Sakamoto: 49ers GM John Lynch clearly rebuilding defense from inside/out

Every general manager has differing ideologies on how they envision their defense. Some general managers covet defensive backs more so than defensive lineman, while others favor defensive lineman over defensive backs. Whatever the case may be, the common underlying truth is that both positions require premium players. A stout defense needs cornerbacks to stay stride-for-stride with receivers downfield, while defensive lineman need to maintain gap integrity at the line of scrimmage all while wreaking havoc in the backfield. Which begs the question, which position unit is more valuable? 

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If you ask me, I’m a firm believer that games are won down in the trenches, thus defensive lineman and pass-rushers should be top priority. Why? Because you can have CB Deion Sanders back there, it doesn’t mean much, if you can’t generate an organic pass-rush up-front. Eventually, the wide receiver will get open. The reverse can’t be said.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

If you have a legit pass-rush, odds are in your favor. Why? Because it throws off the rhythm and timing between quarterback and receiver. No longer does a quarterback have the luxury to sit back in the pocket going through his progressions (reads/options) while making the proper reads. A stingy front seven not only disrupts timing but also helps the backend of the defense (secondary) by allowing them to be more aggressive in attacking the ball on those underneath routes while living closer to the line of scrimmage. 

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The 49ers invested heavily on the team’s front seven. The free-agent additions of OLB Malcolm SmithDT Earl Mitchell, and DE Elvis Dumervil and high-round selections of DE Soloman Thomas and MLB Reuben Foster will prove that. So despite playing strong safety, does 49ers GM John Lynch share the same philosophy as me on building his defense from the inside/out? 

Here’s what the Niners general manager had to say, as I asked him that very question in today’s press conference (Instagram: @BEASTwriter)***

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.