What we’ll miss about Jim Harbaugh

This is my Thursday column.

When the 49ers’ training camp begins in about a month, practices will be shorter, quieter, less intense than last year. And someone will be missing.

Jim Harbaugh.

His absence hangs over the 49ers’ entire season. He’s the biggest story on the team, and he isn’t even on the team.

Let’s acknowledge he who must not be named. These are the top five things I will miss about Harbaugh.

The way he ran practices

When practice started, the bill of Harbaugh’s hat pointed straight in front him. He’d watch the players warm up, make notes with a sharpie and blow his whistle — official coach stuff.

That would last about 20 minutes. Then Harbaugh would turn his cap backwards, run over to a position group and do drills with them. Sometimes he’d throw passes with the quarterbacks. Sometimes he’d run routes with the tight ends. Sometimes he’d kick punts so the special teams could practice blocking them.

He was the most enthusiastic coach I’ve ever seen. He couldn’t just coach a practice — he had to participate in it, be the center of it. He was like the sun, and the players were planets orbiting him.

The way he shut down national writers and radio hosts

Harbaugh likes to shut down people’s questions. He’ll quibble with the wording, or simply refuse to answer. Especially if he doesn’t know the questioner.

Sometimes a famous national writer would come to Santa Clara for a day to ask Harbaugh a few questions during his group interview. The writer seemed to expect thoughtful, in-depth answers from Harbaugh, as if Harbaugh would be impressed by the writer’s byline, as if Harbaugh shut down only the local beat writers.

For national writers like this, Harbaugh would reserve his shortest, most awkward answers. And every time, Harbaugh would catch the writer completely by surprise. The writer would quickly follow up with two or three questions and try to force a good answer out of Harbaugh, and Harbaugh would answer in monosyllables. And the writer would sit there fuming.

In that respect, Harbaugh was tremendously egalitarian.

The way he didn’t hold grudges

You can criticize Harbaugh. You can criticize his ability to coach, his offensive system, his game management. You can even criticize his personality. The next day, he’ll greet you with a smile. He doesn’t take business personally.

I’ll give you an example. In 2013, Aldon Smith drove his truck into a tree when he was drunk a few days before the 49ers’ Week 3 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Harbaugh played Smith anway.

Before the game, I predicted the 49ers would lose. They lost by 20. After the game, I wrote “by playing Aldon Smith, Jim Harbaugh undermined the integrity of the franchise.”

The next day, Harbaugh walked through the 49ers’ locker room looking for me. “Hi, Grant,” he said with a smile. It was the first time he ever talked to me or said my name. We always got along after that.

His defensive staff

You always can tell the pedigree of a coach by the quality of his assistants. A bad coach is threatened by top-notch assistants — he’s afraid one of them will take his job. Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was threatened by his assistants.

Harbaugh never was. Harbaugh had the best assistant coaches, especially on defense where he needed help. Harbaugh freely admitted defense wasn’t his thing — he was an offensive guy. He needed great defensive coaches, and he got them.

In the entire league, Vic Fangio was the best defensive coordinator and Ed Donatell was the best defensive backs coach. Harbaugh hired both of them, and he gets credit for doing that.

It was such a pleasure watching Fangio and Donatell make the 49ers’ defense one of the best in the NFL year after year, no matter which players they had.

His competitiveness

Harbaugh didn’t merely want to win. He wanted to kick butt, wanted to embarrass the other head coach.

Any coach going against Harbaugh was in for it. Jobs were at stake — not just wins and losses.

Former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz learned that the hard way. Not only did Harbaugh beat him in 2011, Harbaugh ruined him, slapped Schwartz in the back after the game and made him look like a little complaining punk. Two seasons later, the Lions fired him. It’ll be a while before he gets another chance to coach an NFL team.

Then there’s Green Bay Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy, generally considered one of the best coaches in the NFL.

Every time they faced each other, McCarthy was a step behind. He’d adjust to what Harbaugh did in the previous game, but not to what Harbaugh did in the current game. By the fourth quarter, McCarthy would look ill on the sideline. Harbaugh gave him sour stomach.

I’ll miss the sour-stomach look.

Stay tuned for the top five things I won’t miss about Harbaugh.


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 120 Comments

  1. It’s easy to miss a coach who feels non-threatened enough to hire the best NFL defensive coaches.
    When I heard that Baalke was on the field coaching up the players I during Mini-Camps and OTA’s I felt much better. I would pick D-2, Bemidgi over USC any day

    1. will you miss his winning percentage, because I bet Numbnuts, however nice of a guy he may be, and his collection of bargain-bin coordinators, won’t win 50% of 2015’s games.

      1. Will you?
        Bet, I mean.

        Vegas line is at 7,5.
        I guess it is a golden chance for you, since you are so sure they won’t win 50% of their games.

      2. You’re entitled to your opinion obviously but IMO you will be proven wrong. They may not have gotten their first choices for OC and DC but the staff they ended up with has had success other places and a ton of experience. I think Mangini is going to thrive as a DC. He is super bright in football circles and I believe with the talent he has on this defense he will have a top 5 unit that will create a lot of turnovers and sacks. I think he will have some really creative game plans. Belicheck loved him and was very angry when he left. His one year as DC in NE he finished middle of the pact with an over the hill and banged up defense. They used a different starting lineup every game because of injuries. The fact he has been a HC and spent the last two years on the offensive side of the ball as well as him knowing our division is going to help immensely. Think about this too if Harbaugh were still here and Fangio and Roman had left to become HCs elsewhere Chryst and Mangini would more than likely been his choices to take over the coordinator positions. People don’t seem to realize that. Chryst is bright and innovative and without Harbaugh here putting the shackles on the O I think we will be a lot better than last year even if Kaep isn’t an All-Pro. Of course the offense couldn’t be worse than last year as that was the worst offensive performance since the days of Ken Dorsey and Cody Pickett. I don’t care what people say about Geep’s stint as OC in SD. He had the worst offensive talent in the history of the NFL especially at the skill positions and the simple fact he didn’t finish dead last in total offense should show he can coach. Tim Logan has been a very successful QBs coach and is the perfect fit for Kaep. Penderghast has been a quality DC in the past and should be an excellent LBs coach. He should be a quality source in helping with the game plans. Scott Brown will be in control of the DL and if Tomsula likes him then he must be able to teach because Tomsula knows what a DL coach should look like since he was one of the best in the league. Tim Lewis is running the secondary and although nobody was better than Donatell if we had to end up with someone else he was a good choice. Although I have never been a fan of Jason Tarver he will help Penderghast with the LBs and brings a lot of experience with him as he’s been a DC and his LBs in Oakland were usually the best level of his defenses. Moving back to the offensive side of the ball Chris Forester is one of the best OL coaches in the league and Rathman has always been an excellent RBs coach. We got rid of WRs coach Morton who I always hated and brought in Adam Henry who has had success as a position coach in the past. We also kept Curry around who was coveted by other teams in the league and blocked from interviewing. Sparano is back coaching TEs where he saw some success and Jason Witten says he owes a lot of his success to Sparano. Tony also brings HC experience with him where he saw limited amount of success with the Dolphins taking them to the playoffs. Tomsula has one of the biggest staffs in the league just like Harbaugh. He has surrounded himself with coaches who have a boatload of experience and have either been coordinators or HCs other places. I think they are vastly underrated. Study who they have and where they’ve been as well as what they’ve done don’t just spew out things you’ve read by the so called experts who usually always look stupid come January. If it’s your opinion that they are bargain basement and can’t coach then good for you but IMO they will prove you wrong.

  2. Yes Harbs was a slugger out there and the nfl coaching fraternity paid dearly.
    They learned to rue the day they crossed him. Boy Harbs would have his stout D make that 4th qtr stop and he would embarrass the opposition with the foot of his big weapon. “Here’s a winning field goal, you NancyBoy!”
    How he kept running up the score on his adversaries. Eat our 16th point Foe! I’ll miss that too.

  3. Most defensive “geniuses” and “innovators” have one thing in common… a corner that could shut down a receiver with no safety help. Pure man-to-man.

    With the extra safety to load the box the creative options increased ten fold.

    If its a pass the extra strong safety can blitz, cover for a blitzing linebacker, play lurk, erase a tight end, “spy” the QB and many other things.
    If its a run the extra strong safety can fill a lane, shoot gaps or cover a gap so another defender can play more aggressively.

    With the 49ers, Fangio didn’t have the luxury of an elite man-to-man corner to pump up his perceived IQ. Yet his seven man defensive front was one of the best run stopping units in history, and was pretty darned good at stopping the pass too.

    The job Fangio and Donatell did last year with eight men on IR was ourstanding.
    Staffing was one of Harbaugh’s strong points. Fangio and Donatell are prime examples.

    1. Fangio is a great DC, but the success of his 49ers defense comes largely down to the excellent play of the front 7, more so than how great a DC he is. During 2011 to 2013 the ability of that front 7 to nullify the run without committing an extra safety and get pressure while only rushing 4 players (thus keeping 7 players in coverage) is what made it a top 5 unit. That doesn’t happen without superb players in that front 7. It basically negated the need for a top notch cover corner (though the play of the 49ers CBs the past few years is also under-appreciated).

      The job Fangio did last year with a lot of injuries/ suspensions was for mine his most impressive work as a 49er. With what looks like a less talented defensive roster this year, Mangini will be hard pressed to emulate the kind of success Fangio enjoyed.

      1. Great point. The defensive front had historically good players. No question. Its not as if Fangio did it with a bunch of JAGs. Fangio did the right thing in using their talents to play a (relatively) straightforward defense rushing only four guys at the quarterback.

        But imagine how much more effective that front seven would have been with an extra player in the box (because they had a pure shut down corner). Goldson or Whitner would be havoc wrecking wildcards. Fangio could safely send five pass rushers with little risk… or have Goldson/Whitner lurk, erase the TE or “spy” the QB.

        Agree, it will be a challenge for Mangini. From mini camp reports (not alot to go on) the corners are shadowing receivers more, not just sticking to one side. Most were expecting a more gambling defense from Mangini anyway.

        The big plus for the current defense is interior line and OLB depth. They can come after quarterbacks in waves like the 84 Niners did vs Marino in the Super Bowl. Then DC George Seifert used all nine linemen in that game to great affect.

        (Future column subject…. is a healthy Brock a “shut down” corner or merely good?)

        1. If Fangio has a great cover corner, I wonder if he would have used him as you suggest, or changed his D in any way. I think he was already playing the type of D he prefers, with the interchangeable safeties, lots of two high safety looks, quite a bit of zone coverage on the perimeter.

          1. Pure speculation on my part… its seems like too big of a temptation not to adapt scheme (a little) to take advantage of a true shut down corner.
            If a corner doesn’t need the help, why waste the extra body?

            Maybe not that much more blitzing, but I’d see Fangio using the strong safety in a way that allowed his linebackers to play more aggressively vs run or pass.

      2. Scooter:

        After reading your post, I felt like I could infer that perhaps Tomsula was then partly or even largely responsible for the success of the D, since he was the Dline coach. Did you intend that or am I reaching.

        1. I like them all… the great front 7, Fangio, Tomsula, Donatell and Levitt

          Grant mentioned a while back they were lining up in a vanilla 3-4 during mini-camp. I was surprised because Tomsula said at the NFL meetings the defensive fronts would stay the same.

          I hope they keep using the occasional under fronts. Players like Dorsey really thrived in that scheme.

        2. It wasn’t intentional, but I do think Tomsula deserves praise for his work with the DL.

          The main gist of my point was that I think the player personnel was more important to the defense’s success than Fangio, or any of the coaches. Not saying the coaches don’t deserve praise, as a bad coaching staff could and probably would have mis-used and mis-managed the players and not gotten the best out of them, but without the high quality players the defense had in its front 7 in 2011 to 2013 I highly doubt we are talking about how great a DC Fangio is either.

            1. I should clarify that I do consider Fangio an excellent DC, I just meant that if it wasn’t for the excellent players he had we might not all believe that to be the case.

              I think the best DCs in the NFL are Rex Ryan (though I realise he is a HC), Romeo Crennel and Wade Phillips.

              1. Pete Carroll is a name that should be included under the best tent, although it’s irritating pointing it out….

              2. The real test will be to see what Fangio does with the Chicago defense. Just like Roman and the Bills.

              3. I couldn’t bring myself to include Carroll, razor. :-P

                I agree sebnynah. If Fangio has success with the Bears D he’ll well deserve to be included among the best DC’s in today’s NFL.

          1. I really wanted Fangio as HC and Tomsula as DC, but was dismayed when things fell apart. I really thought that Fangio would provide continuity, and he deserved it because his defense was the main reason for the Niner success. Alas, Twas not to be, and the ensuing turmoil resulted in a cluster muck.
            Still, with Kaep as the QB and Roman gone, this team has reloaded for another SB run.

      3. Scooter,
        If Fangio had little to do with the 2011-2013 49ers defense and the success were purely due to the front 7, then how did the 2010 49er defense rank under Greg Manusky? They were middle of the pack (16th in points allowed).

  4. Harbaugh lost us a super bowl. 9ers on the 5 yard line, Kaep and a blocker go left everyone else goes right, sure touchdown but Harbaugh called a time out. Couldn’t get the play in on time -AGAIN. Do you miss that?

    1. If Harbaugh is not the head coach do the 49ers make the playoffs in 2011? 2012? 2013? Or would the dark ages have continued?

      1. I don’t Know. It would depend on who the coach was. The 9ers were loaded with talent. Fangio saved Harbaugh’s butt. You want to idolize someone he’s your man.

        1. Jim Harbaugh 49 wins in four years. It was a fun time after suffering through the dark ages.

      2. “Couldn’t get the play in on time -AGAIN. Do you miss that?”
        Grant Cohn says:Stay tuned for the top five things I won’t miss about Harbaugh
        I guess you’ll have to “stay tuned” to find out.

  5. I will miss watching him Harbaughing out on the sidelines while the 49ers played deep into the month of January and even February.

  6. getting play calls in on time was a persistent problem throughout Harbaughs tenure . He talked about it in press conferences many times but never fixed it. Even after it cost him a super bowl he did nothing. We lead the league in those penaltys last year. I hate sloppy football Harbaugh plays sloppy football. I don’t want to read about him or hear his name.

    1. Hey Harwho
      I’m sure Jim Harbaugh still likes you and would say hello.

  7. are you really insinuating that harbaugh went home after the game, read your column, then went out of his way the next day to talk to you like you had earned his respect or something? lol what color is the sky in your ego centric world

    1. Hahaha! Nice jab there Marco! The exact same thought crossed my mind when I read that little gem.

  8. Message to Coach Harbaw:
    You can run but you can’t hide, okay?!?
    That super bowl monkey is still firmly entrenched on your back

  9. It was actually transferred to the back of Trent Baalke at the end of December.

  10. Harbaugh was a great coach and I was a huge fan. The only problem was a coach like that has a 4-5 year shelf life. He is better suited for the college game.

  11. Harbaugh eats, sleeps and BLEEDS football.
    I mean, when have you ever heard ANYONE EVER talk like this:

    “I can’t tell you how good it’s going to be having those guys in the building, face to face, knee to knee, smelling their breath, just getting to know them and letting them know me…That’s what I’m looking forward to most.” -Harbaugh 2011
    Smelling. Their. Breath.
    THAT’S a friggin’ football coach!
    Can I get an AMEN?!

  12. Grant, I like your reasons for missing Harbaugh. I’m looking forward to your list of five characteristics that you don’t miss.

    Here are mine in no particular order or significants.

    1. Clock management.

    2. Riling up opponents.

    3. Not improving the passing game to move the chains.

    4. Wanting to crush the opponent in third or fourth and one.

    5, His warrior “mighty men” pitch.

    1. I’d add just one thing to your list, HT …

      “Who’s got it better than us ..?”

    2. How about his antics on the sidelines that pi**ed off officials. That didn’t help.

  13. Jim Harbaugh made Stanford Football and the 49ers relevant, the man knows how to turn around a NFL franchise/college program.
    The question is, will he ever win a Championship, Pro or College? Or, is he another version of Marty Schottenheimer?
    As a HC, Marty took the Browns, Chiefs and the Chargers to the playoffs. Marty’s teams played stout defense, and usually featured a solid running game. Sound familiar?
    Anyways, thanks for the memories, Jim. Good luck with the Wolverines.

    1. Next person that takes the time to post “I agree with everything you say,” wins the vagina suck up award.

      1. Dude, you should know that I never suck up to anyone on here. I either agree or disagree with what Grant or others have posted on here and I do so by telling like how I see it.

    2. It doesn’t matter what Aldon Smith does, he’s gone. If he has a terrible year, he’s cut. If he has a killer year the team won’t pay what he’ll get in free agency. So, it doesn’t matter which way you cut it, Aldon Smith is about to play his last season as a 49er.

    3. Grant, another good one. A few thoughts…

      Aldon Smith – “But he hasn’t been at his best since he crashed his truck into a tree in 2013” I think it goes back farther, when he hurt his shoulder in the same game Justin Smith hurt his arm…. the Pats game. Could it be he never fully recovered his hand punch?

      I think he’s mentally ready to go and in shape. I’m expecting a really good season.

      Aaron Lynch – This is the second summer in a row he’s nursing hammy strains. Training camp will tell us alot.

      Eli Harold – “Harold uses his quickness to explode past a tackle…” Sounds like Harold is becoming the speed rusher they hoped Lemonier would become.
      Padless OTAs and Mini-camps favor the quick guys. Can’t wait to hear how he does when they pad up.

      Depth – Fangio acknowledged the 49ers gambled with only three OLBs in 2011. Four sounds about right.

  14. I’m soooooo tired of this malarkey…harb was fun but the offense sucked and kap didn’t get what he needed. I’m far more excited about this season…

    Go ahead and prostrate yourself on ur harbgod… I like all the new looks and think we’ll do well

    1. The funny thing is that most fans and the media hated on Harbaugh when he had an offense that he used to stomp on the opponent’s throat. I seem to recall that happening after we lost Joshua Morgan in waning minutes of the Bucs slaughterfest.

      1. That’s one game. The one that still sticks in my mind and was a sign of things to come was the Dallas overtime game.

  15. I never had a problem with Harbaugh’s “antics” if you want to call them that. His passion, his energy and his drive combined with strong assistant coaches is what led to all of the wins we had in Harbaugh’s first three seasons. Remember he essentially went from 8-8 to 12 wins with the exact same team. When Harbaugh knew he was gone and lost that extra special passion and commitment that’s when the team faltered and went 8-8.

    It’s no different then any other work environment I’ve been a part of. Every time someone new with a ton of passion and energy comes in the environment changes, usually for the positive at least for the short term. Long term employees that were just getting by will suddenly be motivated and work harder and be more successful then ever before. Did they change, did they start doing something different? No, it was just the example and leadership that drove them to want to work harder and make themself better. This was Harbaugh and this is what he does for teams. He makes people work harder and usually that will create positive results, like it did.

    However, if it’s all flash, if you can’t make that energy up with substance then when the chips are down, when the group experiences failures or a lack of success then the message becomes old and the players no longer want to work hard anymore. That’s what happened to the 2014 49ers. The coach knew he was on his way out and didn’t commit himself to the team like he did previously and that was clearly obvious to the players. That vibe, that lack of energy that used to sustain them was now gone and the result; the team finished exactly where it did before Harbaugh showed up. No energy, no passion and an 8-8 season.

    1. I left off an important part;

      In my view Harbaugh and Mariucci are essentially the same level of coach although they are night and day in their approaches to coaching. To me both are top tier College coaches and that’s where they should stay. Their message works great on young kids that need to be motivated and infused with drive and energy. Their message also works great in the short term but begins to wear thin and neither really have the coaching chops to be successful in the face of adversity. As College coaches they only have players for a few years, 4 sometimes at the most. By the time the message begins to wear out they’re graduating or being drafted.

      Neither coach really has the skill to bring an NFL team to the ultimate success. Sure you can argue that Harbaugh made it to the Superbowl but you can also argue that he cost them the win plus he never made it back and seemingly his team got worse.

      1. Mariucci a top tier college coach? Check your facts. He was 6-6 at Cal in 1996, his only college HC experience.

  16. I’m not a twitter guy. Don’t own a cell phone. Hate the web interface. I often get mixed up on who is making the statement, and who is merely responding.

    But has Jarryd Hayne lost his marbles… or is he responding to someone that lost their marbles? Tweet-savvy please help me out here.

    Scroll down to July 1 post.

      1. Chryst will not be happy about this.

        Did I read it right? If so we now have a new opening on the roster.

        1. Yikes, looks like he pulled a Mel Gibson. Scooter what is it your countrymen always bagging on the Hebrews? Don’t hate, I’m just kidding.

          1. I just want to point out that Mel Gibson is one of yours, we just let him stay here for a few years :-)

            No idea what the Hayne Plane is on.

            1. Lets hope the Hayne Plane is on Windowpane (and isn’t the antisemitic cook the tweets suggest he is). Other wise we know he won’t be on the plane to SFO any time soon.

            2. I think I speak for most on here when I say that your fellow countrymen can have Mel Gibson on a silver platter Scooter. ;-)

          2. I’ll keep my fingers crossed it’s some sort of hacked account type excuse because as most know I was really pulling for the guy to make it.

            1. Same here. Hoping its a hacked twitter account. He seemed like a nice guy. I was really pulling for him.

            2. I know this is a path I shouldn’t go down, but I think even if its not a hacked account (and I seriously doubt it is) you guys might be taking this a bit the wrong way. I know Hayne is very religious from his days playing rugby league here in Australia. He’s also not the sharpest tool in the shed. I highly doubt he meant this in an offensive antisemitic way, but rather is not smart enough to realise his words are easily construed in such a manner. That would be my guess, anyway.

              1. I think your right. People need to realize that not everyone is literally blessed and can express them selves in writing. Especially in tweets. The guy is obviously not a theologian and things can easily be taken out of context. People in other countries are not as besieged by the PC crowd and are less careful in respect to not making statements that might be interpreted as being bigoted. It seems like the witch hunts for heretics during the inquisition, and communists during the fifties has been replaced by the hunt for perceived selective bigots today.

              2. Willtalk, I think that’s the first post of yours where I completely agree with you and think you’re spot on.

              3. I agree with Scooter. It doesn’t come off as being intentionally mean spirited to me. Just a comment that wasn’t well thought out before hand. It happens.

              4. Scooter I’d agree it was made with more of a matter of fact type of tone but it still comes off sounding anti-Semitic whether that was his intention or not. If it wasn’t meant that way the right thing to do would be to quickly acknowledge that and clear the air, unless I missed it, that hasn’t happened.

              5. CfC, has anyone even pointed out to Hayne the potential for his comment to be construed in such a way?

                I know in America it is a very touchy subject, but here in Australia anti-Semitism really isn’t well known or understood. I’m going to make a gross over-generalisation here, but the long term persecution of the Jewish people is not something we are taught about much, and when we are taught about it, it often feels like it happened to someone else, somewhere else, long ago – its history. We don’t have a strong Jewish voice over here, so most Australians don’t really understand how raw a subject it still is. And because we don’t have a strong Jewish presence, we don’t conjure the same level of emotion in society as a whole when we talk about these things.

                To me it sounded like Hayne was just repeating something he may have heard in the Jentezen Franklin podcast he referenced in an earlier post on the same day (and probably took the interpretation of the comment beyond what Franklin intended), but in his naivety didn’t realise the subject is quite taboo in America.

                Like I said, I really highly doubt he meant any offense, or even realised it was offensive. And I apologise in advance if anything I just said was offensive in any way as it wasn’t intended – I too am not really across the specifics of the issue and am only really aware of it because I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few Jewish people.

              6. Brodie, thanks for the link to the interview. Sounds like he needs someone to point out where the good coffee shops are!

                Interesting to note he is currently back here attending the Hillsong Church Conference. I’d say the tweet we have been discussing is largely in response to something that was said at the conference.

                Also, just want to say, I mentioned earlier that I don’t think Hayne is “smart enough” to realise his words could be taken in such a manner. That is probably unfair – he’s no genius, but his not stupid either. I should have just said he’s a bit naive regarding how it could be construed.

              7. I’m not accusing the guy of being anti-Semitic Scooter, I believe your explanation is possible and even probable. I do think however that most will take what he said in a negative way. Once(if) it’s explained as a misunderstanding I’m sure it’ll just go away. Frankly I’m not hearing much else about it anyway so maybe it already has.

              8. Thankfully we have enough idiots like Rush Limbaugh to continue sticking their foot in their mouths to distract people from these stories. Tell us again Rush how RGIII gets picked on because he’s a Republican.

              9. “has anyone even pointed out to Hayne the potential for his comment to be construed in such a way?”

                I don’t think so. I doubt 49er brass has any idea either.

                Tweeter Gurkz sort of (but not really) tried to inform him… but he wasn’t clear on the moral implications.

                “Watch out Hayne you might p*** off some certain people in the states and the media will be all over it.”


                Not judging Hayne’s character. He had a hard upbringing in a part of the world where sensibilities and language use differ from ours. He may have merely repeated nonsense he has been exposed to with no intended malice.

                By all accounts Hayne is a nice guy. I’ll take peoples word on that. But well meaning nice guys can perpetuate horrific misconceptions. I hope someone teaches him up soon.

    1. I see nothing but facts. What did he say that’s offensive? Because the word “Jews” is in it? Absolutely nothing to be worried about.

  17. Hey guys. After an unfortunate hiatus last year due to some computer problems, I’m happy to say that the Quest4Six fantasy football league is back in business. I’ve expanded the number of teams to 12 and tweaked the settings a little to hopefully make it more fun this year. Anyone who previously participated and wishes to do so again or wants to participate for the first time just needs to use this link, ID, and password to access the league.

    League ID: 2002359
    League Password: blueKollarKnightmare

    This will be just for fun and bragging rights. No money will be involved.

    1. I started one up recently as well. If we both get half full let’s talk and I’ll disband so they can join yours.

    2. I joined but it looks as though my team is listed twice, one being from last year….

      1. Probably so. Do you want me to remove the new one or your previous team Razor?

  18. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu said that as commander, the general does not need to follow the wishes of the sovereign. Sounds like JH read that and took it to heart. Too bad he over stepped his mandate and used his power to humiliate the owner.
    Sun Tzu also said that any leader must adhere to the highest standards to achieve benevolent righteousness. Sounds like Tomsula is doing that.
    JH was the type to storm the castle and beard the tiger. Sun Tzu said that it was much better to be circumspect and win with strategy, because the direct approach is too costly. Many of the injuries were the result of JH ramming FG into the teeth of the defense, and his smack down approach.
    Sun Tzu said that a leader must be unpredictable, ever changing, adaptable and able to make quick adjustments on his feet. JH lacked those qualities.
    Sun Tzu said that arrogant generals full of hubris were easy to subvert and manipulate. Pundits intoned that Kaep lacked pocket presence and needed to learn to be a pocket passer. JH decided that he would make Kaep a pocket passer even if it killed him (and almost did after 52 sacks).
    Sun Tzu said that there were times to be cautious, but also times to be bold and decisive. JH would always kick a field goal when confronted with 4th and short, and lost games he should have won.

      1. Considering it was written over 2000 years ago and is still being used today, It should be required reading for any body who wants to win.

  19. Grant what did you sense in 2014. Was Harbaugh different? Was there a different vibe in the building? I’m making assumptions as all I can do but you were there. Harbaugh once mentioned that he would walk down the hall and people(I think he meant “certain” people) wouldn’t make eye contact with him. Did you notice or hear about that sort of thing?

    1. I’m sensing the answer is; get a press pass and answer your own damn questions.

      1. Coffee-
        That’s actually an interesting question, and Grant would be better able to give more insights than me due to his access, but that being said, I noticed something was different with JH starting in 2014 Preseason. I just didn’t know what it was.
        On the sidelines Jim seemed to be at a 90-95% boil; not the 110% we’d seen the previous three years. At first I thought he’d maybe calmed down a little, but I definitely noticed it.
        With the filter of hindsight I might speculate that that attitudinal change was shortly after Jim’s contract talks were shelved. I’m not suggesting it was really about money as much as he understood he didn’t have the commitment from above that he expected from all those around him; players, coaches, trainers, scouts, and owner. He was on shaky ground; a lame duck. He couldn’t bring that 110% effort uber-effort; he worked hard and tried his best, but couldn’t quite sell his pitch because he had to manufacture his faith.
        Even considering how the guys played through all the injuries, there was a spark missing sometimes on the field. A few of the players appeared to lack resolve on their own too with oddly timed holdouts in TC. Maybe everybody was burnt out and JH couldn’t reignite the ferver to the same level due to his own inner doubts.
        OK, so there’s one ‘book’ on the subject.

          1. Somebody’s going to write that book Grant. It could be you, or perhaps in a collaboration with Lowell. A certain time perspective is necessary for context and to loosen some lips, but no sense getting scooped by TK or whoever.

        1. Ok but I get a signed copy; To Coffee. I wrote you a damn book now stop being a pain in my ass. Love Grant.

      1. Please no, Grant. Reading a column by you is painful. A book would be impossible.

  20. I won’t miss his pathetic offensive schemes and his boy, Greg Roman.
    I won’t miss his dumb deer-in-the-headlights look on the sidelines and press conferences.
    I won’t miss his horrible time management which cost the Niners at least one Super Bowl.
    I won’t miss his over-inflated ego which always placed himself over the team.
    I won’t miss his handcuffing Kap and shackling the offense.
    I won’t miss his hick look which made him look like he should be out hunting, not coaching football, and that’s only for starters.

  21. One word: Winning.

    I promise you that’s what we’ll all be missing terribly 6 games in to this next season.

  22. Yes, Harbaugh had his flaws, everyone does. Lombardi, Shula, and even Bill Walsh had theirs.
    But in sports only WINNERS are remembered and Jim Harbaugh will eventually be recognized as one of the top head coach’s that the 49ers Org has had.

    Harbaugh did not have the shrewd pulse of the intricacies of the game once the play on the field started, but he was a coach that could motivate his team and had the players respect (for the most part), which in modern sports is a major plus.
    His off field demeanor with the media serves as no consequence for me. I say that because the media is equally at fault for badgering and slanting stories to fit their own agendas and then expect to be treated with respect by the people that they have disparaged.

    Did Harbaugh wear out his welcome over time? Perhaps.
    But I will always remember him as the coach who lead this organization out of the dark ages to prominence once again.
    And for that I will always be thankful for Jim Harbaugh.

    1. I agree with you, AES ..
      and.. yes .. The Harbs was the right
      coach, at the right time ..

      I mean.. after suffering through Erickson, and
      the two Mikes .. Harbaugh brought a little respect
      back to this franchise.. as well as the culture of winning ..

      Now, will Tomsula be able to carry on that
      same culture ??… I dunno .. but ..
      I’m excited about the prospects

    2. AES,
      Harbaugh will be missed for sure. He is one of the best 49ers coaches of all time. When the team fails to make the playoffs this year, that will become evident. I see dark times ahead for Trent and Jed.

  23. The biggest thing I’ll miss about Harbaugh is being a SB contender. I don’t think the team is anymore and it might not have been with Harbaugh either, but I would have felt a lot more optimistic about our chances this season without all the sweeping changes to the Coaching staff and personnel.

    I think it’s time to close the book on it though. He’s gone and he’s not coming back, so it’s about looking ahead and hoping that the Coaching staff currently in place can perform up to the prior groups standard as far as winning games. That’s all that matters to me which is why I could accept the negatives about Harbaugh. Tomsula just has to find a way to win.

    1. I concur Rocket. Harbaugh will be eventually remembered as one of our best coaches, but he is gone and it is time to move on to the next chapter.

  24. For those who didn’t like Harbaugh’s offense—just about everyone—be prepared to enjoy an exciting, productive offense under Tomsula and Geep Chryst, including short passing, long passing, read-options featuring Carlos Hyde, Kaepernick rolling out with an option to pass or run, and other innovative plays.

    1. Jefferson,
      Yes “be prepared to enjoy an exciting, productive offense” and a 6-10 season.

  25. Nah. I do not miss him, and I will not miss him during the season. A coach’s job is to coach – to develop players. Harbaugh didn’t develop players, he played with them. And when he needed help on offense, he didn’t go out and get it. The defense carried him.

  26. I will miss the enthusiasm unknown to man. JH was gutsy and marched to the beat of his own drum. He made the switch from AS to Kaep, and almost tore the locker room apart, but stuck to his guns and almost won a SB.
    When he was 7-5, I defended him and over looked his deficiencies because he was still winning. But then the wheels fell off and he basically fired himself. That last game showed the respect the players had for him.
    I must admit, JH was loyal (Roman).
    I will also miss his fiery intensity.

  27. Interesting you enjoy when he shuts the national writers down but in your very next article you complain when he does that to the local guys. Are you jealous of the national writers? I love how you mentioned when you predicted how the 49ers would lose to the Colts and then throw in they lost by 20. That game was 7-6 into the 4th quarter you hack. Don’t act like they were dominated. Vic Fangio was a very good DC but he wasn’t the best. He did however have the best DB coach in the league you’re right about that. However Fangio’s biggest strength up until last year was letting the talent play and not overwhelming them with a lot of information. He ran a very simple defense that lacked creativity when it was needed most. Just my opinion but I’m a believer in exotic blitz packages in today’s pass happy NFL. I love Mangini and I believe he is in a role he will thrive in with the talent he has at his disposal. I hated losing Donatel and that concerns me but I think we will be fine and Mangini we be able to scheme up any shortcomings we have in the secondary. Harbaugh as good as he was should have been more of an observer of practices than a participant. When you’re to much of a participant you will rub players the wrong way after a while and IMO you may lose a little perspective and miss some things which may prove to be important.

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