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Trap game? John Lynch shares 49ers’ mindset going into Cardinals matchup

Sep 29, 2023 at 9:27 AM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are 3-0 and sitting atop the NFC West standings. The Arizona Cardinals, the Niners' next opponent, didn't get their first win until this past weekend. However, it was against the Super Bowl-hopeful Dallas Cowboys, and it was one of the biggest upsets of Week 3.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has done his homework on the Cardinals this season. While reviewing the film, he saw a team with a lot of fight, a group that contended in each of its matchups, including the losses.

"They're a team that really should be 3-0 right now," Shanahan told reporters this week.

Some fans may be overlooking the Cardinals, anticipating the next matchup against the hated Cowboys. You can be sure the 49ers don't have the same mindset. They know not to underestimate an Arizona team that has shown it can compete with anyone.

How are the Niners combating the possibility of a letdown this weekend?

"I think you just turn on the tape, and Arizona, forget about what everyone thought coming into this year, all the narratives," general manager John Lynch said Friday morning on KNBR's "Murph and Mac" show. "We just turn on the tape of the first three games, and you make a strong case this is a team who very likely could be 3-0. They've played very solid football in doing such. They're more talented than people give them credit for.

"And I think the biggest thing, they traded for a guy four days before the season, but yet he's playing like a guy who's been there for some time, and not just executing and dinking and dunking, but making plays, too. [I'm] talking about [QB] Josh Dobbs. So, he's functioning at a high level.

"Their head coach made his way in this league as an up-and-coming defensive secondary coach, then became a coordinator in Philly. We've got great respect for his schemes. They're sound. They make you earn everything."

The 49ers are currently 14-point favorites in Sunday's matchup but know that you still have to play the games. In the NFL, every team has good players, and you can't cruise by any opponent.

"And that team's playing with a lot of belief, and you can see it shine through," Lynch continued. "So I think the fact—it kind of happened Week 1—that people thought the same thing about the Rams, and we saw them go take it to Seattle. And so that had us up. And sure enough, we had a dog fight [with the Rams].

"This week, I don't think it's a terrible thing that they took down the Cowboys because our guys, they're not like that. They're going to respect whoever we play. But Arizona made it easy to do such, and we're expecting a good football team and having to earn a victory."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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