Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch in sync during 49ers turnaround

Jan 16, 2020 at 4:57 PM--

Do you remember that report this past offseason of friction in the building between San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch? Offensive tackle Joe Staley barely wanted to acknowledge the rumor when asked about it on Wednesday.

"I don't think anybody was actually thinking there was any dysfunction," Staley told reporters. "It was probably just a storyline at the time. Because I think people want to create that narrative, but we never saw any of that. I think it was addressed on by them, and there was never any of that here."

Who knows what might have happened had the losses started to pile up again this season. They didn't, though. The 49ers won, and they won a lot. Now, Shanahan and Lynch find their team, the roster they built, on the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

It's difficult to imagine there was ever any dysfunction in the first place. At least, it's tough to think that when you see Shanahan and Lynch hug each other on the sidelines after nearly every win. The two seem to be in sync, and the relationship appears harmonious.

Lynch did everything in his power to help Shanahan build the type of team he envisioned when the two took over a talent-depleted roster in 2017. Shanahan needed a fullback to help build a run-heavy offense. The 49ers signed the best in the game, Kyle Juszczyk. The coach wanted a corner who looked and played like Richard Sherman, so Lynch went and got one — Richard Sherman. The two wanted to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. They put together a solid offensive line and a punishing defensive line.

Oh, and Shanahan needed a quarterback, too. Enter Jimmy Garoppolo.

The 49ers coach said before the season that he felt this roster was the deepest he's had since joining the team, and that depth would help should any surprise injuries occur. That is precisely what happened. As players went down, others stepped into their place, and the team kept rolling.

"John and his staff have been unbelievable," Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. "When we came here, we knew we had to go get some (players). There were a lot here to start with that have worked out very well, but we also knew we had a lot of hard work in front of us.

"John and his staff have presented all this stuff and got us a ton of guys, and it's been great because even the big key ones that everyone knows about have made a huge difference. Also, we've had a lot of injuries this year too, where a lot of guys have had to step up, and our depth has really been challenged this year, and I think it's a credit to our personnel staff."

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was asked on Thursday about the relationship between his head coach and general manager.

"Yeah, so Kyle and John, very similar," Saleh responded. "I'm just speaking from past experience with [Pete Carroll] and John Schneider, you know, the working relationship they have is phenomenal.

"You can tell that they're locked at the hip. Even in the event they may disagree, it is a very respectful conversation. They really do a good job uniting and unifying the entire building, so the scouts, coaches, everybody [are] all on the same page with what's being asked of them. The message is very clear.

"I can't tip my hat off enough to those two, and how they lead us, and the way they treat one another for the entire building to see that."

A win on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers puts Shanahan's and Lynch's 49ers in the Super Bowl with an opportunity to do what they set out to do when they took over the team — earn the sixth championship for the organization.

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