Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The enormity of the 49ers’ FO blunder in firing Jim Harbaugh has probably sunk in by now at 4949 Centennial Blvd. At least it should have. It’s also unfortunately possible that Jed York and Trent Baalke are so drunk with stupidity that nothing rational will penetrate their brains for a long, long time.

The year long campaign to transform Harbaugh from a guy York said would win multiple Super Bowls into some crazed mad man careening through the halls insulting and badgering everyone in sight while demanding an exorbitant raise may have suckered in a few gullible fans, but clearly it didn’t fool most fans or the rest of the NFL.

Harbaugh and his staff were immediately and eagerly gobbled up by other franchises, and the effort to replace them here has finally dribbled to a close, some five weeks into the process, and not a single impressive hire has been made. Indeed, most of the rumored candidates declined the invitation.

The 49ers have replaced one of the best coaching staffs in the league with one of the worst. By any measure, this is an epic fail.

So, unless good coaches don’t matter a hill of beans, we’ve gone from a perennial SB contender to the 2005 Niners in one horrific month. Only worse than that. The 2005 Niners were a terrible team that got better through drafting in the top ten each year. This team has too much talent to finish that bad. Meaning we’ve got a mediocre team. A perennial 6-9 win type of squad. And it’s a lot harder to improve a mediocre team than a truly dreadful one. Especially when your coaching staff stinks on ice.

Nobody is going to come work here until the front office catastrophe is rectified. Any bets on that happening anytime soon?

Denver gutted their successful coaching staff after the season, too. But they are not having any trouble attracting qualified replacements. That’s because they have a stable FO and didn’t spend the year sending out nasty Tweets against John Fox and the team, nor leaking that Fox and John Elway didn’t see eye to eye and Fox would be fired at the end of the year. It might also help that QB Peyton Manning is probably going to come back in 2015 and try for a ring yet again.

But, hey, enough reality. We’ve got eight months of hopeful fantasy land before the grim results start rolling in. Let’s all watch Seattle win its second straight Super Bowl this Sunday and imagine how we’ve taken such great strides this past month that knocking them off next year will be a breeze. And if we don’t, who cares? Being SB contenders is yesterday’s news. Winning was so stressful and boring anyway. Let’s all get back to what the Yorks are so great at providing: a crappy team we can all bitch about relentlessly.

We’re back!

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Posted in Angst 101

As the QB Turns

The Super Bowl next Sunday will be a win-lose proposition for 49er fans. One of these despised franchises will have to lose the game, but one of them will have to win it, too.

We’ll either see Bill Belichick and Tom Brady trudge off the field with their third consecutive SB loss or we’ll see the Seahawks sulk away, hide from reporters, and none of them will be shouting and foaming in a roid rage at some poor TV reporter after the game.

If the Patriots lose, it means their offense has peaked, their defense has peaked, their coach and QB have peaked, and they should all be fired and replaced with a collection of nobodies and has-beens. Ooops. Wrong franchise. They’ll just come back next year and try again.

Ditto for the Seahawks. Both franchises have stable ownership and a modicum of sanity in the front offices. Also back next year to try again, with the same coaches and mostly the same players, will be the Steelers, Ravens, Colts, Saints, and Packers. What all of these franchises have in common, besides a grip on reality and a value for continuity, is terrific play from the QB spot.

As Frank Gore ruefully and reluctantly pointed out this year, in the NFL, offense all begins with, and goes through, the QB. The Greg Roman haters believe that he was the only thing wrong with Colin Kaepernick last year. And that a new OC will magically fix everything. If that were true, then Steve Deberg would have four SB rings right now, and not Joe Montana. As Bill Walsh said about Deberg, he was just good enough to get you beat. Right now, it would not be a stretch to apply those words to Kaepernick. He’s much more famous for his losses than his wins. And the wins came early in his career

Obviously, Kaepernick has far superior skills and talent than Deberg did. But Walsh knew Deberg didn’t have IT. And he knew there was no way he could teach IT to him. Of all the young hot shot QBs now in the league, Kaepernick has the least amount of IT. He is always a dangerous player who can make spectacular plays from anywhere on the field at any time. But he can’t consistently run an offense.

Kaepernick is 27 years old. He’ll probably never have the instinctual feel for the position that all great QBs seem to be born with. He can, however, learn how to function adequately in the pocket, read defenses, and develop the mental calm to go through his progressions and find an open receiver. The mental calm to realize game situations, first down markers, when to throw it away, and when to stay in bounds. Up to this point, he basically seems to play in a constant state of panic.

Kaepernick is down in Arizona now for eleven weeks, trying to learn pocket calmness from Kurt Warner. If the instruction bears fruit, the 49er offense will at least have a chance to succeed next year, and maybe for years to come. If the instruction is merely knowledge that disappears during the heat of a game, then the 49er offense will again be a frustrating thing to watch and the search for a new QB will/should be underway.

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Posted in FOS Speculation

The Nobody Era

It’s unclear at the moment who’s going to be the 49ers’ OC this coming year. Or the DC. Or even who’s responsible for choosing these two fellows. As for who would LIKE to fill these positions, the answer seems clear: Noooooooooooobody.

And so we transition from the fabulously successful Jim Harbaugh Era into the probably shitty Nobody Era. What’s not to like?

The nobody HC Jim Tomsula does not seem to have anyone knocking down his door to get on board. The only position filled so far is the Special Teams coach, a crony of Tomsula from the old NFL Europe league. His name is Thomas McGaughey and he has one year of NFL experience under his belt. And Jason Tarver, the ex-DC of the terrific Raiders’ defense, who will be a Senior Defensive Assistant(?) and LB coach.

The 49ers fired Eric Mangini last week, but this week they want to interview him for the DC position. Amazingly clever plan the Tomsula/Trent Baalke brain trust is implementing.

It’s not certain whether every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the NFL has yet to turn down the 49ers’ job offers, but it must be getting close. It might be time to haul out the big guns and have Jed York sit in on an interview, contributing his famous lobotomy smile and assurances that the Niners are a really hunky-dory operation.

The one thing we know for sure at this point is that one of our leaders will eventually hire someone and express how thrilled they are to have landed such a talented and bright … nobody. Or maybe it will be a guy who used to be a somebody but has now fallen on hard nobody times. Our leaders will be thrilled, though, you can count on that.

49er fans will also be quite happy. Some, anyway. A few. One or two. But definitely not Nooooooooooobody.


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Posted in Waltzing Matilda

Scraping the Barrel

Posted on January 19, 2015Skeebers 89 Comments ↓

Jed York took a weekend break from his whirlwind tour of beaming like a dunce while trying to sell Jim Tomsula to a highly skeptical world. Too bad. The laughter was just starting to make me forget how screwed the 49ers are.

The intro presser made it clear that Tomsula is the new HC in name only. He couldn’t answer any questions on his own, deferring to Trent Baalke like a mob underling does to the capo. The only thing we’ve learned from Tomsula is that there is someone in the payroll department named Joan.

As if Tomsula’s hiring wasn’t enough to make Niner fans cringe, we now have who knows how long to await the frightful choices made for our new OC and DC. Can they find anyone competent who’s willing to work here and have no idea who his real boss is? Or that retaining his job will not necessarily be a performance based issue, nor even under his control.

Trent Baalke said he wanted as much stability as possible for Colin Kaepernick’s development. How gutting one of the best coaching staffs in the league, and all of Kaepernick’s coaches except Geep Chryst, achieves that is a mystery. Baalke said Tomsula will run the ball. That is the only info provided about what kind of team the 2015 49ers will be.

With a year to plot the demise of Jim Harbaugh, clearly the only thing York and Baalke were interested in was showing the world who runs the team. Lip service to class and high aspirations is all these two are currently offering.

Over the next two years, time will run out on quite a few long time Niner players. Justin Smith, Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin. It’s already run out for Ray McDonald and probably Michael Crabtree. There’s going to be a big leadership void. Who’s going to fill it? Colin Kaepernick, presumably. If he thought he was under pressure to succeed in 2014, get ready, kid. It appears the whole ball of gum is going to rest pretty much entirely on his shoulders.

Kaepernick is down in Arizona at the moment, trying to learn the fine art of being a pocket passer. A role he failed to succeed at this past year. Meanwhile, his bosses up here are preparing to return him to a run at the drop of a hat QB. Perhaps he missed the memo.

At least Baalke has finally come out from behind the curtain. If the team succeeds, he can take credit. If it fails, he can blame everyone else. His years with Jed have not taught the man nothing.

Some of you are trying to soldier on with the pom-pom waving as though nothing has happened. An admirable fan activity. But … seriously?

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Posted in The Usual Suspects

The Right Stuff

Posted on January 14, 2015Skeebers

The 49ers emerged from their long, grueling trek through the NFL discard landscape and on Wednesday hired the guy they intended to hire from the very beginning, the exact same method they used to hire GM Trent Baalke back in 2010. This might be the only consistency the organization has demonstrated in the past ten years.

D-line coach Jim Tomsula has been promoted to Head Coach. He’s the kind of guy you can’t risk saying “Hello” to if you don’t have a half hour to kill. His job will be to make everyone feel good and have a swell time, win or lose, and to teach Jed York a couple of Xs and Os, so Junior can get a hang on this football shit and meddle his way into guy thing discussions without appearing to be a complete dork. And, of course, he must never question anything York or Baalke do.

I suppose it’s possible we’ve got the next Knute Rockne on our hands, but it’s probably just as possible, maybe even more so, that ten years into the Jed Empire, we’re back to square zero. Same clueless owner, less talented GM, and a franchise that won’t be scaring anyone for a long time. The kind of team other teams are eager to see on their schedule.

The hiring of Tomsula also resulted in the loss of the best DC in the league, Vic Fangio, who is reportedly being replaced by the Oakland Raiders’ DC, Jason Tarver, who is not the best DC in the league … or the conference … or the AFC West … or the Bay Area. He DOES, however, have experience in how to work for a dysfunctional organization without making waves.

The improvement of the offense, the be-all-end-all of this whole fiasco, has yet to be mentioned. The epicly great Marc Trestman is the current rumor for the job of OC. Trestman was run out of town as the Niners’ OC in 1997, failed everywhere else, achieved some success in Canada, like Tomsula did in Europe, and most recently Trestman presided over the total collapse of the Bears.

So, we’ve gutted a highly successful coaching staff and replaced it with WTeverlovingF! From York: “Jim Tomsula clearly is the right man to lead this team.” From us, “WTF!!!!”

Ladies and gentlemen, your San Francisco 49ers. Pardon me while I go wrap my arms around the porcelain bus.

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Posted in Angst 101
2014 Schedule
1. 9/7 @ DAL: W 28-17
2. 9-14 vs CHI: L 20-28
3. 9/21 @ ARI: L 14-23
4. 9-28 vs PHI: W 26-21
5. 10/5 vs KC: W 22-17
6. 10/13 @ STL: W 31-17
7. 10/19 @ DEN: L 17-42
8. BYE
9. 11/2 vs STL: L 10-13
10. 11/9 @ NO: W 27-24
11. 11/16 @ NYG: W 16-10
12. 11/23 vs WAS: W 17-13
13. 11/27 vs SEA: L 3-19
14. 12/7 @ OAK: L 13-24
15. 12/14 @ SEA: L 7-17
16. 12/20 vs SD: L 35-38
17. 12/28 vs ARI: W 20-17
2014 Prognostications
NJ49er: 11-5
Berger: 11-5
Grumpy: 10-5-1
Rob: 13-3
Skeebers: 12-4
Winder: 10-6
Earl: 12-4
Mr Fletch: 12-4
Phil Fan: 11-5
Chuck: 11-3-2
Bullit: 11-5
Bigjon: 13-3
Tony: 14-2
RTFirefly: 11-4-1

2014 Draft Class
1 Jimmie Ward, S/CB
2 Carlos Hyde, RB
3 Marcus Martin, C
3 Chris Borland, ILB
3 Brandon Thomas, OG
4 Bruce Ellington, WR
4 Dontae Johnson, CB
5 Aaron Lynch, LB
5 Keith Reaser, CB
6 Kenneth Acker, CB
7 Kaleb Ramsey, DE
7 Trey Millard, FB