San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and his scouting department have landed in Indianapolis for the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Ahead of player evaluations, Lynch addressed the media to discuss the offseason, which include the recovery processes of quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Trey Lance, the positions of need that will be addressed by the 2023 NFL Draft and the free agency period as well as new hires to the 49ers coaching staff.
Here are five takeaways from the general manager's press conference:
Brock Purdy's surgery has been delayed, but there is hope repair on his UCL injury could happen as early as next week.
The 49ers quarterback suffered a UCL injury in the NFC Championship Game versus the Philadelphia Eagles in late January and was scheduled to undergo surgery last week before dealing with a setback. His surgeon, Dr. Keith Meister, made the decision to postpone the procedure and is expected to meet with Purdy in Arizona to determine his elbow's surgery readiness.
"That's a tough decision to make, but I really appreciate the courage and the conviction to make that decision," Lynch said. "It's all about the best outcome. Is it ideal? No, for a variety of reasons, time being number one. You want every waking minute that you have, but ultimately, he's 22 years old. We want the best outcome. That's where Dr. Meister made a really tough decision and we're very appreciative."
The general manager went on to add that if Purdy is cleared this week, he could undergo surgery as early as next week.
Trey Lance is making good progress on his rehab work and has begun a throwing program.
The former first round draft pick suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the 49ers 2022 home opener and after undergoing a touch-up procedure in December, is still expected to return in time for organized team activities in May.
"When I'm in my office, I've got a nice view... I get reports obviously, but my eyes tell me a lot and I'm watching Trey out there taking drops each day," Lynch said. "I don't see a limp. It's not to say he's 100 percent, but he's really recovering well and doing a really nice job. He did start the throwing here recently. Trey's rehabbing extremely well."
Quarterbacks coach Brian Griese is returning to the 49ers coaching staff for the 2023 season.
After a strong first season with the trio of San Francisco's starting quarterbacks, Griese will remain a part of Kyle Shanahan's coaching staff for the upcoming season. The general manager said Griese did sign on for two seasons with the 49ers but did go through his own decision-making process before deciding to stick with the organization due to family ties elsewhere. The former player turned broadcaster turned coach received high praise from the 49ers general manager.
"He had to weigh all that, and he had us nervous because you can't fight that," Lynch said. "We understand that and went through that process. I don't want to speak for him, so I'll let him speak on that."
Lynch is enthusiastic about the hire of defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
With the departure of DeMeco Ryans to the Houston Texans, the 49ers defensive coordinator coaching vacancy was filled by Steve Wilks who most previously worked in the same position for the Carolina Panthers. Lynch described Wilks' as a coach that closely resembles Ryans in terms of leadership abilities and coaching philosophy.
"Steve's got presence and we recognized that right away. He's got a willingness," Lynch said. "We were just the number one defense in football, so we don't want to make wholesale changes. We needed somebody who had a similar vision on how you play the game."
Lynch shared that the defensive coaching staff was included in the hiring process for the defensive coordinator position.
The 49ers may be in the market for a backup quarterback.
Lynch reaffirmed the notion that Jimmy Garoppolo is not expected to return to the 49ers for the 2023 season, and to add depth to the quarterback room, it is possible the 49ers will explore the possibilities of adding another signal caller. Lynch referenced the rare situation San Francisco found itself in during the NFC Championship Game when the only active quarterbacks, Purdy and Josh Johnson, were injured during the contest.
"I was in some meetings today where the league discussed potential solutions for third quarterbacks," Lynch said. "The reality is, it's very few and far between where those instances happen. We'll see, and we may have to look into the quarterback market in addition to Brock and Trey to insulate ourselves from whatever may happen."