Plenty of NFC brass chimed in at the NFL scouting combine about the 49ers’ success. Here is a sampling of what some rivals said:
Packers coach Matt LaFleur, on if they need more physical players to beat the 49ers after falling 37-20 in the NFC Championship Game:
“I don’t think the physicality had a whole lot to do with it. They had a great agme plan and ultimately they went out and executed their plan a lot better than we did. I think there’s a lot of facets we can improve upon moving forward, but I’m confident in the guys we have on our roster and certainly throughout this process in the offseason we’re always trying to add to that.”
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst:
“The way I go about it – I think the way Matt LaFleur) goes about it – we’re not looking to catch any particular team. I think we’re trying to build a football club and develop a club that can kind of withstand whatever storms come our way. We always start with the division and then work beyond that. So, again, I think if you focus too much on that, you’re going to miss things.”
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury:
“It’s definitely motivating, there is no doubt, to see what Kyle has built there and staying consistent to his culture and who he wanted to be and hanging with it through some tough quarterback injuries. Being in their division, playing them and seeing what they have, it’s definitely motivation for our organization.”
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll:
“They’ve drafted really well. They’ve got a lot of guys. John (Schneider) noticed it a couple of years back, that they were starting to build up the numbers even though their record didn’t show it. Just looking at the guys coming through the ranks, they have a very good roster. The quarterback, you know, Jimmy, really made a big impact on solidifying the whole style of their team.
“I don’t think Kyle (Shanahan) could have done a better job of turning this thing. He did a fantastic job, leaving a mark on his style and the way he does things. It was obvious. Their offense was really emblematic of all of the years he’s been a coordinator calling plays. Thought he did a fantastic job. But I think it’s the accumulation. And they had to pay the price for that. And it took them a while to get it done.
“But they did choose their players well. They put together a really good defensive group. Particularly, the guys that they put together up front. That’s a tough group to deal with. And I think John Lynch has done a great job just keeping the whole thing in order, no getting distracted by the lack of success they had. And, also showing, that they didn’t get distracted by the success they’ve had, which is just as likely a problem. Very impressive group.
”As we’ve seen in our division, we’ve been through some cycles here, already. The cycles have kind of come and gone. It’s a very, very tough division again. There’s no doubt about it. And I don’t think anybody wants to play us (NFC West). It will make us better.”