This is the transcript of John Lynch’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.
“Hey guys, just a couple of procedural things. I just wanted to give you guys some information. I know everybody here saw [LB] Donavin Newsom last week with the scary situation and he’s doing better each day. We’re going to put him on Injured Reserve. It will come across the wire procedurally as a waived-injured, but he’s going to be on Injured Reserve. And talking with our doctors, he got great care up here at Stanford. It’s the best thing for the kid. Give him time to really get right. So, had a good talk with him this morning, but just wanted to point that out. I thought it was great work for both sides out here today, really productive. I think both coaches handled their teams really well. Had one little scuffle, but I’ve never seen one of these joint practices where you haven’t. But, I thought it was very professional on both sides. Really productive work and we were thrilled with it.”
What did you find yourself watching most closely? What units did you want to see?
“Well, I tried to perch myself right there in the middle and it was like watching a tennis match going back and forth. So, tried to watch as much as possible. And really, I know that’s a playoff-caliber team, so you want to see how are we measuring up? It’s a practice, but I was proud of the way our guys competed on both sides of the field and on special teams. It’s a great measuring stick and it’s a great opportunity for our team to go up against one of the deeper rosters in football and see how we stack up.”
Did you guys do anything disciplinary-wise with DB Adrian Colbert?
“I thought our coaches handled it really well. First of all, I’ll just say, Adrian is a tremendous kid and I went over there and said, ‘Adrian, that’s not how we practice and we talked about how we were going to conduct ourselves.’ He just said, ‘Hey, I just lost my head. I was tracking the ball, next thing you know he was there.’ And, I can’t tell you that I haven’t been there myself. We kind of sat him out for a little, let things cool down, and then he went out to practice. Talked to [Denver Broncos head coach] Vance [ Joseph] and talked to [Denver Broncos president of football operations/general manager] John [Elway] and everything was good.”
What do you get out of a joint practice compared to a normal practice or compared to a preseason game?
“I think what you get out of it, first of all, I think players get excited. And again, the juices get flowing a little bit. But, when you practice against each other all the time, our defensive players are calling out our offensive plays. You get to know, you know the audibles, and so you’re going up against something where it’s not scripted. It’s completely unscripted. You don’t know everything that they’re doing. It’s just true competition. It really is as close to a game as possible. John and I were talking about it, [New England Patriots head coach Bill] Belichick has done three this year. We weren’t at that point. We had to install a lot of things. But in the future, I don’t think you can get enough of this if you can handle it like that. If it becomes a melee, it becomes very unproductive. I really commend both coaches for getting their teams right because when it is right, it’s the best thing you can do.”
With how good that defense is, how did you think your, particularly your first team offense, went up against that defense?
“It looked good. It’s practice. We’ll go back and watch the film, but it looked good. I do have so much respect for those players there and the way they play. I think it’s just, for [OL] Trent Brown to go up against [OLB] Von Miller, for [T] Joe Staley to go up against those guys, like I said, it’s a top-flight, and particularly that unit, that’s as good as it gets in this league. So, a great opportunity. It looked good. It looked competitive.”
Do you have an opportunity to talk to John about, ‘Hey, look, these, this list of guys on our team should be on an NFL roster and it might not be here.’ Do you have a list or do you guys kind of talk it through?
“Well, that’s going on in the league. It’s kind of that time of year, where people are calling and saying, ‘Hey, you’re strong here, we’re strong here. Let’s just kind of keep these things in mind.’ And, this is a great opportunity to do that. So, we did have some of those discussions. The greatest thing is lots of times you’re throwing on a preseason game. We get a chance for three days to look at some people we might be interested in. So, you’re always doing that. I think they’re doing that as well and it’s another productive thing out of this week.”
You saw a lot of Broncos quarterbacks in the preseason last year, Denver Broncos QB Trevor Siemian and Denver Broncos QB Paxton Lynch. What did you think of how they looked out there today?
“Well, I think highly of both those guys. I know they are having their battle. I think Paxton has those ‘wow’ throws, but then it’s just the consistency. Trevor is extremely consistent. So, I think the only way is just to let that paly out and see who kind of rises to the top there and that’s what they’re doing. I have great respect for both of them and be interesting to see it play out.”
You were open and equal about talking about moving TE Vance McDonald. Where do things stand now? Is that still kind of an open possibility?
“I think what I’ve been thoroughly impressed, as has [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and everybody around here, how Vance has responded to that. I thought last week against Kansas City was a great example. Even though it didn’t show up on the stat sheet, it’s as good as I’ve seen him block, and he did it consistently and he competed extremely hard. And so, we were very proud of Vance. Kyle talks a lot about that. There’s no absolutes and at the time that’s the way we were thinking, but he’s come back and shown us all a lot. He’s competing in a very competitive room. I think that’s a room where someone is going to have to separate themselves. He’s a big part of that. So, we’re very pleased with him right now.”
Did LB Reuben Foster leave practice early?
“You know, [vice president of communications] Bob [Lange] told me that there was something. But, I talked to him and like Reuben, big smile, said, ‘I’m straight.’ And, so he’s good. He’s straight.”
So, it’s not serious?
“No, he’s good.”
Back in January, before things developed between you and Kyle here, did you have any impressions that Kyle may end up in Denver just because of the ties?
“I knew John interviewed him and was thoroughly impressed with him. And, I know that was a tough call. John’s very pleased with Vance, but came away just thoroughly impressed with Kyle. And so, obviously quite a familiarity with the family, but really came away, just like I did, impressed with Kyle. So, it’s neat to see it work out for everyone.”
Do you continue to be encouraged by QB Brian Hoyer?
“Yeah. Brian, we’ve said from the beginning we want a franchise quarterback around here and a lot of people are making assumptions as to what Brian’s role is. Is he a bridge? Is he all those things? Our response to Brian and to everybody is he’s got the first crack of being that guy. And I love the way he’s embracing that opportunity each and every day and really has been a tremendous leader for our group. I think, probably exceeded my expectations of how I thought he could play. And, I think the same for Kyle. It’s been very, very good. We’ve only played one preseason game and we’ve got to continue to let it develop. But, he’s taking this opportunity and I think doing a tremendous job with it.”
Silent protests, sideline protests are back in the news now and it looks like they are not going away anytime soon. If it happens here amongst some of your players as it did here last year, how do you feel about that? Do you support it? Do you tolerate it? Do you have concerns with it?
“You know, I’ve got my own feelings about it. I think my strongest feeling, we had a great deal the other day where we had four chairs up here and there was [former San Francisco 49ers QB] Steve Young and [former San Francisco 49ers WR] Jerry Rice. They talked about the ‘49er Way,’ and I always thought it’s one of the great things about this league. In fact, I think it’s a great beacon for the rest of culture in terms of the way it should be. You strive for a common goal and you have unity. And I think this game brings people together. So, I think personally, when I see that I think that’s divisive. And, I understand guys see things that they’re not happy and they have that right and I think we’ll always respect people’s rights. That doesn’t mean I believe that. I believe that this game should actually be celebrated for what it is. I think a tremendous unifier for our country and for what, you know, the way things should be. [Former San Francisco 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh used to speak about it. You take guys from all over the country, different socioeconomic backgrounds, racial backgrounds, and you have friends for life. [NFL Hall of Fame DT] Warren Sapp is here today working with our defensive line because he’s a buddy of mine and always will be. Those types of story, I think, get lost in something like this, but they’ve got their reasons and we’ll always be respectful of those.”
Does what you just said mean that you would talk to those players about that or do you just allow them as men to–?
“Yeah, I think that we’ll always communicate. We think over communicating is a good thing. We haven’t faced that situation. If we do, we’ll communicate.”
You were talking about Jerry Rice and Steve Young being here. You guys have talked a lot about reestablishing culture as opposed to maybe building a culture. How are those two things different and how do you kind of try to dig into the past while also evolving?
“Well, yes, that’s a great question because I tell our guys all the time when we do things like this, that’s what it is. It’s almost like a cheat sheet. This is the way it should be. And, these guys know when we walk by those Super Bowl trophies that they don’t come free. You’ve got to go earn them, but why not take advantage of guys like that and why not invite them. And if Jerry Rice wants to practice, go ahead and practice. That’s good for us. And Steve Young up here, I’ve always respected Steve. But, the stories they told, I think, better than we ever could, they told them what the 49er Way is and it was awesome. I was sitting up here watching, I was proud of our guys because they were just spellbound on these guys. And so, why not take advantage. Denver every day gets to look at John Elway and he’s a big part of their history. So, why not embrace that and it’s something we’re doing and we’re going to continue to do.”
Would we see you put on the cleats and give Hoyer–?
“You don’t want to see that. I thought Jerry, I saw him about halfway through start stretching those hamstring. I thought we were about to blow a hamstring, but he is Jerry Rice. He looked pretty good.”