Rolling the Dice

Both the Patriots and the 49ers have been to three straight Conference Championship games. They’ve each lost twice and won once. They’ve both lost their one Super Bowl appearance.

That’s the franchise company the 49ers find themselves in. The big difference is the Patriots’ window for success is closing and the 49er’s window is just opening up.

Another small difference is that no one is suggesting the Patriots trade HC Bill Belichick or dump his OC Josh McDaniels — the fellows who managed a mere 16 points against a very flawed Denver defense in the AFC title game this past year. It’s amazing how long an HC can ride an SB victory or three to job security. In Belichick’s case, ten years and counting with zero Lombardis to show for it.

The current question for the 49ers is how long a coach with NO SB victories can ride his job security. Or his OC.

Seattle HC Pete Carroll has one year left on his contract, which means he’ll most likely get a fabulous new extension this offseason, perhaps making him the highest paid head coach in the NFL. The reaction from the Jim Harbaugh camp? Grrrrrrr!

Harbaugh has two years left on this contract and there is some talk now of extending him. Would Jimmy be better served waiting for Carroll to set the top bar, winning the SB next year, and going for a penny or two more than Carroll in 2015? Or should he hedge his bets and take his extension now, before he wins the SB or perhaps continues to fail to achieve that goal, and setting the new top dollar dog later on, either here or somewhere else?

Some folks believe there’s no difference between a 6-10 season and a team that loses the Title game or the Super Bowl. I’m no math whiz, but 11 wins plus at least two more playoff wins seems to indicate a 13 win season or so, which is 7 or more weeks of happy time football than a six win season provides.

Perhaps my “all or nothing days” have simply receded into my youthful past and a pleasant week now has greater value than one pleasant week every four or five years, which is about as much ALL success as salary cap football currently allows. It’s certainly disappointing to fall short of the championship trophy, but nowhere remotely close to the disappointment of your team being weekly NFL roadkill.

Still, much of the joy of being a football fan is the perfectly legal right to hold entirely nut ball expectations and cling adamantly to ridiculous mathematical theorems. It might even be a necessity, given the nut ball world around us that enrages the soul on a daily basis. The primal guy within needs a little Hulk space, a tantrum room, and football fanning provides it.

At any rate, the offseason is heating up, the Scouting Combine is wrapping up, rumors are flying, draft lust is forming, Aldon Smith has not yet been arrested, and the 2014 season is muscling its way onto center stage.

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46 comments on “Rolling the Dice
  1. tonyNo Gravatar says:

    I’ll tell you what Skeebs…when I ‘heard’ of the trade Harbaugh stuff I couldn’t believe it….the team couldn’t be that stupid, can they? And as for the win / loss record….I want our guys to win the Super bowl every year, and losses like this past year to the Seahags made me sick to my stomach….but I’ve been a Niner fan before Bill Walsh took us to the promised land (you know like Joe Thomas era )and like more recently what we’ve lived with prior to Harbaugh’s arrival. (remember when every deep St. Louis threw against our secondary was a touchdown…im content these days because we have a competitive and respected team….yea I want championships….but I’m proud of this team….and im happy with that!!

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Del likes to ask me if I knew we were going to the NFC title game and were going to lose would I take that or a 6-10. My answer is always that I can’t know that so I’ll always take the NFC title game because of the chance to go all the way. But I do understand what he is trying to point out. That the farther you go the tougher the losses are. I’m can handle the defeats in the lay-offs but he is correct about it being more painful the farther you go.

    The reason I say there is no difference between going 6-10 and not winning the SB is because there is only one goal, winning the SB. Skeebers comparison of Billacheat and Harbaugh was right on. I wouldn’t be a very happy Patriots fan these days.

  3. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    I think most of us feel like Skeebs and Tony.
    I like this the makeup and where this is team is or would you rather be where the Raiduhs or the Browns are wallowing?.
    As a Niner backer there was a time when you had to wonder if we’d ever make the playoffs again.
    I temper expectations by remembering the not so good times and we will win more Lombardis.

  4. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    It sure appears that there in an internal power struggle going on inside 49ers HQ. Now I’m hearing that Harbaugh and Baalke ONLY communicate by email amd they can’t ommunicate face-to-face anymore. Throw in the play calling issues during the seaosn, the fact that harbaugh has a contract extension looming, and it makes me nervous.

    Regardless of all of this, the lynchpin to the recent success of the team is squarely on Harbaugh’s shoulders. Could they survive without him? Sure. But most of the coaching candidates are off the table, and Tomsula (or whatever college coach they ping) certainly wouldn’t have a viable coaching staff remotely ready to step in.

  5. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Which means, at least for now, Harbaugh’s in the driver’s seat.

  6. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Which means the question isn’t, do you keep Harbaugh or Kappy (?); the question is do you keep Harbaugh or Baalke?

    AND Harbaugh or Roman?

    Jimbo may be very well gunning for both jobs. Like Big Tuna’s posit years ago that it’s hard to cook a great dinner when you don’t get to shop for the groceries.

  7. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    To think there is nothing to the Harbaugh to Cleveland story is naive, or maybe just wantfull thinking for some.

    Yes, I think I made up a new word!

  8. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Only one ‘l’. But I digress… What came out of this Stairway to Cleveland story is the fact that there’s an internal power struggle in the 49ers front office.

  9. winderNo Gravatar says:

    There are so many rumors flying around that I don’t pay much attention until they happen. As far as dissension in the Niner front office, I think there are good reasons for it. I personally believe we have the better team than Seattle and that we screwed the pooch. But, I also love the football we played last year and we can’t win another SB unless we make the league championship. My biggest concern is Bowman.

  10. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    LB isn’t a worry. I’m sure Bowman will come back near his old self. We have Skuta and Wilhoite behind him, as well as the draft.

  11. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Boldin is deciding between the 2 year and 3 year contracts the Niners have offered him.
    It is also reported that negotiations have started with Whitner
    and his agent at the Combine.

  12. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with what Ray Rotto just said on CSNBA. Don’t re-sign Harbaugh this year, wait until next year. If he wins the SB give him what he wants. If he doesn’t trade him next year for whatever we can get. Ratto thinks it will be Ross of the Dolphins who will call.

  13. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’d call Harbaughs’ bluff too Berger.

    Sure, he can call himself a genius all he wants, he still fell short of the prize.
    Either you appreciate what the 9ers have afforded you in terms of a well constructed roster or, you’re pig-headed enough to think it’s just as easy somewhere else.

    Win the Lombardi, negotiate with better leverage.
    Pete Carroll will get a huge bump now Jim.
    Deal with it.

  14. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Jerruh Jones couldn’t coexist with Jimmie.
    ‘Nuff said about the results of that power struggle.
    Jimmy knew how to identify and Coach personnel.

    Jerruh still thinks he knows better.
    Ego’s are cancer in the high stakes game of NFL football.

  15. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Ratto got his info from LaCanfora of CBS on Miami which is funny since Miami has a head coach (again). Ross would really look stupid if his love for Harbaugh made him hang two of his head coaches, Philbin and Sparano, out to dry. La Canfora is basing his theory to the Dolphins remaining a loser.
    IMO if Allen doesn’t work out for the Raiduhs ( a likely scenario because they have so many holes), I could see them possibly trading for Harbaugh or just waiting 2 years if he doesn’t get an extension and then signing him.
    Raiduh Nation would probably like this more than resigning Chucky Gruden. It would cost about the same in contract dollars.
    Can’t imagine Harbaugh would be unemployed for long if he simply let his contract run out.
    Very simple for the Niner FO if they want to keep Harbaugh they need to extend him.

  16. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    From Pro Football Talk, I’m curious how this would work
    and I consider the source which means this is rumor

  17. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    It’s not very simple, Bullitt. If you haven’t noticed, there’s an immense power struggle going on in the 49ers front office. It affects Baalke, Harbaugh, Marage, and Jed himself. It also affects how the players look at the front office, and how they make THEIR decisions to stay here or not (see: Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Donte Whitner, etc.).

    If it was that easy, they’d have done it already.

  18. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    I’d say “immense power struggle” is a bit of a stretch.

  19. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Ridiculous, Bergs. All or nothing this season? That’s very short-sighted. It took Belichick a while to get shit right. Same with Carroll. And just about every other head coach out there.

    To pull the plug after this season is myopic at best.

  20. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Then you have no idea what’s going on, Skeebs. Unless you think losing Baalke or Harbaugh isn’t a big deal.

  21. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    49ers aren’t losing any of them, Chuck. Not now. Maybe not for a long time. You’re swallowing too hard on the PFT kool-aid.

  22. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    “Give me a Super Bowl Championship or give me death!”
    —Dennis Patrick Henry

    Funny thing is my middle name actually is Patrick.

  23. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Right. Having your GM and HC barely communicating is a good thing.

    Especially leading up to the draft.

  24. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Describe “barely communicating”, Chuck. Along with your source, of course.

  25. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Jason La Confora, CBS Sports.

    The way things are unraveling, when we don’t win the SB again this year I just might get my wish of finishing 6-10.

  26. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    La Confora isn’t the only one reporting this. Kawakami reported it months ago. And here’;s what he says now.

  27. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    From Mike Silver, SI and, who’s been connected in the Bay Area for eons, added Sunday that while those in charge view Harbaugh’s achievements as remarkable, they’re not necessarily going to bend in the face of any pressure when it comes to locking him up with a new long-term contract.

    “We didn’t do that when we hired him in the first place, either,” one top Niners official reminded me on Saturday, referring to the team’s refusal to raise its offer to Harbaugh in the face of a late push (and reportedly sweeter deal) from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. “Why would we run scared?”

    Simply put, the Niners’ brass believes that Baalke has assembled a talented team and is likely to continue making smart roster decisions — and that Harbaugh is hardly the only person who could coach this team to a championship.

  28. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    There’re tensions among egos in every NFL franchise, Chuck. The Kawakami article you reference says this: “I’m told the two men shared thoughts during the combine as they have for the last year.” Doesn’t sound like “barely communicating” to me.

  29. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    This isn’t you run-of-the-mill tension. One of these two will be gone in a year, more than likely.

    If not sooner.

  30. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    This isn’t your run-of-the-mill tension. One of these two will be gone in a year, more than likely.

    If not sooner.

  31. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Sounds like Harbaugh’s ready to go, too.

  32. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Which is it, Skeebs? You say there’s nothing to this. When shown proof, there’s still nothing to this? The point being this isn’t a good time for infighting amongst the front office folks. Not with there being an issue with Marage and Harbaugh as well.

    And it ain’t like this hasn’t happened before. It happened here in 2010 when Scotty McLushoun was kicked to the curb. An no one knew about any problems then.

  33. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Chuck, I never said there was nothing to this. It’s contract posturing time. It’s offseason rumor bloating time. All I’ve questioned is the immensity of the situation. It’ll probably be a non-story in a week or so, and Harbaugh is more likely to sign a new contract than not.

  34. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Harbaugh has one admirable quality.
    He’s passionate about Coaching.

    Workaholic, overzealous-types like him, are never satisfied.
    It’s a blessing and a curse.

    Given the structure Jed put in place before Jim arrived, you can’t allow Jim to dictate policy.

    Jed has to knuckle up with these two and get it addressed.

    If the Browns had some reason to broach the subject about Jims’ services, I’d suspect the Lombardi connection had everything to do with it.

    Sure, Jim has taken this roster into another dimension since he arrived but, the pieces were there, because of Baalke and Marathe getting it built together.

    GMs build the roster, Coaches are paid to organize and get the most from the talent.
    End of story.

    If Harbaugh wants top money, win the top prize.
    Pete bested him when it mattered most.
    Get over yourself Jim.

  35. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NJ- I agree.

  36. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Berger the more I see of Aaron Donald, the less I feel comfortable that we’ll have a shot at him with Pick 30.
    Too bad, he’s an impressive talent.

    I think it’s going to come down to the better grade between a CB or WR now at that Pick.
    We’ll see….

  37. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Aaron Donald’s game film shows that he is a one gapping pass rusher. Those types usually go to 4-3 teams. He does look strong enough to play 3-4 DE. How many reps did he do at the combine?

    If we are looking for a 3-4 De I think we would be looking more at Tuitt or Hageman.

  38. FranchiseNo Gravatar says:

    Anybody know if Baalke was there the last three days of the combine? He sure wasn’t snuggling next to Jimbo like Pete and Schneider in their cozy luxury box. Maybe Baalke is irritated with him always sitting next to his brother and comparing notes.

    Regardless, this armchair scout finished pouring over the DVR tape of WR workouts. There’s been a lot of buzz here regarding Beckham. I’m sold.

    My top five:

    1 // Sammy, Sammy, Sammy

    Gone, gone, gone in the top 10

    2 // Mike Evans

    Love the Texan drawl, swagger, and hands. Asterisk – his hissy fit on the sideline during the first half of the Chik-fil-A Bowl is a flag on maturity. Maybe just an aberration.

    3 // Odell Beckham Jr

    Did he do anything wrong in any of the drills?

    4 // Kelvin Benjamin

    As scouts would say, you can’t teach his size. K-Big will take oodles of coaching and patience to sharpen route running. Don’t buy the critics Jon Baldwin comparisons.

    5 // Brandin Cooks

    I thought my DVR was malfunctioning, because it looked like he was on fast forward compared to the other contestants.

    At the end of the day, which receiver is going to keep Dick Sherman on his heels in coverage.

  39. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Donald put up 35 reps. Top 2 I think from that group.
    32″ Vert
    While also posting a 1.59 10yd split. Very quick, very agile.
    Just small with short arms.

    Having a dynamo like him, to flush and chase guys like Russell Wilson, could be a nice ingredient to add.

    Kareem Martin from UNC did very well also.
    6’6″ 272 4368/40 and an excellent 10yd split of 1.53.
    Martin will make my list after seeing him in Indy.

    No problem with Tuitt either.

    Here’s a good spot to tickle the numbers –

  40. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Kareem did a 4.68/40, didn’t catch the typo –

  41. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    My error again, his Official 40 was 4.72, which still isn’t bad for a guy his size.

    Love the 10yd split of 1.53, which is outstanding.
    , which
    Add that to a 35.5″ vert and 35″ arms makes him my Top Dog in the DE group.

    Not sure Baalke goes with him at 30 but, he might not make it to the end of the 2nd RD.
    Interesting to see what sort of value Baalke will place on him.

  42. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

2021 Schedules
09/12: W 49ers 41, Lions 33
09/19: W 49ers 17, Eagles 11
09/26: L Packers 30, 49ers 28
10/03: L Seahawks 28, 49ers 21
10/10: L Cardinals 17, 49ers 10
10/17 BYE
10/24: L Colts 30, 49ers 18
10/31: W 49ers 33, Bears 22
11/07: L Cardinals 31, 49ers 17
11/15: W 49ers 31, Rams 10L
11/21: W 49ers 30, Jaguars 10
11/28: W 49ers 34, Vikings 26
12/05: L Seahawks 30, 49ers 23 12/12 · 10:00 AMCIN
12/19 · 1:05 PM v ATL
12/23 · 5:20 PM v TEN
01/02 · 1:05 PM v HOU
01/09 · 1:25 PM @ LAR

2021 Draft Class
1. QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
2. OG Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
3. RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State
3. CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan
5. OG/OT Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan
5. CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon
5. S Talanoa Hufanga, USC
6. RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana
2021 Prognostications
Bullit: 12-5
Grumpy: 13-4
NJ49er: 11-6
Skeebers: 14-3
Winder: 12-5
Rob: 17-0
Spitblood: 0-17