This is my Saturday column.
Even Trent Baalke’s daughter wants Jim Harbaugh to fire Greg Roman.
Cassie Baalke has seen enough. The college student reached her breaking point Thursday night after the Niners’ offense scored just three points at home against the Seahawks.
“Greg Roman can take a hike,” she tweeted, “the 49ers don’t want you no more.” She quickly deleted the tweet from her account, and she’s probably on time ut.
But she has a point. And she’s not alone. Many 49ers fans want Roman gone right now and, who knows, maybe Baalke also wants him gone posthaste. You wonder what kind of stuff Cassie hears around the house.
Cassie might hear that Roman has embarrassed the 49ers in their inaugural season at Levi’s Stadium. Roman’s offense is averaging just 16.3 points per game at home – third-fewest in the NFL. Unacceptable. Only the Buccaneers and Jaguars score fewer points at home and they stink. Roman christens the Niners’ new football palace by laying giant eggs in it.
Good offenses play well at home. The Packers average 43.8 point per game at Lambeau. What’s Roman’s excuse?
Every season under Roman, the 49ers’ offense has gotten worse at home – a fireable offense. In 2011, it scored 27.4 points per game at Candlestick. In 2012, the Niners scored 27 points per game at home. And in 2013, the Niners scored 24.7 points per game at home.
Cassie might remember that two years ago, Jim Harbaugh’s brother John, the Ravens’ head coach, fired his offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, in early December. The Ravens went on to beat the Niners in the Super Bowl. Firing an offensive coordinator late in the regular season can work and has worked.
Will Jim do what his brother did?
Don’t count on it.
John Harbaugh had the support of the Ravens’ ownership and front office when he fired Cameron.
Jim Harbaugh does not have the support of the 49ers’ ownership and front office. He is at war with ownership and the front office. If Jim Harbaugh were to fire Roman now, he (Jim Harbaugh) certainly would consider it a loss for him and a win for Trent Baalke and Jed York – exactly the opposite of what he wants the perception to be.
Regardless of the truth of the matter, the media probably would spin Roman’s firing as Roman being forced out by the front office and a loss of power for Jim.
Try to think like Jim, which, I admit, is hard to do. He reveals so little of himself. But try.
Jim’s universe is binary – wins and losses. He keeps score of life. He must win every confrontation, every interaction he ever has.
Roman always has been Jim’s guy. To fire Roman now would be Jim accepting defeat, Jim waving the white flag, Jim putting one foot out the door, and his nature will not permit this. Jim will fight to the death.
All of this boils down to a turf war. York and Baalke haven’t fired Jim yet. Jim still has some turf. It includes Roman. Jim is defending his turf more than he’s defending Roman. Roman is the vehicle.
You admire what Jim is doing. You don’t admire someone who gives up. Jim’s best quality is his relentlessness, his will to fight for everything.
But Jim’s will to fight also is his worst quality and it’s taking him down. It’s a tragic irony that Jim’s best quality is defeating him.
Jim is fighting for something that’s killing him. Roman is a liability. Jim should have removed him two years ago, should have fired him after the Niners lost the Super Bowl, should have hired an offensive coordinator who had some experience and success coaching big games in the NFL.
Roman has been so bad, he may get most of the coaching staff fired after this season. He may get Jim fired.
Jim could have prevented this.
But Jim can’t do what brother John did because Jim will fight to the death, even if it means his death on the 49ers.
Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.