Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


John Lynch: We’re going to be up-front with Colin Kaepernick

Feb 21, 2017 at 10:03 AM--


San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch joined "Joe, Lo & Dibs" on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday. Three topics that Lynch discussed were Colin Kaepernick, the fit for Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, and the departure of Tom Rathman.

Colin Kaepernick


Lynch was asked how he would access 49ers quarterback Kaepernick – who will have an opportunity to become a free agent in March – since he has become the general manager. "Every time that we've talked about Kap, I think of the guy that was in the Super Bowl," Lynch said. "That wasn't that far away and so I remember that team and I remember broadcasting and coming in here and sitting down and being very impressed with the young man.

"Things happen in guys' careers. Injuries happen. Different things happen. We're just kind of – like we said we would and like we told Kap we would – we're accessing everything and both Kyle [Shanahan] and I really believe wholeheartedly that position is the most important position in football and we believe that in our heart of hearts so we're doing, from every side of this thing, we're evaluating and we're continuing to watch the film and we'll continue to work towards that until we have made a decision. And the one thing that we will do very well with Kap is we'll communicate and I think that's important for both sides.

"Like everything else, I'm talking about that process is well in the works and, like I said, we'll continue to do that and we'll be very up-front with him in terms of what we're thinking and we want to know what he's thinking as well."

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner


On Monday, our own Aaron Erickson took a very detailed look at what you can expect from the 49ers defense under new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Included in that review were the possible roles for young defensive lineman Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner.

Lynch was asked about the duo as well as the defense as a whole under Saleh. Both Armstead and Buckner were drafted with the intention of using them within a 3-4 defense. "I think they fit very well," Lynch said. "And that's one thing I want to make sure because I really believe it. I think Trent Baalke did a great job of getting guys that really – yes, they were picked for one system, but I think they transition very well to our system. One thing that we've talked about, Kyle and I, from the start is – and it's often a buzz word but we really mean it – we want to play with great urgency, with great aggressiveness. One of the things is I'm excited to see those guys. They were very much in a read and react posture last year. I'm excited to cut them loose.

"When we say aggressive, that doesn't mean we're blitzing every play. It means we're getting off the ball on the snap. We're taking the fight to them and I think these are guys that fit what we're going to do very well and we're quite excited about it. They're going to be coached hard. They're going to be asked to spread to the football wherever it is and so that doesn't just come naturally. Those are habits that you have to pick up.

"I'm really excited about our defensive line coach, Jeff Zgonina. He's a guy who played that way. He lasted a long time in this league and I think that was an important hire for us and I'm thrilled with what he's going to bring and the way those guys are going to play. But I couldn't be more excited.

"As you mentioned before, people talk 3-4, 4-3. 70- to 75-percent of this game now is played in sub or nickel and, at that point, that's kind of out the door. It's can you stop the run and can you go get the guy throwing the football and bring him down and we think both those guys have great potential to do that."

Tom Rathman


Lynch was asked about the departure of former 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman. The team had tried to retain him in some role but brought in Bobby Turner to coach the running backs. Rathman had no desire to be anything but a running backs coach so he decided that it would be best if he simply walked away from the team and looked for work with another franchise down the road.

"That one hurt from the standpoint of we never thought that would come to fruition because Kyle was very up front from the start and he said, 'Listen, if I can get Bobby Turner, we're going to get Bobby Turner,'" Lynch said. "But he never thought he could get Bobby Turner. Somehow, the Falcons let him go and I think if you know the history, Bobby Turner has been with Mike Shanahan, coached Terrell Davis, coached all those guys. Olandis Gar, Mike Anderson, all those guys who have had 1,000-yard seasons with Denver.

"He's gone with Kyle to Cleveland and then to Washington. He's been with Kyle all over this league and Atlanta. So, when we had that opportunity, Kyle and I really approached Tom about creating a role. We wanted him around. We wanted his presence. He's a 49er and he belonged here but he's a running back coach and that was important to him. I think he appreciated the way he felt welcomed but he made very clear he's a running back coach and we hated to see him go because he represents what we're trying to be and we left on great terms and that one hurt – the fact that he's not here. But he had a decision to make and we respected that as well."

You can listen to the entire interview on 95.7 The Game.

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