Chip Kelly was formally introduced to the Bay Area media contingent and the Forty-Niners Faithful today. Kelly stuck to the script by acknowledging the Walsh legend and the need to return this proud franchise to Super Bowl contention.
For the most part Chip Kelly didn’t reveal any secrets but he did answer all questions in an articular manner, something missing 12 months ago. Trent Baalke definitely took backstage to the new head coach only answering a few questions when asked.
Chip stayed away from a few bating or leading question and made sure he did not reveal any thoughts or strategies around the quarterback situation especially with regard to Colin Kaepernick. He also didn’t elaborate on his issues with the Eagles and their owner.
Now Chip starts his reign as 49ers head coach and is building a staff of competent assistants and evaluating the current roster to determine what is needed to compete in the NFC West next season. If nothing else it will be fun to watch Chip and the 49ers get ready for the 2016 season.
Jed York has hired former Eagles and University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to lead the 49ers. Kelly signed a $25 million 4 year deal. Kelly’s first task is to assemble a coaching staff to assist him in the tall task of turning around the last place 49ers. Once s staff is in place he will sit down them and Trent Baalke to evaluate the roster and identify the needs for upcoming season.
Chip Kelly’s hiring now puts the spot light and pressure on Trent Baalke to draft or sign a bevy of quality players to upgrade the current roster so the Niners can get back to playoff and championship contention. Since Kelly is going be strictly the head coach with only minor personnel responsibilities York will now be evaluating the performance of the much maligned GM.
Right now the Faithful are anticipating an upgrade in 2016 due to a perceived upgrade in the coach. If the team comes up short the heat will be directed at York and Baalke. Based on York’s past he will throw Baalke over board to demonstrate his in control.
Hue Jackson is off the Niners short list as the Browns hired him today. So that leaves Chip Kelly, Tom Coughlin, Mike Shanahan and a host of lesser names. It is seems the Niners are once again on a wild goose chase for a head coach. This starting to look like the search they conducted which yielded Dennis Erickson. Once again a lot of bold talk about getting a top notch coach and instead settling for an older college retread that had failed once before in NFL.
Niners fans are getting anxious and the local media cynical. Jed York is once again appearing to be a fool and lier in the eyes of the Faithful. The next coach will have a lot of pressure delivering a winning season especially since Tomsula, a one shot defense line coach, under extreme conditions delivered 5 wins last season.
Trent Baalke seems to the man in charge these days and his recent record as a personnel man is very bad. The Niners have very few quality players from their top draft picks and the free agent signing have not produced results. One wonders why Baalke is the man in charge given his record.
After falling behind 11-0 well into the second quarter the Packers came back with 17 unanswered points to go into half time leading 17-11. The Packers scored on the strength of a revived running and passing game after the slow start which included a safety when Rodgers was sacked in the end zone at with 10:27 on the clock in the first quarter. Once Rodgers got into a groove and the offensive line was able to hold out the the Washington defense rush the tide began to turn in Green Bay’s favor.
Washington scored early in the second half to take a brief lead but that’s all she wrote for the DC football squad. Packers scored the final 18 points to win 35-18 going away. Rodgers finished 21 of 35 with 210 yard including to 2 TD passes. The Pack also had 141 yards on the ground including key runs by both Lacy and Starks. James Jones had a big game with 7 catches for 81 yards. Devote Adams also contributed with 4 key catches including a big TD catch just before half time to send there Pack into the locker room with a 6 point lead.
All in all it was a solid win by he Packers and sends them Arizona desert to take on the red hot Cardinals next week. The Cards impressively beat the pack in the final regular season game. The Packers now have a week to figure out how to stop the AZ offense and defense. One wonders if this is possible given the terrible beat down they took several weeks ago in Arizona. One hopes the Washington win is a precursor to the the Packers offense gelling even though they struggled throughout the second half of the 2015 season which included 6 losses in 8 games down the stretch.
Well Jed fired Jim Tomsula minutes after the Niners beat the Rams Sunday (1/3/16) without any drama or fanfare. Jed simply felt that the team failed to make significant progress during the season and Tomsula’s lack of sideline experience and ability to manage the game was very evident.
It goes without saying that Tomsula was also dealt a bad hand from the get-go due to key retirements, season ending injuries and the overall lack of talent and depth. One wonders why Trent Baalke is still employed as he is the person that drafted most of these players as well as signed the few free agents on the roster. Frankly Trent’s recent 49ers track record is poor at best.
Never-the-less change 0n the field was necessary as the one year experiment with Tomsula did not inspire confidence with the media or fans. Moreover it was good to hear Jed York apologize to the fans and to admit his past mistakes and shortcomings. But he didn’t go as far as say the firing of Jim Harbaugh was a mistake as it seems that Harbaugh wanted out and he fueled the feud between himself and management.
Now Baalke and York turn their attention to hiring a new coach with head coaching experience and a winning track record. There are lot of names swirling in the media but Jed was very careful not to tip his hand as there are a number of other teams looking for a new coach as well. I suspect the next head coach will be somebody well known and with significant head coaching experience in the NFL. Also the person will be deep and ready rolodex that he will use to build an well established coaching staff to mold a winning culture and roster.
The fans are boycotting the home games and sales at the 49ers museum and fan store are off by about 80%. This all because the 49ers are losing on the field and the front and on-field management is failing to give fans any hope for the future.
Recent drafts have been below average and many of the talented veterans are have either left the team for greener pastures or have retire. The lack of talent is especially noticeable on the offensive side of the ball. The Niners are operating with a second rate offensive line, a career back-up QB, tight ends and running back group decimated by injuries and a receiving corp that lacks either speed, youth or talent. This all adds up to the worst scoring offense in the NFL.
The defense is better but still not nearly top tier and certainly not good enough to make-up for the worst offense in the NFL.
So where should we place the blame for quick collapse of the Niners? Starts at the top with Jed York who over the last few years has taken an alternating hands on and hands off approach to running the organization to the detriment of the organization. During the Harbaugh years he was hands on to the point he clashed with the mercurial coach leading to his firing after 3 successful years and a fourth where York’s micro-management caused such organizational dissension that it bleed into the media and the locker room. After much criticism York hired career assistant Jim Tomsula, a personal favorite, to coach the Niners. York then receded into the background to watch the team flounder. It apparent to all who follow the 49ers that Jed surrounds himself with too many non-football types and apparently “yes men and women”.
The front office managed by Trent Baalke is also a good example of a “yes man” getting head. He gets along with York but his scouting and personnel record rank as one of worst in the NFL over the last 5 years. Baalke’s draft and free agent signings have not replenished an aging team. His complete lack of ability to scout and sign gifted offensive players is evidenced as the Niners now possess the worst offense in the NFL. Baalke has apparently gotten ahead by getting along the the York people which probably is why he is still employed by the Niners and Harbaugh is working at the University of Michigan.
The on-field the situation gets even worse. Jim Tomsula succeeded one of the most accomplished 49ers head coaches because he was well liked by the owners and players. Unfortunately being well liked doesn’t necessarily carry over being a successful and visionary head coach. In fact many of the most successful head coaches, Bill Walsh for example, where not noted for being a player’s or owner’s best friend. Tomsula’s lack of head coaching experience shows up on field during games as well in the ability to prepare the team for long-term as well as short term success. Tomsula’s coaching staff is a curious mix of former unsuccessful head coaches or second rate assistants. One doesn’t get the feeling there is going to be Tomsula Coaching Tree any time soon.
Bottom line, Jed York has to bring someone in at the head coach, GM or President level to provide the organizational and strategic vision to build a winning football organization on and of the field. To do this York must check his ego and allow this new person to build his team of advisors and assistants in his own vision. The new person must also be given the resources and control to to effectively compete with the others 31 NFL teams for talent, information and facilities. Once again the York Family’s track record on this front is hot and cold. The past and recent penny pinching seems to originate from Jed’s parents and carried is out by the recently demoted Paraag Marathe. Marathe was hired by the 49ers in 2001 after 2 years as a consultant with Bain. Academically he carries a MBA from Stanford and Business degree from Haas School of Business. There has been a lot of media speculation about Marathe’s influence over the GM and on-field personnel through the budget and contract negotiations.