Depth along the defensive line has once again become the 49ers’ calling card, as nine different players have recorded multiple pressures through five games in the 2023 NFL season.
That depth has been further isolated with the addition of Randy Gregory, something general manager John Lynch discussed during an appearance on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac Show” on Friday.
Lynch described why the 49ers felt the need to get greedy by making a move that would bolster their already strong defensive line while offering some insight into San Francisco’s organizational philosophy for the position group.
“We want an embarrassment of riches up front,” Lynch said. “That’s the way we drive. I used to feel that when I was playing, you could have Warren Sapp. And if you had one dominant player and then a guy, it would certainly be good to get Simeon Rice, which is what we on him”. I did it in our Super Bowl year. And you had good players who deserved credit, but you didn’t have a deep eight.
“Nowadays, it’s like in our league, you’ve got to come in waves. That’s what we believe in. The D-line, we want multiple guys, we want them to come in waves, we want them to play their heart out and then give up. The next line is like a hockey line, going after “Only people.”
After a career year in 2021, Gregory saw a decline in production during his tenure with the Denver Broncos. Lynch made it clear that Gregory’s potential was too tempting to pass up while highlighting why San Francisco was the perfect destination to take advantage of the upside of a player like him.
“Randy was pretty good of a player out there,” Lynch said. “New circumstances, new system in Denver, and they had some young guys that wanted to start playing and they were figuring out their path to success. So we felt like… [it was] Very low risk, very high chance of reward. Chris Kocurek, our D-line coach, has done that with a lot of other players. He puts his hands on them and really cuts them off. Then they refined their style a little.
“The sky’s the limit, Randy’s a very talented young man. We’ve loved him since he’s been here. He’s been great to work with, so we’ll hopefully see him this weekend to lighten up and see what he can do for us.”
Then, Lynch shared why there’s some optimism that Gregory will be able to make his 49ers’ debut Sunday in Cleveland, citing the Nebraska product’s impressive performance on the practice field since his arrival.
“I think there’s a good chance,” Lynch said. “He’s done a really good job. We’re going to tighten things up and I think Kyle will probably be there.” [Shanahan] Meeting with Steve [Wilks] And Chris Kocurek at the end of the day. Have a plan for Randy, whether it’s within this week or moving forward. But it is [Gregory] “She came out on the practice field, looked good, and fits well with our chemistry on this team.”
Any immediate contributions from Gregory to one of the best pass-rushing units in the NFL would be a play for house money, as San Francisco currently boasts the best 90.9 pass-rushing grade in the league this season, according to Pro Football Focus.
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