Still riding a post-draft high from this past weekend, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York appeared on Good Morning Football on Wednesday and lauded the working relationship of his new power structure atop football operations.
The embattled executive, who fired Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly in consecutive seasons, needed a win. After the 49ers traded back, allowing the Chicago Bears to select quarterback Mitch Trubisky while netting themselves two of their top players on the board in the first round, the narrative around the team — and the suspicion that general manager John Lynch would be greatly overmatched in his first high-pressure situation — slowly started to change.
No longer on his heels, York sounded different as well and openly took the blame for the team’s recent bout with dysfunction.
“I mean that’s who you should question,” York said, talking about himself. “This isn’t where we want to be. We don’t want to be a 2-14 team, we don’t want to be a team that has your fourth head coach in four years. But you also have to be willing to change paths if you’ve made a mistake and know we’re not going to settle for being a 9-7 team. That’s not who we want to be. If you want to make your team great, you have to do everything you can to get back up to that level.
“We will get there. We had three NFC championship games in a row sandwiched between a Super Bowl loss. It’s close, right? That’s not where we want to be. We want to be a team that consistently competes for it and when it’s all said and done, when John, Kyle (Shanahan) and I look backwards, we want to know that we’ve won more together than anyone else.”
Being a 49ers fan right now requires both selective memory and strong faith. Selective memory because, of course, the Harbaugh era didn’t need to end. Faith because York is following the draft weekend buzz with an encouraging assessment of journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer.
“He’s done a great job with Brian Hoyer in the past and I think he’s going to continue to do a great job with Brian Hoyer,” York said of Shanahan. “Brian has grown in his career and I think he’s ready to be a good quarterback for us. That’s a position where, until you get your guy, you have to keep taking shots. As much as we compete with the guys up north, they did that well. They signed (Matt) Flynn to a big contract, but they still drafted one they liked who happened to be Russell Wilson. Until you’re set, you can never stop taking shots to get your quarterback. That’s ultimately what drives this league.”
To York’s credit, there is now at least a reason to look forward. Should most of their defensive investments grow together, the unit could become one of the more formidable pass rushing fronts in the league. It was far more than anyone could say about the 49ers a year ago.