Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch says 49ers’ virtual offseason has been a ‘really good learning experience’

Jun 23, 2020 at 5:54 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers were about a month out from beginning their offseason program when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the team to rethink its strategy for the months ahead. Coaches learned that meeting face-to-face with their players might not happen. It still hasn't happened.

The team's facilities and neighboring Levi's Stadium closed on March 13. Three months later, coaches and most staff remain shut out due to local county restrictions. Only players with pre-existing injuries, the staff responsible for their care and rehab, and select others are allowed in the building.

Other players may finally be able to enter the facilities for training camp next month, at the earliest.

As Zoom conference calls have replaced meeting rooms, the 49ers have adapted to the situation.

"The best coaches are great teachers," general manager John Lynch said during the 49ers' virtual State of the Franchise event this week. "And this has allowed them to truly teach and go over all the mundane, at times, things that the great players never see as mundane. They take it as an opportunity to learn.

"So I think it's been a really good learning experience. [Head coach Kyle Shanahan] has been tremendous on these meetings, leading them. His coaches have been (too), and I think the players have really enjoyed them, and gotten a lot of value out of them."

There is still a good amount of skepticism surrounding whether or not the 2020 NFL season will take place. Nearly a third of all NFL teams have reported at least one case of the virus among their players and staff. That includes the one 49ers player who tested positive last week during player-organized workouts in Tennessee.

"We're preparing to play the 2020 season as scheduled. That's the only thing we can do right now," 49ers CEO Jed York said this week. "We have to make sure our primary focus — the players, coaches, fans, and all the people that work around the game — are healthy.

"The great folks in the county have been awesome to work with. You're bringing a ton of people together to figure out what are the best decisions we can make, based off the medical officers and public health officials, so we can make sure we move forward in the right manner."

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