Jim Harbaugh takes shot at 49ers coaching staff

Check out what Jim Harbaugh said about the 49ers at a recent press conference.

Here’s a transcript of the relevant part of the video: “We train our quarterbacks to throw to people that aren’t covered, even if it’s a running play. I was watching an NFL game where they didn’t cover a receiver and the quarterback handed it off, and got maligned by scribes and pundits and so-called experts for not throwing it to him.”

The quarterback Harbaugh was referring to was Colin Kaepernick, who handed the ball off to Mike Davis instead of throwing the ball to an uncovered Torrey Smith against the St. Louis Rams Week 8. Harbaugh essentially said don’t blame Kaepernick — blame Jim Tomsula and his coaching staff. They didn’t train Kaepernick properly.

This article has 103 Comments

  1. Harbaugh can take all the shots he wants, but unfortunately on this one he’s wrong. I understand he’s probably still loyal to Kap, which is completely understandable. But he was responsible for the play he’s alluding to (the Torrey Smith play), not the coaches. I don’t see how you can put that on anyone else but him. Tomsula confirmed after the game that the QBs have the autonomy to change the play at the line of scrimmage. So since that’s the case, wouldn’t the QB have to scan the formation to see whether he needs to kill the play or run the original one?

    Again, unless I’m missing something I don’t see how Kap isn’t responsible for that one.

    1. To say you missed the point is an understatement. Harbaugh was saying more or less that the Kaepernick should have been voached to make the adjustment and the play.

      1. Kaepernick should have been coached to look at who the defense is covering? Give me a break. That’s something you teach in high school. If Colin needs to be reminded to asses coverages when he lines up to take the snap, he’s not worth coaching up, IMO.

        1. It needs to be rehashed and pounded into a QB’s mindset; otherwise he will make the mistake Rodgers did yesterday.

        2. Don’t even have to be coached to do it. As a QB it is common sense to survey the defense every time you come to the line of scrimmage. That play was 100% on Kaep. And until Coach H decides he wants to play with the “Big Boys” again – he should be focusing on his next Rah, Rah, cheer speech.

          1. Sports Guy,
            Tomsula is playing with the big boys and getting his ass kicked. Harbaugh was a legitimate, top notch NFL HC. It’s about paying attention to the details. Harbaugh and his staff were excellent about that. It’s Jed York that doesn’t want to play with the big boys.

            1. That’s why Harbaugh is better for the college game. He is a micro manager.
              Do basketball coaches have to tell their players to shoot the ball or drive the basket if no one is covering them?

            2. I’m tired of people saying Harbaugh is without blame for the 49ers situation. Yes, he was a good coach, but he brought Kap in, and was a former q/back himself, and every year Kap played under Harbaugh, Kap got worse. Don’t forget that the 49ers took backward steps, too, every year since they made the Super Bowl. In my mind, Harbaugh saw he picked a lemon in Kap, and got out before it became apparent he made a big mistake.


              1. You can be tired of it. Doesn’t change that he isn’t to blame. Your opinions don’t matter to the facts. They took a step back the last year, because we lost most of our offensive line and our defense to injury. They also handcuffed him the last year of the draft. The minute the stadium deal was done and closed York started the money cutbacks. He doesn’t want to win. He is happy collecting the profit sharing and hanging out.

            3. Yes, Tomsula may be over his head as a rookie coach in the big boys league. Yes, harbaugh was fired, but I beg to differ is you think Coach H coulda done better with this roster and Roman as his OC. Coach H walked into a great situation with the 9ers, but his song & dance got stale. He coulda gotten the same money or more if he stayed with the big boys but chose the minor leagues instead where he can tell the ‘lil guys how to tie their shoes & most importantly to tell HIS QB to throw to the open receiver.
              Stay in the minors Coach H and think up more rah, rah cheers for your team. Go Jed & the 9ers!!

        3. What does say about Harbs?,if you have to coach a NFLQB to look at who the defense is covering,then the Apple surely did`nt fall far from the TREE did it ,Harbuagh I`m looking at you.

      2. Same issue when Harnaugh was here. Kap has never changed the play to a successful play. If he does he pver throws it or takes a sack for a safety.

      3. This is hilarious….Jim Harbaugh was Kap’s coach for FOUR years….correct? This is 100% on the QB…and in any case, don’t tell me ANY QB has to be taught to throw to a completely uncovered receiver. Amazingly stupid comment by Harbaugh…and of course Grant Cohn completely misses that point. As did you….hahahaha

    2. I’d put it on Kaep if it was a one-off situation…. But Kaep has missed seeing several uncovered receivers this year…….. leading one to think it’s not been a priority in coaching. He gets to the line, reads the defense immediately in front of him, and misses a LOT of stuff going on in other parts of the field. If his initial reads are bad…. that’s coaching.

  2. Fraudbuagh needs to look in the mirror and think real hard,Kap is a product of His making lock,stock and barrel……He taught Kap everything He could and now Fraudbuagh don`t like the fruit and want to lay blame at someone else door…..no no no,Fraud this is one is on you,OWN IT asshole.

      1. @rocket,its exactly what it makes Fraudbuagh a fraud,if He had the Goods,Kap should have been taught how to really play the position ,instead Kap was covered up by Fraudbuagh`s smoke and mirrors 1970 ancient college football offense.

        1. Neither you nor I know anything about what Kap was taught James. What we do know is what we saw on the field while Harbaugh was here. No matter how you want to describe his offense, he wins with it, everywhere he goes. He is no fraud.

      2. Uhhhh…Rocket…Hello?…Falling apart without him??? Did you not see the 2014 season? Kap was regressing at breakneck pace…and Harbaugh was clueless as to how to stop it. Wake up

    1. ummm what? you are an idiot.. kaep took the team to a super bowl.. an NFC champ loss, and an 8-8 season with 3 years with Coach.. thats pretty damn good.. kaep lost his staff, alot of players and 2 ALL PRO olinemen.. i didnt say probowl i said ALL PRO…. ANY team looking for a coach would hire him if they could EXCEPT.. the Patriots, buckeyes and alabama.. thats it….. so shut your yap

      1. Why don’t u shut your yap, u don’t know what you’re talking about. Go read football for dummies and learn a few things!!

    2. By Fraudbaugh, I assume you mean Coach Harbaugh, who wins every where he goes.

      He would have had a winning record last year in SF had the front office not started leaking that he was going to be fired in march, prior to a season in which they supposedly had aspirations to win the super bowl, yet lame ducked the head coach before preseason.

      Maybe if they had drafted Odell-Beckham like HARBAUGH wanted, that may have also made a distinct difference in our season. But hey, Baalke is pretty much a draft wizard. Kap wasn’t his first choice for QB, it was Harbaugh’s.

      Pretty sure JH thinks he could win with Kap to this day, even after the current staff and O-line has David Carred his confidence.

      As I reread your post, I realize I wasted the time typing this. I’m shocked you took time away from smelling your fingers to post James. Well done sir, well done.

      1. @Modes,no thats something you have done ALL YOUR LIFE,smelling your fingers and from the sound of it you are still smelling Fraudbuagh fingers.

    1. Can you imagine how this ownership and front office would have dealt with Walsh’s introverted personality? They would have fired him after one season.

      1. Bill Walsh had so many self doubts, he almost quit. He had Mcvay(?) who talked him out of it, and the rest is history. He also had Eddie, who deserves to be a Hall of Famer, because of those five rings, and he changed the game.

          1. They installed the salary cap because of Eddie. He changed the game because he treated his players like champions instead of chattel.

            1. And he was a gambler who didn’t want to follow the rules. The NFL wanted a system that allowed each team to be competitive monetarily. Eddie D decided otherwise. Why do you think they won’t let him back in? Hall of fame? Nice chance

              1. He was the victim of a shakedown, and Eddie obtained the best players money would buy. He got a superior product which sounds like basic capitalistic principles, and threatened to have a perpetual dynasty because former Pro Bowlers would take less money for the good chance at a ring. The Niners would always go undefeated in the preseason because the Niner second string was better than many first strings on other teams.

              2. Shake down? This isn’t NYPD Blue. He used a casino/gambling operation to fund the team. That’s a no no. The NFL has rules as to what revenue streams you can be involved in. It was illegal

              3. Eddie failed to get the gambling concession, and was forced out because they were afraid of him becoming too dominant.

              4. Eddie is out because he committed a felony by paying a bribe to a corrupt politician. He was a great owner but he did something extremely stupid and got himself banned. No way to sugar coat it.

              5. My memory may be incorrect, but I believe Edwards (the governor of Louisiana) was convicted of extorting the money from DeBartolo (along with a plethora of other offenses), and that DeBartolo was convicted with obstruction. Also, if memory serves, the surveillance evidence showed that DeBartolo had initially refused to pay Edwards but then acquiesced after it became clear that he had no hope of obtaining the gaming license otherwise. I seem to recall that the prosecution was not sure they could get a conviction on bribery, since DeBartolo was a victim of extortion, and DeBartolo apparently thought he could salvage his reputation if he pled to lesser charges.

                So, I think Seb’s characterization of the situation in Louisiana as a “shakedown” has some traction. However, that does not absolve DeBartolo’s responsibility for his compliance with the shakedown. He did try to remove himself from the project before appearing before the grand jury, and he pled down, but it was not enough to save his reputation or his control of the 49ers.

              6. JPN,

                I wasn’t questioning the circumstances surrounding what transpired. Just pointing out that Eddie was not some innocent victim who is blameless for what ultimately happened to him.

      2. Midwest,
        It’s funny you mentioned that. I was walking last night and I was wondering what Walsh would have accomplished with an owner like Robert Kraft, who is more laid back then Debartolo. Maybe he succeeded because of the pressure cooker that was Eddie D., but I wonder if he would have lasted a bit longer in the league without that stress.

        The York’s have fired the only two winning HC’s they have had; Mariucci and Harbaugh. They combined for seven playoff appearances in ten seasons. Sandwiched between those winning regimes were Erickson, Nolan and Singletary. That’s zero playoff appearances in eight seasons. Now they have hand picked a HC who farts at the podium and makes up his own words. Jed proclaimed that Tomsula could win more games than Harbaugh last year. Yes, the York’s would have ruined the situation with Walsh as well. That’s what they do.

        1. All five Lombardi trophies were won with Bill Walsh coached quarterbacks.

          – Eddie D hired Joe Thomas, and allowed him to run roughshod over the team legacy, gut the roster and sell off draft picks.

          – Eddie D tried to fire Bill Walsh at least three times, usually in a drunken rage.

          – Big York fired Steve Mariucci with a drunken midnight (NY Time) phone call, and Steve was settling in for the evening watching TV with his family.

          – Little Jed seems just as impulsive with his “unacceptable” tweets and coaching staff purges… carrying on the misconception it was Debartlo/York magic that won those 5 super bowls.

          I give Eddie D credit for spending on good players (despite his father’s objections), and having a genuine love for his players and passion for the team none of the Yorks demonstrated.

    2. These front office leaks are a prediction of things to come with 100% certainty. The Paraag Marathe leak machine is alive and well.

    3. It’s a done deal then because this came from a national media outlet.

      So who do you think Jed ordered it leaked, Paraag or Trent?

    4. skeptic…you really think anyone would pay him $14.3 million in 2016??? Not me I tell ya that…no way freaking way.

  3. Damon Bruce ‏@DamonBruce · 17h17 hours ago

    Give Gabbert the bye week to keep catching up, and you’ll may be able to slip outside the top 10 draft picks. Yay! #49ers

    1. So how many years did Harbs coach him? All that cumulative coaching just drains away to the point that Kaep is somehow unable to perform that basic QB pre-snap check off?

      I don’t see this as much of an indictment of the current coaches as to the pupil. And possibly the pupil’s initial NFL training.

      1. Looks small on Harbaugh. Enjoy the NCAA coach, you lost a battle with ownership. Like all of us, take it and move on

    2. Harbaugh coached him. Tomsula asked Kaep to be himself. Being himself might be running the ball with a wide open receiver.

  4. It was a funny zinger that takes aim at both Kaep and the coaches. Good on him. It would have had more zing to it if Kaep didn’t make so many boneheaded decisions with Harbaugh at the reigns too.

      1. Mood: I’ve been looking for an opportunity to ask you a question. As I understand it you are a big fan of Stanford, might even have graduated from there. I just don’t understand how a university that is a graduate school (i.e has more graduate students than undergraduate students) and has a tough curriculum could be one of the top football programs in the country. I know Harbaugh turned around that program and Shaw has continued it, but it can’t just be the coaching. You have to get players, which is tough for a school that is as difficult as Stanford.

        1. Stanford changed their Dean of Admissions just before Jim Harbaugh came to Stanford. During the “dark years” of that Dean’s reign, athletes of all kinds had to compete with the general population that applied to Stanford. Of course, during that same time applicants who’s families were “friends of the University” were admitted under special rules for their group.

          I stopped watching Stanford play because their talent level was so low that I thought that they should have dropped out of division one as it was called then.

          The guy who paid for the new stadium probably had influence in getting athletes into their own special admissions group, and probably had a lot to to with getting Harbaugh to come to Stanford.

          Stanford has several advantages now, and a quality education is one of them along with a chance to play in the NFL. Their style (Harbaugh/Shaw) is counter to the current top level style of college play such that they can find the players that they need for their system. Then there are the famous players and coaches who send their sons to Stanford to play football and get an education.

          Andrew Luck’s dad played in the NFL and his son finished his degree in Architectural Design in four years at Stanford. Stanford has a starting lineman from Cal that is using his fourth year of football to work on an advanced degree at Stanford.

        2. cubus

          Stanford has traditionally recruited from the same pool of students that Notre Dame, Northwestern, Duke, Vandy and Rice recruit from. These are good students who are also good football players, and most of them are also decent athletes. However, the admission requirements at Stanford are higher than those of the other schools mentioned above, and so in the past, many students who were offered football scholarship at Stanford were not admitted. As a result, Stanford teams from the 70s through to the mid-2000s were very up and down, mostly down.

          But Mike Montgomery showed in the late 80s and early 90s that Stanford could be both good at academics and at a competitive sport like men’s basketball by taking the team to the Final 4 in 1998. Alums took note but apparently not the athletic administrators. The football program hit the depths under AD Ted Leland in 2005 and 2006 under coach Walt Harris (loss at home to UC Davis) even as its overall athletic program flourished. All that changed after the new stadium was built and Bob Bowlsby from Iowa was appointed the new AD with specific mandate to upgrade the football program. His two important actions that completely changed the program were:
          1. Substantially raising the salary and benefits of assistant coaches and increasing the size and quality of the scouting and recruiting department.
          2. hiring Jim Harbaugh.
          The rest, as they say, is history!

          Stanford now has expanded its recruiting activities substantially. It contacts promising students in the tenth grade and advises them on how to improve their academic standing (re-taking SAT, taking more AP courses, etc.) so that they can pass general admission standards which are not relaxed for football players or other student-athletes. Stanford also admits many students with 3.5 GPA or less and below 1200 SAT score (old SAT) but who may also be excellent musicians or artists. But they have a minimum set of admission requirements (not sure what it is now).

          There are 30-40 high school students across the country every year that Stanford targets for scholarship. The football program also runs a summer camp for high school students where these potential recruits are invited for a close look to see if they got what the program is looking for (e.g., to use Harbaugh’s term – “contact courage” — the willingness and desire to see out physical contact during play. Also football smarts — assimilating new plays.)

          Many good football players who are also good students and who never felt very comfortable among their high school team members feel comfortable at Stanford among other players who felt the same way. Football players, like all Stanford student-athletes live in dorms with other students, and many recruits like that campus lifestyle.

          Stanford alums are uniformly grateful to Harbaugh for turning the program around. It’s up to Shaw to keep it going. It’s very easy to lose momentum. The current AD, Bernard Muir, is a low-profile bureaucrat and not very inspiring (“Muir the Mediocre”) and has allowed the basketball program to languish into mediocrity.

          1. Thanks, Mood! Your detailed description gets me thinking that you actually work at Stanford.

            So it sounds like you don’t agree with ht that there is a special admissions path for football players.

            Also, it would be interesting to see what percentage of total annual income is income related to football. Given the huge endowment (about $21 billion), I would think it wouldn’t be that much, but I really don’t know.

            1. No, I don’t work at Stanford but I did pick up a graduate degree there during the Denny Green-Bill Walsh era when the current RB, McCaffrey’s, dad was a receiver and later, David Shaw. Along with the Niners, I have followed the fortunes of that program closely through its ups and downs.
              No, there are no special path for football players. The Dean of Admission and the football program used to be at loggerheads over admission of recruits until Bowlsby arrived. Then they became more cooperative and the football program focused on recruiting from a wider pool. Pac-10 getting bigger and gaining more TV exposure definitely helped recruiting.

              In the late 80s-early 90s, Stanford’s annual budget was about $300M (excluding med school and SLAC) and the athletic department budget was $25-$30M. Both budgets have probably doubled since then. The athletic department budget is separate from university budget and it has to be fully self-sufficient. From reading the fine print of the Stanford’s tax documents, it appears that Shaw’s annual salary is $2.2M. In the late 80s-early 90s, the Stanford HC made about $300K.

              1. Admissions by Euphemistic Semantics. ;-}

                Stanford, as Mood indicates, has always admitted students with special talents — even for tennis and golf. There was a problem between Admissions and the Athletic Department that got cleared up or improved after the new stadium was paid for and built, and “qualified student athletes” are no longer denied admission, as they were for a period of years. Stanford’s rejection rate among the general applicant pool in those years was prohibitive and still is.

        1. Scooter: I was wondering about that play by the punter. I don’t know rugby but was wondering if his rugby training might have been the reason that he attempted to make that pump instead of falling on the muffed snap.

          1. Hmmm, not sure cubus. In rugby he wouldn’t necessarily still try and kick the ball if things were botched – he may try and run it or even pass it off to someone else to try and kick it. It could be a case of still being somewhat new to the sport and not knowing what else to do.

            1. Once upon a time there was this strange soccer player in the Superbowl who tried to pass the ball. He had small hands and the ball went straight up in the air. The result was the same – touchdown.

              Garo Yepremian

  5. No need to take shots at anyone, JH or Tomsula, can anyone see that JH has a Resume of Wearing out his Welcome and leaving an organization in less than 5 yrs. He inherited a Great team (49ers) and last season showed his true colors he completely gave up, say what you want about York, but Tomsula is doing what he can with the 8th youngest team in the NFL. any real 49ers fans?? Or do you all complain like spoiled rich kids

    1. Yep keep that myth running that’s been disproven about I don’t know a million times. Where did all these new guys come from?

  6. Leave the whining and crying for Seattle’s Thirsty Fan Base we’re a Family 49ERS FAITHFUL #Stick by your Team #Beat Seatterall

  7. I am so past JH. I wish to acknowledge his coaching acumen, and he helped make the Niners relevant again, but telling the owner a meeting is for men only just meant to me that he wanted to be fired. Throwing stones will just diminish him further, so I will take the high road, wish him well, and move on.

    1. If the owner is talking about you behind your back and it got back to you, how would you feel? If the owner was telling employees in the building that Tomsula could win more games than you, how would you feel? Harbaugh already knew he was going to be let go and was tired of the cowardly back stabbing campaign by York. The room was for men only and Harbaugh called Jed out to his face, in front of the entire team. He wasn’t leaking information to reporters like York had been doing. He wasn’t a coward about it. He looked York in the eyes and roasted his ass. Good for him.

      If Jed was so offended by it, why did he force that awkward goodbye hug on Harbaugh before his last game? He did it because he isn’t a man and tried to further manipulate the impending termination. Harbaugh wanted no part of it. What man would?


      1. Real men do not behave like bullies. Throwing chicken wings behind his back is insulting. Mature men iron out their differences for the good of the team. Jed was not the only one behaving reprehensibly. Both needed to grow up.

        1. I disagree. The bay area reporters refuse to hold the FO accountable for the slop that is served up as NFL caliber football. Harbaugh took a shot that opened the door for Bay Area reporters to do their job. If no one holds Jed accountable for the PR leaks to run his agenda, then we are all prisoners to the mediocracy that Jed is serving up.

  8. I agree seb so tired of hearing about harbs,it’s over and in the past let it go.he was good not great. Wish him well at mich.still hope they get blown out by the buckeyes….go buckeyes…

    1. Just like him calling time out before Kaep scored, his punter kept him from a chance at the National Championship.
      Still, he is a good motivator and has brought back Michigan to relevance like he did with the Niners.

  9. Lol funny Harbs…. You should have taught your punter to fall in the ball in case of a bad punt too. But I guess you were to busy writing jokes. Funny none the less though.

  10. Harbaugh is a good football coach, but difficult to be around. York appears to be a good business man who sees football as a product and is not passion about it. His focus is making money. He expects his employees to treat him as the big boss. The York’s do not seem to be able to tolerate strong coaches/personalities. They want yes men.

    If they were producing movies they would try to get a movie franchise like Transformers going and would tell us their new movie:TRANSFORMERS 18: WE ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY staring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson is worthy of an Academy Award and would not understand why we didn’t believe them and flock to the theatres.

  11. I have no problem with Jim Harbaugh’s shot at 49er brass. They trashed him through “leaks” and handcuffed drafts with the IR list. For all his faults, he was a heck of a coach. He was loyal to his staff which is something that wasn’t returned from the FO. So, while the shot doesn’t quite add up, I am quite fine with the swing at the piñata.

  12. The most interesting thing I learned form this drivel?? Grant Cohn isn’t smart enough to realize just how stupid that comment makes Jim Harbaugh look…and just how REALLY stupid it makes Grant look in the process. Does he really think anyone would consider that a shot at the current 49er coaches? No QB anywhere has to be coached up to throw to a completely uncovered receiver. Of course, Grant doesn’t know that…and he covers NFL football….Daddy needs to coach up Grant…hilarious.

  13. I think most of the Comments are missing the point: This is an issue about Player/Coach responsibility, and is a much broader issue than just whether on this play or some other we should blame Kap or Tomsula or the OC… This relates to the issue of who takes the hit for failure based on “lack of execution” (players) or a “poor scheme” (coach/management). When we start talking about this we have to figure out not just one play, but how the coaches are dealing with that one player: In this case that means, as I see it, coaching Kaepernick and how he sees his responsibility. WHY is Kaepernick so focused on doing what he was told (running the running play he was given, or if he failed to see the open receiver at the line of scrimmage?) Where is the failure here? Given any level of examination, blaming Kaep is too simple, too easy, which is what Harbaugh is saying. Instead, the failure is probably based on Kaep’s too great proclivity for doing what he is told to do, without considering the bigger picture. If you know he has that issue you have to deal with it. And it’s not about being smart, or stupid. It’s about coaching that player.

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