Ranking all the NFL head coaches


Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch talk on the 49ers practice field

This is my comprehensive, highly-subjective ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches, arranged in ascending order and grouped into four tiers. Note: There are only a few accomplished head coaches because owners regularly fire coaches. And there are significantly fewer exceptional coaches in the NFL than in college football because college coaches aren’t restricted to a draft and a salary cap.

Click here to read my Thursday column, and don’t forget to check out the slideshow at the top.

This article has 182 Comments

  1. Impressive undertaking, Grant, and good job. Although, I do think you have Garrett too high, and Carroll/Tomlin too low.

    1. Thanks. I gave Garrett a high ranking because his stock is on the rise, and he’s one of only a handful of coaches who could succeed under Jerry Jones.

      1. Garrett has had the luxury of inheriting an All Pro quarterback, and has enjoyed a head coach for an offensive coordinator. Not to mention, he’s had a fantastic front office. John Stephen Jones/Jerry Jr./Will Clay all have tempered Jerry with their success, and he’s nowhere near the obstinate ass he used to be….

        1. Garrett did inherent Romo, but then Garrett did a fantastic job with a rookie quarterback last year. The Cowboys’ front office has done a terrible job with that defense.

          1. Garrett deserves the love, but he’s yet to get that team over the hump, and I think he got out coached in the playoffs. You also can’t discount the value Linehan provides for him. He was also instrumental in Prescott’s development. I think he was also a big proponent of drafting him, if I’m not mistaken….

            1. Those are good points. I always give a head coach credit for his assistants. I ranked Garrett above Carroll and Tomlin because Garrett’s stock is up while Carroll’s stock is down and Tomlin’s has plateaued and may even be dipping.

              1. Fair enough. I think the Cowboys go to the Super Bowl this year if Prescott can elude that sophomore slump.

              2. Super Bowl?? Come on. Prescott benefited from a stacked O-line, a terrible division, and an exceptional running back. The league fixes holes very quickly. The cowboys will be lucky to win 9 games this season.
                Prescott has to hold his breath and hope his RB isn’t suspended to start the season.

              3. Not too long ago, the Cowboys went 4-12. Sure, Romo went down, but Garrett did not coach well, IMO.
                Now that they rebuilt the O line that helped the rook QB and RB exceed expectations, he is deemed better than SB winning coaches?
                I think Pete Carroll is a master tactician (except one play in his last SB), and Tomlin is steady and competent.

              4. The last I heard, the Cowboys still have their exceptional OL, their stud RB, and #1 wideout in Bryant. They added a Taco to their pass rush, and bolstered their secondary with the next two picks. Then they added another receiver like Prescott’s favorite, Mr. Beasley. I don’t see this team struggling at all unless like I said, Dak hits the sophomore wall….

              5. Yes, the Cowboys may make it back to the SB, but I think it will be due to the skills of the players more than the competency of the coaching.
                Actually, I think the Giants may win their division, due to your concerns about a sophomore slump. Teams will not take the Cowboys lightly, so they should expect fierce competition.
                I liked Taco Charlton in the draft , but did not mock him much because he seemed slow on film. Unlike King Solomon, who had an explosive first step.

              6. My concern surrounding the Giants are the two polarizing diva personalities of OBJr and Marshall in that locker room. Could be like pouring gasoline on a fire….

              7. Good point, but maybe each will make the other better on the field. Other teams cannot expect to double cover both of them and not hurt the run defense.
                Winning will douse the flames of controversy.

              8. Coaching records are influenced by so many factors beyond their control I don’t think you can just say somebody’s stock is up or down. You have to look at the long term record of Coaches and not react from one year to the next to get a true evaluation imo. Who are the Coaches that have their teams in the playoffs are in contention is what I would base it on. Things like injuries can great affect any given season, but if you look at a span of multiple years it usually divides the best from the rest. That’s why I wouldn’t put Garrett anywhere near the top of the list. His teams have been too inconsistent whereas somebody like Fox has won in two different places and gone to the SB with two different teams. If you look at one year then you’d say Garrett is a better HC than Fox; if you look at their respective careers, it’s Fox in a landslide.

              9. Grant, excellent point about working for Jerry Jones. He’s probably the most aggressive NFL owner when it comes to micro-managing all of his employees, his head coaches in particular. In fact, I can only imagine the kind of head-butting relationship he would have with a guy like Jim Harbaugh.

                I could make a few small quibbles with a couple of your rankings here and there, but Garrett’s ranking isn’t one of them. It’s a solid list. One difference I would have made is with Bill Belichick. Personally I’d put a couple giant asterisks next to his name. One asterisk for having a hall of fame quarterback in Tom Brady, who has spent his entire career playing for him, and the second asterisk for all of his blatant confirmed cheating that we know about. It is in fact cheating, if you get caught red-handed.

              10. Good point about Belichick’s cheating. To his credit though, he has won two Super Bowls since Spy Gate.

              11. My point was that while Garrett has trouble with Jones so did Johnson and I’m not sure that I would rank Garrett as highly as you do. He seems to have a good working relationship with Jones but that may be part of the problem with the Cowboys see saw and personnel issues. The coach should lead.

              12. I’m just saying Johnson got to pick his own players and Johnson’s personnel was always top drawer. Garrett doesn’t get to pick his own players. Jerry Jones and his son pick the personnel, and they make risky decisions, especially on defense. They suffer from Al-Davis-itis.

  2. Your rankings interest me Grant, ranking Shanahan in the ‘unproven category’–9 levels below Mike Zimmer (Vikes), who’s listed in the ‘incomplete’ category.

    Would their rankings be the same if you eliminated their individual categories ?….ie, do you think after 9 seasons as an OC, Shanahan is a better coach than Zimmer right now ?

    1. Both Shanahan and Zimmer are good coordinators, but it remains to be seen how good they are as head coaches. Impossible to know in Shanahan’s case, and we still need more evidence on Zimmer.

        1. That’s probably true. He grinds his team like Bill Parcells used to do. That style doesn’t play well with players today. And the Vikings really tanked after Norv Turner quit.

          1. After this season you can revisit the statement about Coach Shanahan and maybe include him as one of the best defensive minds as well…

  3. Hikutini had a 75-percent career catch percentage, which is even higher than the tight end who the 49ers actually selected in the 2017 NFL Draft – George Kittle (69-percent).

  4. One aspect with the Cowboys is the continued off-field stuff. Garrett doesn’t wield the ultimate hammer there, so he’s limited in his ability to have much effect, but at the end of the day, who gets the blame? It’s a chronic problem that impacts player availability and the roster’s effectiveness, and within that franchise he can’t seem to put out the fires.

    1. We once held that mirror to ourselves…..ACLers and Character risks.

      At least when Walsh took a gamble on character risks–Charles Haley–they paid off.

    2. I blame the front office in Dallas’ case because these players had baggage before they came to the team. The front office knew it was taking risks.

      1. Yes agree, the FO is the source of the problems Garrett has trouble keeeping up with; didn’t make that clear. But as we well know here in NorCal, the Owner is the Owner, and the rest have to make it work. The buck stops with the HC.

        1. True, which is why I held Mike Tomlin responsible for the suspensions in Pittsburgh. I just don’t think any coach could have kept Randy Gregory, Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain in line.

          1. Tomlin also inherited a HOF QB, a great roster, and has done well to add offensive weapons. He is mediocre at best. Just ask any Pittsburg fan

            I do concede to your cowboys argument about Garrett. I disagreed that he was a good coach until I read your argument concerning Jones and his meddling. Tomlin though has the benefit of job stability, an open check book, and a stacked roster.

      2. It’s refreshing to know the 49ers drafted players you know will contribute to the team now.

        As time went on, Baalke’s character risks and ACL strategy percentages sank, along with fans emotions, year, after year.

  5. Del Rio: Move him down. He is 87-84 over his career. He rarely puts together back-to-back winning seasons. Actually, let me be clearer, he’s had back-to-back winning seasons exactly once. In 11 years. He’s not, in my book, the #8 coach in the NFL.

    Quinn: Move him down. He was the DC responsible for the Seahawk melt-down. And the Falcon Super Bowl melt down. Blaming Carroll and Shanahan for one play when he personally presided over two of the biggest defensive collapses in Super Bowl History is unfair. He also rode Shanahan’s offense to the top, not his defense.

    Harbaugh: Move him up. His problem is Ozzie Smith is running off his reputation. He hamstrung the Ravens with Flacco who is about as inept as they come, by signing him to a huge contract after a good playoff run. Flacco is Jay Cutler without the hang-dog expression. I’d rather have Hoyer than Flacco.

    Sean Payton: Move him up. The NO offense was #2 in the NFL last year. His problem is that he’s hamstrung with one of the most inept front offices in the NFL. They’ve been through salary cap hell, lost a lot of good players to age and FA and have never restocked. Their defense was as almost as bad as ours last year and there’s nothing he can do about it. They just don’t have the players.

    1. ” I’d rather have Hoyer than Flacco.”

      As overrated as Flacco is that’s still a ridiculous statement.

      1. What’s ridiculous is your criticism because ‘reasons.’ Have you ever looked at Flacco’s career beyond ESPN highlights. I suspect you haven’t and it’s just another pointless ‘everybody knows’ criticism.

        Hoyer is both affordable and on an up-trend. Even if he’s not capable of playing more than his journeyman QB rating, he’s a third of the cost of the vastly over-rated media-hyped Flacco who has been spinning his over-rated wheels forever. And considering the far, far, far better talent Flacco has had to work with, plus the lack of pressure on him to carry the team since the Ravens running game + defense carried him for years (sound familiar), his QB rating isn’t any better:

        Hoyer: 84.8, last two years — 91.4 & 98.0
        Flacco: 84.5, last two years — 83.1 & 83.5.

        Now maybe you want the guy who is going nowhere while being carried by his time. Good for you.

        But I’ll take the guy who is trending up. Hoyer may not sustain it, but Flacco peaked a long-time ago and has been going nowhere since he peaked at 93.6 in 2010. Seven years of no-growth and mild regression. And that at a huge cap-hit that has strangled the Ravens for a long time.

        1. It isn’t entirely fair or accurate to compare one number from the last two years. Hoyer has had the benefit of padding numbers as the teams he’s been on have been down by so much that he faces a lot of prevent defenses.
          I am not saying Flacco is anything special, but he has had the opportunity to start each year with the same team where as Hoyer is on this 7th team? If he was really that good, he’d of stuck somewhere. Especially in Cleveland where the HR girl Betty is under center this season.

          1. Matt. I totally agree with your post. Flacco does not have the luxury of having Ray Lewis anymore, and the running game has been a huge disappointment. Still, he is light years better than Hoyer, who is being paid backup money, while Flacco is a franchise QB.
            Hoyer may even lose out Barkley.
            The Niners, being patient, may acquire Cousins either with a trade this season, or just waiting until the off season next year.

            1. I don’t think Cousins is the answer to the 9ers problems. He would be another one year stop gap at age 30. With the crop of QBs in next years draft and the number of picks we have you could draft 2 potential HOF QBs. You had Montana and Young on the same roster and that made us good for years. If the draft goes as usual there should be a quality QB even at the end of the 1st round and remember Tom Brady was picked up in the 5th round. Judging talent moving from the college ranks to the pros is not an easy task as proven by the number of first round picks that just don’t prove out.

          2. Hey Matt

            I sort of take issue with your statement about “Hoyer has had the ‘benefit’ of padding numbers as the teams he’s been on…” were dogfood so bad that he faces a lot of prevent defenses. Prevent defenses don’t enhance a QB.s opportunities; they take away any chances to complete anything beyond 5 yards. If a QB is on a ‘suck-ass’ team, he’s going the get brunt of the criticism and eventually pack his suitcase for some other team. Hoyer vs Cousins….? Both came out of the same University; the same coaches and system….so what makes one better than the other ? Nothing other than which teams draft them and what players surround them. Personally, I hope that Cousins signs a 20 year contract with the Redskins…he’d bring too much baggage if we traded or just signed him…and I don’t believe that he’s any better than Hoyer….GO NINERS

      2. CFC,

        Agreed. Hoyer has been with multiple different teams for a reason and to suggest he’s anything more than a journeyman is comical. It’s funny to see Passer rating being used as some testament to how good a QB is when it really has no bearing on overall performance. Hoyer lost six of his 7 starts last year while leading the offense to 15.8 points a game. You can also see pretty clearly if you look at his game logs from the previous year in Houston, that his best performances usually came in losses which means stat padding against defenses looking to run out the clock in many instances.

        Hoyer was the best of a limited group of players available for Shanahan. He knows the scheme and will allow them to advance in the system a little faster, but he’s a place holder and nothing more.

        1. Counter argument in comparing Hoyer with Flacco. Hoyer may be better for this team, at this moment in time, under new coach KS because he knows the offensive system whereas I don’t believe Flacco does. Ryan had a relatively poor 2015 because it was his first year in KS’s system; Ryan admitted it took him a year to get comfortable in the system. So for where the 49ers are at right now, Hoyer could be considered the better QB because he can help the offense install the new system and his cap hit is very modest compared with Flacco’s.

    1. Yeah. I did. I live in St. Louis and was talking baseball with a friend. We were talking about the crap short-stop situation with Diaz just being sent down and the Cardinals had played the first half of the season with, essentially, 4 second-basemen in their infield:

      Diaz, Wong, Carpenter & Gyorko.

      And how they’re going to have rebuild their entire infield if the Cards are going to contend again.

      Anyway, the Wizard of Oz came up. Along with Tony LaRussa and Whitey Herzog and how Matheney sucks… You know, the usual ‘good old days’ stuff disgruntled baseball fans talk about.

    1. I doubt that. I suppose I could be mean and rank fans and say you are worst of the worst, but I won’t.

            1. Not yet. have not been here when he is here. We will connect eventually. Getting ready for another three week trip to eastern Oregon for some fishing and prospecting in Sept. Going to miss a few games.

              1. Undercenter….FISH ON !!

                I have a drift boat, a small lake boat, but I still don’t know the rivers up here…in a way, that’s good to learn them on a poor fishing year. I rowed the Rogue for over 50 years….Deschutes ?

  6. Fun list, nice work. I’m still looking it over but my first thought would be to put Pagano higher, he and the Colts as a team have been the victim of a bad GM.

      1. Pagano had that team at a Superbowl competing level. They were knocked out in 2013 & 2014 by the Pats, advancing to the AFCCG in 2014. Their only sin was they played in the wrong conference.

        The lysing of the team in 2015 and 2016 was on Grigson.

  7. Top 10 coaches.
    1. Bill Bellichick.
    2. Pete Carroll.
    3. Mike Tomlin.
    4. Mike McCarthy.
    5. Andy Reid.
    6. Jason Garrett.
    7. Bruce Ariens.
    8. Sean Payton.
    9. John Harbaugh.
    10. Dan Quinn.
    Bottom 5 Coaches.
    1. Todd Bowles.
    2. Doug Marrone.
    3. Hue Jackson.
    4. Anthony Lynn.
    5. Vance Joseph.

    1. I don’t quite follow the rankings on this.
      On the one hand all the new coaches are ranked at the bottom of the list. Which I understand if your not projecting and ranking based upon what they have done.
      The problem I have is, I see Garrett ranked above above Carrol and Tomlin because he is “projecting upward”. What gives?
      Additionally, I can’t see why Mike McCarthy is rated so high. He has had the consensus best qb in the NFL and they have routinely disappointed in the playoffs.

        1. So many wanted Bowles and Jackson to come to SF. Neither has found success though both have been competent coordinators. Perhaps there isn’t enough scrutiny given to the GM’s of the organizations. If you look over the successful coaches, they have even better GMs.

          I also agree with this ranking Seb though I would move Tomlin to 10 and Reid to 3.

          1. Tomlin has been to the playoffs 7 out of 10 years. He won a SB and lost a SB. I understand how you would rate them differently, and Tomlin has the benefit of having a HOF QB playing in a weak division, but he has been more accomplished.
            Andy Reid is a good coach, but has not been a HC for a SB winning team. Yes, he is accomplished by winning a lot in the playoffs, but just cannot get over the hump. As a strategist, Reid is superior to Tomlin, but as a winner, Tomlin has accomplished more.

  8. Pretty good list Grant. I think you segregated the sections exactly as I would have which obviously makes you brilliant. I only have small quibbles with the list. Fox, Rivera, and Garrett are too high in their section. They should be the bottom 3 in that order. Other than that, good job.

  9. Impressive challenge to rank coaches, and explain why.

    Dan Quinn’s pass rush simply ran out of gas in the 2nd half of the Super Bowl. Reminded me of the 2012 Niners vs Pats game. When the Smith’s got hurt, Brady almost set a comeback record. Teams can never have enough pass rush depth.

  10. Can’t see Garrett where you placed him Grant but I like the column.

    It begs the question what makes a great coach? Is it accomplishment or something else and if so what? I ask because I’ve worked with both good coaches and bad ones and some of them won but weren’t what I considered good (granted it was a different sport but…). To me it has more to do with the ability to garner more from players and personnel. Belichick, Walsh and Lombardi certainly fall in that category, what about some of the others on the list?

  11. Head to head match-ups in the playoffs must count for something. As much as I hate to say it, Carroll’s got to be elevated past McCarthy and Rivera past Arians. McCarthy because of the Packer’s comic collapse vs Carroll’s ‘hawks in the 2014 NFCC and Arians 0-2 against Rivera’s Panthers in the 2014 and 2015 playoffs. Arians’ #2 is much too high a rating for a coach, creative or not, who hasn’t won it all.

    1. Not sure how you can blame McCarthy for a fake FG his players were told to expect and screwed up anyway or a player muffing an onside kick that hit him right in the chest. Either one of those plays turns out differently and the Packers win. It’s subjective when assessing any Coaching list but it’s not always about Coaching. Sometimes it’s just players messing up in key moments. Having said that I would have Carroll higher on the list as well and Arians and Garrett lower.

      1. If another team spots you 16-0, then 19-7 leads it shouldn’t have to come down to freak onfield mishaps. Grant uses the same grading yardstick against Quinn.

          1. It can be a combination. Coaches have tremendous impact in some sports more than others. In certain sports is far more strategic than tactical. In football it is both because of play calling.

        1. Also, settling for 5 field goals out of an offense led by Aaron Rodgers is pretty inexcusable. That sounds more like a Niners with Alex Smith stat line.

          1. They were in position to beat the defending SB Champs in their building without a couple of fluke breakdowns by the players rib. The HC and his staff had a game plan that put them in that position. They didn’t make bad decisions to lose that game; the players just didn’t execute in a couple of key moments.

            1. In any case, it was yet another of Shoup’s example of a McCarthy coached team underperforming in the postseason.

      1. Nah, 49er fans have endured much greater flops than Shanahan could ever become. Since Grant is making lists I’ll do one also.

        Top 5 Flops in 49er history:
        1. Joe Thomas
        2. Terry Donahue
        3. Jed York
        4. John York
        5. Jim Druckenmiller

        1. Those are/were floppy flops alright. The difference is we hadn’t been led to believe those flops could compare to the greatest coach currently in the game (as per George’s link).

          1. Joe Thomas was the guy who built the Dolphins teams of the early 70s so there was a huge expectation that the 49ers would immediately become championship contenders. Terry Donahue was handpicked by Bill Walsh so there was an expectation that he was the next Bill Walsh when it came to talent evaluation. Not sure fans had high expectations for John York but there was an expectation that he would at least be somewhat comparable to Eddie D. Jed was supposed to rescue the team from his cheap a$$ father and return us to the Eddie D glory years. Drunkenmiller was supposed to be the next Joe Cool. I think fans had very high expectations of every one of these guys.

            1. Good points, Houston. The jury is out on Jed IMO. After all, he did give unto us the Harbaugh, and he may yet redeem himself from the Tomsula/Kelly disasters with Shannie.

        2. Tom Cousineau? Cousineau signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent after the 1985 season where he played two years as a reserve before retiring in 1987. Came with much promise and did squat.

          OJ Simpson?

          1. Cousineau? No. I may have a different opinion than many on OJ Simpson. I vividly remember being so excited about the OJ Simpson signing. I rushed home to tell my dad about it and his reaction was: “He’s washed up. All his best years are behind him.” Kind of tempered my enthusiasm.

  12. Candidates for two short lists…

    Which two 9ers from the modern era would you want with you in a bar fight?

    Which two 9ers (modern era) would you NOT want with you in a bar fight?

    1. Want – Staley, J Smith
      Not want – Agree with Razor, Alex and Gab.

      Also, best NFL neck.

      1. Merton Hanks.
      2. Harvey Williams.

        1. I can forgive him for spitting, but the cheap shot on Rice was infuriating and may have cost us a ring that year. Physical and dirty, perfect for a bar fight.

            1. I didn’t know these two had a history.


              Rice was bumped inadvertently by Romanowski at the end of a pass route. While Romanowski walked away, Rice shoved him. Romanowski shoved back and Rice dove for his antagonist`s shoetops, tackling him. Seifert arrived fast to break it up and fell in the tangle of bodies.

              Romanowski and Rice had squared off last year, and Barton had rushed to Rice`s defense with a flying tackle. Romanowski once was sent off the field for fighting, but this one appeared to be more Rice`s fault than Romanowski`s. “The thing is not to lose it on a football field,“ Rice said. “Today I lost it. It was a little frustration from Saturday`s game.“

              “He got hit, got a little mad and took a swing,“ Romanowski said.

              “You get sick and tired of hitting your own people.“

              “I made sure I went over and shook his hand,“ Rice said.

  13. http://www.nbcdfw.com/blogs/blue-star/Mike-Lombardi-Rips-Jason-Garretts-Coaching-Ability–434200303.html

    “Jason Garrett been a head coach for six years. He’s 50 years old. He’s going to be 51 next year. He should be in the prime of his head coaching career,” Lombardi said. “Instead, he’s made two playoffs. I mean he goes 12-4. Then he goes 13-3 last year and he loses at home to a bad Green Bay defense.”

    “I don’t see Jason besides clapping and cheering players,” he said. “Losing to Green Bay was a revealing loss in this sense. It showed that his team wasn’t ready to play and couldn’t play a different style.”

      1. True, but the Cowgirls were playing from behind most of the game. I don’t remember every play, but I assume GB was playing lax D late.

        There’s also this.


        “The Cowboys struggled with the basics — like getting players on the field. They also struggled in other areas. They ignored Elliott for too long in the first half. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett turned down a free kick at the end of the first half.”

  14. Tony Romo Compares Kyle Shanahan to Bill Belichick:

    Jeez, Seb,

    You’re looking like a ‘goof’ now, as Wally said to Beever.
    Now Romo is on board with Joe Montana in questioning if Kap belongs in the NFL.

    Seb, are you prepared to go Mano y Mano with those luminaries of the ‘Not For Long League’–NFL ?

    If so, why don’t we save what’s left of your rep now ? Go out in the back alley, let me kick you in the nuts. That pain is miniscule rather than scrambling for Kap substratum, from here to eternity.


      1. Cassie,

        I would say Lumpy and here’s why:

        The Rutherfords live somewhere in the Cleaver neighborhood, which gives Lumpy the opportunity to bully the Cleaver boys on their way home from school. The boys plot Lumpy’s comeuppance, but the plot backfires when Fred accidentally steps into the trap.

        TomD’s Take: As you know, Ward is an authoritarian figure–something that Seb reviles (this psychoanalysis of a fatherless child in Seb, is obvious , in the way he rebels against all on this site).

        1. Seb takes on the Eddie Haskell persona when he ingratiates himself to Grant…like Eddie always did with Ward and June.

          Love it!

    1. Oh, nice, threatening physical violence. Thought you were better than that, but I guess you want to plunge into the gutter. TrollD, you really expose your character, and I have taken all sorts of abuse, but you have hit a new low.
      Guess that when I remind you that you joked about breaking into gun safes and creating nightmares, it kinda sends you over the edge. You continuous screeds are scrolled past, but I am finding that ignoring you seems to encourage you, so maybe I should give a swift rejoinder, and then continue to ignore the twittering between you and Cassie.
      Go ahead, continue your blather. I predicted 9 out of 10 things that happened in the draft. You wanted to trade Kaep for Tebow.

    1. Easter Island Ode to Seb:

      Magoo, nagu, Seb Kap stories begone:

      Like most nations, the Easter Islanders had numerous superstitions and resorted to charms, prayers, incantations, and amulets to bring good luck and ward off evil. A thorough delineation of these superstitions might be instructive in the light of showing the real depth of the religious feeling …

      The belief in a future state was a prominent feature in the religion.

      TomD’s Take: They would approve of the future state of Hoyer, Shanahan and Lynch.


  15. 49ers roster breakdowns, 90-in-90: Tyler McCloskey: 49ers maintained contact with McCloskey before draft.
    The San Francisco 49ers are bringing back the fullback position after it disappeared under last year’s head coach, Chip Kelly.

    McCloskey is an interesting guy in how he made his way to the NFL. He enrolled at Houston as a linebacker, but switched to fullback in 2013. In 2015, he switched to tight end, and in starting 13 games, he had 14 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown.

    The 49ers told McCloskey he will play fullback, and he is listed there on the roster. It turns out the 49ers had a lot of conversations with McCloskey.


  16. PFF this week to pick the players you would start a franchise with for all 32 teams. The pool of players isn’t limited to just current NFL players with 4 college QBs and 1 rookie QB miraculously making the list even though they’ve never played a down in the NFL. The #1 player in this year’s draft DE Myles Garrett also makes and appearance.

    The rules: The player pool is made up of the entire world — NFL players, college players, high-schoolers, some talented player’s toddler. Age matters, position matters, but contracts do not. The game will be played just like it always has been.

    Age: 28 Position: QB Team: Washington Drafted by: Steve Slowik

    This is one that kind of came out of nowhere over several years’ time. His selection in the fourth round was widely mocked, coming three rounds after the team traded a huge haul of resources to select Robert Griffin III in the first. He grew into the starting job in fits and spurts, replacing and being replaced by Griffin and Colt McCoy multiple times. The last two years, though, he’s seized the job, putting up 54 touchdown passes against 23 interceptions over the two years and adding 9 rushing scores. His PFF grade has risen steadily, peaking at 85.9 (eighth at the position) in 2016.
    Why him? Coming off a season in which he graded as a top-10 quarterback in the NFL (85.9), Cousins will turn 29 by the start of the 2017 season, and he’s shown enough ability over the past two seasons with overall grades above 80 where I would be happy to take him in this slot. – Steve Slowik

    Only 13 current NFL QBs were selected, and Redskins QB Kirk Cousins was the 10th one off the board. Cousins is obviously a franchise QB, receiving the franchise tag for two years in a row from the Redskins. He has taken the starting job with the Redskins and led the team to a playoff appearance and back-to-back winning seasons. Every NFL team is looking for a quality starting QB, and the Redskins seem to have one, but haven’t been able to lock him up long-term.

    If the Redskins aren’t able to sign Cousins long-term this year, they will play the same game next year with the option to franchise tag him for a third time, or allow him to hit free agency to find out his market value. The San Francisco 49ers have been the most talked about destination for Cousins, reuniting him with former Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan. They drafted a QB in the 3rd round this year, but unless he has a Russell Wilson/Dak Prescott type rookie season, he won’t be the man in San Fran. Sounds like they need a QB to (re)start their franchise….

  17. Darnold, Allen, Rosen I would take over Cousins long term. I think Cousins is good but will never be great. He is an obvious upgrade to Hoyer but I would rather have the Skins drastically overpay him. If Cousins hits the open market then he is headed to SF. If that’s who Kyle believes he can win a SB with then I got to trust him.

    1. What pick will the 9ers have to have in the draft to get one of the guys you mention? The reality is that teams that pick at the top of the draft most often need a QB. The 9ers might have a fairly good season and, if so, might need to give up a king’s ransom.

      I admit I’m not that familiar with Darnold, Allen or Rosen, but do plan to pay attention to them this year. One thing to keep in mind is that Shanahan wants QBs who are tough and not afraid to take a hit. He said it is one of the main reasons he wanted Beathard.

      1. I don’t see the Niners winning more then 6 games. Too many pieces are missing on Offense and they lack continuity on Defense. I believe Niners will pick in the top 5 and have the ammo to get inside the top 3. I expect more competitive games this year but it won’t result in enough wins to knock them out of the top 5.. There is a reason that Kyle and Lynch asked and received 6 year deals. This is a full Rebuild. Hoyer with these WRs will struggle. The Defense will play much better this year. 5-11 sounds right IMO which what this team needs.

        1. If the niners get 6 wins, they likely will be drafting in the 8-10 range.
          I expect their will be a run on qb’s early.
          I also expect that several of these, qb’s will get picked apart and move down the draft boards.
          Right now we are looking at Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, Allen and Rudolph as first rounders. However, if everything holds to form at least 3 of these guys will disappoint or will drop upon further evaluation or get hurt.
          That leaves 2 maybe 3, clear cut sure fire qb’s that will command a premium.
          Now lets say the 49ers have targeted a guy they want, they will most likely have to move up to at least the two spot from the 8 spot. To make the same move the eagles had to swap their 1st and 4th round picks, and then give a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick over the next two seasons and that was in a year where the qb class was considered weak. It very likely would cost more in this upcoming class.

          1. Mayfield is not a first rnd QB. He is more like a 4-5 Rnd pick. Way too small. Doesn’t mean he won’t be successful but he ain’t sniffing rnd 1. Rudolph is not going in rnd 1 either. More in the range of high second to early third. Rnd 1 QBs right now are Darnold, Allen, Rosen, Falk, Jackson. These are subject to change but those are it. A whole college football season can change so many things. I think if we go the draft route the guy that will intrigue Kyle the most is Rosen. With that said if Cousins becomes available this is all mute. There is a love affair there.

            1. They get Cousins, and Conner Williams, OT, Texas will be the pick.

              I’m anticipating that Francois could be a late 1st or early 2nd round quarterback, and Matt Linehan possibly sneaking into the 2nd round too….

            2. I hope they get an instant starter, and Connor Williams may fit the bill.
              My preference for QB is Jake Browning, but since KS likes mobile QBs, Lamar Jackson may be available in the mid first round.
              Still, I hope the Niners draft last.

  18. A tip of the hat to Grant and folks at the Press Democrat (Dire Straits — Money for Nothin’)..

    Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
    Run a sports blog for the Press Democrat
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Money for nothin’ and clicks for free
    Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb
    Maybe get a blister on your mouse finger
    Maybe get a cramp in your bum…

    We gotta create faux controversies
    Cherry pickin’ info to share
    We gotta bait our many posters
    We gotta moderate their pointless YouTube links

    I shoulda learned to type on a keyboard
    I shoulda learned to use a mouse
    Look at that avatar, it’s kinda stupid
    What was the topic anyway…?
    And what’s over there, what’s that? Thumping noises?
    Beating a dead horse like a chimpanzee
    Oh that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Get your money for nothin’ get your clicks for free

    We gotta create faux controversies
    Cherry pickin’ info to share
    We gotta bait our many posters
    We gotta moderate their pointless YouTube links

    Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Run a sports blog for the Press Democrat
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Money for nothin’ and your clicks for free
    Money for nothin’ and clicks for free

    1. …. and the “Weird Al Yankovich” .. award
      for .. faux-lyrics .. goes to …. (drum roll …)

      our very own …

      Cassie Baalke !

  19. On Rotoworld:

    According to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, two NFL general managers believe a team will place a “HUGE” roster bonus into an offer sheet for Kirk Cousins in 2018 if the Redskins slap him with the transition tag next year.
    Cousins is not expected to sign a long-term deal by Monday’s deadline for franchise players to do so, and the belief is the Skins may tag him in some manner again next offseason. A third consecutive franchise tag would cost $34.5 million, but a transition tag would be cheaper and, of course, less binding. If Cousins is transition tagged in 2018, interested teams would be able to make him contract offers that severely restrict Washington’s ability to match with huge early-deal roster bonuses. The 49ers are a team capable of constructing such a deal. San Francisco has a ton of cap space, a huge quarterback need, and Kyle Shanahan’s connection to Cousins.

  20. This Kirk Cousin thing kind of has me baffled. I am not for or against the acquisition of Cousins, it just seems to me something is wrong somewhere. Seems like most in here think Cousins is a really good talent, a franchise QB. Also seems like most in here agree that a franchise QB is a very difficult thing to find. Only a handful of QB’s are deemed franchise QB’s, we all know who they are. Most in here also seem to think that in most cases the franchise QB is the key ingredient to a super bowl run.

    My question is this, if Cousins is so good why in the world would the REDSKINS let him go? Is there a personality conflict with ownership, is it about money or is there an underlying problem we do not know about. Makes no sense to me why a team would allow a franchise QB to walk. The ultimate goal in football is to win the Super Bowl, does Cousins think that the Niners give him the best chance to win the trophy?

    The price for Cousin is going to be steep regardless on how the Niners acquire him. Is he worth the price? Washington does not seem to think so……or they would of wrapped him up by now. You just don’t let franchise QB’s walk.

    1. It’s my understanding there’s a great deal of frustration and distrust with Washington ownership–the owner being what some would consider a raving nut job. Daniel Snyder has had years to get the team on the right track and many feel his hands-on buffoonery has held the team back. Many don’t see this situation getting any better. Does Cousins want to be part of that well into the future?

    2. Spurn. Snyder believed in RGMe, and Full Shanny knew better. They believed in Captain Kirk. The believers were relieved of their duties, while the Captain validated their belief. Snyder continued to suspend belief by not rewarding him with a franchise contract. This created an imminent divorce, with Snyder’s spite for Kirk’s suitor stalling the proceedings the last two years….

    3. UC,

      The first thing I would say in response is that the Skins do want Cousins and don’t want to let him go. They have shown that clearly by taking a massive cap hit for the past two years using the franchise tag. What they don’t appear to want to do is pay him market value on a long term contract. Why that is I don’t know but it appears they took a gamble 2 years ago in not extending him long term, choosing instead to play the wait and see game and got burned.

      The next thing I would say is there is a lot of negative history between the organization – Snyder and Allen to be exact – and Cousins. This stems from their refusal to give Cousins a shot earlier in his career choosing instead to continue the RGIII disaster, and then offering him below market value once his rookie deal expired. Some of this may be tied to Snyder and Mike Shanahan’s parting after which Shanahan talked glowingly about Cousins and said in no uncertain terms that Snyder forced them to continue with RGIII when they knew he wasn’t going to work out. It could also be that like some NFL people, media types and fans, Snyder and Allen are reluctant to accept what has happened on the field and instead focus on the first couple of years of Cousins career and where he was drafted. This is a lot like the early years of Tom Brady in that regard where many stubbornly refused to accept that a 6th round pick could be a Franchise QB. Not saying Cousins is Brady, but he’s being severely underrated based on what he’s accomplished and that can only be due to preconceived opinions imo. The latest attacks against him are in regards to the fact he hasn’t won enough games, meanwhile he put up top 5 numbers last season, the offense ranked 3rd in yardage and the defense sucked. That is trying to find reasons to criticize instead of looking at it logically imo. He’s not perfect obviously and they did take a step back in redzone scoring last season, but if the defense were even middle of the pack the Skins would have made the playoffs again last year.

      Bottom line is: The Niners desperately need an answer at QB, the Shanahans think very highly of him and Mike has stated he believes Cousins is a Franchise QB. That and the fact I’ve watched him play a lot is why I see it as a no brainer to sign him if he does indeed reach UFA. He fits the system perfectly, has played at a high level and would give us the best option we’ve had at the position since Young. When the alternative is to keep drafting and hoping, signing Cousins if available would seem like an obvious choice but that’s just me.

      1. “That is trying to find reasons to criticize instead of looking at it logically imo.”

        Good call. I was guilty of this up until a couple of weeks ago. I was looking for any reason to hate on Kirk because of his age and projected salary. So, when Cousins was brought up a couple of weeks ago, I was going to criticize his red zone play. I went looking for stats to confirm my bias. I came across an article that said his red zone play was a mixed bag. It showed that Cousins was one was one of the most successful red zone QBs in 2015. This is the article.


        Since reading that article I have been more fair with my analysis. I now see Cousins for what he really his, a franchise QB.

      2. Rocket
        Like I said I am neutral in the Cousins debate, if the Niners acquire him I will be right on board with him. If this happens and he is a legitimate franchise QB the price regardless of terms is fine. If he fails the price will be mighty high.

  21. GRANT — Blog Site Improvement

    Add a map widget to the site which would show where posters are located geographically. Don’t identify them, just mark their location (consistent with their available ISP/IP address info).

    Could be fun to see the spread–perhaps wider than anticipated.

  22. Cassie …

    Wouldn’t that idea constitute an invasion of privacy ? .. and
    wouldn’t it be better just to ask individual posters where they are ?
    and that would give the poster the option to reveal
    or not ..

    I know of a few who have already given their locations …
    Indiana.. Houston … a couple of posters in the mid-west …
    San Jose …. and lest we forget … Canada and even Seb – ast-.u-hh- pol !

    1. Typical Baalke stunt. stalks my posts and now wants to know where I live so she/he can deliver another stab in the back. This aint my first rodeo, and I cherish the anonymity, because the alternative would be alarming, especially when the other troll jokes about breaking into gun safes and creating nightmares.

      1. Geez, you are dense… Map widget doesn’t have to be zoomable. Just show the world in something like a 3.5 ” by 1.5″ block. No zoom. All the anonymity you need. No avatar, no username.

          1. This blog Seb, this blog. NOT attempting to map all 9er fans. General map only, no zoom, no avatar, no username, just a single symbol for all.

            Would expect a cluster in the greater Bay Area, some individuals scattered across the US, and others sprinkled around the world. Would be cool to see and reflect on.

        1. Razor, I would welcome you with open arms. You are one of the posters on this site who I respect immensely.
          I would also get to show you my plants. I have one that is 8 feet tall.
          Then we can do a taste testing. ;p

          1. Thanks, Seb. If I ever get out that way again, I’ll pay you a visit. Brotha’s posh estate in the Bay, Undercenter’s gold mine in Oregon, and Seb’s sativa farm in Sebastopol;>)

    2. Map widgets are more common than you think. Not an invasion of privacy if personally identifiable information isn’t displayed or clickable. Just show a location symbol–no need to show the avatar or name.

  23. Cousins may be holding out because he wants Snyder to choose between him and Bruce Allen. Snyder may be stupid enough to choose a suit over a franchise QB. However, Snyder is also petty enough to keep the Shanahans from obtaining the QB they covet.
    I expect a long term deal will be hammered out, because they cannot go into the season with a toxic atmosphere. Cousins lost both his WRs, and Dallas and NY will probably be in the playoffs, so Washington will have a tough row to hoe.
    Cousins will take the long term deal because he is risking millions by being over greedy. He certainly is not worth more than Breeze or Rodgers, and is he gets injured, he may be kicking himself for not locking up a hefty signing bonus.
    Niners are smart to wait, and hope Cousins falls into their laps. Snyder will have to be brain dead to let him go, because he does not have a competent QB waiting in the wings. So if they do franchise tag Cousins They will create turmoil in the locker room with a disgruntled QB.
    Hmm, maybe they will intentionally lose to try and get a high draft position for a franchise QB next draft.

    1. Hey Seb. Snyder could sign Kaep. Kaep could play inspired football–take the league by storm–and have more outlets for his message, being right there in our nation’s capitol. What say you?

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