Well, it’s a new day, a new year, and a new vacancy. Jimmy (bag-of-donuts) T got the heave-ho yesterday. The Jimmy T era started with a solid win over a good team, and ended with a ‘thrilling’ OT win over a division rival. That’s the good news. The bad? Well, they were 3-10 in those other pesky games.

But this isn’t about Jimmy the fall guy. This is about the recent announcement that Trent Baalke, the architect behind the talent drain and likely the biggest source of Jim Harbaugh’s disgruntlement, was just given the green light to lead the search for our head coach.

Ahhh, well. Welcome to my nightmare.

I mean, yes, lets let the guy whose draft record is fair to awful pick the next head coach.

I don’t even want to get in to the problems we had last year when Jed York apparently put the kibosh on the Adam Gase hiring because of Jed’s insistence that Gase accepts Jimmy Donuts as his DC, and not Vic Fangio.

Granted, ol’ Adam is likely thanking his lucky charms he’s not here, but he didn’t fare very well in Chicago either. Losing to the Niners isn’t a crowning achievement. Neither is going 6-10 for a team that was gunning to improve their offense. One with Matt Forte and  Alshon Jeffrey in the stable. 23rd in scoring? Ouch.

Man, I dont know.  I hope beyond hope we can pry Sean Payton away from N’Orleans. Worst case scenario? Chip Kelly. Naturally, this will be what happens. If so, there will be riots in Santa Clara.

Even still, a tiny part of my brain wants to see what Chip and Kappy could come up with in a crazy-ass no-huddle pistol offense. Probably we go 3 and out faster than any team in history (20 punts per game), but hey, at least it would be more exciting than this last year of BORING mundane plodding offense that was torture to watch.

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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80 Responses to Freefallin’

  1. Lurker John says:

    Chuck, I posted this on the Flap, I just want to get some takes from the football junkies over here.

    My take on the Niners taking a QB in the draft:

    The Titans don’t figure to draft a QB after grabbing Mariota last year. He looks like he’s going to be a good one.

    The Browns are two years into the Manzeil era and I wonder if they’d use a top pick for a QB for the second time in three years. My guess is no.

    The Chargers have Philip Rivers, who is 34, so they well be looking for the next guy to take over. I don’t know the entirety of the QB class this year, but I thought I heard a couple of other names in addition to Goff’s. The Bolts may well take him.

    The Cowboys are in the same boat with Romo at 35, who’s a talented but injury prone quarterback. They also might grab Goff if he’s still on the board.

    The Jags have Blake Bortles who just finished a very nice season (35 TD’s, 4,400 yds passing and he’s young), so I don’t think they’re in the running for another young QB

    The Ravens have a 30 year old Joe Flacco who’s coming off a down year. They might want a young QB but I think they have bigger holes to fill on defense. You know their D is bad when a pathetic 49er offense can score 20+ points on them.

    Our Niners. They did themselves no favors by winning yesterday, but if word ever got out that they had intentionally tanked a game, the entire York regime would be finished in the NFL or any other league. This is professional sports, not boxing or big time wrestling. You play to win or you don’t play. In other words, the win is moot. Enjoy it, take the good from it and try to build on it.

    I think the Niners would have been hard pressed to get Goff anyway at #5 if the Browns, Chargers or
    Cowboys decided they need a young QB to be groomed for the future.

    Like I said, I don’t know much about this year’s QB crop and Goff is no guarantee, though he looks like a damn good risk. Unless they trade up, I don’t think they get him at #7 or #5. It may be best just to really focus on seriously beefing up the middle of the O-line with some top talent. Anthony Davis is reportedly coming back and he’s still in his mid-20’s. If he does and his teammates welcome him back, not a forgone conclusion, I’d be looking at guards, centers and some goddamn wideouts.

    My biggest concern is fucking Baalke. I don’t trust him as far as I can spit to make any good offensive draft picks. That dude must have pictures of young Jed in bed with a donkey, because he’s dug in like an Alabama tick. What does it take to get him out of there?

  2. Lurker John says:

    With Baalke assured of coming back, all we can hope for is that he hires an offensive-savvy coach to guide him into making the right draft picks, because clearly the biggest holes the Niners have are on offense. And no Chip Fucking Kelly.

  3. Lurker John says:

    And Chuck, that’s OUR nightmare. lol

  4. unca_chuck says:

    I’m with you on Baalke, as I’ve stated a lot of times . . . I have zero confidence in him going forward, but go forward we must.

    Yeah, I had higher hopes before we won yesterday of being able to land Goff without trading up. Funny thing is, this draft looks a lot like the 2005 draft where we had a spread QB in Alex Smith, and a pro-style QB (from Cal, no less) in Aaron Rodgers coming out as the top 2 guys. We know what happened there as Rodgers fell to 23 as 2005 wasn’t seen as a strong QB draft. Rodgers begs to differ.

    Here’s the draft order, top 10. I did a similar write-up on this a couple weeks ago, but the draft order has changed so here’s my take. And yeah, it’s similar to yours.

    1 Tennessee Titans 3-13 0.188
    2 Cleveland Browns 3-13 0.188
    3 San Diego Chargers 4-12 0.250
    4 Dallas Cowboys 4-12 0.250
    5 Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11 0.313
    6 Baltimore Ravens 5-11 0.313
    7 San Francisco 49ers 5-11 0.313
    8 Miami Dolphins 6-10 0.375
    9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-10 0.375
    10 New York Giants 6-10 0.375

    The consensus seems to be that Tenn takes Paxton.

    Cleveland? They seem to be souring on Johnny Eightball, at least that’s the scuttlebutt coming out of Cleveland, but who really knows? they play the GM-fuck-a-row leak-info game like the 49ers. They may just be jockeying for trade-down bait (re:us), but I really don’t see them drafting yet another 1st round QB though. They need defensive help.

    The thing about San Diego is they just signed Rivers to a huge extension, so I’m not sure if they’re of a mind to take a big leap like that this year. I could see them taking a later-round flier on a guy like Connor Cook fro Mich St. Regardless of his cotton bowl disaster. SD gave up a shitload of points so I think they go defense.

    Dallas? Well, I was hoping Cassel or Weeden would show better to dissuade Dallas from needing a QB, and/or winning more games than we did. But that didn’t happen. I can see them taking Goff. Then again, they are hurting on defense as well, and this last season showed that. They famously passed on Johnny Screwball last year, so maybe cooler heads are prevailing in Dallas, and they go for immediate need again and pick a linebacker.

    Jax is good with Bortles.

    Balt? Again, QB is not their biggest need. They are another team in search of defense.

  5. Winder says:

    I didn’t see any fire in Jed’s interview and by not firing Baalke said we can look for the same next year. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Like someone posted earlier that all we can hope for is an HC that knows offense. We have so many fucking holes that Baalke gotta bat at least .800 with the draft and FA. I’m not gonna hold my breath. Also, i don’t think Kap will be back next year.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    But leave it to Baalke and we draft a placekicker . . .

  7. Lurker John says:

    Winder, I also the think the Niners will pass on Kap’s $13.7M option. It makes no sense to pay it out after this train wreck of a season, especially given how bad Kap was. Gabbert was at least marginally serviceable. Maybe they try to restructure his contract (I don’t even know if they can), but I’d guess that some other team snaps him up. With our luck it’d be the damn Seahawks.

    • Nipper says:

      Yeah say goodbye to Kap. I wish we had a new GM. Baalke doesn’t do it for me.

    • Winder says:

      Yeah, he did screw up pretty badly this year and he has to be held accountable but just like chuck said, there isn’t a qb in this league that would have done well with our OL. Gabbert is not even a DeBerg, during his years our defense was a total sieve.

  8. unca_chuck says:

    The on;y thing I’ll say in Kappy’s defense is the line was not even close to serviceable under Kappy. Kappy faced harder competition as well. 2-6 vs 3-5 is what it is. But Gabby could have very easily lost 2 of the games against shittier teams (Bears, Rams).

    Gabbert is a placeholder. We won;t pay Kappy that kind of money to sit. Which is why we need to go after a QB.

  9. Nipper says:

    They need a new GM and a new direction. How are they going to attract a top coach without changes at the top? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • Winder says:

      Hey nip- being a cross-blogger isn’t like being a cross-dresser, is it? I sure hope not. I don’t have the money to afford all those clothes.

      • Nipper says:

        I was going to kid you about that. Those guys over there take themselves very seriously. I guess I’m on their shit list.

  10. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, that was pretty funny. Skeebies blog could use a little Nipper now and then. The whole lockstep thing is a bit off-putting.

  11. unca_chuck says:

    Kappy to have thumb surgery? Getting a 2nd opinion, but why didn’t they see this earlier?

  12. Winder says:

    just when you think it’s done then here we go again

  13. Lurker John says:

    I saw that on ESPN, Kap fucked up his thumb as well. I don’t what the hell he’s been waiting for though. Get it fixed and move on.

  14. 12th Man says:

    Tough crowd here today.

    York stood up alone and was contrite, admitted his mistakes, showed humility, said he would stand aside this time and let the football guys (Baalke, Gamble) do what they need to do, said they are free to spend the whole salary cap if necessary, apologized earnestly to the fan base and accepted responsibility for this sad sack season, said he will not be a distraction via twitter etc, acknowledged the fans anger and even the planes flying overhead talking shit about him.

    What more can you expect him to do? What other owner eats crow in front of the world? Takes a man to do that.

    The question is can Baalke and Gamble, given a really free hand, deliver a solid coach and hit it out the park in the draft as Jed says they need to.

    Another thing I liked Jed did was fire Tomsula last night. Recognizing his mistake and taking action immediately.

    Will any of it work? Who knows. Lots to unfold before we can even guess at it, but other than firing Baalke too, who is under contract until 2018, and which may or may not improve the situation, I think Jed has shown more balls than I thought he had.

  15. 12th Man says:

    From Baalke:

    He also takes blame for a shitty 2012 draft and not doing enough in free agency last year, O line anybody?

    Seems clear he has been told, get it right this time or you’re a goner too.

  16. Irish Kevin says:

    Just watching sports talk live on COmcast sports net bay area, I didn’t catch everyone’s name but they all agreed the Niners need a Strong Offensive minded head coach or he has to hire a strong minded Offensive coordinator!! Someone who knows the current NFL. I will continue to preach this. In the NFL if you can’t pass you will not win. In today’s NFL a team can run up and down the field all day long, but if your team falls behind by 14 points or greater, you better be able to pass the ball, and that means down the field, not screens or little 5 yard passes!!

    • 12th Man says:

      No question, have to have a quality passing game to go with a solid running game to cover all eventualities.

    • Nipper says:

      5 yard passes should be declared an abomination and illegal forever more or dink and dunk passing.

  17. 12th Man says:

    I read earlier today that Baalke favors Hue Jackson and now they have asked permission to interview. Amy Trask, ex of the Raiders, defended Jackson and said he dealt with stuff not known outside the building when he was there.

  18. unca_chuck says:

    Hue’s OK. I’d rather have Payton.

    Jed could do a lot more. Like stop hiding when the shit goes bad. Stop leaking shit to the media regarding his coaches. Get football people in the building and not his frat buddies.

    For starters.

    • 12th Man says:

      I prefer Payton too.
      He wasn’t hiding today. I think he was doing his best to not be an interfering owner.
      I don’t know he is leaking anything but Paraag is gone.
      He has Baalke and Gamble. You may not like them but they are experienced football guys.
      I think what they need is a Carmen Policy type, not GM day to day, but over seeing the big picture football operations and franchise direction.
      Jed is a young executive, give him time. If he backs up what he said today I see reason to be optimistic. I have seen Baalke have a great draft, a shit draft and a mediocre draft. Its hard to add high skill level players to a stocked roster especially when you draft later in the rounds. This year Baalke doesn’t have that excuse, he picks early and the team has needs in most areas. I hope he leans on Gamble, he has a good reputation for talent evaluation.


      About the only place they have quality depth is safety.

      • unca_chuck says:

        I disagree with most of this. NE has stayed competitive for years drafting low. Pittsburgh as well. We had huge holes last year and Baalke ignored them. He should have gone after any number of WRs available. He should have drafted a QB in the last couple drafts. He has done nothing for this offense except for Boldin.

        Hyde may work out but as of now he’s damaged goods that has yielded little.

  19. NJ49er says:

    Simple math for me in the NFL –
    Protect the QB
    Sack the QB

  20. 12th Man says:

    O line makes it all work, RG and passing. Shitty O line, shitty O, but I thought the final few games they were playing at a decent level finally.

  21. unca_chuck says:

    KGabbert gets us nowhere. Protection or no.

    We need a QB much higher than the 6th round. Unkess you think we’re going after Kurt Cousins.

    • 12th Man says:

      Gabbert is a place holder and Kap is under contract. A lot will depend on who the new coach is as to what happens with those 2. Either way they should draft a QB and should have done it before.

      My biggest gripes about Baalke are he picks BPA ignoring need and he drafts too many injured guys for future need. He underestimated todays needs.
      Free agency last year was a bust too with his big names Bush and Dockett adding nothing.

      The list of needs above aren’t in draft order. I expect they take a QB in the first 4 rounds. I doubt in the first unless whoever is the draft darling at the time unexpectedly slips.

      New England has Brady, an elite QB who makes the rest of his team better and Bellicheat, Those 2 are arguably the best in football. In addition they play in a perennially weak division.

      Pittsburgh is similar to a lesser extent.

      It proves the concept of the need for an elite QB teamed with excellent coaching and all things being equal a competent GM can place enough talent around the QB to do well on O without it being top tier talent although Pit also has arguably the best WR paired up with Ben.

  22. Nipper says:

    In conclusion: Jed has got to make dramatic and positive moves to improve this football team. Promises without action are meaningless. Baalke is lucky he did not walk the plank with Tomsula. Very lucky indeed.

  23. snarkk says:

    To get to the playoffs, either have an elite defense, or an elite QB. That is the rule in the NFL. When Harbs was around, the Niners had an elite defense. They won by holding down the opposition, and using ball control to score enough points to win. The Niner’s salad years were with elite QBs, when the league didn’t even favor throwing the ball as much as now. Draft a QB, and use the rest of the picks to build around the guy for the future. Get an offensive coach in here that can offset Baalke’s idiotic penchant for picking crap wideouts and injured dudes…

  24. 12th Man says:

    Lowell on Jed and Baalke:

    Thats how I saw it too.

  25. Nipper says:

    Baalke in the crosshairs…………Clint squints and utters quietly “make my day.”

    • 12th Man says:

      Article is behind the paywall but it says the same as the longer Baalke interview I posted above. He says a 5-11 team is not all coaching, he blew the free agents last year and he blew the 2012 draft.

  26. 12th Man says:

    Seems pretty clear that if Baalke doesn’t deliver in the draft, free agency and coaching he won’t see the end of his own contract. He has been given enough rope now.

  27. unca_chuck says:

    Here’s the article:

    The day after the 49ers parted with Jim Harbaugh, general manager Trent Baalke said the loss of the ultra-successful head coach didn’t mean the franchise would lose its way.

    “This isn’t a rebuild situation,” Baalke said. “This is a reload situation.”

    On Monday, 12 months, 11 losses and one fired head coach later, Baalke wasn’t talking about reloading, but reflecting. He acknowledged that he’d learned a lot in a challenging year.

    “You get humbled by decisions you make that you think are going to work,” Baalke said. “You think you’re making them for the right reasons and some don’t work. Whether that’s a draft pick, or whether that’s free agency, whether that’s a coaching hire. Every decision you make is going to get scrutinized, and rightfully so.”

    Baalke has made enough questionable decisions that there was speculation he could be fired with head coach Jim Tomsula, who was relieved of his duties Sunday night. In fact, CEO Jed York addressed Baalke’s job status — and implied Baalke needed to raise his performance — in his opening comments Monday morning.

    “Trent Baalke will remain the general manager of the 49ers,” York said. “Trent understands that I’m not satisfied with the current state of this team.”

    Baalke acknowledged his role in the 49ers’ season, noting, “When you’re 5-11, it’s not all coaching.” Baalke specifically mentioned his seven-man 2012 draft class (no players remain on the roster) and this past season’s no-impact free-agent class. There have been other missteps. Since 2011, Baalke has had 50 draft picks, including 17 in the first three rounds, and outside linebacker Aldon Smith is the only selection to make a Pro Bowl.

    “There are things that we need to do better,” Baalke said. “Anytime you’re sitting answering these types of questions, it’s obvious you need to do better.”

    Baalke’s first step: Hire a head coach.

    As expected, the tight-lipped GM didn’t disclose many details regarding the search, but he did say the 49ers would be seeking someone with more experience after hiring Tomsula, who had not been an NFL coordinator. (“I think ‘experience’ is a good word,” Baalke said.)

    In addition, Baalke said the 49ers did not have any in-house candidates for the opening after Tomsula and then-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio were interviewed last year. That is notable in that defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, the former head coach of the Jets and Browns, was viewed as a possible candidate.

    It’s quite possible the 49ers are seeking an offensive-minded coach to repair an offense which scored 238 points, the fewest in the NFL since 2012. In fact, NFL Network reported Monday that the 49ers had requested permission to interview Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. The Dolphins also have requested an interview with the former Oakland head coach, who won’t be available until after the Bengals’ wild-card game against the Steelers on Saturday.

    “We hired Jim Harbaugh, and we hired Jim Tomsula,” Baalke said. “Some would say one was a strong hit and the other one was a miss. That’s the game we’re in. You’re going to make mistakes, and if you learn from them, that’s what you hope to do. … We’ve got to get this one right.”

  28. unca_chuck says:

    My point is the tipping point has been reached.

  29. unca_chuck says:

    Per Jed’s presser, at least the scribes finally asked some tough questions.

    • 12th Man says:

      Yeah they let him have it more than usual and he deserved it. What I liked about it was he took it. I can’t think of another owner that put themsef through something like that. By definition they are huge egomaniacs.

      I think they have to get a “name” coach at this point and likely not from college, can’t afford another “risk”.

  30. Winder says:

    Should be interesting at least. Everything is gonna depend on who our HC is and more than likely who our HC wants as coaches

  31. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, Jed is definitely in a position of weakness based on the recent events.

    As is Baalke. Trent and Harbbauh couldn’t get along to the detriment of everyone in the front office. Jim played his part in the mess, but but Jed and Trent are above him in the hierarchy, and should be the ones trying to fix things but neither took the time to figure shit out.

    These last 2 seasons have basically been a waste of time. Neither draft was very good, and here we sit looking for a coach again.

    I wholeheartedly agree that they need to get a name coach though.

    I see we are interviewing Mike Shanahan. Bullshit on that.

  32. unca_chuck says:

    Niners are setting up an interview with former Niner Anthony Lynn, Bufallo’s RB coach.

    Hmmmmm. Not as earthshaking as Aean Payton to say the least.

  33. unca_chuck says:

    With Trent in the building, we are not in any way shape or form better. Hire Sean Payton and I’ll feel a sense of hope. If we hrie Shanahan, either father or son, we are joke city.

  34. unca_chuck says:

    Funny how Buwwitt and Bakkentom feel the same way about Jed’s mea culpa. Shocking.

    • rob says:

      Peyton or shanahan please
      Things are going to turn around quickly guys.
      We have the 7th pick and tons of cap room and a boatload of picks

  35. rob says:

    York said he has been leaning heavily on his uncle Eddie DeBartolo, the Niners’ former owner who ran the team when it won five Super Bowl titles but had to give the franchise
    York says the call included many expletives from Debartolo

  36. Lurker John says:

    Snarkk, let’s not forget the defenses the team had during those salad years. The did not just do it with elite QB’s. During their best years they had powerful defenses as well, and for proof of that you can ask any of their SB opponents. They were always underrated on D and always better than they were given credit for, usually top 5 or better statistically.

    The 49ers always had world-class pass rushers, O lineman, D lineman, linebackers and secondary personnel. Some of the best to play those positions during that era. The idea that they were strictly an offensive “finesse” (I always hated that term) team is BS. The truth was their best teams were physical and aggressive, on D and on O and ST.

    Football teams are built from the inside out. Without strong line play on both sides of the ball, no team will ever get to the promised land. That is where Baalke needs to focus, clearly more on the offensive side than the defensive side. While still young, there is some talent on the D-line. More depth there and pure pass rushers are needed as much as anything, IMO. Probably more depth at ILB and in the secondary as well.

    Assuming AD comes back at right tackle, Baalke needs to get some young, top-flight talent on the OL, be it through the draft or free agency.

    I think the above comments are correct, this is it for Baalke and I also agree that Jed has made that clear to him. All the moves he makes this offseason, from head coach through the draft and free agency had better contribute to getting this franchise back where it belongs.

  37. Lurker John says:

    Forget Kelly, Shanahan (he’s too damn old) or any position coach. Been there, done that. Payton would be the golden goose for me, local boy returning home to raise the phoenix from the ashes. I’m very tepid on Hue Jackson, but I admit to not knowing all that much about him and from what I’ve been reading, he’s very well-regarded around the league. He’s also an offensive-minded guy.

    I like to think that as bad as things have been around the franchise the past couple of years, even they would not seriously consider hiring Chip Kelly. I think he’s a one-trick pony myself and would hate to see him hired. You get Payton and let him bring in his own coaches (that’s directed at you, Baalke) and things are starting to look up almost immediately. He knows how to run a football team. He’s smart offensively and he knows how to delegate to his coaches. He’s a champion. What’s not to like? Just gotta pry him away from the Ain’ts.

  38. Lurker John says:

    12th, I have to give it to you, you may be the only guy I’ve come across in the past year to give York any kind of positive commentary. Kudos for that, because I think he deserves it for coming clean. Coming out like he did, albeit maybe a day late, and coming clean is exactly what needed to happen. I agree with a lot of what you said and it does give me hope for him developing into a better executive.

    He can start by keeping his fingers out of the football side of the pie and letting the football guys handle it, like Paul Allen does. I live in Seattle and hardly ever hear about the guy and that ain’t no joke. He put his guys in place and he’s smart enough to let them do their thing. Seems to be working.

    Baalke has his orders. Fuck this one up, Trent, and you’re going to get your pink slip.

  39. unca_chuck says:

    My fear is this is a lame duck year for Baalke and we tread water. Regardless of a coaching change. I suppose if we grow toward something it’ll be fine but it’s going to be a long off-season.

    • Nipper says:

      Baalke looks like dead meat.

    • Lurker John says:

      We’ll know more about Baalke’s effect on potential hires once they do nail down a head coach. Everyone keeps saying they can’t get a good coach because no one wants to work under Baalke. If that’s true, he’s already toast, but if he can get someone like Payton or any of the highly regarded assistants out there, we’ll know much of that was overblown.

      Either way, after York’s presser I now believe that if he chokes it this time he’s gone. It may be a long offseason, but it should be interesting.

  40. Nipper says:

    No to retreads. God I’m sick of these guys. They hang around year after year like ghouls from the past trying to fuck up the future. They had their day. Goodbye.

  41. unca_chuck says:

    Interesting in a train wreck kind of way.

    And this is where Jed has to intervene. If Trent says I’m controlling the draft, no ifs ands or buts, no one but a greenie will come here to coach (see Nolan, Mike; Singletary, Mike; Bagadonuts, Jimmy).

    As far as finding a coach goes, the Saints want a 2nd round pick for Payton. And money talks. Payton would take something like $9-10 mill to sign. Like a 5/$45-$50 deal.

    Given Baalke’s record with draft picks, I’d say do it.

  42. Winder says:

    me too. Getting payton would be a real start to something. But we will probably get shanny.

    • Nipper says:

      How about Bozo the clown? Niners could always do worse. As for Drafts Bozo could probably give Trent a run for his money. Trent must have a bottle of hooch on draft day for all the misses.

  43. unca_chuck says:

    Fuck. I’d rather have KKKelly rather than Shanny.

    New thread is up.

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