Everybody is eager to turn the page from 2016. A 2-14 record will do that. But there were still lessons to be learned from the disappointing season.
What went wrong?
There’s one specific area that the San Francisco 49ers will stress in 2017: Accountability. Every player and coach who addressed the media on Monday used that buzzword as the team began its offseason program.
“You’re trying to build a culture here and put your stamp on things and show the standard of what you want,” Shanahan started, “(but) coaches can talk until they’re blue in the face about what they want, but it’s all just coach talk – it’s not really real until the players do that.”
Day 1 brought an encouraging sign. The 49ers had perfect attendance on Monday as every player showed up for the first full team meeting and fitness test of the new era.
“When the players hold each other accountable, when the players have a certain standard that they go to, whenever a guy is slacking and the players get on him before a coach does, that’s when you have something special,” Shanahan explained. “We’re trying to bring in guys who fit that standard.”
Three prominent names on the roster all agreed.
“I’m going to challenge myself to do that a lot more – speak up when it’s uncomfortable and get more comfortable with being uncomfortable,” the left tackle said. “But it’s not something you can go out and force. It grows organically. I feel like I’ve earned the reputation as a guy who works his butt off, … but I can challenge myself to be a little bit more vocal this season.”
“I think guys have to understand that we are pros and that we have to be accountable to one another on and off the field,” Bowman said.
The responsibility trickles down to even the youngest members of the club.
Now in his second season, the newest cornerstone of the franchise acknowledged his part in revamping San Francisco’s culture.
“There’s going to be a lot more accountability this season,” Buckner said. “If guys aren’t doing it right, we’ve got to call him out on it. This is our job. Nobody liked the feeling we had last year going 2-14. The only way we get to where we want to be is to hold each other accountable.”
The 49ers will have two weeks of workouts before voluntary minicamp on April 25-27. If Monday is any indication, the word “voluntary” is irrelevant. Every player is already back at HQ. There’s work to be done and not a moment to waste.