Aaron Lynch enters the 2017 offseason with his toughest battle ever, to make the 53-man roster. He is a talented player, but lacks an intense work ethic and motor on the field. Niners Live asks the tough question; does Lynch have the inner motivation/fire to maximize his talents and become an upper echelon player in the NFL?
Aaron Lynch, 6’6 270 lbs, was suspended for four games in 2016 for violating the league’s substance abuse program. He reported to training camp overweight and didn’t drop the pounds by time the suspension was over. His play directly suffered because of that. Lynch then missed another five games with an ankle injury and only registered one and half sacks. That is completely unacceptable for the lead pass-rusher for any franchise.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch made it clear to Aaron this offseason that he must be in better shape if wants to play for the Red and Gold. Lynch weighed over 280 lbs. at the start of the offseason and the team wants him to lose 10-20 lbs.
Shanahan sees a spark in Lynch during this offseason. “There’s no doubt Aaron’s going in the right direction for us. In the offseason, we challenged him hard with just the way we worked and stuff. He hasn’t shied away from any of it. He’s gotten more in shape each day and I’m seeing it on the field each day,” said Shanahan (via Cam Inman of mercurynews.com).
The true question is; will Lynch be self-accountable to push himself to drop the pounds by improving his diet and conditioning? During the offseason he has said all the right things. The front office and fans will have to wait until training camp to see if the proof is in the pudding.
“I’m working my (butt) off right now trying to do everything they want me to do. I don’t think I took my diet the best I could. I was going out places, taking my wife out. I wasn’t eating vegetables and lean meat every day, so I gained weight,” Lynch stated to the media this off season (via Cam Inman of mercurynews.com).
Another motivating factor for Lynch is playing his natural position of defensive end instead of outside linebacker, and in a defensive scheme that allows players to attack the ball and play fast.
“Leo is a lot of damn fun, so yeah, I like it a lot. You get to set the edge and get the quarterback. This defense we’re in allows us to play fast as hell and let us do things we do naturally. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be a better defense,” said Lynch.
In closing: Will this offseason be the one where Lynch takes his weight and game seriously? Does he have the drive to be great? He has the physical tools to succeed, (at times he is dominant), as an edge rusher. He must eliminate his bad habit of taking plays off here and there (John Lynch frowns upon that), The team has added competition to his position, as well, with veteran pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil, and moved former first round pick Arik Armstead to the “Leo” pass-rusher position. The Leo is the highlighted pass-rusher in Robert Saleh’s defense, who must apply constant pressure on the quarterback. If Lynch doesn’t prove he is ready to be a complete professional in order to take his game to the next level, he will not be on the 2017 San Francisco 49ers roster. Does he have it in him? Keep your eyes wide open this training camp to find out.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author Jimi Payne Staff Writer at Niners live. Co-Author, Editor Sequoia Sims.