49ers’ salvage plan probably far too late to matter

This is my Friday column.

The San Francisco 49ers hit the iceberg weeks ago. So, why are they benching Colin Kaepernick now? What does this move say about the mindset of the franchise?

We’re looking at two issues here: the Jim-Tomsula issue, and the Jed-York-Trent-Baalke-dynamic-duo issue. Although the issues are similar. Let’s deal with the Tomsula issue first.

Tomsula is desperate. He realizes he’s in over his head, and probably will be on the street after this season. He knows the media and the league think he’s a puppet of Baalke and York.

He also sees other head coaches and assistants around the league getting the axe. Just the past few weeks, the Dolphins and Titans fired their head coaches, and the Lions and Colts fired their offensive coordinators. Tomsula knows York and Baalke may make a move on him with the bye week coming up after Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tomsula is trying to save his job, a job that probably is not savable. He’s at wits’ end. He needs to do something just so it looks like he’s doing something.

That something is replacing Colin Kaepernick with Blaine Gabbert for one game at least. Maybe benching Kaepernick will save Tomsula his job if Gabbert plays well. Worth a shot from Tomsula’s perspective. If he had a better idea, he would have thought of one by now.

Which brings us to York and Baalke, the dynamic duo who hired Tomsula in the first place.

York and Baalke are desperate, too. They know they’ve become jokes around the NFL. Every time they pick up the sports pages, or turn on ESPN, or flip to NFL Network — the league’s official television channel — they’re getting hammered. That has to wear on them eventually. It’s probably worn on them already.

How much negative ink can they withstand before they pull a Tomsula and do something just so it looks like they’re doing something? They want to appear like they’re doing something. Keep in mind, Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium is only three months away. During the build-up to that game, media from all over the country will talk about the decline of the host franchise, not any positives about it.

York and Baalke need positive press. From their perspective, benching Kaepernick now shows they’re at least making an attempt to turn things around, even if it’s too little too late. Even if it doesn’t matter in the long run.

And if benching Kaepernick changes nothing, and the Niners get blown out again on Sunday, you can bet York and Baalke will fire Tomsula a day or two later for show.

Not that firing Tomsula midseason would accomplish anything. There’s no point in changing captains when the ship already is 80 percent underwater and all you can see is one little smokestack and one end of the boat poking out of the water, pointed toward the moon. And that’s just the point. Nothing York and Baalke do at this point has a point.

The Niners had the wrong guy at the helm in the first place, and York and Baalke are the ones who chose him, for whatever reason.

They had their reasons for parting ways with Jim Harbaugh, one of the best football coaches in the world. Everyone knows Harbaugh tends to wear out his welcome and move on to the next job every four years or so.

Once York and Baalke dumped Harbaugh, they needed to hire a quality coach. Clearly it was not possible to replace Harbaugh with anyone better or even as good.

But York and Baalke could have hired someone solid, someone with a track record as an NFL head coach. Someone like Jack Del Rio of the Oakland Raiders. Del Rio is a case in point.

Del Rio is no Harbaugh, but Del Rio can coach — that’s been clear for more than a decade. He made the Jacksonville Jaguars competitive, which is almost impossible, and he instantly made the Raiders competitive his first season coaching the team. Their record is 4-3. They could make the playoffs as a wild card.

Del Rio was available this offseason, and the Niners could have had him. But York and Baalke never even interviewed him. Apparently, Tomsula was their guy all along. Shame on them.

Now, their ship is sinking, and they’re beginning to throw people overboard. After Tomsula, it will be the assistant coaches. It may even be Baalke, as York tries to save his own life before the ship goes totally under.

No one is safe, except for York. He’ll make it to shore in a private yacht while the wreckage of the 49ers ship litters San Francisco Bay.

Does the bay even reach Santa Clara?

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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  1. After losing to the Falcons, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chryst fired, Sparano elevated to OC, and someone like Pep Hamilton brought in as an Assistant to the OC or similar.

    1. Sparano? I think that may be even worse than Chryst. I’d rather they promote Logan. The beat writers could ask him questions about wine and blues.

      1. Change for change’s sake, and he’s the guy on staff with the most experience as an OC I believe. And I think they would bring in an outside mind to provide some input to the game plan, e.g. Pep Hamilton.

        1. Not saying it wouldn’t happen, just saying I wouldn’t like it. I don’t care who calls plays or game plans this dumpster fire, I’m just in it for entertainment value.

      2. Lowell would love talking wine with a Coach I would bet.

        I agree with Scooter. They will likely fire assistants before Tomsula if for no other reason than they hand picked him, and likely don’t want to admit a colossal mistake 9 games in to the season.

        1. One of the reasons I think Chryst will be gone soon is his comments during his presser. He was very defensive and seemed to be passing the blame elsewhere. Sounded like a guy that knows he’s on the outer and trying to save face.

            1. I look at a little differently Seb,. When you are given an assortment of talent that is likely to produce the worst offense in the NFL, the first place to look is at who is responsible. Bill Walsh could not win with this roster (don’t forget he was 2-14 and 6-10 leading up to our first SB win) Everyone just assumes that Baalke is a given. Until that changes fugggeddaboutit! Belicheck could produce an offense with Baalke’s sorry roster. And please, to his defenders, tell me anything he has really done besides ride along with a run first team that had a HOF running back, one each of the best head coaches and best defensive coordinators in the game. Aside from doing a below average job, the only true thing Baalke has done is to hire the two extremely competent coaches, but we all know how that ended up. I guarantee you that no potential HC other than a wannabe will take the job here until Baalke is gone!

              1. Whine Country is spot on. Baalke is a fraud and no self respecting, accomplished HC will want to work for him. I’m not sure such a person will work for Jed either.

                Jed needs to grow some balls and clean house – just like the Detroit owner did this week. Just look at the 49ers front office. See any accomplished football people?


              2. Baalke hired one good coach, and that coach brought his staff with him. Don’t overdo your praise of Baalke.

          1. I agree with you about Chryst being the first to go. He was appointed by Harbaugh and kept on for the sake of continuity, which hasn’t worked out too well. Also, he can be blamed for Kaepernick’s lack of development, and if Gabbert doesn’t succeed, for his as well. (Behind that oline — a product of Mr. Trent Baalke — he has as much chance of succeeding as Kaepernick did.) And last, he directs the least productive offense in the league. He’s bad. Who wouldn’t fire him? After Chryst, I don’t think they’ll let anyone else go until the off-season. Too embarrassing. Just my guesses.

    2. Mike Holmgren said he would coach the team during the farcical coaching search. He’s just a phone call away as an interim coach.
      Holmgren can, at the very least coach up Kap, ala Harbaugh with Smith, and raise his level of play so the 49ers can garner a high draft choice from a QB needy team in the offseason…A list of several of these teams has already been published . Meanwhile, Mike Shannahan could be hire as a GM/Consultant to the Owner and prepare for the upcoming draft to review the college QB’.
      Of course, the York’s, never a proactive ownership group, are out of their league being proactive and the source of the Jokes by the rest of the NFL ownership fraternity.

  2. Nice piece, admittedly your writing style is much more suited to the times when fortunes are down, but some valid well made points. If any of the events you mention come to pass I would not be surprised at all.

    I would be keen to read a detailed piece by your good self on the actions/direction you would take were you in the fortunate position of power that Baalke and York are seemingly unable to cope with.

    1. I’ll be honest, I respect the opinions of the regulars here just as much, so I ask the same question. Chaps consider yourselves to be Jed, what now? (Assuming that jumping off the Golden Gate bridge isn’t an option)

      1. From a PR perspective, there’s not much Jed can do at this point. Barring a miracle of biblical proportions, this team is going to have a hard time remaining competitive throughout the season.

        Atlanta, more than likely, is going to crush us. There’s no way our secondary can hold up without a pass rush against Ryan-to-Jones over 4 quarters; not gonna happen. That said, firing Tomsula would just make the executive office look desperate, as Grant pointed out. He should wait until the season’s end to give Tomsula his pink slip.

        But in the meantime, Jed could provide a high-level outline of the team’s short-term plan to finish the season strong as well as the team’s long-term strategy for the future. He could win some (minor) PR points by doing a State of the Franchise address sometime next week (during the bye) to communicate these plans to the rightfully pissed-off Niners fanbase. During that address, he should verbally assume responsibility for his crap product (pigs will fly fighter planes first).

        Once the season’s over, all coaches not named Tom Rathman should be let go (probably will happen). Hire an experienced football man as team president to handle the “big picture” aspect of football operations (won’t happen). I would say “fire Trent Baalke” but that won’t happen either, but he should definitely be put on notice that if he doesn’t crush it in April (I’m talking 2-3 bonafide Pro Browl prospects and 2-3 more viable starters), he’s history.

        Of course, this is what I would do, as a rational man with some measure of humility and integrity. What Jed will do is likely something else entirely.

          1. I prefer beer. I am watching 49ers Central after a couple of beers, and Tomsula is beginning to look and sound like Dave Wannstedt in his final days of coaching. Ricky Watters is at a loss for words, Feldy is blabbering erratically and Dennis Brown looks ready to break someone’s back. Pretty dismal all round….

      2. DClark
        Cheers, by the way.
        A Herculean task ahead. I think a complete overhaul is required, but it should be done in a way to build a foundation for the future. The firings should all be done in a dignified professional manner.
        Next: bring in an experienced GM with a good personnel management resume. In very rare cases it could be a HC/GM. The new GM helps recruit the next HC with similar philosophical and system approach.
        But here’s the rub:
        1/the type of individual that’s needed will(should) demand autonomous authority under Jed with equivilent rank to Marathe.
        2/ Marathe will fight tenaciously against that ranking, and he’s got the Royal Ear.
        3/ Jed almost surely doesn’t have the Huevos to bring in a personality that strong again.
        4/ the Niner reputation is so defamed that there’s a real question about how many people in the NFL would take the job. And, importantly, how many of the best people would.
        I’m a dinosaur so I have some old names in mind, but a Bill Polian or a Bill Cowher would give me hope and patience.
        Drilling down for speculations more detailed than that is something I’ll avoid until we see the fundamental changes (or not) emanating from Olympus.
        Ciao brother

        1. You are so right but the cheapskate egotistical Yorks would never bring in somebody that strong. They would rather let the team lose and count their dollars
          Only way this ship is getting righted is if we get new ownership. Otherwise “winter is coming” (Game of Thrones)

      3. Id be on the phone with holmgren. Getting him in now as voice.
        I’d start asking some of the legends about considering coming back and having some input. Some could be coaches. It’s exactly what baby Davis has done in Oakland. He also got the hell out of their way and let them do their jobs. I wanted holmgren as a coach last year. But jed obviously knows more than I about football operations. He did sit in Montanas lap as a boy. I wouldn’t like holmgren as a coach/gm. I hope jed is selfish on saving himself. That would mean a whole new regime from top to bottom. Call uncle Eddie up. His pride left when Harbaugh did and tomsula was hired.

        1. I, like you MD, hope he calls Uncle Eddie up. Uncle Eddie had a three step plan that finally brought the franchise to dominance. 1. He had his GM fire head coach, Pete McCully, (who was 1-9 at the time); 2. He fired his incompetent GM; and 3. he hired a GM/HC like Bro Tuna recommended. The rest is history. Obviously Jed can,t hire Bill Walsh like his uncle did, but that does not mean the plan is not still viable.

          History does not repeat itself but it often rhymes – Mark Twain

      4. If I were in Jed’s position, I’d:

        1. Make no significant moves until the off-season … yet more drama isn’t needed.
        2. Fire the entire coaching staff, except for Rathman.
        3. Fire Baalke.
        4. Recognize that no competent NFL-experienced head coach or coordinator would probably even consider interviewing with the Niners, much less accept the job if offered.
        5. Hire David Shaw (Stanford) as GM/HC (with authority over all personnel decisions, as Walsh had when he replaced Joe Thomas & his no-nothing HCs) … I’d give him a 5-year contract and whatever it took to get him on board.
        6. Retain Tom Gamble as Director of Player Personnel, working for Shaw. (If Gamble was unwilling to accept the job on those terms, I would make a run at Eliot Wolf, Green Bay’s Director of Player Personnel.)
        7. Ask Gamble (Wolf) to evaluate the entire scouting and player personnel function and replace a lot of Baalke’s “old boy network”, who certainly haven’t contributed much to providing the Niners with decent drafts.
        8. Get the hell out of the way and let Shaw/Gamble(Wolf) clean up this mess.

      5. the mess started when Harbaugh Changed QBs and put Kap in rather than use Smith. That cost him the Super Bowl. After that it was all down hill. this group was almost 100% against Smith. Kap was the savior. Now you know better and you clamor for another savior. Will Gabbert be it? This team sucks not because of Tomsula, but because there is a substantial reduction in the quality of the players in general. You can’t lose 1/2 your Offensive line and 1/2 of your defensive 11 and hope to be competitive. So designation of blame is not the answer and Harbaugh couldn’t do it last year with the full compliment of players and you expect to go to the super bowl with a totally depleted team. Tomsula may not be Harbaugh, but he is not the one to blame.

        1. With the advantage of hindsight I can agree with much of your comment, Maven. The switch to Kap was a seminal moment. In agreeing with that I don’t agree with the implication that all other things being equal (which they are not) the Niners would’ve been more effective with Alex. Alex might have as many fans in the Bay Area as he does in KC; plenty disgruntled fans.
          Extrapolating further, many of the personnel losses and failures to launch by draft picks would’ve happened under Harbaugh, his team would struggle and TK and Grant and others would be smirking at JH’s frustration and antics on the sidelines and delightedly baited him in Pressers. They’d be painting him as a fool and saying his wins were due only to players now departed.
          So I agree that Tomsula isn’t the reason for the failures, and that few coaches could do well with this roster. Bowman said it: This is the team we’ve got.
          Much of Geep’s sorryaxed play calling is because there aren’t that many plays to call that will work. Would GRo have some grand design that would work?
          All that said, Jim T and Geep still probably have to go; too much damage done; #Humpty-Dumpty. Will it get better? How long?

  3. “Does the bay even reach Santa Clara?”

    It used to and it will again soon. Sandbags! What Jed needs is more sandbags! Everyone pitch in!

  4. Since the changes last winter, I’d had a loose scenario in my head that Tomsula had a two year leash, and Trent two or three year window.
    The steaming mess at hand does make it possible for JT to be canned after one; or conceivably in mid season. Scooter’s scenario seems more likely to me, but that’s a wild guess.
    I no longer think Trent is completely immune. HoF GM Bill Polian (and his HC) got fired after a stinker year………..and this one be stanky.

  5. “No one is safe, except for York. He’ll make it to shore in a private yacht while the wreckage of the 49ers ship litters San Francisco Bay.”
    ~ Grant

    Grant, I really like the imagery here!
    Jed’ yacht will suffer some damage before it lands on shore though. Blowing up this team from top (GM) to bottom (asst. coaches) might be the best thing for the organization if it continues to lose.
    I only wonder what Jed will have to say to the media and fans after this happens.

    He made a public apology the fans last season after the 49ers lost to the seahags on Thanksgiving night. I wonder if he will do the same thing after the season but this time apologizing to the fans for his awful decisions in 2015.
    He certainly needs too imo.

    1. It’s an image that makes no sense, though. In Grant’s story, everyone was on a boat that sounds pretty big, after all, it was out far enough to hit an iceberg. If that’s the case, where does the private yacht come from? in the context of Grant’s own story, it just doesn’t make sense.

  6. For me, it doesn’t have to be a decade long process back to respectability like it was before Harbaugh arrived. I’m not saying it won’t be, but it doesn’t have to. As Grant said, what needs to happen next is they bring in a solid HC after this season. Obviously they should have already done that last off season, but what’s done is done. Hire a new GM and let him go about restocking the team through the draft and use some of the cap space (of which they have plenty) on some veteran free agents. Hang onto Kaepernick until you get a new coach and see what he wants to do with him (just like Alex Smith and Harbaugh). If the new guy sees something in Kap that he wants to work with, so be it. If not, look for a young guy in the draft and sign a veteran stop gap.

    I know all that sounds overly simplistic, but I think it really is that simple. There’s solid coaches out there. Just look at the other teams this year with new coaches. Todd Bowles, Jack Del Rio, and Dan Quinn all have their respective teams going in the right direction. They just have to be willing and open minded enough about where this franchise needs to go. Will they? That’s another question.

    1. It is simplistic to not deal with the GM’s long range plan before selecting a coach. No potentially “good” coach would want to be hired before a GM is in place. And no “good” GM would want someone else’s head coach. Get your chicken and your egg lined up before you think of a new coach unless you want to talk Parcells out of retirement. Wouldn’t that be the final nail into the Walsh era.

      1. It’s also simplistic to not deal with Marathe’s effect on long range planning. Someone needs to use him as a tool and not allow his methods to control the future. For instance there may be times when it’s best to pay market prices to extend contacts because the alternative leaves the team with too many unknowns. 2015 is probably a very good example.

      2. Hwaits,
        Poor phrasing on my part. Yes, you want to hire the GM first then he would hire the HC. I should have structured my paragraph better.

        1. Gang, join the vast majority here. That’s why some of us whimper for an edit function. The cold hard hearted Grant, even his name is hard, never replies to our sad pathetic pleas.

        2. I don’t agree. Part of this team’s problem is the continuing disconnect between the personnel function (Baalke and scouting staff) and the coaching staff … Baalke’s ego won’t allow him to be a effective team player. That is identical to the situation when Joe Thomas was GM, preceding the Bill Walsh hire. No competent HC-candidate was willing to work for Thomas, and rightfully so given how he had trashed the coaches and decimated the roster. Sound familiar?

          Walsh’s condition of hire was having authority over personnel in addition to being HC. Eddie agree to that. In turn, Walsh hired a well-known personnel guy, John McVey, as his VP of Player Personel, and together they built a great roster over time.

          Accordingly, given the current circumstances, I think the better alternative is to hire a competent collegiate HC who wants to transition to the professional ranks and give him complete authority … including personnel decisions … to fix this entire mess. Of all potential candidates, I think that David Shaw (Stanford) is the brightest and most creative offense-oriented HC with the best track record who MAY be available.

          1. Shaw is great but he won’t save the 49ers or work for Jed.

            He is a proud and a strong limb of the Harbaugh coaching tree and what he does at Stanford is counter to what’s common in college therefore it works in college.

            In the NFL he would not have that counter to fashion advantage. He is proud to run Harbaugh’s offensive concepts because they work at that level.

            In the NFL Shaw would have to adapt just as Harbaugh was having to adapt, only Jed/Baalke didn’t give Harbaugh time.

            I liked Harbaugh and I like Shaw. Some of you who didn’t like Harbaugh, for football reasons, should be careful what you wish for.

      3. Great comment. I always knew we were fundamentally in sync–mainly because of your avatar–it’s just my bombastic, caustic veneer that ill-suits your sallow complexion.

      4. Hiring Parcells would be the worst kind of irony. First he makes the New Jersey Giants a winner then brings the Santa Clara 49ers back to fame. Can just see it, Super Bowl XXXXXXXX, New Jersey v. Santa Clara. I think I’m going to be sick. (I don’t think Parcells ever won Superbowls with the Foxborough Patriots or the New Jersey Jets did he?)

  7. I think Tomsula is a goner, but this is hardly his fault. The fault lies with baalke and york.

    baalke has been a trainwreck and needs t go immediately . He cant be trusted with a top 5 draft pick or the 33rd pick … or the 65th … . York needs to recuse himself from the football side of the family business. This should not be a problem since he seems to enjoy focusing on turning Levis stadium into the #1 entertainment venue in the Bay area. He can promote Lady Gaga and the ice capades, but in no way be involved with football decisions.

    We need to bring in several smart football people who have an affiliation with the niners (the council of elders) – Holmgren, Mariucci, Lott, Young, Garcia … They will be tasked to find a new GM and coach and turn this thing around.

    Time is a wastin.

    1. When I was a post teenager, boring holes in the sky, I was expected to be 100% qualified for my job at all times. Later, being 90% qualified for computer software jobs was a pretty good criteria. Right now, in digital engineering or software, being able to learn on the job very quickly is an a requirement.

      Who’s to blame a guy with Jim’s background for taking a $3.5M contract with a chance to win the lottery back to back. He might get a second year. Who knows if Jim knew up front that he couldn’t turn around the Titanic before it hit the ice.

          1. Got two post teenager sons that pass gas – one flies kc-130; one flies kc-10. With no disrespect to Bro Tuna I tell them semper fly!

            1. Now that thar is funny! Hey, those 130s were money in Nam! The c-123s also.
              I got rescued by a USAF H-53 after a crash near Song Be, so y’all Airdales OK by me!
              ; -)

    2. I agree. The first thing Jed should do is admit he is in over his head. Then he should nicely and respectfully ask Eddie to lead a committee that will make assessments. formulate a plan, and execute the directives.
      Holmgren, Seiffert and Mariucci would be logical choices, with Brent Jones, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott as former players who will give them a players’ perspective.
      With such a terrible job Baalke has done, he should be replaced. His draft choices have busted too many times, and his FA signings have disappeared. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the waiving of Hayne, with the RBs replacing him who managed 15 carries for 10 yards. Maybe Brian Billick, a protege of Walsh, should be the new GM.

  8. Grant, you left out the good news!
    FO can now actively make a list of desirable HC, OC, DC etc.
    It’s got to be a whole overhaul or the same thing will happen.
    Which College coach should they go after? (bar Harbaugh…)

    1. First there has to be a top level football brain with power who selects a GM with a compatible long range plan and the skill to carry out that plan. There is no point is discussing head coaches with out those two functions in place. If that doesn’t happen then it’s more crap being piled on top of old crap.

      1. “There is no point is discussing head coaches with out those two functions in place.”
        Even though I agree that it starts with the top, Harbaugh was able to function without those 2 functions in place……
        A seasoned HC should be able to convince FO to change the GM. If we wait for it to happen the other way around, it might take decades.
        Tomsula was hired because he’s a yes-man, I think they’re ready for some change.

        1. Harbaugh successfully rode of the wave of baalke’s predecessor. He had Gore, Vernon, cowboy, OLine, Willis and crabtree at the top of their game. Baalke did not replace those aging vets with young talent. The movie does not end well.

        2. No one is going to take a head coaching job if one of the criteria is that he or she has to get the owner to replace his GM unless he does it as a condition of employment. In that case the head coach is running the entire football operation. Me thinks you are dreaming of Bill and Eddie. They’re gone now and the Yorks are on the throne. In England the Yorks went into a spiral with Richard the III. We’ve got Jed the Kid.

    2. As I said above, here’s the problem:

      1. The two most important things that are needed are:
      a A GM (or personnel function) far superior to Baalke in building rosters.
      b. A competent coaching staff.

      2. No competent GM candidate would be willing to work for Jed.
      3. No competent HC or NFL coordinator would be willing to work for Baalke.

      4. That probably means that to get a competent HC you have to:
      a. dump Baalke; and
      b. look to the collegiate HC ranks;
      c. give the HC authority over personnel decisions.

  9. We’re only halfway through the season ok. Yes things don’t look great but we’re just gonna keep pushing thorough it until we find a positive rhythm no what I mean.

    And one last thing ok, just to be clear I am not going anywhere. I am going to ride this thing to the end ok.

    Now who wants to go have some pasta and chicken wings? Big sale going on at the Hooters down the street ok. They know me, gave me a frequent customer card and everything.

    1. A prefect example of Collin Kaepernick 2 years ago is Manziel. Not enough film so he is getting best of the Bengals defense. Don’t get too excited just yet

    1. Yup, and Brady before Rodgers. Hindsight.
      Let’s see, if we would have drafted Brady we would have at least 2-3 SB rings right now.

        1. That’s been an ongoing theme with most unfortunately. They believe a good QB is all that was needed during the decade before Harbaugh. The reality though is that those guys most likely would’ve met the same fate that Smith had.

      1. Manziel hit Taylor Gabriel in the helmet three times and Travis Benjamin in the numbers once. One or two was either in the end zone or on third down.

      2. Manziel was doing a Russell Wilson impression in the first half making throws on broken plays. As soon as the Bengals started using more discipline in their rush lanes and kept him from escaping the pocket, it was over.

  10. OK here are my .02 cents… Tomsula was handed the keys to a Ferrari that had a little tarnish & a few dings… Nothing that a little TLC & elbow grease couldn’t fix… Then he finds out that it didn’t come with the tires/rims, the doors, seatbelts, front or rear bumpers, or windows… But they would throw in 4 compact spare tires, some cardboard for the doors, bungee cords for seat belts, chunnks of styrofoam for the bumpers, & some cellophane for windows… Sure it held up fine at first… But then it rained & it was realized that you can only drive slow for a short distance… Tomsula was never given a chance… Baalke needs to go & in a perfect World York… Baalke needed to dragt guys who could contribute immediately & drafted too many guys who were injured & not going to play for a year or so… His 2012 draft was a complete bust… We all knew Iupati was gone this year… He should have addressed that with our top pick…

    1. Ok, what did Harbaugh get when he came on board? A team that had a motivational speaker masquerading as a coach and was playing very bad football, a shortened offseason, a former #1 pick that was a borderline bust for many years at QB, an owner that was just sprouting pubes, a GM whose only talent is drafting people who are immediately eligible for disability assistance programs, a rickety stadium, and a short time to assemble an NFL staff. All he did was have the best 3 years in a row that any rookie NFL HC has produced in history if I’m not wrong.

      I don’t feel sorry for Tomsula, not the least. To quote Lowell Cohn, “You lobbied hard for this position. You got it. You’re going down.” Tomsula is in so far over his head that it’s comical. And who knows if he wasn’t the source of some of the whisper campaigns to get Harbaugh kicked out.

  11. If I were York I would resign… No but seriously I would fire Baalke… I would hire a new GM who understands that it is better to have solid backups than possible future starters… & even though I think Tomsula deserves a chance with a better team than he was given (Bill Walsh would have failed with this O-line & secondary) allow the GM to do his job & right the ship by hiring the best coaching staff he could find…

      1. wtf does he do anyway? I think he might be in charge of evaluating football talent (you know the game that we call soccer) You think there are more Haynes on the way?

  12. Everybody wants to give Tomsula the benefit of the doubt. Great story, lived out of his car, ate of dumpsters, all that human pathos. He’s just a good guy who finds himself as an NFL Head Coach in a job that is too big for him. Perhaps. But, perhaps, he is not a good guy, perhaps he was whispering into Jed and Trent’s ears the things they wanted to hear. “Not only is Harbaugh mean to you, but he is a lousy coach. Why any coach could do better, even I could win lots more games than Harbaugh.”

    And, so it came to pass.

    The above may not be true, but I find it easier to believe than the foolishness that has be foisted off on us.


    1. Sir let’s get on thing clear right now ok. I did not have premature discussions with that owner, Jed York, about any position. Is that clear?

    2. Leo, I do not think that is the case. Tomsula is not Machiavelli. I think Jed asked him what was wrong, and being the forthright person he is, he just gave honest answers.
      Jed was the person saying that Tomsula had the answers, and others passed that gossip on, but Tomsula, to me, just does not look like the backstabbing type.
      Blame Jed for saying those things, and his underlings that leaked those comments.

  13. Sorry, Grant, but I beg to differ. Tomsula is going nowhere. Right now, he is playing the hand he was dealt with, and he is holding a small pair.
    There is no way he gets fired because he is accepting all blame, and since people like him, they are not eviscerating him. If Tomsula gets fired, Who would be the lightning rod that would take all those strikes? Right. Baalke and Jed. Tomsula is their shield, and some would say shill. He will be their fall guy once the season is over.
    The guy who will fall first is Chryst. His offense is offensive, and has set records in futility.

  14. 9ers biggest joke in national media. pile on begins in earnest as sbowl gets closer. the beat writers I feel for them (Mm,Mb,Kl, and the rest)….

  15. Tomsula has to take a lot of blame for not evaluating himself better!
    He should have known that being a good #2 does not give you the ability to fill Harbaugh’ shoes.

  16. Meanwhile out in the Midwest Harbs’ team played Minnesota last Saturday. Minnesota’s Jerry Kill retires because his epilepsy is gotten worse. Interim takes over and leads his outmanned team to the the goal line as time expires. Harbaugh walks across the field, doesn’t look at the coach and offers a finger or two as a sorry excuse of a handshake.

    That’s my coach Harbaugh who I got to know and love over the years. Short on humanity but long on wins! Niners need one of those…

  17. I still think we may be missing some big picture items. Our drafts have been less than what they should be. This is Trent’s doing to be sure but it means our evaluation isn’t very good either. That means our scouting needs rebuilding too by someone who can do the job rapidly.

  18. You had me until… “Jim Harbaugh, one of the best football coaches in the world”.

    Is it “The whole wide world?” lol

  19. The one move that should be made sooner than later is the one move that absolutely will not be made. Fire Baalke, do it now before we hire a pres. in charge of football operation, a new GM and a new head coach. Jed won’t fire Baalke they are connected at the hip and as long as we don’t have anyone in the front office who knows football [how bout B. Cowher] and Baalke is our GM we will continue to flounder miserably.

    1. With over 20 picks over the next 2 years and possibly a top 5 next year, whoever is in charge of drafting will cement the future for this organization.
      The question is should Tent Baalke be give the keys to drive this boat? That’s what Jed Yorc has to answer.

      1. Keys to the boat? How about oars…? The 20 picks could cement (if used properly), or be completely squandered.. Expect some of those picks to used to move up and down in th next 2+ drafts. Twenty picks doesn’t always mean 20 players.

    2. oldcoach,
      Let’s say Baalke survives this season. I fear him heading up another draft.
      I’m sure that he will glean intel from his scouts but even the 49ers scout team should be held accountable given the last couple of drafts.

      Although there are a myriad of reasons why the 49ers have fallen from grace, one of those to be considered has to be the lack of overall talent that has come by way of the draft.

      With the depletion of talent coming by way retirements, players leaving via FA, the current team talent pool is low.
      The only weapons on offense are C.Hyde (when healthy) and perhaps Torrey Smith (when we have a QB that can get him the ball).
      On defense our best player is still N.Bowman even though he is far from making a complete recovery from his injury.

      Our 2015 FA signings have been subpar and our draft class of the last couple of season (aside from Reid) have yet to make a splash.

      The 2016 draft will need to garner a bumper crop of players that can either bring immediate help or be ready to contribute within 2 seasons if this team can make a significant comeback.
      Herein lies my issue with Baalke heading up another draft.

  20. the “bench the struggling young qb” is a standard move in the NFL, and in another world it might give us some hope instead of inciting the deserved ridicule & criticism of the various actors. the problem is that this tired play is a tactical move in the grand scheme of things, and we all know that the strategic direction of the franchise is all wrong. Instead of pointing a well armed ship into battle, we have an owner still better equipped to direct the rubber ducky in his bathtub and a GM who hasn’t figured out that being termed the Billy Beane of football would be impressive circa 2000, but whose lets-draft-the-guy-with-bad-knees strategy has been an unmitigated failure. I had pencilled in a 3 yr turnaround given the history of such things, but with this inept leadership, i’m now thinking we might have a chance around 2020.

    1. I agree it could be a while, or it could be in a year. If they have a strong draft and sign some people with all the cap room available could compete earlier than later. That is contingent on some FO changes too though

  21. We need an actual coach that can game plan and someone who can evaluate talent. What about Nick Caserio from the patriots for GM let him draft some talent and sign some FA. And then hire David Shaw. It is perfect for him he doesnt have to be the guy to follow JH and lives in the area plus he runs the offense we want to run. Throw some big money at him to make up for this horrid year

    1. Let it go Fan. Everybody on the board, even the ones you refer to as Kap supporters, have agreed Kap is playing terrible football. You got what you wanted now move on and try to talk about something else for a change.

    2. The article points to Cam’s play is better and his receivers suck. I posted the same article on a different thread. Cam is playing as well as he can without good talent. He also has a great defense like we used to have. Its commendable but he’s no MVP.

      What do you think of Dalton this season? With Luck, Kaep, Wilson and a few others falling to new lows, he’s looking pretty solid with a great team around him.

      1. Dalton has been a surprise. We’ll see what happens in the post season. Luck is a great QB having a bad year. Luck has intangibles but also has made some really bad picks. Wilson has hit his limit but he is still able to make a few plays.

        Okay a serious note about Kaep — i was listening to a KNBR podcast and what a reporter said was that Kaep has always been inconsistent, but in previous years with a great defense getting him the ball back, he would get more chances to make a great play. Now, on an inferior team, he gets less opportunities so he presses even more, and makes more mistakes. And then he presses again and the cycle continues.

        One guy said sitting Kaep would be a great because has to compete for the job again. But in all likelihood he’s done as a Niner.

        Moving onto something else — How about that Star Wars trailer? Which one of you Norcal nerds are lining up for the movie already?

        1. I ask about other QB’s and you can’t help yourself but include a whole paragraph about Kap?

          Man move on man we don’t need any more proof, we all see it. Are we still going to be hearing about him after he’s cut in the spring? Got started in controversy, he played well in 2012, had decent seasons in 2013-2014, has lots of flaws, can’t throw a corner fade, lost his coaching team, failed to improve, had a terrible 2015 and will be cut. See we can be done now. That’s the whole story. The End.

          Star Wars? Well I have three kids so we generally wait till it comes to the 2nd run theater when it doesn’t cost $15 a person. I’m cheap.

          1. You wrote Kaep in your asssessment. You listed Luck, Kaep and Wilson.
            So you can’t get him out of your mind either!

            And when Star Wars comes out, I’ll write about how much it sucks and it’s all Kaep’s fault.

            Everything is Kaep’s fault. Global warming. High rent in SF. It’s all on Kaep.

            1. I only asked about Dalton. Nice try. I referenced his peers falling out of grace this year.

              What are you going to do when all the problems are still here and Kaep is gone?

    3. Fan77,
      Somehow I get this recurring feeling that even if Kaep is traded that you will continue your incessant attempt to tell us what we all already know – Kaep has been bad over the last couple of seasons.

      What do you want Fan77, an apology from the CK supporters? Well, based on your recent exuberance and boastful clamoring since CK’ benching you won’t get one from me bud.

      And no, you don’t get credit for saying that you were one of the first to highlight CK’ flaws – that credit goes to Prime, who may have been the very first to shed light on Kaep’ shortcomings after his first start against the Bears.
      So if anyone has a right to say “I told you so” it’s Prime, definitely not you.

      Also as a side note, your Gabbert “country white dude” comment disqualifies you from any fair and balanced critique of Kaep from here on in imo, bud.

      1. I want all of you to buy me a burrito for lunch everyday until 2017.
        I nice apology would also be nice.
        Maybe we can all get along and not call each other idiots?

        1. I would say it was me and Prime, and maybe Mary. Way back when. What happened to Bay Area Fanatic? I wonder what he’s going to do now..

          1. Fan 77

            excuse me, but I want my fair share of the pie… I’ve been ragging Kaeps flaws since Alex became a Chief….just saying…

        2. Fan77,
          I don’t believe that I’ve ever called you a name – so I can’t apologize for that.

          The burrito does sound good but definitely not for two years. Your self appointed award for being right about Kaep are too steep my friend.

            1. Fan77,
              Let me introduce you to oxymoron: I respect your staunch yet annoying dislike of Kaepernick (lol).

              Btw, don’t get too comfortable with Gabbert at the helm. I would have loved to see him debut with a much stronger surrounding cast but this team is in total regression so I can’t put much hope in Gabby having a renaissance type game.
              But I’ll be cheering for him nonetheless.

        3. So you’re going stop using names like Kaeper-nutters or any of the other names you make up which are the equivalent of idiot?

          I am ok with people pointing out where I’ve been wrong on things. I’ll be the first to admit it. I am also ok with pointing out where others missed the boat too. You pour it on thick with the straw man and hyperbole. Misrepresenting people just pisses them off.

          I shouldn’t have called you an idiot. You should stop making up names for others.

  22. Amidst all the criticism of everybody in the organization there is the amusement of seeing those in the press who usually act like vultures flopping their targets around with glee.
    Remember TK on Harbaugh? And now Trent is Dr. Evil.
    Or how about Grant calling Jim Harbaugh one of the best coaches in football. This from the writer who would have us believe that Harbaugh is not familiar with the roll out pass. Grant should probably not share with us his scorn and disdain for Jim Tomsula since if JT is an idiot (not) he still knows and will always know 1,000% more about football than Grant ever will.manyonemwho dug up archives of the things Grant has written about Jim Harbaugh’s coaching abilities would find it hard to believe he called JH one of the best. The obvious truth changes according to convenience I guess.

  23. The press offers hyperbolic nonsense to rile up the ignorant-but-passionate fans — and more than not, it works! Why mess with something that works?!

    1. Thanks Niner for sharing the link!

      “I would say this: Of all the people who have ever coached football, Harbaugh may go down as the best.”

      Wow! That’s a big statement coming from a person who’s been around football for a long time.

  24. What salvage plan?
    You only salvage if you care about winning. The Yorks don’t care about winning.
    They have cut costs left and right in player payroll and in coaching payroll
    They have brought in an unproven “NFL Europe” coaching staff on the cheap, let their own expensive free agents walk, got some weak NFL free agents, got bottom feeders for OL, got rid of a proven punter for an unproven rookie and the list goes on….
    This disaster was clear for everyone to see.

    Its going to be a long season and as long as the Yorks are in charge I don’t the ship righting itself

    1. What’s you’re take Grime? I have said several times on this forum he’s an introvert and hates public speaking and not the extroverted vocal leader others want. People have misunderstood that and vilified him as arrogant. I think the article’s right you can’t have it both ways.

      1. I don’t know the man so I can’t really judge him. He seems nice and I see he does a tremendous amount of charity work. Everybody around him notes his work ethic is outstanding.

        But again, I don’t know him personally and won’t judge him out of ignorance, which is what many people do. Especially with athletes.

        I do think he was naive in signing that contract however. And maybe it’s because I’m cynical and don’t trust anyone to have my best interest in mind but me, but I don’t ever see the benefit in taking less money to help your employer. In his future contracts I bet he gets as much as he can get.

        1. Isn’t that what agents are supposed to be for, to prevent him from being taken as naive? I suppose agents to as their told too.

          That’s a tough one, if you take your earning potential your labeled selfish by some and not a team player. Didn’t Peyton take a cut to the Bronco’s could buy a defense?

          Its true, even the reporters rarely know these guys personally. We don’t know him and we have such a small sampling of interactions to evaluate on.

          1. I think his agent is relatively inexperienced as well.

            I also think people are always gonna hate rich athletes for whatever reason. So who cares if somebody wants to label him as selfish, they’ve already labeled him as arrogant and aloof for no reason. And Peyton has already made millions, he can afford to take less to really try and cement his legacy.

            Anyways that’s just my take. Judge not lest ye be judged.

            1. Is it possible that Kap knows deep down that he can’t succeed without a high quality cast around him; hence, the willingness to take less so that others would supposedly be extended.

    1. Hire Holmgren and Shannahan immediately to coach up Kap, getting his stock to rise so other QB needy teams can deal the 49ers a high draft pick.
      Both coaches are more intelligent than Harbaugh in designing pass plays, so that alone would raise Kaps QBR

  25. Interesting tweets from TK on Mangini:

    Tim Kawakami ✔ @timkawakami
    Side thought about DC Eric Mangini’s presser yesterday: Seems like he knows he’s the only adult in the building right now.
    Tim Kawakami ✔ @timkawakami
    That is not to say Mangini’s a great DC. He’s no Vic Fangio. But in relation to the other parts of the 49ers braintrust, Mangini’s a sage.

    One thing I like about Mangini is his calm, thoughtful demeanor. I actually think think the young defensive players(with some future additions) can grow into his scheme. These types of thoughts are showing my conflict within. While I don’t particularly like the general philosophy and performance of Baalke and this CS, I believe continuity is important. So all this talk about blowing it up hurts because I know that unstable teams that go through turnover every couple of years are never winners.

    1. “That is not to say Mangini’s a great DC. He’s no Vic Fangio. ”
      How perceptions change. When Harbs brought in Fangio, more fans thought it was a poor hire based on the performance of Fangio’s post-Dome Patrol D’s.

    2. This actually brings up an interesting point about the coaching staff, as you say. Do they get rid of everybody, or are there some things that aren’t as broken as others.

      The D is ranked very poorly, and has not been good. Mangini has struggled to find ways to cover the deficiencies in the roster without giving up big plays. However, there are indeed some glaring deficiencies on D, and I still have a feeling the D will play better over the next 8 weeks than it performed the first 8 as the young guys have more experience and the players understand Mangini’s D a little better.

      It may be a case where they need to pretty much start from scratch on offense, but perhaps the D coaching staff deserves another shot next year?

      1. Scooter: Year-over-year It seems that we have turnover in the secondary. If Mangini’s schemes are so complex that it takes newcomers until beyond the middle of the season to become comfortable with the schemes, then perhaps it’s better to not employ them. All accounts say that Fangio’s schemes are relatively simple as are the Seahags. In 2014, we were all concerned that the secondary would be a disaster (due to turnover and unproven players), yet Fangio and Donatell were able to field one of the best secondaries in the league. If the same guys play together year after year, then it might make sense to implement the complex schemes. But what level of year-over-year roster turnover makes this not feasible?

        1. I’ve no doubt Mangini’s schemes have not helped the secondary this year. But there should be very minimal turnover in the secondary next year. The only change I could really see happening is Tartt replacing Bethea, which he’s already doing now with Bethea on IR.

          The main issue could be at LB, where there could be a bit of turnover/ change next season.

          1. Okay, from one specific year to the next. But long-term, are complex schemes the right answer given typical roster turnovers?

            1. The D’s that are excellent that you hear have simple schemes also have something else in common – an excellent D roster. Same goes for D’s that run a more complex scheme.

              The Steelers ran a fairly complex scheme for a very long time under Dick LeBeau and consistently had excellent defenses… until they failed to replenish their talent.

              So short story is, I don’t think complex or simple scheme is the issue, but rather the overall talent on the team and lack of difference makers.

    3. Change for the sake of change, continuity for the sake of continuity, and are the people charged with fixing this actually capable of fixing this?

      I wanna see improvement and I wouldn’t mind some wins provided they are because of good play on the part of the 49ers and not bad play on the part of their opponents.

      Most of all, I wanna see some sort of coherent plan. The 49ers need to stop contradicting themselves.

  26. Not many are taking into consideration that Denise York didn’t want an expensive coaching staff and likely forced Jed to go cheap and or get rid of JH as he wanted more than the 5 mil. she was lamenting. Also, during the 49ers coaching search with Gase, Shanahan, Quinn and who ever else they interviewed, they wanted to dictate the terms (Al Davis Like) and force Tomsula on them, so there’s plenty of place’s they screwed up.

    1. It’s hard to know for sure on this. Tomsula is tied for the lowest paid HC in the NFL. OTOH, do you remember when Jed said he would be willing to make Harbaugh one of the highest paid HCs – it was during 2014, I believe, when there were contract discussions which were then tabled to the offseason.

  27. Jed and Trent hired a great coach but they thought they had made Harbaugh great and not the other way around. Do you think they wake up at 3am in a cold sweat? Or do they sleep like babies swaddled in their arrogance and ego?

  28. The San Francisco 49ers hit the iceberg weeks ago. So, why are they benching Colin Kaepernick now? What does this move say about the mindset of the franchise?

    The mindset of the 49ers brass, they’d already made up their mind at the end of 2015 season before April 2016 they’ll release Kaepernick or trade him. With their move keeping Kaepernick in a bubble wrap, this way the 49ers are avoiding further more financial obligation to CK in the future just in case he gets injured.

    1. They have more. Tomsula isn’t fighting with anyone, and Baalke seems to control the strings, what ever type of strings they happen to be.

  29. Salvage plan? The Niners make a huge switch in positions with the QB, but all the negatively ranked O linemen keep their jobs?
    Sigh, I guess they do not want to try to win.
    They will go timid, settle for field goals instead of going for it, and lose.
    The team is so dysfunctional, they will strive to beat their 13 penalty game with at least 15.
    These coaches are so delusional, they think they can grab a player off his couch, and have him game ready in less than a week, while there is one player who has attended every practice and meeting for half a year, and they relegate him to the practice squad. In the Art of War, that is equivalent to sheathing your weapon. Generals who want to win, utilize all their weapons. To me, it is the same as surrendering.
    This once proud 49er franchise has sunk to new lows.

      1. 2-6 has made me into a curmudgeon. I watch, and when the Niners are terrible, I will not keep trying to be optimistic. Niners are flat lining. Terrible FO, incompetent coaching, players shooting themselves in the foot.

    1. Seb they have Gabbert to play QB. They have no one to play OL that they think is better. Maybe this week they might try someone against that weak Atlanta defense. That might be a lot of fun.

      1. Who they think is better is the problem. Their assessment skills are lacking or non existent. When the center and right side grade out to be almost last in their position, it is time for change.
        Gabbert may not survive this game. At least Kaep was mobile enough to elude the pass rush at times. Atlanta defense will be led by Quinn, who ran the Seahawk defense, so he knows how to beat the Niners.
        It might be fun, but I think it will get ugly. Still am rooting for them, but just being realistic.

  30. Del Rio is no Harbaugh, but Del Rio can coach… and he instantly made the Raiders competitive his first season coaching the team.
    You know I was just as much on board with hiring Del Rio as you were, in fact it was another one of my ideas you stole but I digress. As much as I like JDR and believe he’s having a positive impact on that team I believe the bigger difference maker has been Bill Musgrave. I would go so far as to say that if we had hired Musgrave as our OC that we would be closer to 4-4 or even dare I say 5-3 at this point.

    Tomsula would look more successful if he had stronger assistants actually helping him.

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