NFL
November 10, 2021

Should 49ers' Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch Be On The Hot Seat After Embarrassing Week 9 Loss?

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9. This defeat is arguably the low point in the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch era after taking over the franchise in 2017. 

Since that time, they have only had one winning season, which just so happened to be a Super Bowl run in 2019.

Although the 49ers are 3-5 on the season, they remain one game back in the playoff race. Hopes may remain high for the current season, but the inability to sustain success goes back much further than the current front office.

Since 2000, the 49ers have h ad just six seasons with a winning record. That also happens to be the year that the York family took over as owners of the franchise, and Paraag Marathe became the Executive Vice President of Football Operations. According to his biography on 49ers.com, Marathe "works alongside general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan on all aspects of the club's football operations."

Throughout the last 21 years, the 49ers have had nine different head coaches. If the team is looking for reasons why they cannot sustain success for more than three years in a row (Jim Harbaugh era), then they only need to look at the common denominator throughout the last two decades. 

Instead, let's focus on this season, particularly the end of that game against Arizona.

Where's Trey Lance?

With the clock ticking down in the fourth quarter and the game already out of hand, Shanahan chose to keep his starters on the field instead of using that opportunity to develop their young talent.

Questionable decisions like playing veteran offensive lineman Tom Compton instead of promising rookie Jaylon Moore further added to the confusion. Compton gave up two sacks and numerous QB pressures.

Rookies, such as the future leader of the franchise, Trey Lance, have had little to no quality reps with the starters this season, aside from starting one game for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

The biggest mistake Shanahan and Lynch can make is to look at the fact that the team is still one game out of a Wild Card spot in the playoffs and not use these remaining games to develop the young talent on the team.

It is inexcusable not to take their development more seriously while allowing stop-gap veterans to continue to struggle.

Make no mistake, Garoppolo will not be a 49er next year and may not be starting anywhere depending on how the rookie class turns out. It would behoove the team to get Lance as many live game reps as possible going forward to avoid prolonging his development and eventual rookie mistakes in the game.

The Seat Is Getting Hotter

That decision to roll with the veterans only clarifies Shanahan's biggest fear of another losing season. This team is all out of excuses this year. Fans, coaches, and players can't point to a new front office, complex offense, or injuries on this season's failures.

In a way, the coaches are claiming that this team is good enough, that they can afford to redshirt their rookies a year, and that the team is still competitive enough to win. But the clock has been ticking for 21 years, and the franchise will soon demand better from one of the more recognizable franchises in all of sports.

By trading two future first-rounders and a third-rounder to move up in the 2021 draft for Lance, Shanahan and Lynch have bought themselves at least another year despite the rising heat.

With over 30 players entering free agency this off-season, the time to develop their young talent is now. Don't wait to do it with an unknown roster, or that head coach and general manager seat will surely start to get hot if the losses continue and their future star struggles.

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