Is Jim Tomsula worse than the worst head coach of all time?

This is  my Wednesday column. Is Jim Tomsula worse than Mike Singletary? Fair question, even though some (most?) consider Singletary the worst head coach in the history of the NFL. Let’s compare him and Tomsula. Singletary was a linebackers coach before becoming the Niners’ head coach. He was articulate — he could have been a preacher. But, he often said vague things like, “I need to look at the film,”…

November 24, 2015

Why Tomsula’s 49ers were unprepared for Seahawks

This is my Sunday column. SANTA CLARA As the Seahawks took a 17-0 lead before halftime Thursday night, I remember thinking the 49ers seemed sluggish and unprepared. So, I asked the following question on Twitter: “Did the 49ers even practice this week, or did the players vote against it?” I was joking. I assumed every week all teams practice, even the bad teams. Even the teams that play on Thursday….

October 24, 2015

Jim Harbaugh’s job description does not include being nice

This is my Thursday column on the Jim Harbaugh rumors. This Monday, as the 49ers started to prepare for the Rams, Jim Harbaugh told the media, please, don’t ask the players if they like him. “That’s not their job to defend the head coach,” Harbaugh said. “Their job is to do their jobs – to play football, have each other’s backs, and that’s what I’ve always seen out of them….

October 9, 2014

49ers stock report

Here is my Wednesday column. Here is the current stock report of six prominent 49er figures, letting you know if their stock is up or down. Jim Harbaugh: Stock down For eight consecutive years, his stock was up, up, up. That trend ended Jan. 19, the day Harbaugh lost the NFC Championship to the Seahawks the same way he lost the Super Bowl to the Ravens the season before —…

March 5, 2014

Why Harbaugh is so good

This is my Sunday column on what makes Jim Harbaugh a good head coach. SEATTLE — Serious question — what makes Jim Harbaugh a good head coach? Clearly, he is a good coach. His record reflects that. More than three wins for every loss as a head coach in the NFL. But Harbaugh doesn’t call his own plays like Bill Walsh or Sean Payton, and Harbaugh isn’t a defensive specialist…

January 18, 2014

Rams have made gains — enough to win?

Here is my Saturday column previewing the upcoming 49ers-Rams game. SANTA CLARA – If the 49ers lose to the Rams on Sunday, you can forget about the 49ers. The 49ers currently cling to the sixth and final NFC playoff seed. The 49ers can’t afford to lose to the Rams and fall behind in the race for the final Wild Card spot. The Rams have improved since the 49ers embarrassed them…

November 30, 2013

How the 49ers built a championship roster

This is my Saturday article on the gradual construction of the 49ers’ roster. By GRANT COHN After the 2004 season, the 49ers were the worst team in football. They had practically no talent, they had won two games, and they had one Pro Bowler, long snapper, Brian Jennings. This season, the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl and they have arguably the most talented roster in the NFL. Nine…

February 2, 2013

Reevaluating Jed York

Jed York, the young CEO of the 49ers, got off to a rocky start when he took over control of the team in 2008. Right off the bat, he made a two-part mistake. He hired the wrong head coach – Mike Singletary. He rushed to hire him. As you may recall, York signed Singletary to a four-year contract extension after the Niners came back to beat the Redskins 27-24 on…

June 22, 2012

Taking stock of Jim Harbaugh

What makes Jim Harbaugh so good? Two things jump out right away – preparation and assistant-coach selection. Last season, the Niners were arguably the most prepared team in the NFL after the lockout. Harbaugh willed his team into shape in a way no other coach could. It was a remarkable feat and he was certainly worthy of the Coach of the Year award. Harbaugh also thrived thanks to a good…

June 18, 2012

Anthony Dixon clears the air

SANTA CLARA – Last week Anthony Dixon had two showdowns with Patrick Willis on the practice field. Dixon won the first one, giving Willis a hard helmet-t0-helmet hit, but Willis won the second, stripping the ball from Dixon in the backfield and seemingly twisting the backup running back’s ankle. Today, Dixon shed some light his injury, or non-injury, and his confrontations with Willis. He also compares the coaching styles of Jim…

August 8, 2011

Harbaugh vs. Singletary: It’s in the eyes

SANTA CLARA – Sorry to be so late with this. I had computer problems today in Santa Clara. Jim Harbaugh addressed the media after practice at a podium under a tent facing the field. When we asked questions he’d pause for a second or two before responding, face completely blank. Then he’d either light up and respond enthusiastically or bypass the question with a vague, short answer. He’s the opposite…

July 29, 2011

Singletary, Alex, Harbaugh and quarterbacks: A blog

Oliver Luck said that Harbaugh – perhaps Singletary’s equal in intensity – brought a much-needed “physical, lunch-pail, smack-you-in-the-face attitude” to once pillow-soft Stanford. But Harbaugh, the ex-quarterback, understood that he couldn’t have his quarterback frothing at the mouth.

March 5, 2011

Niners hire Morton; Singletary lands in Minnesota

USC wide receivers coach John Morton, 41, will join Harbaugh’s coaching staff, presumably with the same job description. Morton and Harbaugh were assistants with the Raiders in 2002-03 and Morton worked under Harbaugh as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at the University of San Diego in 2005.

January 18, 2011

Just in case, a look at Hue Jackson

Two years ago, Mike Singletary was in charge of hiring the 49ers new offensive coordinator, a dynamic which, in retrospect, was like enlisting your wife to fix the leaky carburetor while drafting your fantasy football team.

January 5, 2011

Patrick Willis’ phone call to Singletary

Back home in the South Bay after the loss at St. Louis, Patrick Willis unwound by surfing the Internet on Sunday night. It was when Willis clicked over to ESPN that he saw the news: his organization had fired Mike Singletary. “I called him right away, you know, because I wanted to hear it from him as opposed to hearing it in the news and all that stuff,” Willis said to the reporters still hanging around the media trailer Monday afternoon.

December 27, 2010