49ers’ coaching choice important and perilous

This is my Wednesday column.

Trent Baalke will move against you first, Jed.

After you get rid of Jim Harbaugh, Baalke will set up an interview with someone you’re supposed to trust — some hot-shot NFL offensive coordinator, maybe Adam Gase or Josh McDaniels or Darrell Bevell. And at that interview, the coordinator will guarantee to Baalke he can fix the 49ers’ offense.

Do not let Baalke hire him, Jed. Here’s why.

Offensive coordinators believe in themselves to the max. They think they can fix any offense, even yours. In this, they are deluded. They will delude Baalke, too.

Baalke doesn’t have the franchise’s best interest at heart. Baalke wants to protect his reputation first and foremost, wants you to believe he’s a superstar who put together great offensive talent that Jim Harbaugh bungled, wants you to believe a new offensive coach will salvage everything.

But the offense is not salvageable — it needs a complete overhaul. Anyone who says otherwise is blowing smoke at you. That goes double for Baalke.

Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down position by position.


You don’t have one. You have two backups who shouldn’t be in the league and an athlete who throws hard.

No coach you hire can convince Colin Kaepernick to master the art of playing quarterback. Coaches can’t brainwash athletes. Bill Walsh didn’t force Steve Young to master the position. Young forced himself, and he took pride in it.

Kaepernick has to want to learn the fundamentals on the field and in the classroom, has to grab a blank binder and fill it up. Start at A, end at Z. Learn every single aspect of playing quarterback — pre-snap reads, footwork, drop-back progressions, sight adjustments, blitz pickups – everything. Total immersion.

If Kaepernick has no interest in quarterback school, if he says, “I am what I am, take it or leave it,” say, “Sorry, I have to leave it. It’s not good enough.”

If he’s interested in learning, keep him. But draft another quarterback, anyway. Kaepernick may not have what it takes to become a real quarterback even if he tries.


Frank Gore is a free agent. Bring him back on a one-day contract so he can retire with dignity. Do NOT bring him back as a football player.

Keeping Gore hurts the offense. He’s old and slow and he runs out of gas after 10 carries. This season, he averaged 4.5 yards per rush during his first 10 carries of every game and just 3.6 yards per carry after that.

If he’s good for only 10 carries, he’s not a starter. He’s not a special teams player, either. He’s nothing.

The offense needs speed — it’s the slowest offense in football, and Gore makes it slower. Explain this to him. Offer to throw him a parade down Tasman Drive if he retires with the Niners. If he signs with another team, hold a press conference and pay homage to the greatness he attained for himself and your franchise.

And then say goodbye.


Say goodbye to Michael Crabtree, too — the injury prone, pouting slow guy. He’s not worth re-signing. You already have one slow receiver — Anquan Boldin. You don’t need another.

Boldin is worth keeping for one more season. He’s still a go-to guy on third-down and medium, but he’s getting even slower if it’s possible to be any slower than he already was. The man runs in slow motion.

And, like Gore, Boldin deteriorates as the game goes on. This season, the 34-year-old receiver averaged 14.0 yards per catch in the first half of games and just 9.7 yards per catch in the second half of games.

Baalke has to draft a legitimate No. 1 receiver this offseason, someone who puts opposing defensive coordinators in a state of agony, someone who makes them think, “How can I possibly stop that guy?”

You don’t have a player like that.


After you hire Harbaugh’s replacement, one of the first things he has to do is talk to Vernon Davis and ask him the following questions:

1. Who are you?

2. How badly do you want to play football?

Davis seemed to mentally check out early this season. The new coach has to find out why. In Davis’ defense, it’s not easy to stay engaged when the game plan never features you.

If Davis still has the passion to play, great. But he still doesn’t know how to run routes. He used to be so fast he could run by any safety, and defenses had to cover him with cornerbacks. Not anymore. Average safeties can cover him now.

Davis never developed the art of move-making. Coaches tell receivers not to fade, float or drift in their routes. Davis does all three. Football people call what he does “running banana routes.” Think the shape of a banana. He is the best banana-route runner in the NFL.

The new coach should offer to teach Davis how to run routes. Find out if Davis is willing to take coaching at 31 years old. Davis must convince the coach he wants to become a better route runner. Put it on paper in a blood oath. If not, the coach should shake his hand, say, “Great talking to you,” and then cut him.


Joe Staley and Alex Boone are keepers. Anthony Davis and Daniel Kilgore might be keepers if they stay healthy.

Mike Iupati has to go. He’s the most overrated player on the team.

He’s top heavy, he doesn’t bend well, and quick defensive tackles kill him. He can’t protect the quarterback.

Iupati is not a great run-blocker, either, although he can block the guy in front of him at the point of attack. He’s what you call a phone-booth player, meaning he can’t move. Boone is much better at running around and pulling.

Of all the players I mentioned, Iupati is the one player Baalke doesn’t have to replace this offseason. Baalke drafted a guard (Brandon Thomas) last offseason, and Baalke’s good at drafting guards.

Unfortunately for you, Jed, Baalke stinks at drafting the other positions I listed – quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. The last time he tried to do what he has to do this offseason – draft home-run threats at wide receiver and running back – he picked A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James. Those weren’t home runs. They were bunt outs.

You need to hire a coach who can help Baalke draft skill position players. Maybe a college coach, someone who really knows the amateur athletes. Someone who will see your players for who they are, not for who he wants them to be.

One other thing. Baalke has to agree to share power with the new coach.

If Baalke doesn’t agree, get rid of him, too. His ego will only bring you down.

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

This article has 239 Comments

    1. He is right on almost everything this is not he team JH he built but inherited and did a super job. over the last couple of years the offense needed to rebuilt. and with coaches past this side of the ball was not a priority.Baalke never put a priority on this side of the ball 1st and 2nd rounder’s not on the team any more other high draft picks not working out Baalke is a bill Parcells guy strong defense and strong run game and that is what we have like the old giants just cant win a super bowl today that way can always win games by 3-6 points have to stretch the field and strike fast our your out welcome to the new NFL. hopefully JY can get a GM to be the level headed one in the room and make Baalke director of player personnel and let the GM be the go between them all and get a real offense go 9ers.

    2. Grant, i stopped following you during the season because i cant take the constant criticism, but your dead on! on every thing you said!! Baalke is “average at best”, cant draft skill positions. Crabtree and Iupati need to go! Im sick of Crabtree! outside of these guys playing for about a million$ a year, bye bye!

      Everyone knows about aj Jenkins and LMJ…..but what about taking vance Mcdonald over eddie Lacy? or passing on Dez Bryant twice!!!! for Iupati and A.Davis!!??? giving vernon a new contract so he can stink it up! if we take Lacy 2 years ago, last year we trade the Ward and Hyde pick and move up for Odell Beckham or mike Evans!! i also wanted J.Mathews or M. Bryant in mid rounds…….but nope!

  1. Good column Grant. I agreed with most of it. Also , i think 2015 will be Baalke’s make-or-break year in that we will find out if he is for real or just a phony.

    1. Tha Alumni,

      We already know – Baalke is a phony. He has found an inexperienced owner that he can manipulate. Now that he’s convinced Jed to get rid of Harbaugh, his next mission is to save his arse and protect his reputation, as Grant pointed out.

      If Baalke were fired today, how many NFL teams would be lining up to hire him as their GM? ZERO …

      1. exactly nick! it ticks me off that this guy get credit for our drafts….but his drafts have been average at best. what stars has he drafted over the last 3 years ??? put them in one column and put the busts in another……which column fills up the fastest??

  2. Grant, does Harbaugh have zero say in the players on the team? Your entire point is based upon the false assumption that Baalke picks the players all by himself.

    How many of the players you mention weren’t picked by Harbaugh himself?

    1. Harbaugh and most of his coaches contribute to the evaluation of players. Only one person has final say, and that’s Baalke. The source of their long discussed conflict could very well be how often Baalke has ignored input from Harbaugh in player selection. I’ve always thought that ignoring Sherman and Baldwin may have been Baalke’s way of showing Harbaugh who was boss right at the start.

      At one point in Grant’s article he points out that a new coach should get a commitment from a veteran to change his ways of cut him. Harbaugh has never had the power to cut anyone without Baalke’s approval. That’s why Grant recommends giving a new coach more power in player selection and retention. I don’t expect Jed to take that advise.

      I enjoyed Grant’s points, even his ludicrous points. Number one would be offering Frank Gore a one day contract so that he can retire before the 2015 season.

    2. If the article at least mentioned the fact that there is an entire scouting department who’s job it is to help find players so I think they might have a little bit of input as well as the head coach and assistants. Yes Baalke has the ultimate final say but how many times does a GM draft a player that the coaches flat out don’t like or don’t believe in. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but it doesn’t happen with the proclivity that this article might suggest.

      1. That first sentence is a train wreck and I must fix it. It should read; “The article should at least mention the fact that there is an entire scouting department who’s job it is to help find players so I think they might have a little bit of input as well as the head coach and assistants.””

      2. The red flags for a dysfunctional relationship began to show during and right after the cuts to get down to the 53 man roster at the start of the 2013 season. I know that JH often doesn’t show his hand but there were things he said that didn’t manifest themselves in the cut downs and the releases and additions during the rest of the season. TB made some questionable moves and I believe that might have pissed off JH. That would include using two roster spaces to by time for trades of players that were going to be released. All they got were just a seventh rounder a piece. A seventh rounder to a team that drafts at the position of the Niners is similar to a free agent signing. Unless they are bundled for to move up for future picks which didn’t really happen. I think that was when JH realized that TB was only making deals to position himself for the future rather than making deals that benefited the team immediate needs. Another one was when JH told the media they were bringing in a certain fullback to fill an open roster spot and the team brought in someone else.

        At the time these incidents didn’t mean much to most of you but in retrospect they should make more sense now. I am also sure there were some things that JH did that irked TB as well, however the coach is reliant on the GM providing him with the tools ( players) to succeed. This I believe TB did not do. A coach should have a major say since he is the one that has to utilize the available players within his scheme. I believe that JH and the teams present needs played second fiddle to TB’s agenda for his operational future as the GM. This is what is referred to as goal displacement. The tail wagging the dog.

  3. I totally agree. The niners need to keep Balke in check. Kapernick needs to lose the backwards, off-kilter baseball hat that he wears in front of the press. He might be a smart guy, but he looks like an idiot. He reminds me of a cartoon character with that deer-in-the-headlights stare. If you’re going to lose Harbaugh, Balke needs to taken down a few notches so he’ll get along with the new guy.

  4. > Anthony Davis and Daniel Kilgore might be keepers if they stay healthy.
    Davis a health risk? In 5 years, he has missed a grand total of 8 games — all in 2014. He started every game of this first 4 years. I believe I read somewhere that he never missed a high school or college game due to health reasons.

  5. Grant,
    Had you wrote this column at about this time last year, I would have tried to shoot down your opinion on all the players you just mentioned.
    But after what we saw this season I will take a hard swallow and agree – arrrghhh!

    1. AES,

      Or maybe it was just an off year? Look back at the strike shortened season in ’82. The 49ers stunk (3-6) and missed the playoffs, which included the top 16 teams! Fortunately, the organization didn’t freak out and overhaul the roster after one bad season.

      1. exgolfer,
        I hope so.
        The 82 strike was a freak of NFL nature. The football gods were confused and disjointed. The 16 team playoff setup had teams like the Browns and Lions making the post season with 4-5 records, yikes!

        Matt Barrows said recently that the deep runs into the playoffs may have had a physical and mental strain on the team this season and that a longer offseason may help cure many ills.

        I’m highly disappointment on how will fell off the NFL radar this year, but a fresh start may be what this team needs to get back in the post season.
        The positives:
        1. Full offseason of rest.
        2. Higher draft picks.
        3. A better playing schedule next year based on this years record.
        4. Fresh and exciting start with new coaching? I hope so.

  6. @Grant

    WOW! Now that’s a mouthful…I am in agreement with you on about 75% of your article; I believe in Staley and Boone, as well as Kilgore and Anthony Davis being on probation, also that Iupati will never be worth more in trade than now. I’d like to know if Gabbert can actually do the job at QB, but we’ll never know now….so, completely empty the QB drawer, and pick up a vet for a couple of years to school our ‘two’ draftees..I mentioned Kellin Clemmons earlier in the week, but there are several others.

    I do like your ‘advice’ to Jed concerning Baalke and the new HC. To me this is one of your finest articles this year….Merry Christmas Grant

    1. so now your crusade is to get Baalke taken down a notch you have no idea whether baalke or harbaugh pushed to draft the so-called offensve failures. muckraking at its worst

    2. Oregoniner,

      Iupati will never be worth more in trade than now. I’d like to know if Gabbert can actually do the job at QB, but we’ll never know now….so, completely empty the QB drawer, and pick up a vet for a couple of years to school our ‘two’ draftees..I mentioned Kellin Clemmons earlier in the week, but there are several others.

      Iupati is a FA.

      Emptying the QB drawer insures a year or two of rebuilding with a team that is a contender now. Clemmons and two draftees is somehow more enticing to you than Kap, a vet and a draftee? You dislike the QB to the point you are willing to piss away any chance at contention so we can go with a scrub and two rookies?

      1. @rocket

        Yes! what does it take to convince people that Kaepernick is a great guy, but a lousy QB? He’s been playing this game for over 20 years, and probably all of them at QB….That he has not achieved accuracy by now, tells me that I’m not betting that he’s EVER going to. He has had every opportunity to show that he could read defenses, complete his progressions, and has failed. He comes from a system of ‘read and run’ (the Pistol), that has been tried and failed at the NFL level. Draft two QBs, and take an experienced QB to steer them along. Remember, Peyton and Big Ben excelled early in their careers. And Rocket, we’re not going to contend with CK…

    3. #Oregoniner

      “… also that Iupati will never be worth more in trade than now.”

      Iupati has zero trade value because the 49ers don’t have a contract to trade. Iupati is a free agent as soon as the 2014 season officially ends because 2014 is the last year of his contract.

        1. Amigo, no player trades until March 10.
          Besides, Iupati goes FA Monday, tho nobody can sign him until League 2015 starts.

          1. @Brotha Tuna

            Thanks for that boot in the butt reminder…I guess that would entail agents and stuff (YUKK!) Have some of those bean-counters in the FO to figure that part out I’m only here for dumb ideas and comic relief.

            1. Oregonin- Actually in a crazy way your statement was accurate. He will never be worth more than he is now. He is presently worth nothing and he will be worth nothing to the NIners in the future. Nothing is not worth more than nothing.lol

  7. “Baalke doesn’t have the franchise’s best interest at heart.”
    I don’t usually offer quotes from Ron Reagan but:
    “there you go again.”

  8. reread the article how do you know what baalke thinks? does he give you in depth interviews and tell you what he thinks or do you just speculate about him

  9. Grant
    I doubt I’ll get a response, but who in your opinion fits the criteria that you’ve suggested that could be the next head coach. If you’re Trent Baalke, who do you hire and why?

    1. I could only think of someone like Holgrem,Cowerd or Dungy. Someone that has been successful in the NFL and one that is respected around the league

  10. I disagree with “Baalke doesn’t have the franchise’s best interest at heart.”

    GMs that are all about “me, me, me” tend to…
    – Make alot of splashy free agent acquisitions
    – Draft with a “win now, the heck with down the road” style packed with chart losing but fan pleasing picks.
    – Sacrifice long term cap room for short term cap room
    – Love to be on camera

    Baalke is the just the opposite of the “me, me, me” GM. Baalke…
    – Sacrifices short term draft needs (many say to a fault) for better value meeting needs two year down the road
    – Patiently waits for late free agency to collect bargains, and never (consciously) overpays for a player for short term gain.
    – Sees the long view in cap management.
    – Is the quintessential grinder that would rather go weed a high school sidewalk at night (remember that?) then schmooze with football bigshots.

    Between York, Baalke and Harbaugh, which of the three do you trust most when it comes to developing the long term viability of the 49er football team? Which of the three would stay calm in a crisis, avoid rash decisions and always keep his eyes on the long view?

    I’m picking Baalke every time.

    1. Brodie– Unless the image that TB wants to promote is one of a GM who makes good deals. ” The draft Ninja” who acquires a lot of picks. This is something that works for his long term viability. Picks would be more important to him than the short term immediate needs of the team. Much like not going for a speed receiver this season rather than use a deep draft to save your reputation. He needed to get a lot of players who would contribute and not be busts this draft to compensate for the previous drafts which were basically busts. It was for his rep at the expense of the the immediate
      needs of the team.

      Bottom line is that his picks have been to enhance his rep as GM. All the examples you gave enhance his resume at the expense of the coach. It seemed to work for individuals like you who don’t look beneath the surface of peoples intent. Trent is all about feathering his own nest.

      1. Nothing enhances a GM’s reputation more then winning. I think Baalke’s knows this.

        I wish Baalke picked a speed WR in the 2014 draft too. I was stunned when he passed on so many up.

        Baalke may simply be great at assessing defensive front 7 talent… and poor at assessing receiving talent The 2014 draft may be tacit admittance that the 49ers are poor as assessing WR talent.

        The “draft ninja” stuff seems to be a way of addressing a winning team’s delima. Good teams…
        – Have stacked rosters with few holes
        – Have more late then they can use
        – Usually have poor overall draft chart capital

        So trades forward to pack draft capital into future seasons (usually gaining chart value in the process) are big. Last year he spent much of that capital in what many believe was a talent packed draft.

        Trade out of talent poor drafts, and into talent packed drafts. I’ll take it.

      2. “He needed to get a lot of guys who would contribute and not be busts…”
        Well Damn him! What the heck was he thinking? Selfish egomaniac.

        1. Brodie- It wasn’t just his not taking a speed receiver this last draft. That by itself wouldn’t be enough. But put into context with other draft and non-draft roster decisions along with certain behavior patterns reinforce that perspective.

          Look I also think JH has his weaknesses and issues as well. One persons shortcomings should not be used to over look the others. I just think that JH is in a real disadvantage in this respect because he is more reliant on TB than TB is on him. A GM can look good in the draft while the coach has a bad season, but eventually a GM’s blunders will always affect a coach sooner than visa versa.

          Too many injuries and other off field variables can also confuse any assessment as to how good the coach or GM did in respect to a season. You can not expect a GM to be able to foresee an inordinate amount of injuries or incidents and compensate for them before hand. In fact the extreme loss of players for various reasons have actually made TB draft look better than it would have looked under normal conditions. With out that loss of players would his draft picks ( Lynch, Borland, Tank, Johnson, Hyde) gotten as much burn? It made his draft look better, but killed JH. Ultimately the team didn’t make the playoffs which will help their draft position. ( and TB). He was not going to get canned by York in the immediate future. TB is Yorks boy.

          1. When you say “Speed receiver” what ur saying is “I want OBJ or Sammy Watkins” well guess what they were gone in the first 12 picks and cooks was gone by the 18th. that there were all the “speed” receivers that had a 1st rd grade. Jon Brown and M. Bryant were drafted in the 3rd and 4th rd respectively and we got Borland (pro bowl alternate despite only playing in 8 games) in the 3rd and MMartin and Thomas (arguably the future of our OLine) instead with those picks. Not to mention Johnson at CB who looks pretty good and is one of the few CB we have under contract for next year. As it stood NO rookie WR was going top play ahead of MC and AB so while hindsight is great realisticaly ur looking at 2 guys with plenty of question marks (JB low level of competition) MB (dropsies and a lack of production despite facing opponents 2nd best db in college every week) . With Iupatti set to hit FA and get 8mil+ a cheap replacement was more important than a 3rd Wr (best case)

      3. Willtalk,

        “Brodie– Unless the image that TB wants to promote is one of a GM who makes good deals. ” The draft Ninja” who acquires a lot of picks.”

        If that is what Baalke is doing, he’s doing a horrible job of it. He seems to go out of his way to avoid the limelight. Already pointed out by others, but I just couldn’t resist…

    2. Great response rocket! Now this is a guy who knows football. Half of your other clowns are disgraceful and won’t be around next year when things change for the better..

        1. A career is a long time Oregon. Alot of people gave up on Steve young too.. I ain’t giving up on this kid.. Have merry Christmas yourself and to everyone else. At the end of the day we are diehard niner fans wanting the same thing…happy holidays.

          1. CK-elite—- While I don’t think they are entirely similar, the situations they find themselves in in respect to criticism are. Young replaced Joe before Montana or a lot of his fans wanted him replaced. Just like Colin and Alex. The hate for Steve by some 49er fans was also absurd. It was actually worse because Joe didn’t have Alex’s class and made his dislike for Steve known.

            Just like in the present situation, Steve was always compared to Joe. Joe would have won that game. Joe wouldn’t have thrown that interception. Joe would have completed that pass.etc. The team Steve ended up with was also not the team Joe played behind. The players got older and they could not be replaced as easily because of the salary cap. Joe’s career would have been much shorter behind the line that Steve had to play behind. It was only his athleticism and toughness that extended Steve’s career. Very similar to the situation now.

            They judged Steve on the criteria of comparison to Joe and the team and situation he was in rather than the one Steve was dealing with. In respect to Steve he had to compete with one of the best dynasties in NFL history- The Dallas Cowboys which were not around during the Montana era. One of many variables that were not considered in the comparison. Just like today people are also not considering variables.

    3. Brodie, I agree. Baalke runs this club in a way that I feel is consistent with clubs built for long term success.

  11. Grant,
    Amid all the conjecture one over-riding concern that seems to be overlooked is Balke’s role as General Manager which is absolutely critical to any organization’s success. Jed York should not be concerned solely about Trent’s role and involvement as a leader of the scout’s. Balke has allowed the organization’s name to be dragged through the mud. Not supporting the current coach and staff, not creating and promoting a professional environment, and not mentoring a young man (who is the owner) on how to run a top class organization. Add in Trent’s oversight of an extremely poor PR job and overall decision making of the organization and there you have it. A change at the top is needed but it needs to start with the GM who in 2014 failed miserably.

    1. Us old guys remember well another highly regarded GM that Uncle Eddy hired by the name of Joe Thomas. Still a lot of painful memories of how that worked out! Good points Old49er. We dumped Monte Clark who appeared to have turned things around for there better after three sub .500 seasons. I remember that there was a lot of hope. (Monte drafted Randy Cross). Then we dumped him along with Jim Plunkett, who went on to lead the Raiders to a Super Bowl wink, while the 9ers stunk up the place. I’m hoping it’s not deje vu all over again!

      1. Plunkett was damaged when they got him from the Patriots. Should not have traded for him- very over paid. The future draft choices lost hurt them as much as Plunketts loss.

        Plunkett career was revived because he sat on the bench with the Raiders for an entire season. That allowed him to get over the shell shock from bad protection that had him throwing the ball away before the defenders even got close when he played for the Niners. He was still reacting to his lack of protection with NE. He was slow as mollasses and didn’t have the option of “happy feet”. He just thew the ball in the dirt. Any one who says that an elite “Pocket QB” can overcome a lack of pass protection is moron. Plunkett was an excellent pocket QB. A QB can compensate for one of two games but if the lack of protection chronic, it will ultimately impact them so that even when there is protection they will be conditioned to react like there isn’t.

        Oh I believe Plunkett took them to two Superbowl victories. One in his first year as starter.

        1. Plunkett had his problems but he could have played left handed and the 9ers would have done better with Monte Clark than Joe Thomas’ string of losers.

          1. Monte’s last year in SF he suffered with a non-clutch kicker. Its been a little too long to remember exactly, but the kicker cost them 2 or 3 wins with late misses from easy range.

  12. I never formerly introduced myself. Im somewhat new to this blog in regards to making actual comments. I do a lot of commenting over at ninersnation (they have an easier setup for comments) and I’ve made a couple sporadic comments here. I mostly just follow along and have read some good stuff from the regulars on this blog.

    Anyway, just wanted to formerly introduce myself as a somewhat new poster here.

  13. Grant- While I am not totally on board with everything you stated, I am in general agreement. How every their is still merit in everything you mentioned perhaps just not to the degree of emphasis.

    Finally people are recognizing some of Baalke’s short comings. His drafting not-with-standing, he just has the wrong type of personality for the top job as GM. He as others have mentioned needs real oversight. His ego plus focus on detail at the expense of the big picture is his major problem. The real problem is Jed who gave him the job along with the authority that went with it. It took entirely too long for media personal to recognize the chaos and infighting that constituted the relationship between the front office and the coaching staff. That is ultimately the fault of ownership for allowing this to degenerate as it has. The major problem is that even if they get rid of the teams dead wood, the dead wood at the top level will still be there. Can you trust them to make the right decisions.

    Sure it is easy once things become obvious as they now appear to be. The key though is to recognize the problems before they manifest, which is something this front office/owner has yet not shown any ability to do. Will Jed recognize the part Trent B played in the demise of this franchise? Probable not I fear. They will just use JH as the scapegoat for all of the problems. Dysfunctional individuals tend to find any existing fault in another person to use as justification to deflect every problem that exists including their own, on their chosen scapegoat. It’s a pattern of not accepting responsibility. A functional person will use reason to reflect on the true causes in order to assign measured responsibility for any failures. The odds of ego driven individuals doing so are slim, so the mistakes will keep repeating.

    1. which week exactly was it that you were writing that Roman was making a mistake by not making Johnson more involved in the game plan and now you’re right on board with just shipping him out why should we ever take your opinions seriously grant when you can just flip flop from basically one week to the next

      1. my response did not come out at all how it sounded in my head it was supposed to be a sarcastic retort not intended to be taken seriously

            1. Coffee- I knew you were being sarcastic. Actually at this point in time the franchise is between a rock and a hard place. No one move is going to fix anything. Getting rid of either Harbaugh or Trent will not solve the problem. Could they even get rid of both of them? Too big of a change under the circumstances.

              The best move is one they will not do. The should keep things as it is for one more year. Behind the scenes hire mature football guy to oversee both of them. Give that person all the power and let TB save face. I think this idea was already expressed by multiple sources already. I just add the idea to keep this guy secret. He would try to bring the ship right for one year. During that time they could get a better assessment as to what the actual condition of the franchise is a present in respect to moving ahead. Oh Roman needs to go.

    2. I would pass on Lloyd, but keep Stevie.

      Why did Stevie Johnson have a 2nd half production drop?

      Did he have less snaps late in the season, therefore less catches? If so, Did Johnson have less snaps because…
      – Of draft deal escalator giving the Bills our 2015 third rounder?
      – Crabtree complaining?
      – Being a short area specialist… on a receiving corp packed nothing but short area specialists?

      My mantra has been (and will continue to be) no matter what the deficiency, don’t fire until you have a better replacement. The lesson learned from Mariucci to Erickson applies to players too.

  14. Good stuff, I agree with everything. I’m not convinced that Baalke’s background is conducive to drafting for an explosive offense. He’s a Parcells guy.

    1. Yup. I think he’s going to hire a defensive head coach, or a ball control offensive head coach.

    2. I recall baalke & braintrust being high on beckhem jr. relative to the rest of the top tier lot.

  15. I pointed out about a week or so ago that Bruce Ellington was one of the fastest WRs in the draft. Although his official 40 yard combine time was only 4.45 seconds, his unofficial first time was 4.37 and his unofficial second time was 4.31. The 4.31 was second only to Brandin Cooks and John Brown (unofficial times of 4.30 seconds).

    So, I maintain that we did draft speed, but it doesn’t seem to be the 49er way to play rookies at the skill positions unless they absolutely have to.

    1. Carlos Hyde was a bit of an exception, but probably got more snaps because Hunter was hurt. In Ellington’s case there were four WRs ahead of him who all at one point or another had 1000 yard seasons.

    2. I like Ellington. He’s fast, but I don’t see 4.31 on the field.

      I think the 49ers had Ellington pegged mainly as a physical, blue collar slot experiment. A little slower… but but thicker and (hopefully more durable) version of Harvin/Austin.

      There is just too much redundancy in the WR corp… all guys that are physical with good short area quickness, but no deep threat to take the top off the defense.

    3. cubus,
      I want speed combined with talent. Ellington’ 40 times are impressive at face value, but may only be par for the course when up against defensive players that are as fast or almost as fast.
      The Buffalo Bills Marquis Goodwin ran a 4.2, 40 and has yet to make any waves in the NFL.
      If he can ever combine his speed with receiving skills he could make some noise. Speed only works when there is skill involved.

      The cowboys teams of the 90’s were fast on both offense and defense, but were very strong on the offensive and defensive lines.

      Our current offense does nothing to resemble the fast/strong cowboys offense of the early 90’s.
      I can only imagine what a WR like Odell Beckhum Jr. or Kevin Benjamin may have provided for us this year.
      These guys are not super burners but they have just enough speed to match their skills and that makes them very good.

      1. AES:

        I posted that mostly because there are complaints that we didn’t draft speed. Now of course we can debate how good the speedy WR is that we drafted. I think Ellington will have a very good sophomore year. I’m not sure that any WR drafted by the 49ers in 2014 would have had what is considered a good rookie year. At the skill position, the 9ers generally don’t seem to play their rookies unless forced to (primarily due to injury).

        1. cubus,
          Sorry if my response may have sounded edgy that was not my intention whatsoever.

          I agree that rookies in the Harbaugh regime rarely receive much playing time, but if the rookie is head and shoulders better than any veteran player, Harbaugh will likely put them on the field as was the case with Jimmy Ward and Eric Reid before him. Aaron Lynch also received a significant amount of playing time even when Aldon returned.

          With WR’s like Crabtree, Boldin, Sammy, and Lloyd it was going to be hard for Ellington to get playing time. But having said that, I have to believe that an Odell Beckham Jr. or a Kevin Benjamin would have garnered significant playing time by having enough talent to usurp it during TC as well as in-season practices.

          1. AES: No worries, I didn’t think you response was edgy at all.

            When I mentioned “skill” positions I was thinking only of the offense. I don’t think we had a realistic chance to get Beckham and, if I remember correctly, Benjamin was not that highly regarded coming out of college, but he has exceeded expectations in his rookie season. His size sure could have helped this year. Have a good holiday.

            1. cubis- If you watched Ellingtons college video’s you would see that he does not possess much break away speed once he has the ball in his hands. He was caught from behind too much. Game speed and non grass timed speed is entirely different. I always thought he was going to be an excellent slot receiver, but not a player who will be a long threat. His elusiveness, and quickness is what will get him open. He is just fast compared to the present receivers the 49ers have on their roster.

              I always thought that the times at the combine were stupid. They should time them in full football gear on grass and turf. RB’s and receivers with both the ball and without the ball. If they did that AJ would have never been taken so high. I mean do players ever play in shorts on a track. Duh! That’s why the game of football evolves so slowly. It’s run by people who spent most of their lives getting brain damage.

  16. Hot off the Internet.

    49ers GM Trent Baalke admitted to John Clayton that he is planning to bring in Pete McCulley and Fred O’Connor for interviews next week as a replacement for Jim Harbaugh.

      1. 1978 Eddie and Joe Tomas has two head coaches. Guess who?

        “Thomas then was hired as GM of the San Francisco 49ers in 1977 by new owner Eddie DeBartolo at the recommendation of Al Davis and immediately fired head coach Monte Clark.[5] The 49ers went 7-23 in Thomas’ two seasons with the franchise, and his biggest trade, a series of 5 high draft picks for O.J. Simpson, was a colossal bust, as Simpson proved to be washed up. Thomas also fired two more head coaches, Ken Meyer and Pete McCulley, and Thomas’ third hire, Fred O’Connor, was fired along with Thomas at the end of the 1978 season.”

              1. Charlie may have used a similar expression, but he got it here:

                All hat and no cattle
                A slang phrase from the Southwestern United States, indicating a person is more image or projection than actual substance.
                It is probably derived from the region’s contempt for people who are not cowboys or ranchers but who try to mimic the frontiersman image through superficial adoption of the region’s folkways.

        1. htwaits,
          When I think of the O.J. debacle the only thing that brings a sense of relief is that a RB that no one had ever heard of emerged as a small cult-hero: Paul Hofer.

          Hofer’ star shined only briefly, but it brought me the only joy as a 49ers fan during that time.

          1. The OJ trade soon after the Plunkett trade. Two expensive reaches. Plunk redeemed himself in Oakland, but OJ was done. Dumb moves that cost the team for years. Eddie hiring Joe Thomas wasn’t his finest hour either, but he was an experienced exec so more or less a mistake that can be understood. I recall hating the guy.

      1. htwaits— Joint head coaches ? Perhaps if Harbaugh was a coach that utilized joints it might have mellowed him out a bit and he would still have a job. lol.

    1. That’s cuz Ericson turned him down. HooBoy, the knives are out, LOL. Trent probably saying to me: “Et tu, Brute?”

    2. His first choice, Ken Meyer, said no thanks since he is retired and living in Florida, but thanks for thinking of him.

  17. Disagree about Gore, still the best running back on the team. Signing Gore will be another issue, not worth the 6.5 per season, is he willing to get a pay cut. The rest you can’t argue with, although they are probably going to hire Tomsula who will be a yes man, and no one else would hire him as a head coach. Seeya Roman noodles .

  18. Dam you hit that wright on the nail Grant. Im a real 49ers fan i loved jim but his stubbornness to not fire Roman makes it ok wit me to let him go. and as far as Trent he cannot draft offensive talent and if he is not willing to change the ways he drafts then he should go as well this should not be about one person over the team in the words of once a great man said it is about the team the team the team no one is above the team get this right Jed York

  19. Some good use of sensationalism. The heart of what you are saying is solid, but its over the top.

    Like some others, I think you are wrong that Baalke doesn’t have the 49ers best interests at heart. But never a bad thing to have input from other NFL minds. Is he willing to listen to others? Who knows.

    1. What coach is going to want to come into this circus and have to deal with a GM that refuses to cede any personnel decisions? Mr. Yes man Tomsula probably the only one….

      1. A college coach who wants a shot at the NFL – Malzahn maybe. But most likely not my guy, Sean Payton, if he were available.

          1. That’s do-able. I believe Trent is much more co-operative than portrayed. All in the org talk about consensus decisions, but somebody has to have the final call.

              1. Oh yeah? Well Merry Christmas amigo! Haha!
                Ya know, everybody’s passion is OK with me. Some may be targeting incorrectly, or not, but y’all care. Actually, that’s important. Like believing in Santa, I guess. Peace.

              2. I think TB actually believes that what is good for Tent Baalke is good for the 49ers. That’s his problem. Although this season might end up being a good lesson for him in that respect. He isn’t stupid.

              3. Baalke is apparently completely inflexible and an absolute authoritarian but he still let Singletary have Taylor Mays and he let Harbaugh have Colin Kaepernick in spite of him being reported to have preferred other players.

                The GM makes the decision on the draft picks but a lot of it is influenced by the coaches and other scouts. For example in 2011, it was reported that the 49ers wanted Doug Baldwin but Ron Johnson from USC was drafted since John Morton had been his WR’s coach and basically pounded the table for him to be drafted.

                No GM is ever an island unto themselves. Its hard to tell what picks the coaches may have pushed for. If you look at a guy like AJ Jenkins, he was a virtual clone of Owusu from Stanford. Baalke doesn’t deserve all of the credit nor all of the blame for the draft picks he makes.

                Now as far as free agency and trades, he’s done a terrific job.

                I also don’t see him as some sinister, meddling power-hungry tyrant. Philosophically he has the same roots as Harbaugh, a guy who doesn’t know any other mode but to work hard and dedicate himself to his job, the major difference being is that Baalke seems a lot more stable and less likely to have a total nervous breakdown at some point in time.

                If there is stuff being leaked by the front office, I would suspect that it is at the behest of someone above Baalke.

      2. Does Harbaugh have no say on players? I don’t believe so. Baalke has final say, as it should be. That is his job, not Harbaugh’s.

        Does Payten have final say on players at the Saints? I’ve no idea, but I would assume no. I don’t think the 49ers system is much different to most teams.

        As I said yesterday, many people are sacred of life after Harbaugh, and are therefore making this all about Baalke and the front office. Harbaugh can do no wrong.

        If this was the first time these sorts of issues were cropping up around Harbaugh I’d be willing to believe it, but history suggests he creates a lot of this friction. Whereas this is the first time we’ve heard of these sorts of conflicts involving Baalke.

        1. “These sort of issues” were no surprise when they hired Harbaugh. They knew full well what they were getting. The next head coach they hire will tell us all we need to know. If it’s Tomsula, you should be scared, if it’s Stoops you should be excited….

        2. Scooter: I disagree completely with your first paragraph. You are just wrong. No good head coach will accept a job with the 49ers with those restrictions. That’s why you’re in your current predicament.

          1. Mary, the GM has final say at most clubs. It is rare to find a head coach that is also an excellent personnel man, or has the time to focus on both coaching and detailed talent evaluation, so it makes sense.

            Some of the very best coaches do get final say, it is true. But Mariucci and Holmgren are great examples of guys given that power that shouldn’t have been.

            1. I agree with these comments. And I don’t want to minimize the job that both Baalke and Schneider do. They do the legwork and they’ve got guys under them also and then you add in the draft & FA. Schneider was the one who convinced PC that he had to meet RWilson and the rest is history.

              Have a Merry Christmas Scooter and take good care of my race horse!

          2. I don’t buy that. For the vast majority of teams in the NFL, the head coach does not have the final say on personnel. Some coaches can handle it, some coaches can’t, Holmgren got essentially fired as the GM of the Seahawks because he was pretty terrible at it.

            As far as the 49ers job goes, it’s easily the most attractive opening in the NFL. Potential coaches will see a roster loaded with talent, a team that has had a winning record lately and a nice area to settle in for their families. You really think that the Jets or Jacksonville are going to be able to compete.

        3. Scooter-This is also Baalke’s first stint as a GM. I remembered from my experience in the military that you didn’t know if someone could handle authority until they had it.

          The problem with exposing dysfunction at the top is that they have the power to deflect the blame to plenty of people under them before it eventually lands on them. Harbaugh is not without flaws and that has given them the opportunity to use him as a viable scapegoat for more than he is actually responsible for.

  20. Good article Grant. However I think the HC should have final say. This is something that Pete Carroll learned in his first stint in the NFL. I also think the HC should pick his GM.

    1. It depends Mary, if they are going to hire within the team and hire Tomsula, he is just a yes man and will have no say, especially at offense drafts, also if they get a high power guy, like a Gruden that would be more to the formula that you discussed.

    2. Mary- Exactly! Authority should mirror responsibility. Never put yourself in a position were you could end up taking responsibility for something not in your control.

      Have a good holiday!

  21. Great column Grant. You are finally getting it. You can make a point, even place little dig or sarcasm in there, but it has to be devoid of emotion. When it smells of hate or distaste, it loses its potency.

    1. ‘Baalke doesn’t have the franchise’s best interests at heart’ sound familiar? A hateful slander that is 100% speculative and 100% unsubstantiated.
      Hate? Distaste? Devoid of emotion?
      As Scooter said, a few cogent points scattered through. That is “great?”

      1. BT, MidWest, C4C, Razor, Jack, Scooter, Neal,
        BT. cubus, Brodie .. and all the regulars..
        (please forgive me for leaving some out ..
        a major “Senior Moment” .. but you guys, too)

        Grant’s journalistic “prowess” aside .. please
        allow me to wish a Merry Christmas to those, here
        who celebrate it ..
        a Happy Hanukkah to Grant, and those who celebrate that ..

        and a very prosperous New Year to all …

        I have another request, (if you’ll indulge me this) ..

        Please give your loved ones an extra hug, and let them
        know how important they are to you ..

        1. Beautifully said.
          Watching a semi-classic or perhaps neuveau classique Christmas movie, “Elf” with the family. Good company and laughter.
          So to Grant’s OnLine Family, beloved and otherwise: Go Forth & Thrive.

      2. BruthaTuna- Discernment of intent is always speculative and subjective. What constitutes valid substantiation varies from person to person. For some people the hammer has to hit them on the head, where as others can see it coming at variable intervals before the fact.

        Because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Also claiming that what he wrote is hateful slander is in fact also hateful slander in respect to Grant. Your opinion in respect only your opinion so by definition it is also speculative.

        Although by your own standards even though I could, I would never call you opinion 100% speculative or unsubstantiated, because you obviously have your reasons. That would have been a far better tack for you to have taken in respect of Grants article. Putting a 100% value on an opinion make one sound sort of arrogant and closed minded.

  22. Happy Hanukkah; Merry Christmas; Happy Eid ul Fitr; Happy Badhi day and Happy Chalica. Happy Holidays to the rest of you heathens.

      1. Eid ul fitr is the muslim celebration at the end of Ramadan, it’s the closest thing to their christmas that I could find. Badhi day is buddhist and chalica is unitarian although the last two occur during the beginning of December rather then the end.

        1. h-mmm … thanx for that Coffee ..

          I guess you’re never too old to learn something new
          every day ..

          (I’m so old .. I won’t buy green bananas)

        2. Thank you C4C
          That reflects my view of that bit of magic that is the Christmas Spirit. I’ve never thought it was a an exclusive promotion of Christianity.

        3. Cfc, actually eid el fitr means the festival of feasts that comes after a month long daily fast also known as Ramadan. Mowlid elnabi would be the closest thing to Christmas as it means the birth of a prophet, Muhammad (saw) since Christmas is the birth of christ.

          1. “the muslim celebration at the end of Ramadan”

            I kind of thought that’s what I said.

            1. “Mowlid elnabi would be the closest thing to Christmas as it means the birth of a prophet”

              Good call, though I was going more with the time frame rather then the meaning but strictly speaking you’re absolutely right.

              1. It’s all good but the time frame actually changes every year because it’s on an Arabic calendar which is different than the western one. So every year, Ramadan and Eid are ten days earlier the the prior.
                I appreciate your knowledge and culture though. Most people don’t care enough.

  23. Scooter:

    Here you go, the 3 coaches who have final say over their Roster.

    Kelly agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Eagles to become the team’s head coach on January 16th, 2013.[33] Although general manager Howie Roseman runs the team’s drafts and free agency signings, Kelly has the final say over the 53-man roster. [34][35]

    He is one of three current NFL coaches who have either the title or powers of a general manager, along with the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick and the Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll.

    1. Having the GM as the one with the final say is not the problem, that is a common formula for running a club. The problem is the coach and front office don’t get along, for whatever reasons.

      1. You’re dead wrong Scooter. If you think you can hire a HC and then tie his hands behind his back with regard to roster decisions you’re flat out crazy. I’ll take Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly’s method for success any day.

        1. One more comment, I instinctively know that all 3 of these coaches have good relationships with their GM, at least respect for each other. That way, no one has to pull the “I’m in charge card.”

        2. If I’m crazy, so are the Ravens, Broncos, Steelers, Packers, Giants, etc. There are some very successful teams that use this formula.

          The key is having a GM and HC that work together, regardless of who has power.

  24. Grant, or should we just call you Sybil from now on;

    “especially Mike Iupati, who is not-so-good in pass protection, but one of the best run blockers in football – no question.” That comment is from your grades of the last game, just 4 days ago.

    Iupati is not a great run-blocker, either, although he can block the guy in front of him at the point of attack. He’s what you call a phone-booth player, meaning he can’t move.” That comment is from your article released today.

    Would you like to explain how a player goes from being one of the best blockers in football to being not a great run-blocker?

    1. Come on CFC
      That was a whole 4 days ago, an eternity if you will. Just like it was the right move to trade Alex and start colin until it wasn’t, things change quickly in this fast pace world. Why would you expect a writer to stay consistent

    1. I remember a scene from I think it’s Animal Kingdom where they are on the shores of a river, and it’s a hot summer day and a boat comes rolling in and it’s Santa Claus.

      Hope you’re have a great summer and a Merry Christmas.

        1. Coffee..

          perfect example of why an
          “Edit” button is needed.. but then ..

          since you just posted your correction ..
          that counts, as well .. in the “post count” …

          Could be the very reason Grant’s webmaster
          won’t add one

  25. I just want to thank everyone who welcomed me to the blog. I enjoy coming here and learning about football in a way that most fans never will.

    Wishing all of you all the Hope, Wonder, and Joy that the Holidays can bring!

  26. Ok I’m sounding like a broken record here, but what is with all this desperate fantasy wishful thinking crap?
    “So see we’re gonna have a GM in charge of the defense, that’s Trent, and then let’s have a GM in charge of offense, that’ll be the new young hot head coach. Problem solved!”

    Grant can you explain how you will be able to judge a young hot coaching candidate’s player evaluation skills if he has never evaluated players at the NFL level? The list of decent candidates is small already and now the new coach needs to be a proven talent guy? Where will you find such an animal? How do you know he won’t be even worse than Baalke at selecting offensive players?
    This is daydreaming. Baalke has a problem with offensive players, and the only way it gets solved is that Trent gets it together and has more consistent drafts, or he doesn’t get better and Jed fires him and puts in someone better. Of course you won’t know if he’s really any better until 2-3 years after you hire him which would be about 4-5 years from now.
    The best hope for us is that Trent gets it together. If you look at his offense draft picks, he always seems to try to be the “contrarian” or “innovator” The redshirt thing, the obsession with “little man” skill players, it seems more psychological than mental. If he would tamp down his ego and go with the more conventional philosophies on offense things would look up for us. Any changes made at the GM level will be slow and very painful, and again you really can end up with someone worse…

    1. Perhaps it’s as simple as Trent recruiting some new scouts; or just trusting them more on offensive recommendations.

      1. Or having a coaching staff that can use the guys he drafts. I’d be shocked if guys like Patton and Ellington weren’t solid contributors on other teams such as Green Bay or Seattle.

        Look at a guy like Ted Ginn for example. They could never figure out how to get him involved in the offense, but Carolina sure could, even the Cardinals were able to get him involved somewhat.

    2. s.c. Trent is a smart guy. I have always concluded that his mistakes are not a result of his lack of intelligence but rather a psychological block that acts as a blinder. I also agree with you about making a change at GM right now. One reason is the person who picked this GM will also pick the next one. York will more than likely either pick someone similar or over react and go with an opposite who would just bring in different problems.

  27. By the way has anyone else noticed that there is no longer a “hot young name” in the front office? When Mccloughan was GM it was Baalke, a couple years ago Tom Gamble, and the last couple years no other name gets mentioned in the media.
    Almost every elite franchise in almost every sport has this. The Seahawks, The SF Giants, Spurs, during and in between games the broadcasters always talk about what a great job the GM is doing, but also mention the right-hand man prominently.

    1. s.c. You make a very good point. It’s reveals a lot about Trent. Trent would not feel comfortable with having a smart young guy in the organization. That would constitute a threat to himself. He was the smart young guy but for an old guy who was getting ready to call it quits. Trent feels insecure in his position and an insecure person makes decisions to promote their own security. That was also the probable source of his conflict with Harbaugh. People that are insecure are usually trying to gain security through more control.

      1. uh oh willtalk has the psychoanalysis couch humming again. Aside from trying to analyze a man you have never met or spoken to would you ever consider that: after loosing 2 hot football minds in the last 5 years they are simply out of them? They dont grow on trees you know. And if you lose a few and replace them with someone perhaps not as competent the well runs dry. This is not an eternal spring, Look at BB in NE. He lost Weis, Crenel and Pioli hasn’t won a SB since then and has some guy from the dakota school of mining as an assistant.

      2. I think its hilarious that you are trying to psychoanalyze someone you have never met nor spoken to. We have no idea what Baalke’s actual motivations are or if even half the stuff being reported about him is even accurate. I feel like people are demonizing a guy because they need to have a scapegoat for the perceived tumult within the organization.

  28. Ok Grant: Fangio HC;Cudzinski OC;QB-cut Gabbert draft Connor Halliday;sorry but disagree extend Gore another year(speed is not all, elusiveness and vision are paramount as well) draft Zach Zenner RB;WR goodbye Johnson, LLoyd ,Crabtree hello Patton, Ellington,draft Kevin White first round the big fast WR being clamored for;TE bye bye Vernon- Carrier is a keeper,keep Celeck,Macdonald meh draft Kivon CartwrightTE;OL Hello Brandon Thomas ,Iupati works cheaper or byebye ,goodbye J Martin,Draft Spencer Drango with our 2nd pick!

    1. Fangio is another strong willed candidate who tells it like it is and has a great knowledge of the game. Two out of three qualities I’m not sure Baalke/York are interested in….

    2. Sorry misspelled Chudzinski,the above post is only made in lieu of the apparent inevitability of Coach Harbaugh’s exit( an event which I believe is an error from the FO).

    1. I believe they would of kept Jim if he wasn’t so much of a problem behind the scenes. Remember this is a guy who ruins his welcome wherever stop he is at. It’s no coincidence that the Steven Ross the owner of Miami who wanted Jim bad last go around took Miami out of the running for Jim. This guy is a cancer over time in all locker rooms.. Great coach no question but to act like this guy is not replaceable is incorrect.. Balke has stocked this team with talent.. This defense was already made. His main objective was to improve the offense he failed. 4 years of medicore offense.. From Alex to Colin this offense has grossly underperformed.. This falls on Jim..

      1. I believe Jim was pissed off with the Jenkins envelope pick and the subsequent whiffs afterward. Maybe he said some things that bunched up the panties of the metrosexuals upstairs and they never got over it….

        1. I think that is close to the heart of the issue. If I had to guess, and I’m just spit-balling here, I’d say Jim doesn’t trust Baalke to get him players he thinks he needs (see Owen Marecic, AJJ, for the two extremes), and the meritocracy idea goes by the wayside with regards to high draft picks being kept over guys Harbaugh thinks have been more worthy in camp.

          Meanwhile Baalke doesn’t like that the players he drafts aren’t given much of a go unless injuries force the issue).

        2. Razor- Your take on Harbaughs response to those picks appears right on the money. I also think TB interfered with Jims roster choices if not directly- certainly indirectly. Harbaugh needed a different GM to be successful long term. The type of coach TB needs is the exact type of coach he wouldn’t consider hiring. An experienced old timer he could learn from and keep him in line. Somebody that would have the owners ear which Harbaugh obviously doesn’t. TB does and that is why Jim is out.

      2. “It’s no coincidence that the Steven Ross the owner of Miami who wanted Jim bad last go around took Miami out of the running”

        Ross is a big time Michigan booster….

        1. Ross has an inner circle of personalities that I don’t think Harbaugh would want any part of…..

    2. My guess had been more than just a football guy; an NFL warhorse; football/biz guy. Not that big time college football isn’t biz. Polian or maybe Sam Wyche? Like that. Resume, experience, understanding each role in the company.

      1. Bowden is high character with deep Christian roots. I think he’d immediately provide a strong moral and values legitimacy within the leadership hierarchy….

        1. Razor,

          From what I saw of Bowden during his last year at FSU, he was well on his way to being senile. Go back and look at a few of his last interviews. Kind of sad…

          Do you really think being a christian provides a particular advantage over any other belief system, as far as providing a solid moral compass goes? Why bring that into the discussion?

          1. Just saw him on a book tour and he seemed all there to me. In answer to your question, it’s important to realize that Mr. Bowden got to where he is today not by GPS but by a moral compass rooted in Christianity. Those roots could branch out to resonate among some of these young players. Several players on this team need to make better moral and ethical decisions that not only benefit their lives, but the lives of their team mates, and ultimately the team, the team, the team….

              1. And I would agree with you, but Mr. Bowden is living proof of how a spiritual life, not necessarily “religion”, can enhance ones chances of accomplishing those goals….

      1. So glad you asked. He worked as an assistant coach to Bill Peterson at FSU along with Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs. Any more questions?

  29. Regarding the McVay role: Jed and Paraag have known each other for about 10+ years. I believe, Baalke has been with the org since 2005. These three have seemingly formed a working relationship, for better or for worse.
    Any senior individual entering the org now, in a advisor/football sage capacity will have to be somewhat wanted and trusted by all three or at least deemed to be needed by Denise Debartolo……IMO, the Niners have not reached that stage, yet.

    1. Jack:

      When a QB reviews film he is getting a bird’s eye view of the play; but when he experienced it or if he tries to visualize the play it’s a field-level view. How difficult do you think it is to translate a birds-eye view to a field-level view when a QB reviews/visualizes the play.

      Although I’ve never played the position, my experience in other endeavors leads me to believe that visualization would be an effective technique for improving the mental aspects of a QB’s game (some of my internet searches have resulted in statements from NFL QBs who feel that visualization is very effective).

      1. Cubus,

        It’s not hard at all. Film study can be very helpful if you use it constructively.

        1. I think for Kaep ( or any QB for that matter) to be successful at developing as a QB he would need at least two of three things. Pass protection, a good offensive scheme and receivers to get separation. Kaep has seldom had all three at once. Last year he had one and this year sometimes none.

          1. He needs better pass blocking and this OL has never really been good at that. Pre or post Harbaugh era, they’ve always struggled in that regard and Iupati might be the most glaring example. Outstanding run blocker that is a mediocre and downright woeful pass blocker at times.

            They need to find more of a happy medium IMO.

            Beyond that, his footwork is atrocious at times and he seriously looks like he hasn’t been coached up at all since 2012, either the coaching hasn’t been provided or he has resisted it but he needs to spend time working on his mechanics this offseason and less time lifting weights and doing sprints out on the track.

    2. It would shock me if anyone can turn Kaepernick into a consistently effective quarterback. Sort of like turning a sows ear into a silk purse. I think 49er fans are stuck with Kaepernick next season and his replacement for at least a season or two after that. Think Rams if you want to guess the 49er future.

  30. I read the column this morning, looks like a good idea. How about Garcia in the morning in Gilroy and afternoon session at Stanford with Young in the pm ?

    1. Real Neal- Love Young but I know if he would be a good coach. Don’t think Joe would ether but for different reasons.

    2. Tom House to improve his throwing mechanics.

      George Whitfield for footwork and field awareness.

      Garcia for improvisation and picking up Playboy Bunnies.

  31. That’s right Jed.
    Listen to Grant Cohn.
    He knows a lot about NFL talent.
    Maybe if you had listened to him you could have the great David Fales on your roster now.

  32. note to Coach Harbaw:
    as you listen to all of this hypothetical blah, blah, blah,
    ya gotta wonder: where did I go wrong?
    (‘cuz you certainly had the tools/players for a 12-8 season).

    Thanks for spoiling the fun – what an intro to our new stadium, huh?

    If you choose to depart the pro ranks and move to Ann Arbor…
    then the Super Bowl monkey will be declared the winner.

    By abandoning your quest for a Lombardi trophy – emptyhanded…
    you admit that he was right, and he remains on your back – forever.!!!

    scratch, scratch, scratch (gobble, gobble, gobble)…

  33. So, we’ve moved on from hatchet jobs on Harbaugh to hatchet jobs on Baalke. That’s nice.

    1. lol exactly what i thought. harbuagh is almost gone, so the cohns need someone else to vulture on. pathetic

    2. Pretty much, Claude.

      Doesn’t matter who the 49ers hire, I’m guessing it will be deemed a terrible choice by Grant, while Willtalk will be sure to let us know it is another sign of Baalke’s OCD and insecurities…

  34. This is the best thing I’ve read all year I feel like writing this link in a big piece of paper and run on the field in our last game and tell everyone to read it… This is more than needed

  35. Bring Back Jimmy Ray and Mike Singletary they’ll bring the 49ers back to the glory days. Just give Mike time to watch the film and the 49ers will be okay:-)

  36. Wow. Great insight. Will you be interviewing for the head coaching job, and possibly the GM job? You seem to know the game so much more than all the experts.

  37. Agree with some of that, disagree with some.

    Hard to evaluate Kap until we have 1) a good offensive coordinator and 2) a decent offensive line. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a really good quarterback, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fail. Unlike Grant, I admit to uncertainty on this question. My guess is that he would be better than average with a good offensive line, worse than average with a bad offensive line. His decision making is slower than average, so the quality of the offensive line is more important to him than it would be to a quick thinker.

    Gore still looks outstanding to me. Quick as a rabbit and reads holes great, if there are any. Problem this year was that there were very few holes. He’s going to gain 1000 yards again this year. So let him find his best offer out there, and match it if it isn’t too high. Hyde looks like a keeper.

    Agree that Baalke is a bit overrated, and bad on skill positions, but I think he’s average at least at his job, and is good on defensive drafting. Silly to think that he doesn’t have the success of the 49ers as a priority, since his future depends on that success. Agree on Iupati, though I don’t watch the individual blocking during games, so who knows? Agree on Crabtree and Boldin.

    But mainly get better offensive coaching. Keep Fangio at all costs, and probably all the defensive coaches, but dump all or most of the offensive coaches. Agree that the new head coach should have a say in drafts and trades.

  38. I can’t wait until we get a coach that is nice to Lowell, is fearful of Kawakami and has tea with Baalke. A guy who doesn’t lose it on the sidelines and explains in clear English how and why we lost the game!
    The immediate results will let us pick players in the top 5 for years to come………

    1. i like the effort those guys (David and Oscar) put in to explain X’s and O’s. But they’re too into play design and calling to understand a coach’s job (and that’s hard for me to say because my favorite part of football is the X’s and O’s).

      whenever they write about who’s responsible for the outcome on the field, they always look at the plays called and try to figure if it was a good play. against the defense called (looking at it from a purely x’s and o’s point of view….the stuff i love btw.). so if the play is designed and called correctly then it’s the player’s fault (“execution”) but when it’s there’s a systematic failure to execute across the team (or at least across the offense) then it’s a coaching problem and not simply a player execution problem. Dave and Oscar can’t acknowledge that it is the coach’s job to teach the the players HOW TO EXECUTE, pick plays they can execute. the true secret to coaching isn’t creativity, it’s knowing and teaching the details.

  39. Offensive coordinators believe in themselves to the max. They think they can fix any offense, even yours. In this, they are deluded. They will delude Baalke, too.

    Baalke doesn’t have the franchise’s best interest at heart. Baalke wants to protect his reputation first and foremost, wants you to believe he’s a superstar who put together great offensive talent that Jim Harbaugh bungled, wants you to believe a new offensive coach will salvage everything.

    How do you write this soap opera stuff? OCs don’t make good coordinators? uhm…(I was going to do the obvious and list the successful ones but….geez! even you have to know how ridiculous you sound. Baalke doesn’t have the best interests of the franchise? What evidence do you have to support that baseless conjecture??? Are you just throwing garbage out to see what sticks to the wall into an entertaining story? Hmm…what protects Baalke’s reputation as a GM best? Uhm…how about a successful franchise?

    Kaepernick has to want to learn the fundamentals on the field and in the classroom, has to grab a blank binder and fill it up. Start at A, end at Z. Learn every single aspect of playing quarterback — pre-snap reads, footwork, drop-back progressions, sight adjustments, blitz pickups – everything. Total immersion.

    If Kaepernick has no interest in quarterback school, if he says, “I am what I am, take it or leave it,” say, “Sorry, I have to leave it. It’s not good enough.”

    If he’s interested in learning, keep him. But draft another quarterback, anyway. Kaepernick may not have what it takes to become a real quarterback even if he tries.

    again, just soap opera conjecture. you’re writing a creative story and creating events and attitudes for Kaepernick. Do you have any evidence that Kaepernick refuses to learn in a classroom and spend time on the specific details necessary for quarterbacking? To my knowledge he’s said he wants to learn. To my knowledge no one has ever questioned his work ethic. So why throw more garbage on the wall to make up a story? Kaep’s deficiencies are enough by themselves without having to make up stuff about his character.

    what’s all this about Baalke’s ego? Who’s the one with the history of workplace personality issues: Baalke or Harbaugh? Baalke’s the one that wanted to work with Bill Parcells…you gotta have an accommodating ego to work with him (isn’t he the one that said that if they’re going to have you make the meal, they should let you shop for groceries?). Why make stuff up? Baalke’s problems with drafting WRs, a capable backup/replacement TE the red shirt draft picks is enough legitimate problems to write about concerning Baalke.

  40. This team needs a complete reboot. New GM, new coaches, new players. There’s no point wasting time pretending. The window is next to closed now. It would be stupid to prolong the situation. Everyone here should go elsewhere and York should start over new in his new stadium. And please, trade Kaepernick to the Browns for ruining this team.

    1. Yes, yes, the 49ers all almost one whole year removed from falling one play short of a Super Bowl berth. They also endured a year of the most incredible perfect storm of organizational strife, player hold outs and injuries. I’m sure the only thing to do is to sack everybody in the organization. There really is no other sensible course of action.

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