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I’ll stand down by the door and catch the headsetted men when they dive from the fourteenth floor

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Jed York — may he remain in charge of the 49ers in perpetuity — has fired Chip Kelly (in a classless way, natch) and post-postmaturely fired Trent Baalke. We’ve been through this before, but the recent sequence of major 49ers decisions is one of the most astoundingly inept you’ll ever see outside of a Republican administration:

  • The 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh, who immediately proved himself one of the best coaches in football, turning a 6-10 team into an instant contender, ultimately getting within one play of a Super Bowl and another play from a Super Bowl appearance.
  • There was a power struggle between Harbaugh and the legendarily incompetent GM Baalke. The Yorks sided with…Baalke.  It’s amazing. As Tanier puts it,Baalke Deficiency Syndrome is caused by years of Baalke‘s boldly counterintuitive drafting, mixed with the kind of blatant boardroom skulduggery that makes a franchise unappealing to both its own veterans and available free agents. Baalke gave Kelly a roster with little that was even worth damaging.”
  • Did they get rid of Harbaugh to hire a coaching super-prospect? Nope — they promoted a company man who had never even been a top-level coordinator.
  • They were so committed to the company man they pushed out a great coach for that they fired him after one year, and to replace him handed over the worst roster in the NFL to a coach who is an outstanding tactician but a dubious judge of talent (although, to be fair to Chip, he’s still a better judge of talent than Baalke.)
  • They finally recognized the obvious and fired Baalke, which practically required them to fire yet another coach after a year as well. How does their third attempt at replacing one of the 3 or 4 best football coaches in the country look? Well:

The 49ers want to recreate their “championship culture,” but they’re apparently trying to do so on a budget as well.

Whether or not it’s connected to the buyouts they’re paying Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, the list of candidates emerging so far certainly leans toward the young and less expensive.

Via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the list of candidates includes Seattle offensive line coach and former Raiders head coach Tom Cable, Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn, Jaguars interim coach Doug Marrone and Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, along with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

So a failed former Raider head coach and current offensive line coach presiding over a world-historically terrible offensive line, a guy with less than a full season as an offensive coordinator whose head coaching experience consists of losing by 20 points to a 5-11 team, a somewhat more experienced former Bills retread, a guy with one year of experience as a defensive coordinator, and Mr. Josh McDaniels.  Have I mentioned that I hope Jed York stays in charge of the 49ers forever?

Some other Black Monday notes:

  • McDaniels seems to be getting actual interviews this time, although I think he’d be even crazier to take any of those jobs than the teams would have to be to hire him.
  • Good deep dive into the Age of Rex by Jenny Vrentas.
  • It’s hard to know what to make of Chip Kelly at this point, but I’d say he deserves another shot as a head coach. The 49ers were a hopeless situation, and seemed to do a better job with player management — despite the firing being leaked the team played hard for him in the final game and there didn’t seem to be a lot of grumbling. The problem with someone whose strength is more in tactics than team-building is that it’s hard to find the right fit; organizations with coaching vacancies are more likely to have issues with the latter. I bet the Titans would be in the playoffs had they hired him, though. (The Tanier article linked above is a good case for skepticism.)
  • On reflection, I think I was too dismissive of Kubiak yesterday. The record he compiled with Houston feat. Matt Schaub looks pretty impressive in retrospect. And while Phillips deserves a lot of credit for the Broncos winning a championship with unprecedentedly bad QB play (play that, as we now know, was definitely not Kubiak’s fault), we should also remember that he had been out of work for a year: not every coach of a contending team is willing to bring in a star coordinator and work with him effectively. Maybe Kubiak is very good rather than great, but as Phillips and many other top coordinators have shown, “very good” is a hell of a high bar to reach as an NFL head coach.
  • McCoy had John Fox levels of conservative play.” Ouch!
  • Looks like Lynn will be staying in Buffalo in any case, and it’s not necessarily a bad hire, although while he’s clearly an outstanding position coach it would also concern me that the Bills seem to remain fixated on ground-and-pound. I am curious to see how Gus Bradley does as a defensive coordinator without Carroll.
  • The Jets are stricking with Bowles, which after one good year and one bad year is defensible if not compelling. I might have made a change if only because it’s hard to change the GM and not the coach, and if the GM has any idea what an NFL QB looks like he’s kept it very well hidden. But can I see there’s a clearly better candidate than Bowles out there? Not really.
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  • ColBatGuano

    the list of candidates includes Seattle offensive line coach and former Raiders head coach Tom Cable

    Oh sweet merciful god I don’t believe in, please make this happen. Amen.

    • Denverite

      Btw, I didn’t want to respond yesterday because I didn’t see it until this morning and the thread had passed, but the idea that any team can just draft a QB in the fourth or fifth round who projects to 2017 Siemian is insane. Siemian is going to be coming off a 2016 in which he started 14 games and posted — again — an above replacement but well below average performance. You’d draft a fourth or fifth round QB hoping that maybe in three years he could duplicate that. Hell, look at Wentz and Goff and what they did in Year One as the top two picks in the draft.

      • ColBatGuano

        True, I was a bit hyperbolic, but I still don’t think anyone is going to give up a 3rd rounder for Semian. Of course, in the NFL there is no deficit of idiots so I will be wrong about this as well.

        • Denverite

          I’d bet that if Elway called and said they were looking to move Siemian for a second rounder (not that they’d get it; just that it’s the opening offer), the following teams would return his call:

          Jets
          Bills
          Jacksonville
          Bears
          Cowboys (as a back-up)
          49ers
          Maybe Cardinals (as a back-up)
          Maybe Rams (as an insurance policy/back-up)

          The Texans wouldn’t return the call because of the bad experience with Osweiler, and the Browns wouldn’t because they overvalue draft picks.

          • Bill Murray

            word is the Browns are considering the UNC QB in the draft

            • kped

              He’s from Ohio, but he won’t be the Browns LeBron…

              Honestly, draft the best player, the team is nowhere near contention, they really just need to take the best player instead of reaching for a mediocre QB. Ask Jacksonville how that works out…

              • kped

                From SI:

                Trubisky is such a mixed bag: While the ceiling is unquestionably high, how long will it take his NFL coaching staff to rid him of the wild variations in his footwork?

                So…Browns will draft him.

                • Bill Murray

                  and the answer will be it will take basically his whole career with the Browns

                • kped

                  Just take Garrett number 1, draft the best player at 12…don’t screw it up Browns!

                  (I actully think they won’t screw it up, I don’t think DePodesta will panic and go after a mediocre QB)

                  They may even have a shot at Kizer or Watson at 12, so don’t panic at 1, just take Garrett, he could be their Miller.

                • Harry Hardrada

                  Depodesta won’t panic. Jimmy Haslam might come across a homeless man who tells him to draft Trubisky, though.

                • Brien Jackson

                  It’s a positive sign for Cleveland that they didn’t scspegoat Hue Jackson for this seadon, anyway.

      • Scott Lemieux

        but the idea that any team can just draft a QB in the fourth or fifth round who projects to 2017 Siemian is insane.

        Well, except that this contradicts what you write below. Osweiler had the same kind of replacement level + year in 2015, and without Kubiak he was a taller Ryan Leaf. I wouldn’t want any part of Siemian as a starter and certainly wouldn’t trade anything higher than a 6th rounder for him. And I suspect that given what happened to Houston there won’t be many takers.

        • Denverite

          Well, he’s almost certain to be traded, so we’ll see.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I mean, there’s the empirical question and the normative question. It is possible that a bad organization will give Denver a 2nd round pick for Siemian? Sure. Would that be a good idea? I think the fact that you seem OK with the Broncos trading him although you were talking about him as a possible Pro Bowler before the season and Lynch showed pretty much nothing answers the question.

            • efgoldman

              I think the fact that you seem OK with the Broncos trading him although you were talking about him as a possible Pro Bowler before the season and Lynch showed pretty much nothing answers the question.

              Sometimes it’s hard to see thru orange and blue glasses.

              • Denverite

                See below. No tinted glasses here. I don’t think Lynch is going to be a very good NFL QB. I think if we fast forwarded 10 years, Siemian is going to have had a much better NFL career. But he wasn’t Elway’s first round pick, and said first round pick is going to get a chance come hell or high water.

                I also think Kubiak saw that very clearly and it’s one of the reasons he retired today.

            • Denverite

              I think the fact that you seem OK with the Broncos trading him although you were talking about him as a possible Pro Bowler before the season and Lynch showed pretty much nothing answers the question.

              The whole “Pro Bowl” thing was predicting a double bank shot — you look prescient if it works out, but it’s always highly unlikely.

              Anyway, don’t mistake acceptance with resignation. I think Siemian is going to be a better NFL QB than Lynch. But I also don’t think the Broncos are going to be willing to find out. Lynch can’t start next year with Siemian on the team, and he can’t not start absent bringing in Romo or the like. But if it was up to me, you would to the exact same thing over again with an improved line.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Fair!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Oh sweet merciful god I don’t believe in, please make this happen. Amen.

      Indeed. It’s not even that I think he’s a bad o-line coach per se, but his presence seems to be an ongoing excuse for Carroll and Schneider to continue to refuse to staff the offensive line with NFL-caliber offensive linemen.

      • ColBatGuano

        I can’t tell who bears the majority of the blame for the state of the Seattle O-line. Cable has made a point of saying that current college lineman just don’t have the coaching to be good in the NFL (all those other teams who have managed to use these players not withstanding) and so only he can save them. I think his influence leads them to take “athletes” who he can turn into NFL caliber linemen. The evidence for this is slim indeed.

        • Scott Lemieux

          True. But OTOH Carroll and Schneider pick the players; if they think Cable’s approach is dumb and he won’t change they can fire him, so they’re ultimately responsible.

          I will grant that their cap issues mean there are going to be gaps somewhere, but it doesn’t have to be this bad.

  • Denverite

    On reflection, I think I was too dismissive of Kubiak yesterday. The record he compiled with Houston feat. Matt Schaub looks pretty impressive in retrospect. And while Phillips deserves a lot of credit for the Broncos winning a championship with unprecedentedly bad QB play (play that, as we now know, was definitely not Kubiak’s fault), we should also remember that he had been out of work for a year: not every coach of a contending team is willing to bring in a star coordinator and work with him effectivel

    Yeah, I was thinking about this. Kubiak has gotten a bunch of 90+ QBR seasons out of Matt Schaub (including Schaub’s 2009 season, where he was a legitimate Pro Bowler), an 86.4 QBR half-season from Osweiler, and an 84.6 QBR season from Trevor Siemian. The last of those should be especially striking; he took a below-average college QB with one year as a full-time college starter and no discernible “undiscovered tools,” and in his first season as an NFL starter (and second as a starter since high school), turned him into a borderline NFL QB (in the sense that he’s in the 20-25 range of NFL QBs, which is above replacement but well below average). That’s really kind of shocking.

    Kubiak said that he’s never going to coach again, but if I’m a GM somewhere, I give him a call in a year or two and ask whether he wants to come be my QB coach with a strict 30 hours a week limit on his time, plus he can work from his ranch in Texas or Colorado whenever it’s remotely feasible.

    (Incidentally, I’m hearing that Kyle Shanahan is far and away the favorite for the Broncos gig, and — my speculation to the contrary — Wade is actually going to stay.)

    • D.N. Nation

      It’s a testament to the steak-headed conservatism of the NFL that Kyle Shanahan of all people has dialed up one of the most devastatingly effective offenses in the league’s history. As a Falcons fan, don’t get me wrong – the offense is fun to watch. But Kyle Shanahan? Daddy’s boy who pissed off everyone he worked with before coming to Atlanta? That guy?

      • Brien Jackson

        Not like the Browns and Redskins are known for being quality operations. He was always on goid terms with the Kubiak crew.

        • cpinva

          “Not like the Browns and Redskins are known for being quality operations.”

          both the skins & 49rs were class outfits, until their changes of ownership. even if they win a superbowl, the stench of Snyder will forever infest the team.

          • Brien Jackson

            Well yeah, but the pre-Snyder days have nothing to do with people not liking Shannahan, who by all appearances is a pretty good OC.

  • Fighting Words

    Lifelong 49er fan here. My God, this team can’t even fire people in the right way. As my Father says, “It’s fine that I have no clue what the 49ers are doing, the problem is that the 49ers don’t seem to have any idea of what they are doing.” Embarrassing.

    I know many on the masthead like Chip Kelly for what he did at Oregon. But, there are several knocks against him as the 49ers coach – most notably his inability to make in game adjustments. Despite the obvious lack of talent of the 49ers roster, and the injuries on top of that, they guy was just outcoached – especially in the second half. I think one of the commentators on this blog had mentioned that the 49ers were outscored in the second half of games by an extremely wide margin. And that’s more of a coaching issue than anything else.

    • Cleardale

      While I generally agree with the second half coaching adjustments thing, and I’m not really sure why I’m defending Kelly, there is the chance that he has good plans going into the game, and doesn’t have the players for when the the other team adjusts in the second half. I think when you see teams with good players, losing all the time in the second half you are most likely correct in that it’s bad coaching. When it’s a team with very little talent, I’m not sure that is as easy to claim that.

      • Scott Lemieux

        It does seem likely that Kelly’s uptempo style is a really bad fit for a team that 1)has very little talent and 2)what talent it has is on defense.

  • kped

    I felt bad for Chip all year. Not sure he’s a good NFL coach, but I saw this coming the minute he was hired. That team has nothing. Their best player may be Kaep, and I’m not sure he’s all that good. Buckner was OK as a rookie (but only OK). But that is it. It’s a pathetic roster (not helped with the early retirements of a few good young guys).

    Huge mistake would be to draft a mediocre QB prospect with the second pick. The top two are really good DE prospects they can pair with Buckner, or probably a better idea is to trade down and start amassing picks.

  • efgoldman

    to replace him handed over the worst roster in the NFL

    That’s really cold in a league with the Browns and Rams.

    • kped

      Rams have Donald at least! Quinn is good to. Those two are better than anything on the 49ers.

      • Bill Murray

        right and how do the other 52 players compare?

        • kped

          Both teams are ass. So having 2 good/great players (Donald is great) means you have more talent. It’s quite simple really.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I think a good coach could put together a decent record with the Rams. They have a lot of defensive talent, certainly a lot more than the Browns or 49ers.

            • kped

              yup. and Goff still has potential, not ready to give up on him. I’d honestly work on beefing up the offensive line, Gurley is a good back, but as Dallas keeps proving, good RB play depends a lot more on the OL than anything else. It’s why I think Lynch retired so quickly. He saw the line he’d play behind in Seattle wasn’t getting any better, so he said screw it and retired.

  • mikeSchilling

    The list of head coaches under the York regime:

    * Fire Steve Mariucci because Terry Donahue wanted him gone. The only good thing to say about Donahue as a GM is that he was better than Baalke. Probably.
    * Hire Dennis Erickson, who had previously been a mediocre Seahawks coach. 49ers record 9-23.
    * Hire Mike Nolan, who’d never risen about coordinator, to be both head coach and GM. First action in the latter capacity: pick Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers. First action in the former capacity: do his best to destroy Alex Smith’s career, e.g. insist he was mentally weak because he couldn’t throw well with a separated shoulder.
    * Replace him with Mike Singletary. Enough said.

    Then came what Scott already described.

    • D.N. Nation

      Yeah, but Mike Singletary called Vernon Davis a loser and gave a KIDS THESE DAYS press conference, so the sports columnists got a tingle at least.

      • mikeSchilling

        And he dropped his pants in the locker room. What a motivator!

      • jeer9

        Was commuting home from work one day listening to a SF sports talk show (think it was 2009 when the Niners started off 3 – 1) and Singletary was on, telling listeners that he would go down in history as one of their greatest coaches ever, on a level with Walsh.

        Jesus, his humility combined with the Christianity was fucking messianic. An appropriately short-lived Second Coming.

      • Phil Perspective

        Yeah, but Mike Singletary called Vernon Davis a loser ….

        He didn’t call Davis a loser. He said Davis was an all-world talent, which he was at the time, and that he needed to get his head on straight. Which Davis did, though Singletary wasn’t around to reap the rewards.

        • Brien Jackson

          Seems worth pointing out that Davis credited Singletary with helping him mature too.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Donahue and Nolan did have some pretty damn good drafts. Even the Alex Smith pick doesn’t look bad now – once he got competent offensive coaches (first Harbaugh, then Reid) he’s proven at least an average-level NFL starter, which may sound mediocre but is actually very good and is a very hard-to-find commodity. Sure, they missed on Rodgers, but so did most of the NFL as he dropped to the near bottom of the first round. And if you’d asked a Packer fan what they thought of Rodgers even as late as his third year as a starter he might have bit your head off (especially if it was just after Favre swept them).

      All of this is why Harbaugh was able to have such success immediately – given a strong talent base he can work magic. But in 2017 they have a decimated roster and not even the alternate universe return-of-Harbaugh would result in a winning season.

      By the way, Scott. You are so freaking lucky as a Seattle fan. It’s almost like being a New England fan these past 15+ years. Your division – which only 3 years ago was considered far and away the best in football – now has two teams that annually commit ritual hari-kari and the third team, Arizona, will return to that form once Arians leaves.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Donahue and Nolan did have some pretty damn good drafts. Even the Alex Smith pick doesn’t look bad now – once he got competent offensive coaches (first Harbaugh, then Reid) he’s proven at least an average-level NFL starter, which may sound mediocre but is actually very good and is a very hard-to-find commodity. Sure, they missed on Rodgers, but so did most of the NFL as he dropped to the near bottom of the first round. And if you’d asked a Packer fan what they thought of Rodgers even as late as his third year as a starter he might have bit your head off (especially if it was just after Favre swept them).

        Yeah, I’d say Donahue looks better than most of the GMS with high picks that passed on Rodgers. Three shitty running backs and Mike Williams!

        By the way, Scott. You are so freaking lucky as a Seattle fan.

        True. The trend of the team isn’t great — they’re going to get the shit kicked out of them as soon as they go on the road in the playoffs, in fairness in part because of the Thomas injury — but the division gives them a chance to rebuild the o-line and find a top-grade receiver while Wilson is still in his prime.

        • Brien Jackson

          And it’s not super-easy to level out the development paths of Smith/Rodgers either. Plus it’s not like Smith has ended up being a Leaf-esque bust or anything.

          • kped

            Smith is a competent starting QB. Some people act like he isn’t worthy of a top pick, but let’s be real, a QB starter who takes his team to the playoffs year after year into his 30’s…that’s a #1 pick. He isn’t a hall of famer in my mind, but if he’s my QB, I certainly think I can win a SB with the right team.

            His early career was derailed by a new head coach and offensive coordinator every season. But he’s not a bust by any definition of the term. Rogers is just way better.

            • mikeSchilling

              I do wonder sometimes: in the alternate universe, how badly do the 49ers screw up Rodgers.

              • LosGatosCA

                Probably not too bad – Mike McCarthy was Alex’s first OC under Nolan, 2nd year Norv Turner was the OC before being over-promoted to replace Marty S in San Diego.

                It’s not until Year 3 that Alex gets less than excellent offensive coordination with Jim Hostler.

                Rodgers would have already established himself as a talent and Hostler probably never gets the promotion and later Singletary probably never gets to be head coach in SF because interest in coaching Rodgers with Gore and Davis would have been off the chart.

                But who knows.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  Lest you forget, Rodgers didn’t set the world on fire at the outset. He started by spending his first 4 years on the bench. Finally allowed to play after Favre’s retirement trading, his first season was definitely sub-par. He did better in his second season as starter, but unfortunately for him Favre took rival Minnesota to overtime in the NFC Championship after sweeping the Packers, so by comparison still not wowing the home team fans. Only in his 7th season (3rd as starter) did Rodgers become the Aaron Rodgers we know now.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Yeah, look at the 2005 Draft, and even leaving aside the absurd running back fetish in the top 6 — none of those guys was considered a Sanders-level prospect even at the time, and Rodgers was sitting there for teams that needed QBs — Smith is one of the best players chosen. He already has a higher career AV than anyone taken in the first round but Rodgers, Ware, Mankins, Johnson, and White, and he’ll end up ahead of White at least. As CF says, an average/average+ QB has a lot of value. And I’m inclined to think that the 10-1 Super Bowl odds his team is getting is the best bet on the board.

              • Brien Jackson

                This seems right. The 49ers didn’t pick the right guy, but the guy they did pick is still a Superbowl caliber QB and that’s definitely not the end of the world.

        • ColBatGuano

          and find a top-grade receiver

          What, you don’t consider Jermaine Kerse a top notch WR?

          • Scott Lemieux

            Jesus Christ, haven’t we seen enough?

            I swear his 2014 NFC Championship game might have had the worst WAR of any wide receiver in NFL postseason history — and he caught the winning TD in OT.

            • efgoldman

              I swear his 2014 NFC Championship game might have had the worst WAR of any wide receiver in NFL postseason history

              Yet without his miracle catch against the Pats, Pete never gets to call the pass that he never should have thrown.
              Butler hit that ball twice, and Kearse caught it, lying flat on his back, just inbounds.
              I had visions of David Tyree.

              • Scott Lemieux

                He almost single-handedly cost Seattle two playoff games and yet made two potentially excellent game winning catches.

                At least the Giants had the good sense to cut Tyree after his moment of glory.

            • ColBatGuano

              Kerse cleverly disguises his lack of speed with poor hands. It’s an unbeatable combination. Well worth all that money they paid him in the off season. Otherwise they might have spent it on a competent long snapper and we can’t have that.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Yeah, given the holes on the team the money they have Kerse is just unacceptable. To call him “replacement level” is generous.

      • mikeSchilling

        Donahue didn’t pick Smith; that was Nolan (unless there was some overlap.) During the Donahue years (2001-2004), the highlights were Andre Carter, Brandon Lloyd, and Andy Lee.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Andy Lee.

          Better pick than Bryan Anger, at least!

      • mikeSchilling

        But, there’s no question that Nolan was a better GM than a HC.

    • CrunchyFrog

      It’s also good to remember that Steve Mariucci was a pretty damn good coach. Frankly, if I were a team looking for a coach now I’d consider him if he was willing to put in the work again (I don’t think he is). The conventional wisdom was that his career was destroyed after Detroit, but in retrospect that clearly was not his fault. Give him a good set of talent and he can get the out outperform their talent level. I think a lot of people forget that he took over a declining 49er organization – their drafts had been below average for quite a while and eventually their stars aged and the free agent well ran dry.

      Anyone remember the reason he was fired? Alleged disloyalty. Tampa Bay, desperate for a proven coach to lead their huge talent pool after years of playoff failures under Dungy (who had been fired and is now in the HoF – go figure), and having been spurned by Parcells (who was the hot coach everyone wanted back then) went after Mariucci and Gruden. Of course they were required to get permission from their current teams, and did, and Donohue was so excited about the compensation he’d get that he practically rolled out the red carpet for Mariucci to Tampa. But Mariucci wasn’t as keen on the deal as Donahue was, and after taking time to think about it Tampa panicked and gave way too many draft picks to Al Davis to land Gruden. Donohue was so mad that Mariucci didn’t take the job that he gave him the cold shoulder for a year, sabotaged the team in the process, and fired Mariucci at the end of the year.

      And *THAT*, dear children, was the moment that that the 49er dynasty – since DeBartalo’s departure just a house of cards anyway – collapsed.

      • Scott Lemieux

        BTW, while we’re talking about Millen-era Lions coaches, can we give it up for Mr. Rod Marinelli? Not as a head coach, of course, but he’s done a pretty spectacular job getting average performance out of mostly replacement-level talent in Dallas.

        • CrunchyFrog

          That’s a slightly different topic – as you’re talking about Marinelli going back to being a coordinator after failing as an HC and I’m saying Mariucci would still be a very good HC (don’t think we could say that about Marinelli, but we could be wrong). But yes, as a DC he’s something special. It was an interesting move that Jerry Jones pulled – in 2013 they brought in Marinelli as a line coach under Monte Kiffin because Kiffin already had the job (Marinelli had left Chicago in anger after the Lovie Smith firing, but also, I suspect, because Phil Emery didn’t want him – a move just as smart as his hiring of Trestman). In 2014 Jones “promoted” Kiffin to “assistant defensive head coach” but actually put Marinelli in charge of the defense, and the results shocked everyone since on paper they looked below replacement level. That was a classic executive staff move – “promote” an inadequate VP to a “special projects” position where he can’t fuck up anything and will have time to search for another job.

          But Marinelli is just one of many HCs who failed or were just mediocre who continue to be very strong as coordinators – especially on defense.

          • kped

            I wonder why more coordinators don’t just want to stay as coordinators? I mean, the money is still great, and a lot of them have to know that is the role they are best suited for. There shouldn’t be any shame in *just* being an OC or DC.

            • LosGatosCA

              I think a lot of coordinators do want to stay as coordinators, after they get that big payday as head coach with the buyout.

              Kubiak explained that was his plan after Houston until Elway called.

              • Scott Lemieux

                I mean, you have to work almost the same hours as a coordinator as a HC now, so might as well take a shot at the glory job, especially since the first contract is enough to retire luxuriously on.

                • kped

                  I guess. I mean, even the lowest paid HC like Tomsula got 3M for his one season as the 49ers coach.

                  I find it hilarious that people paint him as this sad sack popper. Yes, he had some unusual jobs when he was young, but he was a well paid guy working in the nFL since 2007. He’s a very well off man.

                  **his buyout is $14M…yeah, he’s done mighty well for himself.

                • LosGatosCA

                  Funny how the coaches don’t get the same contracts as the players.

                  Sure we’ll give you $5M in year 3, if you’re here.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Those contracts come with the guaranteed money upfront though.

                • LosGatosCA

                  The portion that’s guaranteed, yes. The rest is year to year.

            • CrunchyFrog

              It’s two things. First, the money is insane – literally 10+ times what the coordinator makes in most cases. Second, most of them think that given the opportunity they could do better than their boss.

              There are a few who decline to even interview for HC positions, just as there are a few position coaches who openly have no interest in being a coordinator. But most coaches seek the better pay and more authority of a promotion.

      • mikeSchilling

        Huh, What I remember being reported was that he was fired because he couldn’t get along with Terrell Owens (this was before it was clear that nobody could), and the team chose Owens over Mooch.

        • LosGatosCA

          Plus Mooch had won 23 games in the previous two years.

          That’s a sure sign the Yorks are going to dump you.

          • mikeSchilling

            Unless they buy a basketball team.

        • CrunchyFrog

          There was some murmurs about Owens, but the target was on Mariucci’s back before the season began.

          Regarding Owens, it is now forgotten but he started his career being considered a stellar team player. He didn’t make a splash in his rookie year in 1996, but was given an opportunity when Rice when down in 1997 (Mariucci’s first year) and did well enough to get notice, but even then everyone thought JJ Stokes was the real future star between the two of them. (Remember JJ? Anyone? First round pick?) In 1998 with Rice back from injury Owens made news volunteering to be the third slot receiver thus getting fewer reps. When he made the “Catch II” in 1998 he was considered an improving receiver, but still too many drops (including several in that game). It wasn’t until 1999 that he emerged as a top WR, a status cemented in 2000. It also wasn’t until 2000 – Rice’s last season as his mentor – that he started doing the stunts like the Cowboy’s star.

  • pzerzan

    To relieve some of the tension caused by the way York handled Kelly, he has decided to make some more reporters pick up a $2,000+ bill at the French Laundry.

    • mikeSchilling

      The comments at that link are brilliant.

  • Brien Jackson

    At this point I think Kelly needs a stint as OC before he gets another head coaching gig myself.

    From the sound of things, Rex might be about to land as the DC here in Baltimore.

    • sk7326

      Maybe – but it would take a head coach to empower him. If McDaniels left, Belichick might be one of those whom respected Kelly enough while having enough clout for Kelly to not run wild. His tactics were poor after the league assimilated his material.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Rex might be about to land as the DC here in Baltimore.

      Seems like a good hire on both ends. It’s a system he’s comfortable with, and he’s not going to be able to muscle Newsome and Harbaugh for excessive influence.

  • efgoldman

    Good day for dysfunctional organizations. Besides the 49ers….

    Apparently the druggie and the coach in Indy haven’t talked yet, and Pagano had a disaster of a press conference today.

    And the GM in Buffalo said he had no knowledge of why the owners fired Sexy Rexy.

    • Brien Jackson

      The picture of the garbage fire in Buffalo probably songle handedly gives Rex a shot at another HC gig down the road. Holy fuck.

      • Scott Lemieux

        The best part of the Vrentas article is that Whaley still thinks Manuel is better than Taylor. Holy shit. If Denverite is going to get his dream of a good draft pick for Siemian I’d say that’s his most likely bet. Well, them or the Jets.

        I don’t think Rex deserved to keep his job — indeed, I would have fired him if he insisted on giving his no-talent brother any job but hosting tailgate parties for season ticket holders — but if I had to keep one of Whaley or Rex I’d choose Rex.

        • LosGatosCA

          ‘Or the Jets’ always works.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I mean, if Christian Hackenberg is worth a 2nd rounder, then Siemian is probably worth a 1st rounder and Marcus Williams.

        • Brien Jackson

          Gotta wonder if Rex didn’t know it was hopeless and figure he might as well do family a solid.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I doubt it. 1)I think he always expects to win and 2)Ryan has consistently shown an anti-Stengel/Belichick conception of loyalty, which is to his credit as a human being but not as a professional football coach.

    • Phil Perspective

      And the GM in Buffalo said he had no knowledge of why the owners fired Sexy Rexy.

      The same clowns also own the Buffalo Sabres. Anyway, I’m sure it will surprise no one that the owner of the Bills is a big time wing-nut.

    • sk7326

      Griggson’s continued employment is one of the great mysteries of the league. He has done literally nothing to solve their offensive line, or fix any part of their team. Really the only thing that he has done positively is hire Pagano/Arians, and then draft Luck, the latter which any person could have done.

      • Brien Jackson

        Why, it’s almost like firing Polian and Caldwell because Manning missed a whole season was a bad idea or something!

        • Scott Lemieux

          Seriously, if they can survive the Texans beating them this year, they might have lifetime employment. Also agree that Caldwell is a better coach, and Polian/Grigson isn’t even a discussion.

  • sleepyirv

    Chip Kelly should of taken a year off after losing the Eagles job and should DEFINITELY take the year off. Readjust himself. Try to gauge what went right and wrong. Not be so desperate to take a job that he’s basically walking into a buzzsaw.

  • LosGatosCA

    The great thing about Jed York, from a Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams perspective, is that he’s still a very young guy. He could be doing the 49er ownership thing until his grandsons are ready to take over in 2066. At that point I expect the return of William the Conqueror to restore the Bourbons in the House of Levi. Or not.

    I think the Ford family is in for some serious long term competition.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Oh yes, it’s glorious.

      • LosGatosCA

        I’d say Jed York is one of keys to the Rams being successful in LA. Even more than the Chargers mess.

        If the Rams can attract some decent managerial talent where they just switch the 7-9 ceiling to a 9-7 floor they’ll be a roaring success. With the 49ers and Cardinals regressing to their ownership means, they can expect to go 3-3, 4-2 within the division just with a replacement level team. A good team should go 5-1. Split the rest of the schedule and 9-7 is in the bag, 11-5 should be reachable in better years. Making themselves a preferred free agent destination (weather, media opportunities, etc.) shouldn’t be that hard.

        The 49ers don’t realize how bleak their future might be.

        • efgoldman

          The 49ers don’t realize how bleak their future might be.

          Young Jeddie Master is sure he can use the farce to make them great.
          The thing about bad and incompetent ownership, is, it doesn’t know/recognize that it’s bad and incompetent.

          • LosGatosCA

            It took the Rooneys 40 years to get the Steelers to the playoffs, Jed’s probably thinking ‘What’s the rush?’

  • Bitter Scribe

    David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune had a column this morning saying John Fox will be back coaching the Bears next season. This filled me with hope and joy, because Haugh is almost never right about anything.

    • LosGatosCA

      ESPN is reporting that as well.

      It’s only fair they give Fox a third season to see if he can win 10 games for his Bear career, just like Lovie did in his last season with the Bears.

      • Bitter Scribe

        I’ve often fantasized about putting Lovie’s image on a billboard over the Eisenhower with the words “Miss Me Yet?”

  • sk7326

    Kelly’s issue was ultimately a measure of hubris. He was right in that his system DID work in the NFL – that first year in Philly was no mirage. The problem was that it worked – and then (like the run and shoot and other offensive innovations), defenses adjusted, and other teams co-opted aspects of it. Kelly never figured out how to evolve his tactics in a league where evolving is a must.

    Bill Belichick is tactically a different human being from the guy in Cleveland. Gregg Popovich in the NBA started with a low post ground and pound and evolved into what the Spurs do now. There is no permanent advantage – even if you are bringing something special to the party at first.

    • LosGatosCA

      All of professional sports is like that. In fact I’d say the elite level in any activity is like that.

      There’s a great Bon Jovi quote (roughly): you spend your whole life making your first big album a hit. And then you have to do it all over again in 9 months.

      It’s not nearly a cliche that it’s tough to reach the top of your profession but even harder to stay because the creative cycles get shorter and the margin of error gets smaller as the expectations get higher.

      Ask Pete Carroll what it takes to win a second Super Bowl.

    • Phil Perspective

      Kelly’s issue was ultimately a measure of hubris. He was right in that his system DID work in the NFL – that first year in Philly was no mirage. The problem was that it worked – and then (like the run and shoot and other offensive innovations), defenses adjusted, and other teams co-opted aspects of it.

      It doesn’t help when you let McCoy, Jackson and Maclin go for nothing. If those three were still in Philly, Kelly might still be there. That more than anything was Kelly’s downfall.

      • Brien Jackson

        In fairness, getting Kiko Alonso and a ton of cap room for McCoy definitely wasn’t nothing.

      • sk7326

        It was more the reshuffling of the offensive line and cutting the guards. A system can survive changes in skill personnel – it cannot survive the simple inability to block.

    • Scott Lemieux

      He was right in that his system DID work in the NFL – that first year in Philly was no mirage. The problem was that it worked – and then (like the run and shoot and other offensive innovations), defenses adjusted, and other teams co-opted aspects of it. Kelly never figured out how to evolve his tactics in a league where evolving is a must.

      Exactly right. And the Belichicks and Popoviches and Coxes and Bowmans who never let the game get ahead of them and never remain wedded to one way of doing things are always exceedingly rare.

  • Waquoit

    I don’t think Doug Marrone qualifies as a retread. He left on his own accord. He had the Bills going in the right direction but didn’t seem to trust the new owners. Rightly so apparently.

    • Craigo

      Clearly a good career move that makes me respect him more in retrospect.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Fair. I agree he deserves a second shot at least.

  • jeer9

    One of the better Rose Bowls I can remember.

    Sam Darnold is a phenom.

    Franklin will never be accused of conservative play-calling.

    • ColBatGuano

      If I’m an NFL GM without a QB, I’m trying to figure out how I can get Darnold when he comes out in two years.

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