San Francisco 49ers: A Primer for the 2016 NFL Offseason
By Peter Panacy
Creating a Winning Culture with Established Leaders
Former head coach Jim Harbaugh brought a winning, competitive attitude to a 49ers team that had grown accustomed to losing. He changed the culture in quick order and helped the team reach three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.
A new coaching staff, if there is one, may not come anywhere close to Harbaugh’s gusto. And the unfortunate part of the problem is this new cast of 49ers doesn’t know much about winning.
That makes the establishment of on-field leaders all the more critical. One could argue this is the most important facet of the 49ers offseason — a creation of a solid group of player leadership around which to build.
Fortunately, there are pieces in place.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman leads this group. There isn’t much questioning a problem there. And he received some advice from his former teammate and fellow linebacker Patrick Willis in December, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
“I know where you’re at,” Willis said to Bowman. “You know what it takes to get out of this slump, so just lead these guys and keep working.”
Bowman, safety Eric Reid and veteran tackle Joe Staley are among the leadership core that will be responsible for bringing back winning ways to the 49ers.
And they’ll need help along the way.
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From the coaching staff down on to the players, the 49ers will have to spend the offseason trying to reverse the culture that has grown in 2015.
No easy task.
But if that were to happen, the prospects for a better 2016 campaign will have made this offseason a productive one.
And that may be the best thing San Francisco can ask for.
Next: An Early Look at the 49ers 2016 Draft & Salary Cap Situation
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN.com unless otherwise indicated. Contractual information courtesy of Over the Cap.