New general manager John Lynch doesn't see a team that is as bad as that record might indicate.
"We've got some strides to make on this roster, but I can also tell you (that) I don't look up at the film we've been watching and see a 2-14 team," Lynch said on KNBR-AM in San Francisco on Wednesday, via the Sacramento Bee. "I see some pieces that are hard to build, you know? A great example of that, I think, you look at our offensive line and our defensive line. I'm actually excited about those groups. And those groups are where, I believe, football games are won and lost. It starts there."
It's no surprise Lynch is attempting to spin positive. There certainly are some good players on the 49ers' offensive and defensive lines. Joe Staley, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner immediately jump to mind.
Those groups also had plenty of bad. The 49ers' O-line gave up 47 sacks last season, third-most in the NFL and became a turnstile once injuries mounted. The Niners' defensive front allowed an NFL-worst 165.9 rushing yards per game -- more than 20 yards a game worse than the woeful Cleveland Browns.
Taking over a 49ers team stripped of talent after years of bad drafts and early retirements, Lynch knows he's sometimes putting lipstick on a pig when he attempts to spin positive.
"Do we have some places -- probably the ultimate position, quarterback -- where we need to improve? Absolutely," he said. "And we're committed to doing that. But there's some pieces there that have me excited, have [coach] Kyle [Shanahan] excited. So there's a long list of things, but we're working hard at all of them."
Lynch might not see 2-14 bad, but most watching the 49ers last season would disagree. San Francisco was one of the least entertaining, most talent-poor operations in the NFL in 2016. Its games were maddeningly dull on balance. Without a QB solution on the horizon and many other holes on the roster, San Francisco could be right back in the cellar again next season. The big rebuild is the reason Lynch and Shanahan got six-year contracts. They all know this isn't a quick fix.