John Lynch is in his second season as the San Francisco 49ers' general manager. During his time with the team, Lynch has helped head coach Kyle Shanahan reshape the roster in what has been a massive undertaking by the new regime. Even though the 49ers are barely in their second year of a rebuild, expectations from fans and the media are high.

Those high expectations arose when the 49ers traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and went on to win their final five games of last season with him as the starter. San Francisco signed Garoppolo to a five-year contract in February. He is the face of the franchise and, as such, it is up to Lynch and Shanahan to make sure he has the protection and weapons on offense to flourish.

Lynch is excited about how the pieces they have added around their new franchise quarterback. He sat down with NFL Network's Colleen Wolfe and Steve Smith Sr. on Tuesday and discussed the additions to the team, starting with some protection up front.

"You add a center, it's not the sexiest thing in the world, but Weston Richburg is going to help us be a better football team," Lynch said on-air. "'Jet' McKinnon is a guy who we feel has got game-breaking ability out of the backfield. We use him running the football, and I think he's going to be a great asset in the pass game as well.

"I think some of those pieces (excite me). We played a lot of rookies last year and watching them develop. There's usually a huge jump that second year and I'm excited to see that come to fruition as well."



The pass rush was the biggest question mark heading into the offseason. With preseason right around the corner, that has not changed. However, the defensive front's ability to apply pressure on the quarterback has looked noticeably improved over the past couple of training camp practices.

"Two days ago (Sunday), our last day of practice, the pass rush started to come alive," Lynch said. "That's something that we've been working hard on, and our guys are really committed to it. It's starting to pay dividends. We're starting to see it."

Shanahan noticed the improvement as well.

"We've had three days in pads. Our first day (Saturday), I was disappointed with it," he told reporters on Tuesday. "The next day (Sunday), I was extremely excited. Today it felt the same, if not better, as our last practice ... I can see our guys getting better each day. I think all our guys, their technique and their craft, they've really honed in on it. It's showing to me, and they are becoming harder to block."

The 49ers defense managed just 30 combined sacks last season. The unit ranked 26th in the league when it comes to bringing down opposing quarterbacks.



It can be tough for some teams to manage outside expectations. Similar high expectations surrounded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason. That team finished with just five victories. The 49ers are trying to block the outside noise with hopes that they do not go down the same road as that Bucs team.

"We really don't focus on the outside expectations," Lynch said. "I think we kind of adhere to our standard. I think we've gone to great lengths to find the type of guys who embody what we want to be about as a team, bringing in tough guys that love football, that are passionate about it.

"We have a younger team but the thing I've been proud about, even last year when we started so slow, they came to work every day, and they worked on getting better. That's all you can ask for, and if you do that, good things will happen. I think we're a better football team talent-wise and I love the mentality of our team."

Garoppolo feels the hype surrounding the 49ers is good for the fans. However, he understands they are not necessarily building on last year's strong finish but are building something new.

"It was a good end of the season," Garoppolo said. "It sounds very cliché, but it's a new year. We have new players. Every team is different around the league now. You kind of start from the ground up and I think we started with that in OTAs and got a good jump on it, but now training camp is here, and we have to take it one day at a time."