Everybody in the world seems to assume Jim Harbaugh will not return for a fifth year as 49er HC. If that’s because he wants to leave, then so be it. It’s his life, he can do what he wants. However, if it’s because Jed York and/or Trent Baalke want him out, then that’s another matter.
It’s easy to understand why Harbaugh would want out. He’s done a stupendous job in his time as HC, yet gets almost no public support from the boys at the top. And every time there’s a PR crisis, Jed Boy and Trent Garbo are nowhere to be found, leaving Harbaugh to deal with the wolves of the media, often without necessary information. But when the team lays an egg against the Seahawks, the first guy to grab a mike and boo is York. And boo to you too, Jed.
OTOH, if York and Baalke are pushing Jim out the door, you have to wonder what kind of criteria these two have for Head Coach. Harbaugh is the most successful first time HC in NFL history. It’s been a down year for the team, with a never ending rash of injuries to deal with, as well as a constant stream of Harbaugh-is-gone rumors and team morality media assaults, but the 49ers will most likely still finish with a winning record. That’s a better effort than Baalke, who completely whiffed on the entire 2012 draft class. That’s a Dwight Clark GM level performance. And it’s way, way better than the 2003-2010 teams, which NEVER had a winning record, let alone 3 title game trips and an SB appearance.
Baalke has also failed to draft even one impact player for the offense during his tenure. He’s brought in three WRs, two this offseason, via free agency, but not one of the WRs has scary speed — the one glaring element missing from the offense. Vernon Davis used to provide some speed, but he’s been slow and MIA all year. When all you’ve got is four possession WRs, you need a QB who plays the possession game. Baalke traded that guy. The guy we kept needs a WR like Desean Jackson.
Perhaps Harbaugh’s greatest failure then is not making Baalke look good enough. After all, the only threat to Baalke’s job is Harbaugh. When you’ve got a kid running the franchise, he’s going to be a follower, not a leader. Baalke has York in his pocket, and now evidently wants a more kiss ass and less megawatt personality than Harbaugh.
Of course, I could be FOS. It’s all just speculation at this point. And if the Niners don’t win the next four games, the speculation that has lingered at the fringes of the team all year will burst into prominence and be all that’s left of the 2014 season.
IOW, the blogosphere will return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, with a dysfunctional franchise getting ripped high, wide, and ugly.