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John Lynch shares impressions from Week 1; Jets didn’t call 49ers about Sam Darnold

Sep 15, 2023 at 8:47 AM--

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San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch joined KNBR on Friday morning for his weekly radio interview. He was asked about the team's season opener this past weekend in Pittsburgh, a 30-7 win over the Steelers.

It seemed like a near-perfect outing for the Bay Area football team. Still, on Monday morning, head coach Kyle Shanahan was quick to point out the flaws in the rout of the Steelers to his squad.

"We were far from perfect," Lynch said on the "Murph and Mac" show. "I think one of the great things, to beat a good football team handily, and then go back and see that we're not even close to where we can be and where we need to be to play our best ball. That's an encouraging thing, and was real proud of our group.

"I thought Kyle and his staff did a really nice job having our guys ready, and we stayed fairly healthy as well. We're going down as a healthy team to the Rams."

Lynch was impressed with what the Rams did in Week 1, upsetting the Seattle Seahawks 30-13. The 49ers aren't overlooking Los Angeles this week.

Back to the Steelers game, Lynch did see a lot of positives from his Super Bowl-hopeful team. One area that impressed the general manager was the superb blocking by some of his offensive stars.

"Nothing illustrated that better than watching [WRs] Brandon Aiyuk and Ray-Ray McCloud blocking 60 yards down the field on that Christian McCaffrey [65-yard TD run]. That goes along with all the interior offensive linemen that made great blocks. [TE] George Kittle and all the guys, [TEs] Charlie Warner and Ross Dwelley, who blocked their tails off all game.

"But when you have your receivers blocking at a high level, I believe it sets a tone for your football team. And, man, those guys were impressive catching the ball, but they're probably more impressive how hard they played in the run game. That's contagious. That lifts people."

"On that same play, [G] Aaron Banks was the fastest O-lineman in football last week. We get GPS readings, and he was running down the field chasing Christian and ran almost 16 miles an hour at 335 pounds. So stuff like that, I think it's just kind of the fabric of who we want to be as a football team and what we showed in Week 1. It's those little things that make a big difference."

Did the Jets call?

Lynch was also asked if the 49ers received a call from the New York Jets about Sam Darnold following the season-ending injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"No, we did not," Lynch responded.

The general manager added, "That was hard to watch, hard to stomach. I talked with [head coach Robert] Saleh and that group. They still have a really good football team, and it will be interesting to see where they go. But man, they've got a D-line that is special. They've got a defense that's really good. I still think they'll be a good football team, but that's a huge loss. There's no doubt about it. ... They did not call, though."

Colton McKivitz

T.J. Watt finished Sunday's game with three sacks, leading many to question new tackle Colton McKivitz's effectiveness anchoring the right side of the offensive line. The 49ers G.M. defended the offensive lineman.

"We've got a lot of faith in Colton," Lynch said. "... I think there's a lot of tackles, that after they face Nick Bosa, their fan base is probably wondering, can this guy play? T.J. Watt is an unbelievable player and unbelievable competitor. He put on a show the other day. I think Colton will respond. We've got a lot of belief in him, a lot of faith, and a lot of faith in our O-line.

"It was Week 1. I think these guys will continue to get better. The one thing they can't do is let it hit their confidence. They've got to respond. And we believe Colton has that makeup, as do the other guys on our team. We're going to come back, and he'll be a better player this week for that experience."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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