Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan slipped up on camera during a press conference this week and said something that may have made the team's public relations department cringe. The verbal miscue occurred while members of the media were trying to get anything out of him regarding the potential starting lineup for the 49ers when they host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

"I'm not going to get into exactly who's starting," Shanahan said, "I've said it with the safeties. I've said it with the tight ends. I'm pretty much going to say it with every position. Brian Hoyer at quarterback – starting. I promise you guys that. [Joe] Staley's starting. Everyone else? We'll find out on Sunday. So, I don't mean to be a d---..."

Shanahan quickly realized what he had said and covered the microphone as if that would magically take back his words. The media had burst into laughter.

"Sorry," Shanahan said while smiling. "I just ... it's the season now. If there was any ... that was bad. Just shows my immaturity."



Perhaps unsure of how the public might react to the error, the 49ers didn't release official video or audio of the press conference and the team's official transcript omitted the portion that included what they likely felt was slightly offensive. However, the video made its way to social media and to various other third party affiliates who had their own cameras there.

Rather than be a source of embarrassment for the 49ers, the whole situation was a public relations success. The response from fans was nearly all positive and Shanahan's words showed that the man is someone anyone can relate to. It made him even more likable than he already was. It made fans even more proud to have Shanahan as their team's head coach.

Even general manager John Lynch liked it, as revealed during an interview with KNBR on Thursday night.

"I was so proud of him," Lynch said.

"When you saw Kyle the other day when he had his little mishap, I think he was in regular season mode," Lynch continued later in the interview. "He's going to be strategic. He's not going to give away information for free but when we can, we'll let the fans in. We want them to feel a part of it. They also got to know that when it behooves us to be quiet about things, then we're going to do that as well."

Most of Lynch's heavy workload has come to an end. The 49ers' 53-man roster is set and now it is up to Shanahan and the rest of the coaching staff to go out and see what they can do with it. Lynch realizes this is a rather helpless time for general managers because once the game begins, things are out of their hands. He is ready to take a step back on Sundays and be a fan like everyone else.

"I'm excited, just like I would be for any other kickoff weekend," Lynch said. "But come kickoff, there's not a damn thing I can do. And that's what my buddies that are in this business – the John Elways – told me. It's a very helpless feeling because you've done your work. You've done everything you can and so you better go at it hard and really be thorough in your processes because once you get there, there's not a whole lot. We can continue to tweak the roster and we won't be afraid to do that. But really, our work's done now and you just support these guys.

"But the excitement is still there and it's interesting for me because I played for 15 years. For the last nine, I've been a broadcaster and so you work all week and then you go perform on Sunday. There's not much performing going on. I'll just be like everybody else. I'll be a fan."

While Lynch and the 49ers want to be competitive from the get-go, he understands the process that he and Shanahan started will take time. Fans may believe that Lynch and the front office have specific goals in place to determine if their approach is successful, but the general manager insists that win total is not one of those goals. What is more important is the team's ability to compete at the onset of what is likely to be a multi-year rebuild.

"I understand people are at home and saying, 'C'mon, you've got to have a number of wins,'" Lynch said. "We really don't because, really, what we want to do is go get done all the things that we talk about. Play to the standards that we've set out there for our players and at the top of that list is 'compete your tail off on every snap' and when you do that and we get 11 guys doing that on a particular unit, we're going to be tough to beat.

"I think the overall team speed is something that we've changed on this team. I think we're a fast team now. Like I said before, 'Is it perfect?' No. We're not where we want to be yet by any means but we do know that we have guys who love to compete and love the game of football and when you do that, you're tough to beat. So long as we don't beat ourselves. We saw that in the preseason. I think the game against Denver; penalties, turnovers – that beats yourself.

"We aren't that good yet that you can overcome those things and even the best teams struggle to do that. But when we do things right, we're going to be tough to beat and that's what we want to see throughout this year."

On Sunday, the 49ers will have their first opportunity to exhibit their toughness and Lynch hopes the Levi's Stadium crowd can be just as big a part of an upset as the team he helped put together.

"We've got a great test with Carolina," Lynch said. "Very good football team in all phases, right off the bat, some marquee players, and it's a tremendous measuring stick and we're really fired up to play in front of our home crowd – the Faithful. Want them to be loud. We want them to come in a really start re-establishing this as a place that is really tough to come in and beat the Niners. So we need them to be loud when they have the ball and be quiet when we have the ball and just have a blast."

You can listen to the entire KNBR interview with Lynch below.