Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers: Q&A with Niner Noise

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 11: Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #6 of the San Francisco 49ers is congratulated by teammates after catching a pass for a touchdown during the preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 11, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 11: Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #6 of the San Francisco 49ers is congratulated by teammates after catching a pass for a touchdown during the preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 11, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

With the Denver Broncos taking on the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, Predominantly Orange goes one-on-one with Niner Noise.

Perhaps one of the Denver Broncos most common preseason opponents have been the San Francisco 49ers. This is understandable since both teams are just under 1,300 miles from each other. This season, they will get to know a little more about each other.

The Denver Broncos traveled to Santa Clara, California for the first time since winning Super Bowl 50 last year. This time, they will be having joint practices with the 49ers. Once the joint practices end, the two teams will take on each other on Saturday in their second preseason game.

Having these types of practices with another team gives a fresh prospective. Both teams will be practicing with each other all season. Why not shake it up a little bit for the preseason?

The San Francisco 49ers have some familiar faces in the Bay. John Lynch is the new general manager for the team. Not to mention players like Kapri Bibbs, Elvis Dumervil, and Zane Beadles are currently on the roster.

To get a good idea on what is going on over in San Francisco, I got to talk to Peter Panacy from Niner Noise and see what the Bay Area team has been up to.

Situation at quarterback

There is so much uncertainty at quarterback for the 49ers. Brian Hoyer should be the starter due to experience. The team did draft an interesting player in C.J. Beathard. Do you believe that he could become the eventual starter in San Francisco, or will the team look at their options during the 2018 offseason?

C.J. Beathard was the only player head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted in the 2017 NFL Draft, per various reports. So that suggests Beathard has a legitimate shot at becoming a starter at some point down the line. How good an option he’ll be, though, is anyone’s guess. Right now, I’d assume he’s probably destined to be more of a long-term backup for the foreseeable future. But he did show some good things during the Niners’ first preseason game versus the Kansas City Chiefs. 

I’m guessing the Niners use the 2018 season to truly address quarterback needs. The NFL Draft is deep at this position, so that’s a favorable route. Or the 49ers could target Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins, who hits free agency. 

Personally, I wouldn’t be a fan of pursuing Cousins. Statistically, he’s been great the last two years. But the film tells otherwise, and I’m not convinced he’s the right fit. 

New Head Coach in San Francisco

Kyle Shanahan will be the new head coach for the San Francisco 49ers. He had an offense that led the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Do you believe having him as the head coach will make a difference and help turn this team around?

It should. Kyle Shanahan knows offensive Xs and Os better than most, and this should help transform San Francisco’s offense into a dynamic unit. Provided the team makes the necessary personnel upgrades in coming years, of course. 

But being an offensive coordinator and a head coach are two different animals, and Shanahan is certainly going to go through his growing pains. One saw this in the 17 penalties San Francisco received in Kansas City. That starts from the top — ensuring proper practice techniques and discipline on the field. Fortunately, Shanahan is young enough to learn these ways and not get “set in his ways,” if you will. Plus, he has the added bonus of picking his father, Mike, for questions. And Kyle has.

Season long coaching position for Katie Sowers

Katie Sowers accepted a season long coaching position with the 49ers after completing her internship. Going off topic of the 49ers for a moment, do you believe this could help pave the way for women to begin following in her footsteps?

I do. It’s awesome. There is going to be resistance to this, and I’ve seen a bit of it on social media (go figure). But I’m of the opinion the players will respect her if she’s smart, knows how to make a positive impact and can display the same attention to detail just like anyone else on the coaching staff. That’s all that truly matters, and it could be a major step in opening up new roles for women at the NFL level.

Expectations for John Lynch as General Manager

What are your expectations for John Lynch in his first season with the San Francisco 49ers? Do you believe the former NFL player can be successful as a GM?

I remember reading a tweet from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, who quoted an anonymous general manager, saying, “I thought John Lynch would suck. I was wrong,” right after Round 1 of the NFL Draft.

Lynch’s first tests during free agency and the draft were great. He didn’t go overboard and target the big-name free agents, rather the Niners landed plenty of blue-chip players to improve the core of the roster. And the draft, well, getting two top-10 talents in Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster is about as good as it gets. 

Perhaps even more importantly, Lynch has acted like a true “face of the franchise” and hasn’t shied away from media questions or being in the spotlight. This commands respect and attention, and I think all 49ers fans feel refreshed after having to deal with the reclusive former GM Trent Baalke for the last few years. 

All this is a great start, but the tests don’t get any easier. Lynch will eventually be judged on how well this organization is performing two, three or even four years down the line. But, so far, so good.

Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers 2017 season

What are your realistic expectations for the 49ers this season? The team seems to be in a rebuilding mode, but also could be a few pieces away from getting back to the playoffs. If they are still rebuilding, how many years do you think it will take to get San Francisco back into contention status?

2017 isn’t going to be great, record-wise. I’d expect San Francisco to finish with, at most, six wins. Four wouldn’t be a shock, but that’s still doubling last year’s win totals. One has to remember just how bad this team was last season. The key thing to remember here is finding those cornerstone pieces on the roster — guys Lynch and Co. can build around in coming seasons. Some of those, like Thomas and Foster, may already be in place. Others need to be defined.

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It’s also important to remember the team is installing new schemes on both sides of the ball, so that learning curve will take time.

But in 2018, I’d expect the Niners to fight for a .500 record. Maybe even a shot at a Wild Card berth. The following year, however, San Francisco’s expectations should be significantly higher, as the team looks to make some serious headway as a division contender.

Thank You Peter for dedicating your time to talk to me. If you want to see his interview with me, head over to Niner Noise.