Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch feels 49ers can be even better in 2020, compete for championships

Jun 24, 2020 at 12:12 PM--

Kyle Shanahan felt his San Francisco 49ers were the best team in football last year. You could argue that the Niners were better than 30 other NFL teams. The Kansas City Chiefs, being Super Bowl champions, obviously can make a strong case that they were the best.

Still, even a loss on sports' biggest stage isn't enough to convince Shanahan that his squad was second to anybody.

"I felt like, offensively, defensively, special teams, the way we played throughout the year, I thought we were the best team, and I thought we were that day (too)," Shanahan told The Athletic in April. "And we weren't for the whole 60 minutes (in Super Bowl LIV), and that's why, all the stuff I strongly believe and feel, I can be proud of.

"But also, we don't get to celebrate that because we didn't do it. We didn't get to prove that. That's something you've got to live with."

The loss sent the 49ers into the offseason — a strange one impacted by a pandemic — looking to improve further. Championship windows can close quickly in the NFL, and the 49ers are looking to take advantage of theirs.

That doesn't mean that there weren't tough choices to be made. The team had to part ways with players like DeForest Buckner on defense and Emmanuel Sanders on offense. General manager John Lynch, however, feels that his 49ers did enough this offseason to improve, and hopefully take the next step.

Lynch spoke with the voice of the 49ers, Greg Papa, this week during the team's State of the Franchise. Given the event's name, Papa asked the general manager to describe the current state of the franchise.

RELATED John Lynch says 49ers adding Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk made for a 'tremendous draft'

"I think it's a state of a team that I think is very well-equipped to compete for championships," Lynch responded. "Now, it's incumbent upon us to find a way to be better than we were last year, which was pretty darn good."

The 49ers are always looking for ways to improve while planning and building for long-term success.

"We talk about it a lot, Kyle and I," Lynch continued. "It's a philosophy that we kind of bonded on when we first started having conversations. It's something Jon Gruden used to talk about. You never stay the same. You're either getting better or you're getting worse."

Lynch is hoping for the former. The team replaced the two losses mentioned above with the draft selections of defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers added offensive tackle Trent Williams to replace the retired Joe Staley.

"I'm very encouraged with where our franchise is," Lynch explained. "Our goal was to give ourselves a chance to be a better football team this year. I think we've done that. I think we have a chance to be a better football team, and that's tough when you talk about some of the losses that we've had.

"I'm very encouraged, and now we've just got to go do it. That's the great thing about this game. You can talk about it all you want, but you've got to walk the walk, and we're looking forward to having the opportunity to do that."

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