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.