By Devin Wright | @TheRealReno
My head hurts and it's swimming with questions right now. Unfortunately, the Niners abysmal coaching search is to blame for all of this, I'm afraid. One moment they seem to have a coach locked up, the next they are interviewing someone's grandfather for the position. By now, I'm having a hard time keeping up with Ian Rapoport, Tim Kawikami, and Mike Silver. With things still very much up in the air, lets take a minute to unpack how we got to where we are today with the 49ers search for a new team leader.
The Monday after the last game of the season, hermit owner Jed York finally spoke with the local media. Jed announced that he was firing rent-a-coach Jim Tomsula after a nightmare 5-11 season, and that the Niners would spare no cost in conducting a search to hire a new coach. One that would return the Niners back to their glory years...of two years ago.
Jed said that he would step aside and allow Trent Baalke and his staff to conduct this search. Odd thing was, the guy running this search was not even at the presser. Hermit doesn't even begin to describe Trent Baalke, but not having the guy who is running the latest disastrous coaching search is beyond odd. Unfortunately, it's how things get done in Niners Land these days.
Quick side note: Trent was later made available to the media that day. When asked about his contract he said he had no idea when the last time he had signed one, or when the contract expired. Local beat reporter Ann Killion was quick to point out that he signed an extension last year that ran until 2018. Trent said he didn't know that. Needless to say this is a total lie to the face of local writers and the public. I point this out because this is the kind of guy the team has placed trust in to make possibly the biggest hire in team history.
The 49ers first spoke with Chip Kelly, the hot name on the market and I believe the coach the fans want the most. Fans like the idea of Chip, his innovative offense, and what he might be able to do with Colin Kapernick. Of course, this meeting didn't go well and I'll make a few assumptions as to why.
1. Chip is known as an odd duck, and as we know, Baalke is a really odd duck. The two of them together seems flammable.
2. Chip had a lot of say in the roster in Philly. Needless to say his moves were terrible, but I believe he still thinks they were the right moves. When a coach gets roster power, it's tough to give it up in his next job. It is doubtful that Baalke would budge.
3. Chip probably mentioned that he wanted to keep Kap on the roster and thinks he could turn Kap back into a star. That is the last thing York and Baalke want to hear. After blaming Kap for the way this season went (first the benching, then not allowing him on the sidelines after shoulder surgery), the 49ers seem to want nothing to do with Kap or his salary.
Next the team talked with Hue Jackson of the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday after the Bengals gut wrenching loss to the Steelers. After a 5 hour meeting, reports came out that Hue was the Niners' number one choice. This was odd considering that Jed, in his press conference, had mentioned that he did not know any sources of leaks to the national media. Just another example of how things work in Santa Clara. Say one thing, do another. Always lie with a bold face.
After texting with a few Niner faithful, people seemed really excited about Jackson. He led an explosive offense in Cincy (even though they were mediocre just last season), and coached Andy Dalton to his most productive season ever. All signs were pointing to our next coach being signed soon.
Of course like most things with this front office, nothing goes according plan, and scramble mode typically goes into effect. Jackson interviewed with Cleveland, and agreed to another meeting with the New York Giants, which is viewed as the most desirable vacancy right now.
So Jed and Trent went to plan B, C, or even D, which was to interview 69 year-old former Giants coach Tom Coughlin. Now Coughlin is indeed a great coach. He has won two Super Bowls, players love him, and he gets a lot out of them. But age is certainly a factor here. Why hire a coach just to have to go through all of this again in a few years? Again, this is York and Baalke only seeing what is right in front of them and and failing to take the more prudent longview.
...(looks at Twitter)
Well now the 49ers are claiming they are slow playing Hue Jackson and are willing to hire others if he does not make a decision soon.
Again, the 49ers Faithful are left to scratch their heads during all of this. It just seems like ownership cannot make a plan that works or one that they can stick to. It should be noted that so far, only one coaching vacancy has been filled up to this point, and that owner meeting about the Rams/Raiders/Chargers move to LA has slowed things down a bit (congrats Raiders fans for one more year in Oakland).
I do not think anyone has any idea how this process is going to turn out. The only thing we do know is that it isn't going to go smooth and a bumpy ride should be expected. One day I hope to wake up from this nightmare. Hopefully sooner than later.
*Note: As of this (Wednesday) morning Hue Jackson has been hired by Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Niners have said that are done interviewing candidates for the time being. Ugh.