Until the final 15 minutes of last season, no one was better than the 49ers.
And even with an offseason of change, General Manager John Lynch believes they can close that gap.
Via Brian Witt of NBCSportsBayArea.com, Lynch said at the team’s State of the Franchise event that they’re in position to improve on last year’s result.
“I think it’s a state of a team that I think is very well-equipped to compete for championships,” Lynch said. “Now, it’s incumbent upon us to find a way to be better than we were last year, which was pretty darn good.
“We talk about it a lot, Kyle and I. It’s a philosophy that we kind of bonded on when we first started having conversations. It’s something Jon Gruden used to talk about. You never stay the same. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse.”
The 49ers had to replace some big names, but have found a number of like-for-life alternatives. As much as the retirement of left tackle Joe Staley was a blow, trading for Trent Williams softens it. Likewise, dealing defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts brought back a first-round pick that turned into Javon Kinlaw. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency, but promising Brandon Aiyuk arrived in the draft.
“I’m very encouraged with where our franchise is,” Lynch said. “Our goal was to give ourselves a chance to be a better football team this year. I think we’ve done that. I think we have a chance to be a better football team, and that’s tough when you talk about some of the losses that we’ve had.
“I’m very encouraged, and now we’ve just got to go do it. That’s the great thing about this game. You can talk about it all you want, but you’ve got to walk the walk, and we’re looking forward to having the opportunity to do that.”
It took a fourth-quarter comeback from the Chiefs to keep them from winning the Super Bowl last year, and they feel they’re at least in position to be back at that level.