Jim Tomsula looking more and more like he’s sticking around

This is my Saturday column.


Here’s how you know Jim Tomsula probably will return next season: Look at his forehead.

Not one bead of sweat on that puss. He used to trudge into interviews face down pouring sweat as if the temperature in the room was 115 degrees. Then he’d stare at reporters with his red cheeks and blank expression and mumble answers as he hunched over the podium and made himself look as small as possible.

He seemed terrified of the questions, of his future, of his present.

He also seemed ashamed, like he knew he was a fraud who didn’t deserve to be the head coach and expected to get fired any minute, maybe during the press conference. He would keep looking over his shoulder at 49ers vice president of communications Bob Lange, as if expecting Lange to walk over, tap Tomsula on the shoulder and whisper, “Jed York wants to see you now.”

Meek Tomsula doesn’t exist anymore. These days he acts like he’s the Great Tomsula. Thursday morning he walked into the interview room beaming — the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. One by one, he made eye contact with every reporter in the room and said, “Merry Christmas.”

He stood at the podium with his chest puffed out, hair neatly combed and face completely dry. He seemed 10 feet tall. Seemed proud of himself, like he was a coach with 10 wins instead of 10 losses. He’s been acting this way for weeks.

Why is Tomsula so confident all of a sudden? What does he know that we don’t?

Jason Cole of Bleacher Report may have given us a clue on Wednesday. He posted a video in which he said, “While (the 49ers) haven’t made a final decision on Tomsula, and he might ultimately be fired, they’re leaning towards keeping him at this point in time.”

That doesn’t mean the Niners definitely will keep Tomsula, but it means they want to. Why???

Let’s try to see things from their perspective. If the Niners were to fire Tomsula after this season, they’d probably have to fire general manager Trent Baalke, too. But for whatever reason, Jed York seems to believe in Baalke. It’s not clear why. Baalke is just as responsible, if not more responsible than Tomsula, for this embarrassing season.

Baalke hired Tomsula. And, Baalke put together this atrocious roster — Tomsula merely inherited it. He’s doing the best he can, which isn’t very good, with the players Baalke acquired, players like Vance McDonald, Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, Corey Lemonier, Tank Carradine, Jordan Devey and Jarryd Hayne. Non-functional players.

If the Niners were to fire Baalke, they’d have to hire a new general manager who probably would want to fire Tomsula. That means the Niners can’t fire one or the other — they’d have to fire both Tomsula AND Baalke. The Niners probably don’t want to do that, and Tomsula probably knows it.

York has more reasons to keep Tomsula. He comes cheap. He has three years on his contract. So, if York fires him, he’d be paying Tomsula and the new coach. It’s not how the cost-conscious Yorks operate.

York can tell himself so many players have retired or been lost to injury. Maybe York doesn’t blame Tomsula for all that, although some of those defections may be Tomsula’s fault. Tomsula already is talking about building a new core of leaders. Tomsula may have sold York on keeping him as the head coach.

Check out how Tomsula spoke to the press this week.

A reporter asked him on Monday his impression of rookie outside linebacker Eli Harold.

“We figure we pack on a little bit more muscle and a little bit more weight, he’s going to be striking with everything he puts on,” Tomsula said, projecting a future that clearly includes him.

Another reporter asked Tomsula about the lack of leadership in the locker room.

“The core is gone; we’re developing another core,” Tomsula said, projecting a future that clearly includes him.

Thursday, a reporter asked Tomsula about flying the team across the country on Saturday this week. Usually, Tomsula schedules cross-country flights for Fridays.

“If (we) change up on how we do things on road games, this was a great opportunity to do that,” Tomsula said.

“Do you mean for next season?” a reporter asked.

“Well, yeah. We’re going to look at it. Why not?” Tomsula said, looking ahead with bright eyes.

Ladies and gentlemen, your head coach of the 2016 San Francisco 49ers. The case looks stronger all the time.

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 126 Comments

  1. Grant,

    I just wanted to take this occasion to assure you and your dad and your mom that I have not forgotten the Cohn family’s past kindness and generosity – thank you!

    Best holiday wishes to you and yours.


  2. Please say it ain’t so. I cannot handle another season of “yeah the run fits, you know, you guys see it, you know, umm, yeah, you know”
    This guy is a dline coach and that’s it! Don’t embarrass the fan base anymore, hire competent people!

  3. No offense Grant, but this article actually makes me happy seeing your past predictions on niner games.
    Jimmy T is as good as gone.

    1. Unfortunately for you, I think that Grant reads individuals better than he predicts scores. What seems clear is that, based on Grant’s observations, Jim Tomsula expects to be back next year as head coach of Your San Francisco Forty Niners, now located in the bay lands of Santa Clara, California.


  4. Little Dorky is going to a lot heat, from the media and fan base will create if they keep Porky during the off-season, that being said the Dorks are cheap and they don’t not care about winning, so its going to ugly,

  5. Baalke’s plan backfired on him. He wanted to bring in another coach but they refused when presented with the notion of Tomsula being DC. When a coach doesn’t the power to bring in or keep who he wants is a sign of things to come. Before all the retirements,I had predict the outcome of my beloved team.

  6. Or, he’s relieved knowing he’s not coming back next year. Seemed to me he didn’t even think he was going to become the head coach. He looked like deer caught in headlights at his inaugural press conference.

    Either way, it’s hard to tell with York. What makes the most sense is usually plan C for this organization.

  7. Thank God Bob Lange is finally doing his job. Sounds like Tomsula appeared like he was well prepared and well coached. Maybe he even had a couple practice sessions.
    Now I hope Tomsula will study how Bill Walsh conducted himself on the side lines, and emulate him.

      1. what do ya think I could get for “Fire Jed / Trent”
        T-shirts, out front of Levi’s Stadium, now ?

              1. Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of 49er fans willing to take that chance with you.

      2. By 3 methods do we learn wisdom. First by reflection, which is noblest. Second by imitation, which is the easiest. Third by experience, which is the bitterest.- Confucious

  8. Your best article yet Grant. Well done and well written. Unfortunately, I think you are right and we are stuck with these to “gentlemen” for the foreseeable future.

    1. In a perfect world we would get #2 to be our HC and #3 to be our OC. I don’t understand the interest in Mora.

    2. Why don’t they fire Jimmy Tom and Coach Baalke and insert McDaniels and Caserio, then get out of the way….

    3. NFL players aren’t going to play for McDaniels. The Patriots play for Brady and Belichick. McDaniels might be a good OC but NFL players will never respect him as a head coach.

        1. What has McDaniels accomplished without Belichick and Brady in this league that NFL players would respect him for? Do you think anyone in this league gives McDaniels the credit for the Patriots success on offense?

          1. Diversity and consistency. Game planning. Usually an offense perfects one thing they do well and run it regardless of the defensive look. Not so with the Patriot offense. They can morph into whatever they need to attack the oppositions weaknesses. The only way you can do that is by players who have bought in, and trust McDaniels. Privately they might not be happy about their playing percentage or stats, but winning is the Right Guard that covers all that stuff up….

            8 Years of play calling:

            YR Pos YSCM TCH

            2006 B 47.2% 68.2%
            2007 B 34.4% 57.1%
            2008 B 47.1% 66.1%
            2009 B 41.8% 64.5%
            2010 B 34.4% 59.9%
            2011 B 41.1% 63.6%
            2012 B 40.3% 61.4%
            2013 B 44.3% 65.5%

            Total 41.3% 63.3%

          2. You’re making an argument for how good of an OC he is rather then why he should be a head coach.

            1. I think we can all agree he’s a good OC without having to make a case. You said he wouldn’t have the respect of his players. The players respect winning and that’s what the Patriots do. McDaniels has grown up since being bucked off the Bronco. He has an appreciation of building relationships throughout the team and the importance of leadership, and a consistent vision. He’s always been well prepared, focused, does a really good job of play calling, poised on the sidelines, is very good at making in-game adjustments and recognizing what the problems are, and how to fix them. He’s also quite aware of the weaknesses of the opposing defenses and consequently knows how to attack and defeat them. Not sure what else you’re looking for….

              1. Indeed sir and a Happy Boxing Day to you too.

                It’s also the beginning of Kwanzaa, may you achieve Umoja.

        2. How about this would we even be talking about him if Tom Brady wasn’t the QB of the Patriots?

  9. How can the 49ers possibly bring this clown back for another year? He makes Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary look like geniuses. Hope Levi Stadium is empty for every home game next year.

  10. I agree with grant somewhat .Baalke and Tomsula are tied together. Just like his father York doesn’t do things that make sense. They tend to settle .just liked I’ve settled for fact we’ll be dwelling in division cellar for awhile. Curious how all plays out. Can ticket holders and psl. Holders opt out? Curious to see how empty stadium is next year

    1. The problem with some of those people that bought the PSL boxes is
      that they got a loan against there house so there stuck with paying for them.
      The ones that didn’t tie there house up in a loan, I hope that they will stop
      making payments so as to force the hand of the owners to sell or do something.

  11. This team will be at least 3-4 years away from sniffing the playoffs. The York’ are likely stuck with Tommy the Butcher for 1-2 more seasons. A high-end headcoach doesn’t want to start with a rebuilding program. The 49ers will get their high-end head-coach in 2017 or 2018. I see a Jim Harbaugh head-coaching change type scenario who took over a very good team that was ready to go to the next level.

  12. Coffee’s for Closers® December 23, 2015 at 9:20 am
    Ownership is really screwed. They have two individuals that they can’t decide between and they’ve put themselves in a position that you can’t just let one of them go. How can you possibly justify only firing Tomsula and letting Baalke keep his job. They also know that any new G.M. would fire or insist on firing Tomsula. So if they change one they have to change both and they just can’t accept that and are paralyzed in the decision.

    1. I’m sure they can’t be that dumb not to have realized these two would be tied at the hip moving into the Harbaucalypse….

  13. Merry Christmas to all ye Faithfuls — my request to Santa this Christmas eve is more patience and the hope that ownership will do the right thing and bring in more football people in positions of authority, either to supplement Baalke or replace him.

  14. Tomsula for another year…a gift from the Yorks that keeps on giving! Merry Christmas all (wonder if Jed received any coal…)

  15. I hate York and Balke. Jimmy T is a useless house cat. It all starts with the tools dork and coach Trent the tool balked. A pair of f***in clown shoes. They wanted harbaugh out and they got it balke has only landed a handful of players it’s only going to get worse

    1. Um, Sir, you are on the wrong Blog site. NN is the one for all the- I hate Jed -posters.
      Bet you will get 20 recs for your spiel.

  16. Personally, I don’t think it ever mattered what record we finished with. Jed was never going to fire Baalke or Tomsula. In his mind, this is a two year evaluation of both (for Baalke, his draft record has been very spotty, but not completely awful).

    What fans really need to do is boycott next seasons games. Until they prove competent, don’t spend your hard earned money on tickets. Don’t go to games. You want York to sell the team, then don’t go to games. This team is not going to win for a few years at least, so being optimistic of the chances next year, is fools gold. The talent simply is not there…and when has spending big in FA ever ensured anything but disappointment for a team.

    You want changes, stop giving York your money! Merry Christmas.

    1. Not sure this will matter. Ticket sales have not been the driving force of revenue for NFL teams for some time. Its highly possible that the stadium could be completely empty and they would still make millions just due to the TV deals.

  17. Sat next to Tomsula and his family at the Grill on the Alley in San Jose. He so wanted someone to come up and interrupt him at dinner but no one did. Christmas Eve dinner with family and what is he wearing a cheap all black nylon sweatsuit.

  18. keeping Baalke at this point means putting him in charge of the 2-3 year teardown process the Niners face right now. I don’t believe his track record in draft picks and being completely blind to drafting quality WRs makes him deserving of this role. but it’s exactly what i expect of a young kid who inherited a team and think’s he’s capable of picking football GMs and coaches.

  19. Dunno… Some sweat suits can be pricy. Not surprised he wasn’t interrupted. San Joseans are a very polite people (mostly).

    1. Won’t be the Niners there bud. After the way the Niners FO treated him last year you can forget about it. Get used to Tomsula for at least 1.5 years more. Shoot me now!

  20. We spend so much time flailing each others (real or imagined) misconceptions, its easy to forget there’s some pretty good football knowledge here. I never played football. Thanks to the participants here, I learned alot about the game.

    Happy Holidays to Grant and all the regular contributors.

  21. if Tomsula was to become a qb guru, win in the playoffs, ask for a raise and dummy down football talk so jed could understand , then he would get fired! otherwise Jed is happy just keeping salaries for coaches and players low, collecting on the stadium and the nfl contract . winning, the fans football……….. what is that to the Yorks?

    1. I heard there’s a pile of black lumpy stuff dumped in front of 9ers HQ. Jed is doing his part for global carbon sequestration.

    2. Santa has started putting refuse in the York stockings because he ran out of coal to give them.

  22. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all my fellow 49er fanatics.

    Slightly Off Topic:

    I am a firm believer in personal responsibility and personal liberty. If something does not hurt others, does not hurt the community we share, is not illegal, go for it. Enjoy your life and make your own adult decisions.

    Having said that I am appalled that Jim Tomsula strides up and down the sideline spitting tobacco juice. I personally find it a disgusting habit. However, as I stated earlier, Mr. Tomsula is free to practice this particular vice if that is his choice. The fact that the 49ers Front Office condones this public behavior is disturbing. Major League Baseball took a very controversial stand when it outlawed tobacco products for public use by its players and coaches. That change was difficult to implement because the practice was institutionalized and their was resistance to trying to regulate private behavior. MLB made the decision because of the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding tobacco use, they also made the decision based upon the example that major league players set for the youth who idolized them. It was a good decision and has been implemented now for many years. The fact that Mr. Tomsula chooses to imbibe is his own choice, I would not wish to take that away from him. I do think that the sidelines where millions (well maybe now thousands) watch him spitting his tobacco juice is the right image the 49ers should portray to football fans, young or old.

    In the grand scheme of things this is a small issue. However, I find it disturbing and indicative of many other shortcomings. It is the small things in life and football that add up to the more important things.

    I call it losing with no class.

    1. I agree 100%. It is a filthy disgusting habit, and I only can imagine some football player rolling in it.
      Watch the Tony Gwinn anti tobacco ad to see how a legend died.

      1. It is unprofessional and a clear reflection of how Tomsula presents himself.
        Merry X-Mas to all 49er fans! Hope 2016 is a better situation for all of us!

    2. Leo, the NFL regulates a lot of private behavior. Shoot, the coaches are told what to wear, say (or not say) what equipment to use, how to celebrate. Spitting would only be a drop in the bucket so to speak.

    3. Well put Leo, but is there anyone out there that can watch the 49ers play without taking some kind of mode altering substance?

      1. It was partly tongue in cheek since Cleveland was originally with the niners. I am looking forward to see what Busta can do next year. How can you not like a football player named “Busta”.

  23. Baalke signs 3 superstar players from FA. Tomsula takes us to the playoffs next year and Alex Smith continues winning.

  24. Appears we’re dreaming as we approach the new year. Okay… Jed looses 30 lbs and gets ripped, entire coaching staff stays in-place, 9ers have best 2016 draft of any team in the last 50 years, 9ers go 14-2 in 2016 and utterly destroy teams through the playoffs on way to SB 51. Gabbert is 28 of 31 in SB 51…throws 5 TDs, no picks. Tomsula has several elementary schools in Nor Cal named after him. Trent is hailed as comeback GM of the year. Banner pulling airplane ditches in the bay… Sebnynah is outed as Grant’s cousin living in Sparks, NV.

  25. We need to end the unwanted tweets traced back to 49er upper management. Instead of hiring a new coach, the Jedster, for once in his life, needs to man-up, step forward with a public announcement and/or presser, naming Cassie Baalke as the new Commander-In-Tweet for your San Francisco 49ers.

    1. Mike Rosenberg Verified account 
      ‏@RosenbergMerc 49ers and Raiders combined since 2003
      Now 26 seasons
      3 winning seasons

      Ann Killion ‏@annkillion · Dec 20

      Ann Killion Retweeted Mike Rosenberg
      Hmmm. Who coached those three winning seasons?

      1. You just know that somehow, someday, Harbaugh is going to get his moment to exact revenge on Jed when he returns to the NFL. Between the NFL’s schedule makers and Harbaugh’s bloodlust, you can sense the inevitability of that occurring. It will be a few years from now, when the team hits rock bottom again, mirroring the Erickson-Nolan-Sing years. Jimbo will come in fresh with a cherry picked loaded team that previously only lacked leadership, they will have their mechanic shirts on and they will kick the crap out of the 49ers in a meaningless game. Jed will be completely bald by then and will try to compensate by growing a beard, which prompts 49er fans to mock him by saying he looks like a mini, white Suge Knight. The decent into darkness will be complete.

  26. For the Gamblers on this site: And good luck stopping the run with Hodges…Merry Xmas, Happy Holidays, Your 49er Roster brought to you by the York’s.

    The 49ers on Friday ruled out four starters, including running back Shaun Draughn.\

    With the injuries on the offensive line, the 49ers are expected to start Trent Brown at right tackle, Erik Pears at right guard, Andrew Tiller at left guard and Daniel Kilgore at center, along with Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley.

    Gerald Hodges is expected to make his third consecutive start at inside linebacker in place

  27. San Francisco 49ers

    Santa could hand you guys a shiny new quarterback, or a couple pass rushers, or a coach who speaks English instead of some version of Pittsburghese with “OK” at the end of every sentence. But what you really need more than anything else is enough Ajax to fill a dump truck and a tanker truck full of bleach.

    Gift: A comprehensive, top-to-bottom front office house cleaning


  28. Another Bizzare Historical Ranking during York Ownership:

    One of the things I’ve been amused by has been tracking weird records that York Ownership sets when I pick up the Newspapers…Here’s another one:

    Out of 32 teams in the NFL this year, the 49ers rank last in both points scored and yards gained. That ugly double has been achieved twice before in San Francisco professional football history (see below), and it’s not a good sign in terms of measuring where this year’s offense falls when ranking the worst five offenses in 49ers franchise history.


  29. Matt Retweeted CEH
    @annkillion A #49ers ornament contains 40x legal limit for #lead in a kids’ product. Jed accountable? #satirealert

  30. Road Worms

    Eric Branch reports the 2015 49ers have allowed over 446 yards in 5 out of 7 road games. They entered the season allowing 446+ yards in 5 of past 54 road games.

    Talent loss hurts. Losing Fangio hurts.

    1. As we “decend into darkness” will Baalke, a 30-50 draft selection (according to KNBR’s, Larry Krueger) failure rate, be cherry picking our talent for Harbaugh.

  31. I live a block away from Baalke’s house. Nice house. I heard at dinner last night from one of my real estate friends the house has been quietly put up for sale.

    1. I know we need all the help we can get….I only hope this was due to Jed’s demotion, and not help from an enraged fan?!

      1. Will Seb show only a smidget of honesty?…That’s really all we ask on this blog Sebby…
        Are you finally going to admit that you are just like me this year, secretly rooting they lose the last two games of the year to garner a high draft pick and destroy the York’s remaining excuses to keep this staff/front office?

        1. Seb, frightened at the sight of a rhetorical question, will always choose not to engage, as he has learned from past mistakes.

          1. TrollD, you are delusional as usual. I have been posting for a while that tanking for a higher draft position is a recipe for failure.
            Glad to see you still reading all my posts. I just skip yours until you address me by name. Glad I have overtaken your psyche so much that you obsess about me.
            Engage you? Generally I do not bother engaging in a battle of wits against an unarmed foe……Think about it.

    1. The Hayne Plane is on the [plane] to Motor City. Sister Thadius raps my knuckles with a ruler.

        1. Sounds like the 49ers plan to have Hayne next year competing for a job.
          He’s on the roster, but may not be activated.

          Its time for Ellington to show why he was drafted.

  32. York’s Corporate Playbook:

    Firing – Only one scapegoat per season.
    2014: Harbaugh, bonus hire cheaper staff
    2015: Kap, bonus saves $17M next year and “We love Gabbert campaign.”
    2016: Tomsula, “Standup guy. We gave him two years.”
    2017+: “Building new core, new coach (Mangini), new team…same ownership.”
    2020: Baalke, “Start over, recognizing our mistakes…Terry Donahue/Nolan hired”

    Merry Christmas to all.

  33. Tomsula might have looked calm and relaxed because he knew the pain was coming to an end.

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