49ers season report card — there is talent, just not enough

As the search continues for the next general manager and head coach of the 49ers, Jed York is the focus of 49erland. How he’ll lead the search. Whom he’ll consult. Why he may screw everything up.

Enough of that. Take York out of the equation. Let’s look at this another way. When potential GMs and head coaches size up the 49ers, what do they see? What does this team have? Is it a total loss? Or, are there things to build around?

I actually think there are. I think this roster is better than it seemed under Chip Kelly. Better than its 2-14 record. Much closer to 8-8. That’s my hypothesis.

Let’s test it. Let’s break the roster down position by position, starting with defense.

Click here to read the rest of my Saturday column.

  1. I agree with most of your assessments, Grant, however I think you’re a bit generous with your grades at OL, WR and TE….

    1. Exactly Razor,
      The line is great according to Grant but they are one of the worst run blocking units in the NFL. They grade out poorly according in run blocking according to pfo and Carlos Hyde has some of the lowest yards pre contact of any rb in the NFL. How can you be terrible at 50 percent of your job and be considered great at it?

  2. The article seems a little subjective in supporting your premise. I agree with Razor that the OL, WR’s and TE’s grades all seem high. I also am not sold on Tartt as a starting safety. The guy hasn’t started a ton and seems to get hurt. Also not convinced Staley is a top tackle any longer and Brown has potential he’s not to that place yet either.

    I think it would help if you had some data to back up your premise especially on the players you highlighted.

  3. If the 49ers swtich to a 4-3 defense, they should configure their DL like this:

    Base
    RDE: Ahmad Brooks
    RDT: Ronald Blair (or a FA)
    LDT: Quinton Dial
    LDE: DeForest Buckner

    Sub
    RDE: Draft pick (Tim Williams?)
    RDT: DeForest Buckner
    LDT: Arik Armstead
    LDE: Aaron Lynch

    1. Aaron Lynch shares your view of the roster. Do you think he’ll ever get healthy?

      I like the idea of going to a 4-3, who would you suggest for ILB’s.

      1. Getting a NT should be one of the top priorities in FA. Poe would be great, or Brandon Williams if they can’t get Poe.

        Bowman will continue to play ILB once he’s healthy. But Zack Brown is a guy I suggested previously and would be a nice fit next to Bowman. Armstrong the rotational guy. Can replace Bowman on obvious passing downs.

        A combo of Brooks and rookie at ROLB works for me, if they can’t get a good one in FA. Would love to get Melvin Ingram though. Not sold on Barnett.

        1. Brandon Thompson or Abry Jones may not be as talented as Poe Williams or Short, but they may sign with the Niners, whereas the others will get better offers with more promising teams.

    2. Assuming Garrett’s goes 1, I’m for trading back. If not goof trade back offers develop, I’d take Jonathan Allen. Yes, he’s redundant. Not a “need” position. But a high motor maniac that can stuff the run, disrupt the backfield, rush the passer and shows smart technique to boot is too good to pass up.

    3. Pad height. The reason the ten best DTs coming into the 2016 season are not towering specimens:

      6′ 0″ – Donald
      6′ 4″ – Suh
      6′ 1″ – Atkins
      6′ 3″ – Short
      6′ 4″ – McCoy
      6′ 2″ – Dan Williams
      6′ 2″ – Easley
      6′ 5″ – Hicks (plays DE, rotates inside to DT for pass rush, had rush-POA problems as a DT when run against)
      6’1″ – Jarrett
      6′ 3″ – Dareus

      Do you not understand pad-height? I’m pretty sure Baalke didn’t with his obsession with ‘length.’ Something I thought was flaw in his roster building across the board, but you, and about nobody else, ever discussed it… You whined about a lot of non-issues you clearly didn’t understand (draft bust rates for example)…

      But actual flaws in Baalke’s team-building concepts… Not a word.

      The basic rule of thumb is that 6′ 7″ and 6′ 8″ 290lb DTs get blown out in the run game. 3-4 DE, yeah, it’s a good size. But DT… No. Tall DTs get eaten alive unless they’re mesomorphs with relatively short limbs for their height. And that body type isn’t Armstead & Buckner.

      Which, of course, means your ‘astute recommendations’ have a certain irony. Can you spot it?

      1. Your comment about being too tall is right on but who are you directing it to? Grant has the two tall one’s only inside on passing downs so not sure what the problem is against the run. While it’s not clear, it seems Grant is talking about running a 4-3 so tall DE’s are not so much a problem. He is correct though, big and tall against guards in passing situations is a mismatch in the D’s favor. Maybe I’m not understanding??

    4. So Armstead, who you listed as one of two supremely talented players on the Dline is a backup a on a bad d line?
      Can you truly consider a backup on bad Dline a building block?

  4. The only areas I really disagree on is Oline and TE. The Oline couldn’t pass protect or run block consistently and features an aging LT who struggled in pass protection, a RT who has shown promise and a complete mess inside. We currently don’t have a starting caliber Center and the 1st round OG struggled big time. This is a D unit at best right now imo.

    At TE we have potential that still hasn’t blossomed. McDonald did show signs of breaking out, but suffered another season ending injury which set him back. The other two are average to below average players.

    Both of these areas are extremely weak imo and will not be a positive when prospective Coaches look at the roster. About the only area I can see that may be attractive is the Dline because Buckner really made strides over the course of the season. Other than that, there really is no position group that offers much hope to the next HC.

    1. I loved and hated what PFF had to say about our OL this season. “This is a line with no real strength, though it is at least better run blocking than it has been pass protecting.”

    2. Couldn’t run block consistently? Even with the 2-14 record the 49ers ranked #4 in rushing in the league. Seems pretty consistent.

    3. the Niners have an offensive line. A good one. Joe Staley and Trent Brown are two of the best tackles in the NFL, and Brown is only 23. He’s still improving.

      Rocket I agree with you. Staley is not improving and he hasn’t been one of the best left tackles in the NFL for a while. Trent Brown is young and he is improving but he’s not one of the best tackles in the NFL now. Maybe he will be, but I’m not smart enough to predict that.

      At guard, the Niners have a first-round pick from 2016 — Joshua Garnett.Garnett didn’t live up to his first-round pick and I’m not smart enough to predict that either.

      And they have Zane Beadles, a veteran who moved to center when Daniel Kilgore, another veteran, tore his hamstring Week 14.Which tells us what about the OL as a team strength.

      Three wins will be closer to an eight and eight season. To actually get to seven, eight, or nine wins in the next two years will be a major achievement.

      Basically your Theseus is to blame 2016 on Kelly as if it was a season in isolation from Baalke’s 20012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 personnel work.

      If Jed lucks out, then 2019 might be a good season to start looking for solid progress.

  5. We don’t have any talent anywhere. Nobody on our roster stands out. The players we have would be back ups on other teams at best. Our online can’t run block or pass protect. Our TEs drop too many passes. Our WRs can’t get separation. Hyde is our only good RB but he can’t stay healthy. Our defense is even worse. We have no corners that can cover anybody. Ward is trash and gets burnt on deep routes. Brock gets smoked all the time. Rashard Robinson just ok cause he gets snagged on. Our linebackers suck they can’t cover anyone out the backfield or can tackle for that matter. The two wasted first rounders we got are worthless. Armstead still hadn’t even played a full season. Both him and Buckner suck at the point of attack in the run game. Both get manhandled one on one. Buckner plays too high and gets bulldozed especially in the redzone goal to go. So I don’t know where this talent you speak of is at.

  6. No way anyone sees the OL that highly. Brown has talent, but he struggled this year. Especially in the run game. He’d be better off being the swing tackle for now if the team can find a solid RT in FA. Regardless, the team needs another OT either for depth or to start.

    The interior of the OL also needs a starter added. Probably a centre. If Nick Mangold is cut by the Jets he would be a good pickup. Garnett and Kilgore can compete for the RG spot, very much with the hope Garnett improves and wins the job.

    Very much agree on Ward. He’s a decent CB, but I think he’d be a very good safety. And FS is probably his better position. Good range, could play single high when desired. Sound tackler, but not a hitter. Has the versatility to be moved around as well.

    Also agree with WR. Re-sign Streater and Kerley. Keep Smith and Ellington, and see what Rogers can do coming back from injury. They are a #1 WR away from having a pretty decent WR group. But not sure they will be able to attract that guy in FA or have the draft picks to find that guy this year in the draft. My suggestion would be to sign a guy like LaFell for now, and draft someone like Stringfellow in the mid rounds. Then next year find the true #1.

    1. Brown was a dominant run blocker the second half of the season and the primary reason Hyde could bounce so many runs outside the tackles for big gains.

  7. I think the secondary has more of an upside than the DLine and I’d flip their grades. Robinson & Ward are potentially pro bowl players and had decent seasons. The D Line was so overwhelmingly bad against the run that it’s hard for me to say that Chips system was the reason or not. I agree that Buckner and think Ronald Blair have potential, but the others including Armstead are just too inconsistent and not always healthy.
    The F for quarterbacks is perfect.

  8. “Much closer to 8-8.”

    Are you cheating off my notes too? That’s what I kept saying all through training camp. My mistake with thinking Kelly could squeeze a couple extra wins out of it.

  9. Grant,
    Quite a good analysis. I generally agree with the assessment of the personnel, and won’t nitpick about minor changes. How many starters do you think need to be replaced on O and D?

  10. The 9ers weren’t closer to 8-8. They were a 2-4 win team. They were about the same caliber the year before when some breaks in their favor got them a couple of extra wins. Both seasons they ranked near the bottom in every defensive category and struggled to throw the ball.

  11. Wow Grant, we’ll written. This may be the only article you’ve written in a long time that I actually feel encouraged about this team and its future.

    Thanks for that…right on my b-day too

    Ps. You need to throw more of these types of articles in every once in a while.

  12. Like you, Grant, I have often wondered why Armstead and Buckner were not book ends in a 4/3 and why Jed and Paraag , w/o an ounce of football intellect, are conducting the GM/Coaching interviews.

    This is how Baalke lasted so many years. Just as I could not fool Paraag Marathe in an interview about being a computer whiz, a GM/Coach could not be fooled about what kind of idiots he’s facing during his interview.

    One could imagine a scenario where the worst candidate with any kind of big personality, combined with superior story-telling skills, could fool Jed into hiring him. How else do you think Baalke was able to hide his inferior drafts from Jed so long?

    Why a GM type football man should be in the room with Jed?

    1. To ask the question of an offensive minded head coach this: Draw up your best, and most modern (plays invented in the last 3 months) pass pattern designed to beet two deep coverage.

    2. Draw up a play that can beat Cover (O), since this is a play Chip always would run the ball against, as well as Tomsula (what do you expect from leather helmet thinking run first guys)?

    3. Draw up a pass play to beat Cover (1).

    4. Draw up a pass play to beat Cover (2), Man.

    5. Draw up a pass play to beat Cover (2) Zone?

    6. Draw up a pass play to beat Cover (3) Zone?

    7. Draw up a pass play to beat Cover (4) Zone?

    Runs:

    Show me your best zone blocking runs.

    Show me your best Man blocking schemes.

    Show me your unbalanced line scheme, and where to use it?

    etc, etc,

    Bill Walsh could spot a fraud during this interview, because he was cutting edge. Walsh was the play inventor, so you could be sure his playbook was up to the minute.

    Jed York would be fooled during this interview. He has no idea what cutting edge is from a run or pass play designed in the 1950’s.

    1. Good post TomD.

      Jed’s GM questions

      1. Do you like me?
      2. Do you like my friend Paraag?
      3. Are you willing to let my friend do all the contracts?
      4. Do you agree that the first rule of York Club is: you do not talk about York Club?
      5. Are you okay with disparaging leaks?
      6. Do you think we should be allowed to violate Measure J?
      7. Can you keep a secret?
      8. Do you value job security?
      9. Do you have any ties to my idol Bill Parcells?
      10. Are you willing to give me all the credit if we start winning?
      11. Will you tell me how great I am?

    2. The reason 49er fans endured Trent Baalke and his 1950’s NFL playbook for an eternity was precisely because a competent football man (team president) was not beside Jed to show him that the 49ers were using an outdated football philosophy from the 1950’s and1960’s. I actually heard a respected NFL color commentator say the 49ers were running plays the 1950’s and 1960’s as their base offense for years, without anyone in the organization pointing this out.

      So, if Jed had a football mind running the team while he was in charge of offseason concert and Monster Truck drag bookings, the 49ers could hang championship banners again.

      However, the Yorks can continue to say, “we’re not running this as a business,” as Jed did 2 days ago, all they want. 49er fans are on to him. Cheating the GirlScouts of American out of their Levi Stadium sleepover during SuperBowl week; stiffing Tim Kawakami on a dinner bill, and having the police intimidate him with a phone call to his home, while also threatening Tim with a lawsuit for reporting 49er annual profits, all tell a different story. A story that says the Yorks are running the team as a business, not for the fans joy, and that the lawsuit smacks of something to hide.
      Jed telling neighbors in Palo Alto he would not block their view by building a Cabana, then a year later, building one, sounds just like the lie: “We’re not running this team for a profit.”

      Adding up all these facts, 49er fans have to conclude that Jed won’t hire a team president of football operations, and step aside, is because there are shady business practices to hide, as the following video demonstrates:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALLc_No9pcg

      1. Tom D — On point. I stated in a recent post that the problem with Jed was not his lack of experience because that can be over come with time. His problem is the combination of ego and lack of character. The first comes very difficultly. The second stays with with you for life.

  13. Grant

    I would love to dispute at least some of your column, but I don’t have enough information…. I have asked you for your opinion on several of our PS players and IR folks…but have not heard anything back yet. Fahn Cooper, Alex Balducci, Theus, Norman Price, Colin Kelly, and Josh Allen are all from successful University teams and all are listed as Olinemen,(Tackles). When can we depend on hearing about the progress that they have shown until now ? Surely not all of them are ‘dogfood’…. Theus and Balducci got some late season snaps….but how about the rest ? Also, I would dispute the CBs…Trent Brock, Robinson, Johnson, Redmond and Cromarti have all shown good form tackling when they’re not being run all over the field….A stud TE to sub for McDonald or Bell would be helpful…. no, not Celek.

    I agree with most of your other grades…and your reasons why….

        1. so DaBears beat the Niners .. but ..
          Barkley was 11 for 18 for 192 YDS …0 TDs ..

          (source)

          Not what I’d call a stellar performance !

          Barkley is a Sanchez clone .. and I
          wouldn’t want him either ..

  14. Matt Maiocco ‏@MaioccoCSN 4h4 hours ago

    The #49ers are last in line behind #Jaguars and #LARams on Saturday for Josh McDaniels’ round of speed-dating.

    1. The 49ers waited 7 weeks too long to fire their coach. The others did not, so got in line early.

      This seems eerily like the Tomsula hire, when the Jed Coaching Caravan interviewed in city after city, only to circle back to Santa Clara w/o a coach because he was in the office the whole time.

  15. Matt Barrows ‏@mattbarrows 2h2 hours ago

    No interview set up between #49ers & #Patriots personnel guy Nick Caserio. I reached out — several times — to Pats and … crickets.

    This doesn’t surprise me. Caserio won’t come to SF and a main reason might be perceived conflicts with Marathe. I think Jed and Paraag know this hence the interest in Riddick, who apparently would work well with McDaniels.

  16. Matt Barrows Retweeted
    Ben Volin ‏@BenVolin 3h3 hours ago

    Will have more on this in Sunday Notes, but most attractive job for McDaniels looks like the 49ers — IF York can commit to a full rebuild

    1. I won’t get my hopes up, but this is good news if true. If they can get McDaniels on board then it becomes a case of finding a GM he is comfortable with and vice versa.

      1. Like I said earlier, it’s probably going to be Riddick. I feel fairly certain that Caserio will not interview and Riddick has already said he would take the job and the conventional wisdom is that he could work well with McDaniels. Jed needs to go all out and offer him 7+ million per year if necessary.

      2. On PFT:

        The San Francisco Chronicle reports the 49ers are the “preferred team” for Patriots OC Josh McDaniels.
        McDaniels has interviews lined up with the 49ers, Jaguars and Rams. San Francisco has the worst roster but their GM vacancy could be important to McDaniels, who may want full control. The 49ers’ second-overall pick is another selling point over Jacksonville and Los Angeles. It’s also possible McDaniels wants to bring Patriots director of personnel Nick Caserio wherever he lands.

        1. Now I’m wondering if coming from New England, where Belichick has total control, McDaniels might want the same. He might see that as a model that works well, because of his time there, and he might want the same to come to SF. There might not be any pairing of HC and GM.

  17. QB
    WR
    CENTER
    FB

    NT STARTER
    ILB STARTER
    2XOLB PASS RUSHER (ALL BAD)
    WARD BACK TO FS
    REID AT S/S
    EXPERIENCED COACH
    SUPERBOWL

    DRAFT TRADE DOWN
    QB WR ILB ILB DE DE CENTER/OL OT

  18. “Bill Walsh was a genius at motivating different guys different ways,” Jones said. “Some guys needed a pat on the backside. Some guys you needed to grab them by the facemask and scream at them. Some guys needed to be reminded that their contract is up. Other guys would need to be reminded that they guy behind you is starting to put pressure on you.
    Brent Jones on Bill Walsh: His players respected him, but didn’t like him

    January 6, 2017 at 10:27 AM • 10 comments

    “Bill was a master at figuring out how each guy ticked and what would inspire him. So nobody – under Bill – nobody felt comfortable. That’s why nobody was friends with Bill until after he was done coaching and I loved the man. He was great. I’d go visit him at Stanford all of the time, but when he was my coach, I was scared to death of the guy. And most people, they respected him, but they didn’t like him at the time.”
    – See more at: http://www.49erswebzone.com/articles/102443-brent-jones-bill-walsh-players-respected-didnt-like/#sthash.Cg9JCtN7.dpuf

    1. Maybe someone who knows how to reactivate a Zombie could restore Bill from the grave. He would really scare the hell out of the players then.

  19. Source: 49ers are Josh McDaniels’ preferred team

    By Eric Branch

    Published 4:12 pm, Friday, January 6, 2017

    Josh McDaniels’ preferred team is the 49ers if the Patriots offensive coordinator decides to leave New England to become a head coach, a source said.

    McDaniels, 40, will interview with the 49ers, Rams and Jaguars on Saturday near the Patriots facility

    The 49ers, who are the only team with a general-manager opening, are appealing to McDaniels because of their clean-slate situation and CEO Jed York’s stated commitment to patiently rebuilding.

    It’s believed the 49ers’ status as a marquee franchise, despite their recent freefall, also makes them more attractive than Los Angeles and Jacksonville.

    That is, if the Yorks don’t mess this up.

    1. This could also be another coach leveraging the 49ers for total control of the franchise and w/o a meddling team owner a President.

      Something past leverages against the 49ers accomplished by 49er interviewees.

  20. Sorry, Grant, but I will respectfully disagree with your assessments.

    If any group should get an F, it is the LBs, and the D line was complicit in letting a historic record of amount of rushing yards allowed.

    I will just sigh, and expect your grade on the QBs, and you are right about Gabbert, but Kaep did have a 90 rating, so an F is way too critical. There is unfair bias in your assessment

    Kaep is the best QB that the Niners have, and he is way better than any FA QBs out there. I had a good laugh when some one said that Fitzpatrick, Shaub and Sanchez were better. I will still deride Glennon, but he is actually decent compared to the others.

    Last year’s QB crop kinda proves how limited any rookie will be unless he has a stout O line and a quality RB, WR and TE.

    Hopefully, the new HC will be competent enough to maximize Kaep’s potential, and utilize him properly. Beadles proved that the Niner coaches were not playing the right players in the right positions.

    Ward may move to safety, but Tartt still takes bad angles and is out of position a lot. Niners should look at Cromartie. Maybe let Reid be the SS and Cromartie the Free safety. Let Tartt be the nickel LB on passing downs.

    I do think there is some talent, but there needs to be major upgrades across the board.

    Niners MUST spend money on the salary cap. Save a reasonable amount to account for contingencies, but spend every penny. Spend as though they want to win, instead of save and be content to lose.
    They should fill every hole with decent FAs, then draft the BPA that will fulfill the biggest need. They should trade back to accumulate more second round picks, and trade Joe Staley to a playoff team for another second round pick. With their later first round pick and 4 second round picks, the Niners could fix the defense and get weapons on offense.

    1. Huh!

      Once again, when Old windup screws up, its the O-line. When he does something good, its him.

      But facts are often an inconvenience, and the fact is Kap makes nobody better by being on the field. A good QB makes the average look good and the good look great. Kap does neither.

      1. Saw, you want to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The WRs were not even average. They were cut players on their 3rd team. They also dropped a heck of a lot of balls. Chip even emphasized that point in a PC, along with the whole team shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly.

        I must admit the O line this year was light years better than last year’s O line, but if you want to see an impressive O line, look at the Cowboys O line. They are so good, they make a rookie look good. This year’s O line did provide some protection, but I saw many times when they whiffed on a block and Kaep hag a rusher in his face so he had to hurry his throw or throw it away. Thank God Kaep is mobile and elusive, because he avoided many sacks and even converted third downs.

        Kaep did something the haters hated even worse. Kaep threw for 400 yards. They declared that he was incapable of doing that. The he follows up that game with one where he threw for 300, and ran for 100. Another 400 yard game. They were irate and gnashing their teeth. Ol’ windup was showing them up.

        Still the hate was thick, and they said he was not a leader. They said he was a cancer. They said he could not win a game.

        Well, Kaep did lead his team to victory. He mounted a 4th quarter comeback down by 2 TDs. Kaep was bold and decisive. Kaep was clutch, and that 2 point play showed the world that Kaep would not be denied. The haters became apoplectic. All their screeds were so false, it made them look like clueless gibbering idiots.

        Still, the hate continues. Anonymous gutless wonders spreading leaks that they would not have Kaep on their team. More calls that the team hates him and he is divisive and a distraction.

        Lo and behold, Kaep wins the Eshmont, destroying their lies and smears, because the PLAYERS vote on the Eshmont.

        So, go ahead and hate him if you want, but this mindless hate just makes you look bad, because you want to get rid of the starting QB of the San Francisco 49ers, and have no clue who would replace him. The first 2 picks in the draft did nothing, so drafting a QB and expecting him to lead this team to the playoffs is Pollyannish. Maybe you like house painters or butt fumblers. I want the last QB to lead the Niners to a SB to do it again, and maybe this time, he will achieve greatness.

        1. I want to see Kaep gone just because I am tired of all the negativity that has been spewed on this and other sites. I thought he would be gone by now but alas alake it was not to be. He will never be viewed objectively by some of the SF fans.

          Fortunately Baalke is gone so we can at least start the next season with some hope. Unfortunately Jed isn’t put perhaps they will get lucky and stumble on to a good coach/GM combo.

    2. >>some one said that Fitzpatrick, Shaub and Sanchez were better.

      Yeah, that someone was me. I also said neither Kaep nor any of the above is our QB of the future. Our QB of the future needs an example of footwork, pocket awareness, play action and progression reading. Kaep has none of that, those other QBs at least have a semblance of that. The sooner we can move on from the style of offense that fits (and just barely) Kaep’s limited QBing skills, the better.

  21. http://ninerswire.usatoday.com/2017/01/06/report-49ers-are-josh-mcdaniels-top-option-on-one-condition/

    If this rumor is true we have a good shot at getting McDaniels. I don’t think Caserio or Wolf wants to work Marathe.

    It would seem that Riddick is now Jed’s frontrunner for GM. He has ties to McDaniels and he would be someone who could deal with the press.

    This is not the best options for HC and GM. Compared to last year It is an upgrade though. That’s not to say that McDaniels and Riddick don’t have potential.

    The strongest selling point for McDaniels/Riddick is Garoppolo. Finally a QB that can pass. They could also try to sign Martellus Bennett. NE style offense with two talented TEs. This could work.

    1. See in my opinion that is the best pairing. The great thing about this is that we won’t really know how good Riddick really is until about year 3… I can only hope that is the pairing.

      1. RAW: See my post above. I think there’s a chance that McDaniels will want to be both HC and GM based on his time/experience with Belichick. Either way I want Jed to pull out all the stops – throw in the kitchen sink if he has to.

        1. Cubus I read your comment. Good call but bill always has a GM or someone he lets take the credit. Maybe that’s what riddick could be for McDaniels.

        2. Well he won’t get that. Plus No one will give him that. If you listened to Jed’s presser he wants a GM and coach to work well together. Hence why he is interviewing a lot of candidates… I do not believe Mcdaniels wants or expects that.

          1. I’m not all in on McDaniels. Keep in mind that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick make anyone look good.
            This is going to be an interesting 2 weeks.

        1. If McDaniels wants Riddick, I do not want McDaniels.

          If McDaniels wants Caserio, and Paraag is sent to the Sacto Republic, I say go for it.

        2. Done correctly, and with a dash of luck, a competent GM/HC can rebuild an NFL franchise in 3 years. That’s assuming they can find a franchise QB to build around.

          1. That’s exactly it. In a passing league and with a huge emphasis on the QB position, you can rebuild a team quicker than expected if you have the right guy behind centre!

    2. Who says they do the want to work for Paraag? I’m not saying they do, but what makes u capable of making that comment. Christ, guys make this assumption all the time. Putting words on people’s mouths. Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth before we start parroting what we “think”

      1. Would that be Paraag’s mouth?

        Or would it be from whispers collected here and there? They have been around since Nolan put him in the coach’s box during games.

    3. Riddick is smart and has the right experience. But here is the thing – he WANTS to be here. Short of David Shaw or Ron Woolf, he is my top candidate to interview.

      Nothing REALLY works, unless Kap goes. Sorry.

  22. If the rumors are true about Josh McDaniels, maybe Jed is actually learning. Not saying McDaniels will fix the entire problem, but if this is true, it’s a great start. Here’s to Tru rumors.
    PS, Seb maybe Jed and Paraag leaked this… Just kidding

    1. Sigh, Jed will learn someday, but I am not expecting much.

      I think it will take a little old lady seeing Jed in the produce section, then beating over the head with a bunch of rutabagas while berating him for ruining her team, before he wises up.

      1. Seb is just sour because he knows all these young coaches will ditch Kap and begin a new culture with a QB they can groom.
        They won’t be forced to go into battle with an Abrams tank in a pit!

            1. Defender was not even looking for the ball. Hit him in the back of his head. Maybe the receiver should have been good enough to have snatched the ball before it hit his helmet.

              1. Anyone who replaces Kaep will get a long honeymoon with a lot of the fans. Remember many preferred Gabbert to him even after he was stinking it up.

              2. Yep, most fans will be resigned to more losing, so they will become jaded and indifferent. All the passion will be beaten out of them, so they will accept drek with hardly a whimper.

              3. All you are now is piss and vinegar cause you know the 49ers will move on from old wind up. So how do you show your fear of that? Trash the organization! Die hard my arse!

              4. So Prime, this team is 2-14, and the fans are not allowed to criticize the team?

                Heck, you previously said that you like the Raiders better than the Niners and think the CFL is equal to the NFL.

              5. Seb I understand your frustration. It’s not easy to let your hero go. Don’t fret Frodo, the 49ers are better off without old wind up!

            1. Yeah, getting Garoppolo would be the best move we could make. He wouldn’t have to learn a new system under McDaniels.

              Jed has good options. I hope he doesn’t screw everything up.

            1. They will make a long search with multiple interviews and then Jed will hire himself as GM and Baalke as the new coach. Why? Because they can work well together.

  23. I would dearly love to see what Jed’s Question list is for an HC interview. “For my first question,Who’s got it better than me?”

  24. Matt Barrows ✔ @mattbarrows
    No interview set up between #49ers & #Patriots personnel guy Nick Caserio. I reached out — several times — to Pats and … crickets.

  25. Hmm a little revisionist history. This team was not talented enough to win 8 games, especially after 18 injuries.

    My hypothesis is that if a GM drafts ACL players, signs only 1 FA while sitting on 43 mil in cap space, micromanages the roster to force the coaches to play favorites and players out of position, and meddles with the coaching with anal lytics, this team would have a hard time winning 4 games. With self inflicted wounds and poor game management, they were lucky to win 2.

    1. A lot of things went wrong this year. Leaks from the FO, Baalke being Baalke, Kelly and O’Neil, Gabbert and to a lesser extent Kaepernick, and all the injuries.

      I think Grant’s assessment is pretty good. I don’t agree with every grade but we are close.

      If Buckner keep improving his game he will be a Pro Bowler. Ray Ray is on the rise. Bowman will be back. Adding a solid FA and a draft pick (TJ Watt) to the front seven will make our D respectable, possibly good.

      On offense we need Garoppolo. Even if it means giving up a first and a fourth. Use the the 2nd round pick on WR, Sign Alshon and Bennet.

      I can see 8 wins next year if all goes well.

      1. Armstrong will be back, too.

        I just hope that with Baalke gone, they will be able to sign some free agents. In the case of Sean Smith, the Raiders had spent boatloads for FAs like Osemele, so they were near the limit. Baalke could very easily have out bid the Raiders for Sean Smith. Then the Niners would not have spent their third and 4th round picks on a DB, especially a DB who disappeared with an ACL. Dak was picked 2 spots after the Niners selected their 4th round pick.

        I would even be happy with 6 wins.

  26. My playoff picks.

    Oakland beats Houston
    Seattle beats Detroit – Hope I’m wrong.
    Pittsburgh beats Miami
    Green Bay beats New York

    1. Houston with their number 1 defense will be too much for the rookie, especially with Penn out.

      Hope NY beats GB because I think NY has beaten Dallas twice.

      1. Yeah, I expect Houston to blitz early and often against a rookie QB. I know I would. I don’t believe in the Texans offense though. I’m thinking Oak 16 Hou 9.

        Nice call on NY. My Cowboy hatred runs deep, more than any other team.

      2. If CONNOR COOK leads the Raiders to a wildcard victory in his first career start, with merely 1 week of first team reps under his belt, I expect to be treated with a little more respect around here.

        Raiders – 23
        Texans – 20

        1. Heading into Saturday, players are rallying behind Cook, including receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. With good reasons. From those who have watched him closely, one of the best things about Cook is that he can really fling it.

          “He’s not afraid to let loose”, as one source explained. That was evident in his appearance last week as he went 14 of 21 for 150 yards with a pick and a touchdown in a Week 17 loss. McGloin may be the safe pick, but Cook is the more fun one.

          As Crabtree has told people, Cook’s ability to just “chuck it” has drawn rave reviews. Quietly, Cook has improved this season under the tutelage of coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterbacks coach Todd Downing, even working with the scout team — his footwork, his weight-transfer. Now he’ll get to show it.

          During the predraft process, Cook was crushed. Scouts picked apart his personality, how he wasn’t named a captain at Michigan State and whether he was a product of a stacked team. Once viewed as a potential first-rounder, Cook wound up slipping to the 100th overall pick. He was expected to be, at worst, the fourth quarterback taken. He was the seventh. Interestingly, that personality has endeared him to people in Oakland. He’s calm and cool, shrugging off mistakes and easing into everything. They know the spotlight won’t be too bright for him.

          MY TAKE: Questions about Connor Cook’s leadership qualities were wildly overblown during the pre-draft process. As I stated prior to the draft, Connor has a rare quality that tends to serve young QB’s well in the NFL. He’s uber-confident in his ability, and isn’t afraid to “let it rip”. He’s also got an uncanny ability to simply move on after making a mistake, and not compound them. I called him a “gunslinger” pre-draft, while others questioned his arm strength. I spent a lot of time scouting this kid and could only find 1 flaw in his game. He tendede to allow his shoulder to fly open at times, nd this flaw was primarily caused by poor footwork. I felt like, if he could get an opportunity to improve his footwork, he’d be a legitimate starting QB at the NFL level.

          As a matter of fact, MMQB reported after the 2016 draft that the Cowboys were targeting Cook. Dallas had him ranked higher than Dak Prescott and attempted to trade with the Browns to move up to draft him, before the Raiders swooped in.

          Few QB have come into the league with such an impressive resume:

          – Griese–Brees Quarterback of the Year (2015)
          – Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (2015)
          – First-team All-Big Ten (2015)
          – 2x Second-team All-Big Ten (2013, 2014)
          – Big Ten Champion (2013, 2015)
          – Big Ten Championship Game MVP (2013, 2015)
          – 2014 Rose Bowl Champion
          – 2014 Rose Bowl Offensive MVP
          – 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic Champion
          – 35-5 career record and the winning-est QB in Michigan State history

          Connor has a huge hill to climb today. After watching almost the entire season from the cocoon of the inactive list, Cook has seen his career progress at light speed in the past few days. Pressed into action because of a shoulder injury to Matt McGloin — who was starting in place of injured star Derek Carr — Cook will make the first start of his career Saturday at Houston. Connor will be the first rookie in the modern era to make his first career start in the postseason. And it’s coming on the road in a hostile environment against the #1 ranked overall defense in the league, and #2 against the pass.

          This is how legends are born!

          1. I wish him well. Cook has the advantage of being totally fresh. No bumps and bruises from a season of playing.

            Yes, I would also like to see him do some third down bombs.

            I think possibly, Raiders 17-16

            1. This kid is a gunslinger Seb. He’s cool under pressure. He’s got a winners mentality.

              However, I am very concerned about his blind side with Penn out today. This is obviously not the way I envisioned he would get acclimated to the NFL. If the Raiders can run the football, I expect Connor may do just enough to get the win, but I am not going to lie, I understand the difficult position Connor is in.

          2. That’s right Grant, this is how legends are born. I’m not sure how many contacts you have within the Raiders organization but I can tell you, Connor has the respect of his teammates and coaches. It was a modern tragedy that this kid slipped as far as he did in the draft. As you know, I was very high on Cook and really hoped that the 49ers would draft this kid. I was yelling at my TV screen in round 3, and was sorely disappointed when Baalke passed on Cook and drafted the slot corner out of Mississippi State, who was coming off a torn ACL.

            Do I expect Connor to have a huge game today? No.
            Do I expect Connor to show flashes of a legitimate NFL starting QB despite the enormity of the situation at hand? Yes
            Do I expect Connor to prove me right today? Perhaps this is simply too big of a hill to climb, but I do expect Connor to get his shot in the not-to-distant future. And I expect him to make Trent Baalke to look like an idiot, once again!

  27. If they go with Wolf I’d like to see them go after Brett Hundley. Hundley has better completion % at a higher level of competition at UCLA than Garoppolo.

    Also don’t sleep on George Patton out of MN for GM. Long tenure and solid drafter. Also maybe a link with Teddy Bridgewater as a QB since they are going with a Bradford.

    1. Don’t ever compare Hundley with Jimmy G again… One is going for a first Rnd pick at the min. The other could get cut in training camp. Just stop..

  28. Even though I still want Kaep, (No surprise) I think the Niners need more depth at QB. Maybe the Niners could trade a 5th or 6th round pick for Kevin Hogan and Joe Callahan.

    They could substitute for Gabbert and Ponder.

    Then the Niners could wait til the later rounds and pick Joshua Dobbs or Cooper Rush, or even Davis Webb from Cal.

  29. I wish the Pats will have secretively taped the interviews. That’s what they do — it would be the Patriot way. They can also spring a leak (as in a football).That would be a one heck of a leak on youtube — Jed and Paraag conducting the interviews….

  30. QB- Mitch Trubinski, Patrick Mahomes II and DeShone Kizer look pretty good!

    LB- This may sound crazy, but I am worried that Bowman will be back at 85% and secure the position for the next 5 years based on his reputation, which will hurt the team. Love Bow but I hope the new GM and coach will assign playing time based on performance not just reputation.

    Good article Grant and I am hoping the candidates are seeing the same thing we are seeing.

  31. Fun post season read.. I like your thoughts on the D line putting the two Oregon kids in a 4-3 but not as confident they will develop. Both struggled with leverage all season. Good take on ILB’s-we need help. Get faster and more athletic. In a 4-3 you could hide Bowman in the middle where he would excel with his tackling skills. DB’s, don’t like Bethea and wonder why Cromartie gets lost in the shuffle. He can play. Is Eric Reid moving on? They need help. Special teams I try to sign Dawson again and they could use another return guy but just as soon take the ball on the 25 every kick if it means spending too much for one. Draft speed late and bring in a bunch of FA’s. The line is solid with upside. Would like to see Beadles move to Center permanently-he’s a leader. WR’s, I want up grades. Streater a nice back up as well as Kerley but they need two swift athletic guys who can separate to start. QB? Cut Kaep. He did show some signs but cannot be trusted to further develop and is too polarizing to build around. I bring back Ponder, shop FA’s and draft a young strong armed kid. Nothing much QB wise in FA worth giving up a 1,2 and or a 4, IMO.. Would rather sign Fitzpatrick or Taylor. RB need more depth…

    1. You’d bring a guy in at QB with 12 TD’s and 17 INT’s this season? People would start hating him pretty early in the season. Taylor’s the same guy as CK. None of those QB’s help us win or improve.

  32. You know what’s funny Grant?
    All the players that you praise as being the foundation of a great team were picked by Baalke… That’s funny Grant!
    Either Baalke was a complete failure, as you said before he got fired, or it was on the coaches if they could have been an 8-8 team.

    1. He’s blaming Kelly not Baalke for the team’s failure. It makes total sense. Kelly’s ultimately responsible. I think he’s not putting enough blame on O’Neil. That was a historically bad defense.

    2. Since Baalke has been choosing players since 2010, and the average playing career is 3 years, of course, most of the present Niners will have been picked by Baalke. In hindsight, there should have been a lot more good players to talk about and zero players made it to the pro bowl this season.

      This 2-14 season was a combination of poor player selection and poor coaching of those marginal players.

      8-8? Put down the pipe. Last season they were 5-11, and had more talent than this year.

        1. Once Bow went down, the opposing teams carved up the Niners like a turkey. Boldin is better than any WR on the team and Boone played in championship games and the SB, so he is better than Garnett, who struggled at times.

          This year’s team gave up a historically bad amount of rushing yards because they were bereft of talent.

          1. Kerley and VMac easily replaced the production that we would have seen from Boldin. Better scheme fits.

            There was no excuse for Streater to not have been used far more than he was.

            The oline gave up fewer sacks this season and averaged almost 1/2 a yard per attempt more than a season ago despite being hampered by a QB who holds the ball too long for over 2/3 of the season.

            The defense was a mess and that was due primarily to scheme. Once they switched to more of a single gap approach there was improvement with the run D. Yeah Bowman’s injury was tough, but they were getting blown out even with him on the field. Poor excuse.

            1. The loss of I Dub in the center was huge and what made it even worse was Baalke’s inaction to find a replacement.

              While I thought Mangenius was anything but, O’Neil was pathetic and did not even know the meaning of gap integrity.

              Solely blaming the coaching is excusing Baalke. both were complicit.

          1. Wrong again. Same guy, only last season he was injured and this season he became healthy and won back his starting job by proving he was superior to the backup.

            1. Your big toe was better than Gabbert! It still doesn’t change the fact that Kap is equally as fungal as that big toe!

          1. If you think an 8-8 season is success. Baalke’s still partially to blame, this is no championship roster even with Harbaugh, McDaniels, McVay or any other coach.

          2. Not quite. When Baalke first started the team had 12-13 win talent so by saying it is now around 8 shows his failings.

            Baalke’s “philosophy” was to build through the draft. 2010 and 2011 were good, but since then it’s been pretty barren. On top of that he chose not to re-sign many of the best players from those first couple drafts.

            1. Jack, … and who a team keeps after their first contract is as important as good drafts. The big spiral started with the 2012 draft and the vets that were not kept that year. I’m not surprised that you see that, but if I do too, it should have been obvious at the time.

  33. This one for MOOD-INDIGO
    A few days ago Mood you asked a pointed question: So what is it with the hating on Paraag? I’ve had to think about it to come up with an answer.
    Fans at our level of interest pour over details and minutiae about the team. The inner workings of the team remain obscure to us. We guess and we piece together scraps of information and rumors to try to get an idea. I’ll admit to filling in a lot of the gaps with guesswork.
    I therefore have only a media reports driven impression of Paraag and his role in the organization; never met the man. Now that’s true throughout the team and FO. I judge by what we see, and then add on other details to fill out the vision. Perhaps with some unproven details. Recipe for inaccuracy, I’ll admit.
    But for me I kinda feel like the astronomers who discover the existence of a new celestial body out in faraway space. They do it by inference without seeing it. They infer it’s existence by the movements of other bodies reacting to the gravitational field of the unseen body.
    If one substitutes institutional influence and power for gravity, and looks at the effects on the ‘orbits’ (observable behavior) of others, one may see trends. It’s a bit dangerous to draw too many conclusions from this scant evidence, but lacking any more info, I suppose I do. That’s where my opinions on Paraag come from.
    I also have a bias that I recognize against the political machinations and back-stabbing I’ve seen amongst the upper echelons of corporate management types in a number of different business environments. I hate that stuff, and correctly or not, I’ve painted Marathe with that brush in my mind.

    1. I would add that if you want to know more about Paraag Marathe, google what the Bay Area Sports Guy has been writing about him.

      Interesting read and very informative.

        1. Sorry, for the diss, but my point was neither fans or media writers really know…..another writer is another opinion. Opinions are like elbows; most everybody has a couple……(shrug)

            1. I think BT is right Seb. At best we have some facts and some information, the rest is speculation and conjecture at best. You can dislike Marathe based on that but the truth is we’ll never know unless he or someone else does a tell all on the York’s.

              1. We know very little, it is mostly speculation and seeing what will stick.
                Grant has done several 180’s on this site. For instance he put down the Buckner/Armstead combo a few weeks ago. Called them a bust, now he heralds them as the new coming of Christ in Grant’s new system!
                He doesn’t say it, but he’s PRAISING BAALKE’S PICKS!!!

              2. Wilson, there are salient facts emerging, and none exonerate Paraag. Him sitting in on coaches meetings and the heavy use of anal lytics that dictated the play calling is very disconcerting to me.

              3. Dee, this is not my first rodeo, and over the years, I have come to expect the provocative headlines and controversial statements that is just fodder for our posts.

                Of course, I think Grant is trolling me when he gives the QBs an F grade. When the alternatives are Fitzpatrick, Shaub and Sanchez, I just gotta laugh. Cousins will stay in DC. Book it, they are not stupid. Tyrod is just another Kaep, so he may be an alternative, but fans do not want clones, especially if they do not like the original. Glennon is 5-13. Romo is tinsel, and would never come to the Niners in a million years because he wants to go to a playoff team, not a cellar dweller.

                Gabbert is Gabbert, and the house painter just threw the younger players under the bus. Not an impressive leadership move.

                Grant has eviscerated Baalke enough times for me to know where he stands, so when he disses the coaching, he is NOT praising Baalke.

              4. >>I think Grant is trolling me when he gives the QBs an F grade.

                Trolling *you*? wow.

                Grant, are you doing this just for Seb’s benefit?

              5. Rib, maybe you should read what Robert Arden wrote. He thought the F grade was biased and illogical. He put the F grade on the receivers, who would make any QB struggle with no separation and drops.

                Like I said before, this is not my first rodeo, so surmising that Grant is trolling me, is not delusional thinking, but it is just formulaic, and expected. It is also used to generate more hits, so Grant is just doing his job. If you have been following the headlines he writes, they tend to be hyperbolic and sensationalistic, just to get readers to read his articles.

              6. Grant’s blog has 100s of individual posters, 1000s of individual eyeball hits. And he’s tolling *you* personally?

                In what world is it good to see narcissistic personality disorder trickling down from the highest office in the land?

              7. Rib, It is just my opinion. Grant, if he reads all the posts, must know that I am a fan of Kaep.

                I may say Grant is trolling me on his F grade for the QBs, but I also think he gave me a cookie to let me post my ideas on who should be the HC and who to sign in free agency and the draft.

              8. >>Grant, if he reads all the posts, must know that I am a fan of Kaep.

                Taking your submission that Grant grades Kaep an F purely for trolling Kaep’s remaining fanatic, wouldn’t Grant get much more troll mileage by giving him a passing grade and piss off many many many more here than just a singular poster?

                Seb, again… put aside your Chip and Jed combined-sized ego for just a micro-second and think these things through.

    2. I heard this past year that our minds are scientifically built for narratives. And when presented with only partial facts or information the mind fills in with negative details. This was a relationship seminar and counsel was to suspend the narrative your mind is creating and explore or challenge with the facts. In our case we’ll never know the facts so we’re left with the negative narrative.

      1. Thank you Wilson for thinking about all that stuff I wrote, and your point adds to it.
        We try to guess stuff. They try to hide their cards. In their position I would too.

      2. I don’t think that when “presented with only partial facts or information the mind fills in with negative details.”
        I think it depends on the person. Maybe MOST tend to fill it in with negative detail, some will do wishful thinking which can be subnoying.

        1. Unless one has taken intentional steps to fill in gaps intentionally and challenge the narrative it happens to all of us. Some of us have learned to challenge the naratives. https://www.zacsky.com/blog/2011/04/proof-your-brain-is-tricking-you

          “The result is obvious – our brain deduces that the gaps must be filled with self loathing, anger, resentment, and a whole range of other negative emotions. It fills all the gaps in our self-image with these, and then presumes them all to be correct. We end up with a grossly exaggerated negative self-image which we assume is correct. Self-fulfilling prophecy anyone?”

          1. Interesting stuff 73, but I hope you realize that this guy is working hard on his ‘Self-fulfilling prophecy’. For instance the example he gives about the piece of paper does not prove in any way or fashion that the brain was filled with self loathing, anger, resentment, and a whole range of other negative emotions.
            When people experience severe trauma, like being shot or other serious injuries, the brain shuts off the pain. I would not call this “self loathing, anger, resentment, and a whole range of other negative emotions”, the opposite actually! The brain doesn’t sink into depression, it rises to the occasion to survive!
            His conclusions are his own Self-fulfilling prophecy, I did not see a scientific study to support this blog writer’s thinking.

            1. Google it Dee. There’s lots of scientific study behind this an this is a football blog. It happens to us all the time. Its what happens when we have a negative experience that impacts us. The next time we get into another situation with a few of the same experiences our brain fills in the unknown with what our brain has previously experienced, mostly negative. You don’t have to agree. Take a look at this excerpt from a book.

              https://books.google.com/books?id=EcvcDDdpDQUC&pg=PA206&lpg=PA206&dq=mind+fills+in+the+gaps+negative&source=bl&ots=itogx-sAx7&sig=SLRl-ZtoSAKMWgTz-pwmsksIEB4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjfx9n01LDRAhXkllQKHcPVD50Q6AEIPzAG#v=onepage&q=mind%20fills%20in%20the%20gaps%20negative&f=false

            2. Dee
              I think the fill-in happens 24/7/365, but not necessarily with the negative unless that’s somehow predisposed in the listener/reader.
              (In the case of 49er fans, there’s some cause for a negative predisposition these days.)
              Did you ever think you saw something out of the corner of your eye, and on double-take found it wasn’t what you initially thought? To me this is a different example of the mind’s MO; filling in. Our eyes weren’t mistaken, our CPU was mistaken; actually making stuff up.
              I’m no programmer, but seems like Spell Check systems are modeled after this human thought pattern.
              Biases don’t have to be limiting if we recognize them and correct for them. Like (good) cops say: Listen to every detail. Remember or record each one. Believe nothing and no one.

              1. BT, I agree that the fill-in is constant, I don’t buy the negative connotation though. I know plenty of people whose fill in is annoyingly positive. Even though I’m a cynic at heart, I don’t start from a negative POV but more from a is-that-true POV.
                eg ; York, I think he failed as a leader because he trusted that the people he picked were giving him good advice in order for him to make good decisions. (IMO Baalke had a self preserving agenda, York trusted him, and followed him loyally until it was too late)
                I don’t think Yorkie is a bad leader though, he just didn’t pick the right people.

    3. Brotha,

      There are probably a few human characteristics (failings?) at work here. You mentioned one: the tendency to fill in gaps of an incomplete story in an way that it makes it self-consistent or supports a hypothesis. In the example you stated on detecting planets via observing wobbling in their motion, there is only one explanation in our current physics, i.e., the presence of a neighboring massive object (whether another planet or star). However, in our context, there are several feasible explanations that are equally likely.

      Another human characteristic is to assign multiple faults or transgressions to one individual. Marathe has made the mistake of sitting in player meetings (a fact), but he’s also blamed for additional unproven transgressions (leaks, personnel and other football decisions). Some of the poor decisions ascribed to him can only be made some above his pay grade.

      Finally, there is exaggerations that start from a fact and then take a life of its own.

      Take for example, the disagreements between Marathe and Bill Walsh on free agent evaluation. Donahue brought in Marathe to apply whatever analytics the latter had towards FA evaluation during the days of Niner salary cap hell. The fact that Marathe disagreed with Walsh on the $$ value of a player to the Niners does not make the former a bad guy (although I’d gone with Walsh’s judgement over any analytics even though Walsh wasn’t making his best personnel decisions in those days. ) It was Donahue who made the final decision based on input from different sources including Walsh and Marathe. So the final credit or blame for personnel decisions rests solely with Donahue (and guess who recommended Donahue for the GM job?)

      1. All valid points, Mood. Thanks. Lots of moving parts.
        Thanks to all for a calm discussion. Examining why we think what we think is a healthy exercise.

  34. Getting back to the HC/GM search, I think the best HC is not an offensively minded or defensively minded one. The best HC is balanced, with expertise in both.

    Bill Walsh could get away with being an offensive guru because he had George Seiffert. The Niners had Mangenius and O’Neil, so they have not attracted decent DCs.

    Therefore, I want a HC who has shown competence in both phases of the game.

    The person who I think can do the job because he has shown that he has done it before, is Chris Peterson. Even though his team lost to Bama, he had them playing well until Bama finally ground them down.

    Do not know if Jed has contacted Chris Peterson, or if he is interested, but he is the kind of coach that I want. He has built up floundering programs and made them strong again, with few weaknesses, and great success.

    Jed has only succeeded to poison the well with his 3 consecutive firings. The fact that all 3 had leaks about them losing their job just before they coached their last game, just made the situation toxic, and the word gets around, especially in the tight knit community of NFL coaches. A college coach may be the only viable option.

  35. So much bias and agenda in this article, just like many of Cohn articles. Like father, like son…always stirring the pot. I am reading this because a friend of mine insisted that I do so and I regret it. Having coached at High School and currently doing Junior Community College level, I would say I am more certified to speak on behalf of the state of this team more than Grant Cohn. No I do not cover the 49ers but I have a better understanding of the game than Grant.

    I would switch the grades of QB and WR. I would give QB a C and I would give WR an F. We all know you hate Kap because supposedly he disrespected your father so this is your platform to throw shade at him. I give the WRs an F simply for the fact they are not very good. When Jeremy Kerley is your number 1 option, then it means your offense has issues. Grant you realize that SF had to trade for Kerley, Harper, and Streater because nobody else wanted them? That also means SF depth at WR was just that bad. I would not mind if SF kept Kerley but as long as he is the no 4 option in the offense. SF offense will continue to be crap until they find a more legitimate no 1 and no 2 option. In fact I think that is a bigger issue than QB. This is just not a feasible NFL offense to work in whether it is Kap or some future rookie. A guy like Wentz or maybe even Dak would have been crushed and mentally destroyed with this group of WR/TE.

    Having watched each of the games and also looking at the all-22 of each SF game, let me explain why SF played poorly in 2nd half, or why Cohn thinks Kap was bad in 2nd half. First thing is that SF defense was so bad. At a certain point and in some case early in games, SF defense cannot make stops. Once that happens, the focus is shifted to the offense to keep them in the game. Kap is not elite or great by any means, but in order to stay in games you have to have good WRs/TEs who can make plays and get open on a consistent basis. SF does not have that. In fact a major trend I noticed is that most opposing defenses would switch to man coverage and get out of zone for the simple fact that corners do not respect these pass-catchers. Once this happened, it becomes difficult for Kap or any QB to find open WRs to get them the ball. Many times Kap either had to take off running or scramble to extend plays until a WR gets open. I do recall a couple times at least that all this applied to Blaine Gabbert when he was QB in the first 5 games. No I am not saying Gabbert is good by any means but I am saying that any QB in this situation, even if it is not Kap or Gabbert, will struggle and this is why I say WRs/TEs is a bigger issue right now than QB. Go ahead and draft Watson or Trubisky or whoever but until SF does not get any good playmakers then a new QB will not matter.

      1. I see you are Kap fan. Myself I enjoy him too but I do not see him as a true franchise QB but I do think he is at least a decent starter and like you mentioned above the options in FA are grim. I think SF should try to pick up his option and use the draft to address other positions. If the new GM/HC are being given a 5 year rebuild then I do not think they should force QB draft pick at any point.

        If Kap does not come back, I would love to see him and Chip team up somewhere like Denver or Houston if they fire O’Brien. Chip as an OC and Kap as QB. At least in Denver and Houston they have talent and weapons which Chip and Kap could work with.

        1. If Jed is stupid enough to cut him, I expect Kaep to land in Arizona or LA. Imagine the incentive for payback. Kaep will have huge desire to prove his detractors wrong.

          Yes, I am a fan of Kaep, but even I have been dismayed at times over his throws. I will not anoint him asthe next Steve Young, but with the proper coaching, with a coach smart enough to utilize him to maximize his potential, Kaep will come storming back.

          Still Kaep could improve. I wish he was more deceptive. I think he could work on his game management skills, and I hope he calls less time outs. Some times, it looks like he lets the defense shape him. He knows that the defense will scheme to contain him in the pocket, so he needs to break containment. Kaep needs to work on looking off the safeties. He needs to work on timing, but that takes reps.
          Kaep needs to be consistent. No more second half drop offs.

          I agree, both Denver and Texas have good defenses, and adequate weapons. I bet some Denver fans are second guessing missing out on Kaep, since their team missed the playoffs.

  36. If the Niners want fans back in the stands then get an offense. That’s what the Raiders did. Draft a sure passer (I do think Deshaun Watson looks alot like Dak Prescott only better), find a way to draft Corey Davis WR in the first round (a MUST***). He has great hands from a small school that looks like a faster Jerry Rice. If they can get OJ Howard TE as well it would cement the deal. Howard is 6’6″, fast, with great hands. The Tight End MUST have great hands. We can’t have these slow stumblebums dropping balls and killing drives. Next get Quadree Henderson KR, he’s small but superfast, he’s a danger on returns and on reverses. He’s Tavon Austin but he could be had in a middle round. Speed kills. And finally slip in a good sized RB. The defense could be stopgapped through free agency then concentrated on next season. Meanwhile we’ll have a team well worth watching.

  37. Commenting on the rest of this article…

    You got the grades for DL, LB, CB, S, Pass rush correct. Like you said they should try to sign one more guy in FA and maybe draft another to try to ensure quality depth. Bowman may or may not ever be the same, but Ray-ray should be fine. Nevertheless the LB position needs to be addressed. Pass rush I think needs to be addressed, more than any position on the roster. It is a passing league and a pass-rushing league. Brooks still has 1 year left but yes they do need a long term solution. This is a deep draft for EDGE guys and I think SF should try to take advantage of this. Myles Garrett will be gone but I think SF should try to trade back if possible and get either Takkarist McKinley, Tim Williams, or Derek Barnett in that order but take who is available. As far as safeties go yes I would start Ward at FS but I would place Reid at SS. Reid I thought has always been better in the box and closer to the line of scrimmage. If I am not mistaken I believe he played SS at LSU. Never understood why these coaches place these players out of their natural position.

    The grade for OL I give a C. Joe Staley getting old so they should be looking to replace him soon. To me this OL has only shown glimpses. Besides Staley there is not much consistency from any of these guys. To be fair I think Brown, Kilgore, and Garnett are better suited for a man blocking scheme and my hope is the new system will be just that. I still believe JG and TB have a bright future but this team at some point needs to get a new LT and another stud who can play RG/RT to lineup beside Trent Brown.

    I give TE a C grade. Celek is garbage. He is just good for blocking but has a horrible drop rate. He has no potential and very little room to grow. Vance Mac seemed to be highlighted in Kelly spread system as it allowed him to get open and get some big gains. However I still do not see him as a legit threat where teams try to gameplan or doubleteam him. I like Vance because he has big play potential but I think he is better suited as a 4th or 5th option in this offense (1 – future WR/TE, 2 – future WR/TE, 3 – Torrey, 4 – Kerley, 5 – Vance is how it should be set up).

    RB grade is right. Hyde gotta stay healthy but is still one of the more talented players at his position in the league. However I think SF should address the RB position in round 4-5 to spell Hyde with another big boy back and maybe another one in late rounds or UDFA that can be a good COP guy. I think SF should try to keep Draughn in some kind of capacity. He is a good receiving back and has even made life easy for Gabbert and Kap dating back to Tomsula tenure.

    I give this team an overall grade of D. C is being generous. This team is in dire need of pass rushers and pass catchers, more so than QB imo. SF focus should be on those 2 positions in the next draft. They need to walk out with 2 pass rushers, 2 WRs, and 1 playmaker TE. Even a good QB would have tough time doing well with these current scrubs. But beyond QB, WR, and EDGE the team just lacks quality depth at basically all positions. If you do not have those 3 positions, you will not win more than 5-6 games. However if you are missing those 3 and have almost no depth then you will win 2 games and that is exactly what happened to SF. The way SF is set up is that if any of their starters go down, they are ulimately screwed.

    This team is not good enough to go 8-8 regardless of who the coach and QB are. I have seen teams go from 0-100 real quick, but to be realistic and tempering expectations I think this team needs at least 3 years to be at least a true competitor while that is assuming they hit on number of good draft picks and free agents. Whoever the new Gm/HC will have to sit down with York and explain to him this roster that Baalke built is not very good and needs time to rebuild. York will have to be patient and he will have to sell the fanbase on that too.

  38. I agree with every word. I also agree with trading back, and would include Reuben Foster and Solomon Thomas to the list of potential picks.

  39. Ron5….. Through an email, I saw that you replied to my comment from earlier but I can’t find it here. As for the comment that I edited, I had hoped that it could be removed, as I was tired and cranky and we both deserved better. My apologies for that. As for your answer, even if you do have 20 years of playing and coaching experience doesn’t make you an expert. You are only giving your opinion, just as Grant was. I just reacted to your complete negativity and what I felt was overly harsh and spiteful criticism. I guess this election burned me out and I overreacted.

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