49ers GM John Lynch Thinks Team Isn’t Ready for Playoff Run: ‘Not There Yet’

49ers John Lynch Playoffs

GETTY SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 11: San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch walks on the field prior to the NFC Divisional Round Playoff against the Minnesota Vikings game at Levi's Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers have rolled with Jimmy Garoppolo this season after drafting Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The decision has produced mixed results and has received mixed reviews. Jimmy G has created moments that were reminiscent of his best stretches in 2019’s run to the Super Bowl, but his recent two-interception performance in the 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans is a reminder of why they drafted Lance and that this team has clear weak spots.

49ers general manager John Lynch sat down with the 49ers Talk podcast to discuss where he stands on Garoppolo, Lance and the state of the 8-7 team. Of course, Lynch is going to keep things positive and back up the decisions San Francisco has made.

But host Matt Maiocco asked if Lynch had any “second thoughts” over not transitioning to the rookie this season, and it provoked a specific quote of note.

“We decided and had the blessing of our ownership to keep Jimmy here as well,” Lynch said. “That provided for tremendous quarterback depth as well for a team we thought was well-positioned to make a run. We’re not there yet, but I think we’re showing signs of a team that can make that run.”

It’s not uncommon for a fan to say a team isn’t ready, but it’s another for a major member of the team’s organization to say it. However, Lynch isn’t wrong. San Francisco is likely to make the playoffs, but at 8-7 and with the blown 10-point lead against Tennessee, it’s hard to imagine the 49ers making another run to the Super Bowl.

John Lynch Sounds Off on Niners QB Situation

Lynch’s words above came after his initial response, which focused on the “second thoughts” aspect of the question.

Lynch explained that real-game situations are best for learning, but that Lance has thrived on the practice field.

“No, obviously we invested a ton in Trey,” Lynch responded. “And the great news there is that we’re as excited about him as ever. You talk about development, I’ve watched him. And yeah, the best kind of development is going and playing, but you can also get better on the practice field.”

Lance has only started once this year, taking the lead for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 5 after stepping in for him in Week 4 and throwing for touchdowns. As Pro Football Reference shows, it wasn’t an electric first start, with Lance completing 15 of 29 passes for 192 yards, an interception and no touchdowns.

49ers GM Thinks Garoppolo Has Improved

The extensive interview with Lynch featured a lot of talk about the team’s QBs. In the same way that he likes what he’s seeing from Lance, the Niners GM is also happy with Garoppolo this year.

“I think there’s been another step in his growth this year,” Lynch said. “It’s hard to capture exactly what that is, but I think when you turn to third downs, red zone, the critical junctures of the game… I think there’s a tremendous amount of belief in Jimmy from his teammates, guys have always loved him and they really respect him, as do myself, [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and everyone else in this organization.”

It’s a passionate quote from Lynch, but it’s also worth mentioning that on December 24 the general manager claimed he “accidentally” liked a tweet making fun of the QB.

It could’ve been a simple accident, but even the idea of Lynch liking the tweet clouds the support behind Garoppolo.

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