With the recent news of the 49ers hiring former Oregon/Eagles, here are the media links (articles, videos, etc) I think cover the Chip Kelly hire the best.
Best Media Links Covering Chip Kelly hire:
Best Article: The case for Chip Kelly in San Fran
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 15, 2016
I keep hearing this sentiment from some of my fellow Niner (on social media boards and forums). Some fans seem to have this idea that Jim Tomsula was given an “impossible job” with the 49ers in 2015. Their message is that he did the best with what he had to work with this season. Clearly this sentiment had spawned from FOX’s NFL commentators during later regular season games. Late in the season, when it was beginning to rumor that Tomsula would be fired, you’d commonly hear the FOX game broadcasters conveying the type of rhetoric indicating that Jim Tomsula had done a pretty good job, and that San Francisco’s disastrous 2015-16 season wasn’t Tomsula’s fault at all.
This completely baffles me. Honestly, you have seriously got to be kidding me. Hearing these so-called “experts” on FOX during the games speaking as if Tomsula shouldn’t be fired just made want to bang my head against the wall. Sure, Jim Tomsula wasn’t given the perfect situation. No, obviously he wasn’t just handed the keys to a Super Bowl caliber roster. For Christ’s sake, what percentage of first year head coaches are handed a Superbowl ready team? At the same same time, even Trent Dilfer said (during the week 1 broadcast), that the 49ers cupboard isn’t exactly bare, as he referenced the young players on defense such as Tank Carradine, Tramaine Brock, Cory Leamonier, and spoke of Navorro Bowman’s return to full strength. So, it’s not like he was handed a roster full of garbage either.
What I find even more ridiculous, the same guys who are eager to give Tomsula a pass, just happen to be the same people who are always eager to criticize Colin Kaepernick the very first chance they got. They never had any problem putting the team’s losses right at Kaepernick’s feet (but always find elsewhere credit the 49ers past successes).
So….Impossible job for Jim Tomsula…
Not impossible for Colin Kaepernick….
But with regard to Jim Tomsula job performance in season 1, are we just supposed to dismiss and ignore the totally unqualified, & downright embarrassing, staff that he put together? Tomsula’s staff was the equivalent of electing a local city councilmen as president of the united states and filling his cabinet with other local mayors. Nobody is going to know what to do because nobody has been close enough to the top guy to even see the job done. And, they’re all going to have to learn as they go, use trial and error, trying to emulate their predecessors.
Are we also supposed to dismiss other mistakes during is tenure. For example, Jim Tomsula choosing to increase Carlos Hyde’s carries in games where the guy was clearly playing through an injury. He rode the new young star till his wheels fell off. Tomsula rode him to the point where it was obvious, by Hyde’s walk, that he was ailing an injury. Hyde couldn’t even make a cut but was still feeding him. I guess we’re not supposed to dock Tomsula any points for gambling with Hydes career. After all, it’s not like he’s one of the team’s brightest young players or anything. But, this led to eventually losing Hyde for the year which could have been just a few weeks had Tomsula considered the consequences. But, who cares, right?
Please let me know if we’re just completely ignoring the following when evaluating Tomsula’s performance;
1. The lame & predictable game plans; unbalanced offensive attack from week to week. After the week 1 win over Minnesota, I was eager to see the game plan for week 2 at Pittsburgh, following a 2000 mile travel after Monday Night. The the run-heavy, ball-control, and screen pass type attack worked so well in against the Vikings. But, this was the Steelers on the road. Surely, they would have to mix it up in order to keep the tenured Mike Tomlin guessing (esp. with no film on Tomsula’s 49ers). However, the game plan in week two (at Pittsburgh) was the exact same game plan as week one (vs. Minnesota) and the Steelers were all over it.
So, after the run heavy plan didn’t work in week 2, it was time to go back across the country to face the Cardinals. This time they went with an absurdly pass-heavy attack early and totally different formations (using the same plays they used in the 2nd half, desperation mode minutes against the Steelers). However, this was against the Cardinals’ top pass rush and elite secondary (& with little practice time and another 2000 miles of travel). Colin Kaepernick’s week 3 performance was by far his worst. Kaepernick’s two horrible pick-6’s to start the game put tomsula back in run-mode and made it hard for any comeback to mount. Kap’s horrible game took the focus of Tomsula’s disastrous coaching strategy (or lack there of) for weeks 2-3. After week 3, it was obvious that this guy was still learning how to game plan on the fly . It was clear he didn’t know how to get the most out of the team personnel.
2. The 49ers often looked uninspired & disinterested from week to week, evoking veteran players like Vernon Davis to voice his displeasure in practice. Reports & rumors stated that the outbursts were directed toward Kaepernick, but there was no real quotes or direct evidence to support it. However, we’ve seen an upset Davis back in 2011 when Mike “I want winners” Singletary (who always demanded respect) sent Davis to the locket room in the middle of the game. What did Tomsula do to handle Davis’s outburst? He ran to mommy and daddy (aka Balkee & York), who went and traded Davis to the Broncos. Davis is now in Denver; jogging through routes, dropping catchable balls, and opening new Jamba Juices branches in the Mile High City. Kaepernick always thrived with speedy, pass-catching tight ends who can help stretch the field. After Davis’s trade, the 49ers offense was left with Vance McDonald (who drops more balls than Davis) and Garret Celek.
3. He did a terrible job of roster management.
Aside from the Carlos Hyde disaster, the 49ers were making questionable roster moves every week…..
-They had new a new return man every other week.
-They activating/deactivated Jarrod Hayne three times and he WAS THE WEEK 1 STARTING punt returner. How can a guy go from top of the depth chart (and third string running back to start the year) to a practice squad player in 4 weeks (when the player only saw 3 or 4 plays of game action)
-He continued to make questionable moves on the offensive line and finally took them 9 weeks to even make an effort to improve the blocking up front.
4. Jim Tomsula made awful use of his challenges (0 for 8 in the first 12 games).
5. There were games where he would choose to give up and punt away the football on 4th down in games where they were down 3 scores in the 4th quarter.
6. His situation play calling was horrendous and showed no ability to adapting to the flow of the game.
Deep route passing plays in games when the opposing pass rush was schooling the offensive line (and the quarterback was getting less then a 1/4 of a second to throw). And of course, Screens and draws when our offensive line was getting good push off the ball.
7. The 2015 49ers showed a lack of discipline; and often made very sloppy and costly penalties on both sides of the ball Commentators would say things like; “That’s just a sign of a young team”.
To me, I just find it baffling that anyone can actually claim he did a good job. His staff and their performance was a total an embarrassment to the 49ers. Sure, it wasn’t the perfect situation.
However, when you are the least qualified of all the candidates and in order to go with you, the team has to get rid of the experienced Vic Fangio, you better do a damn good job and exceed expectations (at least meet them) if you plan on lasting.
8. Benching the starting quarterback out of desperation. To top off the embarrassment of the 49ers, Jim “in-over-his-head” Tomsula thought he was making a Harbaugh-esque type of calculated risk when he decided to bench Kaepernick for Blane Gabbart (a QB with 5 career wins in 4 seasons as a starter). Tomsula thought this would suddenly get this team to make magic, just as Kaepernick did in 2012 for Harbaugh. But, one problem. Gabbart isn’t Kaepernick.
The only effect this reactionary, rookie coaching move had was;
1. It showed that Blaine Gabbart can be a decent QB (but still a backup talent).
2. It proved the QB position was the last position that needed addressing.
But the biggest effect this move had was….
3. It undermined Kaepernick’s position & leadership with the team
4. It allowed more rumors to swirl about the team trading their franchise QB.
5. Sparked Gabbart/Kaepernick comparisons (as if they’re in the same class)
5. Put the magnified glass on the 49ers & made them the NFL’s 2015 punchline.
I’d watch games with friends of other teams like the Eagles, and they would say things like, “I really hope the Eagles go after Kaepernick next season” or “I can’t believe Blaine Gabbart is actually the 49ers Quarterback right now.”
It blows my mind too….No way in hell that a qualified, experienced head coach makes a desperate move like benching the franchise QB in the middle point of the season without an injury. Veteran and savvy head coaches have a long term plan for the personnel they have and can evaluate the talent prior to the start of the season. Quality coaches also get the best out of that talent. Good coaches know that moves like this create all kinds of bad attention, and it effects stability and perception. When Harbaugh switched from Smith to Kaepernick, the circumstances were entirely different. This was during a time when Smith got hurt. Kaepernick was a second year guy they had plans for to eventually become the starter. Kaepernick also out-performed Smith and showed that he as more dynamic of a player.
This season, Kaepernick started the season facing 4 teams who went on to make the playoffs, with cross-country trips (back & forth) between all of them. He also faced this schedule so with a new head coach & new OC who have never even experienced coaching in their respective positions (and we’re learning on the fly). He also had to do this with an new offensive line that lost two pro bowl caliber players, a solid center. But, he also had to be the leader of a team that suddenly had half of their starters departed, and had to do it with everyone saying that this was the year Colin had to prove he was worth his contract. So, who really had the impossible job here?
I believe every fan (if they want to formulate their own unbiased opinion on their team) should watch at least every other game with the TV on mute. Fans should, at the very least, question the TV commentators who spew the same drama-inciting rhetoric from week-to-week. Fans need to understand that the NFL commentators & TV talking heads have opinions like you and I. While they may call themselves experts, their opinions are just opinions and it doesn’t make their views any more paramount than the avid, intelligent fan. In fact, these TV guys have relationships with players and coaches around the league. Therefore, a network TV commentator is more inclined to have a favorable opinion of the players/coaches he likes personally. I honestly don’t see how any avid follower of 49ers football can claim that Jim Tomsula did a good job as head coach in 2015.
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49ers Start Trending Down: 2014 Week 13
Yes, I was just as frustrated as the next with the firing of Jim Harbaugh. I was big fan of Harbaugh from day one. I also believe Jed York made an emotional and irrational decision in 2014. What was even worse, York made this decision before the 2014 season was even over and it derailed the season. By making this emotional decision at a point in the season when the 49ers had a winning record (7-5), he made it even worse. He allowed this decision to be leaked by someone in the front office and the news spread through the team like a cancer.
The word of Harbaugh’s demise, completely derailed the 49ers. It took all the life out of, what could have been, a playoff season. After Week 13 of 2014, Harbaugh was clearly not the same over-prepared, dailed-in, football coach that we knew him to be. After the November 27th loss to the Seahawks, the 49ers displayed an even more uninspired loss to the Raiders. They finished the last 4 weeks of 2014 with an abysmal 1-3 record (killing their chances of another playoff run). It was clear that Jim Harbaugh’s focus was on his next coaching endeavor; preparing for the day when his clock in San Francisco expired.
It is my opinion, that the moment Jed York made this irrational decision and allowed it to leak, all stability with the team went right down the toilet. It’s also the exact moment when Colin Kaepernick’s play (and everyone else’s on the 49ers) went from well above-average (even spectacular at times), to highly mediocre, and then to downright bad at times in 2015. After this day, Kaepernick’s haters in San Francisco quickly began to forget how great he was 2012 & 2013 (as the culture of the NFL makes it easy to do). Unfair or not, anything short of perfection from Kaepernick was not tolerated after 2014.
Rock Bottom: The Embarrassing Jim Tomulsa Era
If you are an avid 49er fan who watches every game & follows the team, you knew in the back of your mind that Jim Tomsula was a horrendous hire. Veteran coaches & players were so inspired by this that it forced team anchors like Anthony Davis, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis into retirement. It also prompted the outstanding Defensive Coordinator, Vic Fangio to seek employment with another team. These retirements & departures were not only unexpected, but they were also untimely in the off-season as front office allowed key pieces of the offensive & defensive line to walk for salary cap budgeting reasons..
Sure, a small part of you may have been hopeful and thought that with some luck, this thing could work out in 2015. But, the truth is, educated 49er fans knew Tomsula was in over is head from day one and this whole thing wasn’t going to end well. It truly was a disaster waiting to happen. It was just a matter of how bad can it get. However, it got even worse than we all thought it could be.
It was even embarrassing to watch at times. After an inspired performance and surprise week 1 win over Minnesota, it was all downhill from there. We all began to see things like;
-Predictable game plans getting dominated by experienced opposing coaching staffs;
-our quarterback(s) getting sacked on a regular basis (ending the season with most sacks given up.
-The 49ers running game being gradually dissipating to virtually non-existant after just 3 weeks.
-Veteran players having to yell at the young ones for lack of discipline.
-Poor use of challenges (going 0 for 10)
But that’s not all. We saw ridiculously poor management of the roster, where Tomsula made questionable moves everywhere. He allowed the bright young running back in Carlos Hyde to play injured, choosing to increase Hyde’s carries on days where the running-back was clearly hurt; as we could see him limping back to the huddle and stopping in his tracks on carries due to the pain of making a cut. As a result, Hyde was eventually placed on IR before the halfway point of the season.
The erratic and questionable roster moves had the all-humiliating icing on them. Tomsula finally made the ultimate coaching gamble. He tried to appease a portion of the 49ers fans who wanted to put this season’s issues all on the shoulders of Colin Kaepernick. He thought he was making a Harbaugh-esque roll of the dice when he benched Kaepernick for a 2-6 record through 8 games (with 5 of them being teams that ended up making the playoffs). While, Blane Gabbart showed so flashes and gave some fans something to talk about, it didn’t make the 49ers any better. Why? Because quarterback wasn’t where the 49ers were failing. They were failing literally everywhere. This move was even more humiliating for fans, Jim Tomsula, Jed York, and anyone who supports the 49ers. The media and game commentators were behind Tomsula because he’s a likable guy. But, this was as bad as a of coaching job since the Dennis Erickson era.
Flat Lining / CPR: Tomsula Fired – Hunt For New Head Coach
2015 is over and thankfully so is the Jim Tomsula era. Many quality coaching candidates are on the market, several of which are very good fits for the 49ers personnel, particularly quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Jed York recently gave a press mea-culpa conference showing some sense of humility as he tries to repair the damage of his biggest regret in 2015. Can the Jed York find the right guy this time around. Hopefully the front office has been thinking about a suitable replacement for most of this season. While some 49ers fans will never give Jed York a second chance in their hearts, I think it’s time we take a breath and hope for the best. Eddie D. would want us too.
As a lifelong 49ers supporter who’s watching the 2015 season unfold, I’m finding it rather discouraging & shameful that some fans are doing the front office’s bidding. I believe fans are buying into this smear campaign orchestrated by the 49ers front office. Clearly the duo of Balkee/York are trying to sell the fan base on the idea that the 49ers are better off without the highly-talented Colin Kaepernick as the starting quarterback.
Currently, a large portion of Niner fans are already buying into this idea that Kaepernick is not a capable starting NFL QB (& that Blaine Gabbart is a better option). As more Niner fans begin to buy into this idea, we are stamping our approval of the front office’s plan to make Colin Kaepernick the scapegoat for this tumultuous 2015 season. It gives the egotistical Trent Balkee a pass for total mismanagement of the coaching staff and overzealous micro-management of the team. Accepting this mediocre management of the team also permits Jed York to put a cheaper, second-tier product on the field while maximizing profits. The idea that Kaepernick is due too much money next year & a may be problem for the team’s 2016 salary cap is absolute baloney. The 49ers are in a great cap situation due to all the departures heading into this season.
With everything that has happened with the 49ers in the last year, expecting a winning 2015 campaign was just unrealistic to begin with. If you had expected Colin Kaepernick to perform at the same level he did in 2012 & 2013, your expectations were totally unrealistic to start the season. Believing he has “regressed” if he doesn’t meet these wildly ridiculous expectations in 2015, is even more nuts.
All of this is total insanity to me. Try to name one starting QB in the NFL over the past 20 years that was benched & then discarded after accomplishing all of the following in 3.5 seasons as a starter;
-4 playoff games in 3.5 seasons as a starter
-Combined 31-22-1 (or better) record w/ an NFC Championship title
-More TD’s than INTs & respectable completion percentage.
-Top tier rushing numbers for a quarterback w/ rushing records broken.
The fact that Colin Kaepernick needs a change in scenery upsets me just as much as Jim Harbaugh’s exit did. It just puts the 49ers on the road to being the organization that nobody with talent wants to play for (or be drafted by) and no quality coach wants to work for.
Last season, the media tried to claim that Jim Harbaugh had “lost the locker room” (citing unnamed sources that were obvious front office “leaks”). Guess what? This is exactly what they are saying with regard to Colin Kaepernick this season. And, guess what? People are buying it again.
When the 49ers beat Baltimore this season, I saw no sign of disconnect between the team and Kaepernick. When they battled the Giants on Sunday Night Football, there was no evidence of a team that didn’t want to play for their quarterback. Just as there was little evidence last year that Jim Harbaugh was losing the team’s respect (players hugging him and giving him game balls), there is no evidence of this with Kaepernick now.
Based on media speculation and rumors, it still appears as if Colin Kaepernick will be on another NFL franchise next season (and more than likely starting). I fully expect him to have success elsewhere when provided with competent/qualified coaching staff, along with a system & the personnel that will allow him to use his talents as a mobile passer. He will end up starting elsewhere. There are many fans of other teams right now that are excited about the prospect of #7 being their teams starting QB.
Kaepernick will likely get the media’s support again with another team & some positive spin will come with it (especially in a big market). Why? Well, because NFL football today is reality TV and in the entertainment business, everyone loves a ‘fall from grace’ story as much as a ‘comeback’ transformation. This is this same reason the media referred to Alex Smith as a ‘game manager’ & “the only weakness on the 49ers’ roster” in 2010-11. Suddenly (after losing his job to Kaepernick) in 2012, Alex Smith was talked about by the media as if he was a top tier quarterback and the savior to the Kansas City offense.
Today, Kaepernick is a hot topic of conversation with the media because of his abilities as a performer, early success, and most importantly, everyone loves the “fall from grace story”. This is exactly why quarterbacks like Ryan Tannihill or Blake Bortles aren’t micro-dissected daily on ESPN (regardless of how poorly they perform). There is no story with those guys until they actually have playoff success (meaning there is no Kaepernick-like ‘fall from grace’ to be had). Blasting quarterbacks like this would just alienate their fans. The media networks know that the NFL today is pure entertainment. To see the “hit rock bottom” Colin Kaepernick re-energize a team and his career is good TV; just as it’s good entertainment to discuss how the quarterback who won an NFC Championship and two division title 2 years ago, has suddenly “regressed” and fell apart.
Football fans are reactionary spectators looking to be entertained. More viewers watch football on TV the same way WWE fans & American Idol fans do. It’s not about the product on the field and the games. It’s about the drama. Football fans are always looking for something worth discussing on social media. The network TV conglomerates today have more stake in the NFL then ever and share a bigger cut of the profits. The media’s job it to keep people talking about the NFL and it’s entertaining dialogue. Many fans can be convinced that a guy like Kaepernick can completely “regress” (and no longer play football at a high level) just as easily as they can be sold on the idea that today’s NFL is less prone to concussions & injuries.
The truth is, Kaepernick is the same guy and the same talent. However, the team around him, the caliber of coaching staff, the supporting game plans & his overall support from the front office & fans is what has “regressed”. This young QB has all the tools and has been completely mismanaged by an inept coaching staff that is learning on the job. To see Kap get tossed out with the garbage makes me sick as a 49er supporter.
And, for god’s sake, please don’t try telling me Kaepernick “can’t throw a touch pass” because we’ve all seen throw great touch passes in big games. And, don’t spew nonsense that he can’t read defenses and is a wildly inaccurate passer. All educated Niner fans have all see him in big games making great reads & great throws into small defensive holes and shredding even top defenses with game-changing plays.
More and more 49ers fans are suddenly allowing Kaepernick to be scapegoated by the front office. This less than one year after the front office lost some popularity when they pushed Jim Harbaugh out the door. For 49ers fans to be wishing Kaepernick ill is just plain wrong. The ones who think he isn’t an NFL caliber starting QB (or believe he can’t be a winning starting QB once again) will be in for a surprise when he’s the comeback poster child on ESPN (while playing in a major market city, such as Philadelphia).
It disappoints me that our fans are actually buying into this “we need to move on from Kap” narrative . I watched as fans demanding high level QB play from Kaepernick who was stuck with a new coaching staff and team with more than 10 starting player departures (which opened over 30 million in cap room).
Now, the commentators & fans sit back and watch Blaine Gabbart at the helm, but unlike Kaepernick, they watch him with no expectation of winning. Simple praise is given for just being competitive. Gabbart has been playing the past three games and his quarterback play has been fairly pedestrian. Even the losing performances by Gabbart are suddenly being perceived as a positive. Don’t kid yourself, The past three 49ers games had no shortage of;
-squandered red zone appearances
-below average scoring with stalled drives
-risky throws & near interceptions bouncing off defenders chests
-overall losing record
These things are suddenly kosher to many 49ers fans & the TV commentators praising mediocre play as being uplifting. However, had the exact same performances the past three weeks been made by Colin Kaepernick (instead of Blaine Gabbart), the reaction from everyone would be different. The color commentators and analysts would be picking apart the quarterback play and dissecting every mistake & missed throw. The last three games by Gabbart are exactly the type of games that Kaepernick has been crucified for during the past two years. However, they are the same types of performances that even top level starters have. Even the best QB’s in the game have bad weeks, months, or even full seasons. Kaepernick, the past two years, has played just under .500 ball and we’re ready to throw him out.
After watching two decades of the pre-millennial winning years in 49er history (80’s and 90’s), I then watched over a decade of losing football in San Francisco. I watched the front office play the QB/coaching carousel game. I watched them unsuccessfully try to find a suitable head coach and quarterback (over and over again). Many Niner fans even patiently allowed six losing seasons to Alex Smith as quarterback (me included) before determining that he wasn’t the long term solution. And, those were the years when a record of 7-9, 8-8, and 9-7 would win the NFC West division. These were times when Seattle & Arizona were mediocre-to-bad football teams. During these losing years I dreamed of the day of having a coach like Jim Harbaugh and starting quarterback like Colin Kaepernick (which it what was always missing). In 2011, it took Harbaugh just one start with Kaepernick to see that he had a better option on the bench.
After Colin Kaepernick is officially done with his Red and Golf uniform, 49ers fans will eventually be ready to put the blame entirely on York for what has transpired this past year. However, after Kaepernick is gone, the 49ers will no longer be a remotely interesting watch to the neutral NFL viewer. With that, can expect the Niners to get as much favorable officiating from the league as the Bills, Raiders, & Jags. You got a good glimpse of this in Week 12’s loss to the Cardinals. Then, expect to see them get zero national coverage. As a result, we can expect the NFC West to continue making punching bags out of us for many years to come. It seems 49ers more fans are becoming comfortable with this idea.
With Harbaugh & Kaepernick came relevance, excitement, and winning. After just 3 brief years with this duo, it looks like the second half of the pair will also be discarded so the front office can save face……at which time, the 49ers will sink further into the abyss of football irrelevance (where pedestrian performances are seen as a “good sign”). I’m not sure about most, but this Niner die-hard is already missing Colin Kaepernick.
Until this team finds a another talented QB such as Kaepernick, and a competent head coach, like Jim Harbaugh, we will continue to watch overall “regression” of the Niners on Sunday’s.
Check back later for more….