are too good. And you know, at some point you have to have that ability. So, I think most surprising for me was that ability, because you did see, you never know how it’s going to translate, but right away we saw the poise, the quick decision making. Probably what surprised me most was his ability to extend and make plays on his own.”