Jed York and Paraag Marathe … who are there guys?

The 49ers brain trust of Jed York and Chief Strategy Officer Paraag Marathe are scouring the NFL landscape seeking a dynamic duo (a new GM and head coach) to lead the 49ers back to championship form.  Jed has said that he is keen on two things from the new duo, bringing a winning culture to the organization and having a symbolic relationship between the two people.

But what qualifies Jed and Paraag to hire qualified people to run the 49ers front office and the football team?   Other than the fact that both have been associated with the 49ers for over 15 years nothing in their background tells us they have the football knowledge to correctly decipher whether the candidates they are interviewing have the vision, knowledge, experience  and maturity to be successful in the two top jobs in the NFL.

Looking back Jed’s father, John York, lead a search for a new GM and head coach about 16 years ago after firing the them following a 2-14 season.  After an exhaustive search John York, with the help of Paraag, hired Mike Nolan.  Mike had the appropriate NFL experience and background to be a head coach and presumably dazzled John and Paraag in the interview process with his vision and knowledge.  But a little research and football knowledge would have lead John and Paraag to not hire Nolan due to his weaknesses in a prior role as defensive coordinator in Washington and Baltimore.

Once again the 49ers under the York family, with Paraag as their trusted sidekick, are attempting to hire a new GM and head coach yet their intimate knowledge of football personnel evaluation and coaching is still weak.  Instead they will fall back on how the people interviewed, did they feel “comfortable” with these guys and did the candidates display a greater level of football knowledge than them (not very hard).

The obvious fix to cure the York/Marathe football knowledge deficiency would be to hire a football consultant such as Steve Young or Bill Billick, both knowledgable about the 49ers, to help them select the best duo to lead the 49ers back to championship caliber.  Moreover it would give Jed a measure of comfort and clearance if such a duo is ultimately is not as successful as hoped.

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Jed Drops the Ax

Two hours after the final gun it became official Jed York and the 49ers are done with Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly.  According to Baalke he received word of his firing on the Friday prior to the Seahawks game.  In true Baalke sleeze fashion he leaked and then outright told the media he was fired and implied that Kelly going to be canned as well.

Chip Kelly’s fate, it is now known, was tied to Baalke since the time he as hired last January.  And Kelly like a good soldier goose stepped to Baalke’s every move, no matter how much he disagreed.  Kelly didn’t know his fate nor did he know that Trent was undermining him even after he (Baalke) was fired on Friday.  But that is Trent, always looking out for himself and using the head coach as his personal scapegoat.

This not to say Chip Kelly shouldn’t have been fired.  In fact Kelly should not have been hired after the lack of progressive results in Philadelphia and the fact that he was not able to adjust his offensive philosophy to be better suited the NFL style and rules.  But in all likelihood Baalke hired Chip as a hedge if the 2016 season went bad so he argue to Jed that Chip’s the problem not him.  In this instance Jed said in the press conference that Trent did not live up to the goals he set for him early last year.  In other words Jed finally realized that Trent has no eye for talent and that he undermines the coach and the football performance with bad personal decisions, lack of communication and his back-stabbing leaks to the press.

Yet Chip given what he had to work with still under-performed expectations by any measure.  His 2-14 record was worse that Jim Tomula’s 2015 record with just about the same roster if not lightly ungraded on offense.  In addition Chip should have made some major adjustments at mid-season and at least tried Christian Ponder at QB when it was obvious that Colin Kaepernick was performing well enough to win games.

The bottom-line is there was no leadership on the field or upstairs.  You have two men unsuited for the task at hand and who were fighting with each other for control.  In the end they both lost and now its up to Jed to begin righting the ship.  Jed’s record in this area is poor at best so far.

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And Then There Was One

The Niners take on the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, January 1, 2017.   It’s been a long frustrating season for the Faithful as this seems like the worst 49ers team ever.  In addition the ongoing owner-front office turmoil continues into its 15th year since the York family took over the 49ers from Eddie D in 2000. Since the ownership transition there has been a carrousel of coaches and front office personnel running the 49ers with mostly poor results.

Now as the 2016 season comes to close there are questions as to who will survive the next blood letting.  The media is writing that Trent Baalke, due to his poor drafts and roster mismanagement, will certain be relieved of his job very soon. Chip Kelly’s fate will depend on who becomes GM and if that person is given card blanche to reshape the football operation.  If a new GM has such authority then Kelly must convince that person that he has the ability to improve the on-field performance with better roster thanks to smart draft choices and impactful free agent signings.

With regard to this Sunday’s game Seattle has something to gain by beating the Niners namely a #2 slot in the NFC side of the the Super Bowl tournament.  Whereas the Niners are playing for pride with a depleted roster.  However there isn’t much pride in going 2-14 versus 3-13 really.  There may be a few Niners showcasing their skills for the opportunity to sign a new contract or to be an attractive a free agent signing on another team.

However by 4:30 PM on Sunday the 2016 debacle will be over for the Niners and their fans thank goodness and the 2107 season starts on January 2 with the potential that some changes will take place on the field and in the front office.

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Niners Sweep LA!

The Niners went for a two point conversion late in the game Saturday to beat the floundering LA Rams 22-21.  Kaepernick lead the team with two forth quarter drives running in the game winning 2 points to complete the sweep.  The Niners defense contributed by holding the Rams to 7 points in the second half including a last minute interception to preserve the win.  This outcome was in contrast to the last several games when the Niners collapsed in the second half.

Kaepernick threw for 253 yards completing 28 out of 38 passes in his best game of the 2016 season.  On the other hand Jared Goff threw for only 78 yards going 11 for 24.  In addition the Niners defense shutdown the Rams running game holding them to 99 yards.

Ironically the Browns also won this Saturday beating the other SoCal team the San Diego (maybe soon to be LA) Chargers 20-17.  The Niners win cost them a potential first draft pick in the 2017 draft but frankly being the first or second pick doesn’t really matter as there is no one “got to have” player in the upcoming draft.

Does this win mean much going into the off-season?  Probably not for Trent Baalke as his fate has already been decided by Jed York although its unclear whether that means he stays or goes.  Whereas Chip Kelly’s fate is more a matter of whether or not a new GM is hired and whether that person has the latitude to fire Kelly to bring his coach.  My guess is Baalke will get the boot and Kelly will get another year to produce more wins and with a significantly improved roster.

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Three of the Next Five Games are Winnable

December is the soft part of the 49ers 2015 schedule as they face the Bears, Jets and Rams in the coming weeks.  Those three teams are as weak as the 49ers and in some cases maybe weaker.  All three head coaches are on the hot seat and likely will be fired baring some kind of miracle.

But that doesn’t mean the 49ers will win any of those games it just means there is a chance.  With any luck the 49ers will win one or two of those games.  But it seems especially important to beat the Bears this Sunday as thy seem the weakest of the three with many key players hurt.

Will can strong finish for the 49ers enhance the chances of Trent Baalke or others in the organization from not getting fired?  Under the best scenario a 4-12 finish will not be viewed by the media or fans as a turning point.  But on the other hand Jed York may be reluctant to drain the swamp in Santa Clara because he himself does not know what to do and lacks confidence to undertake the process necessary to rebuild the organization.

Unfortunately the only thing a 4-12 or 3-13 will accomplish is move the Niners down in the draft order which may be perceived internally as alright as it takes some pressure off the GM, who ever that is, in the draft.

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Packers Have Life; Barely

The Packers beat the Eagles 27-13 playing their best game of the season.  This moves their record to 5-6 and keeps their playoff hopes on life support.  What they must do now is is run the table which isn’t out of the question given that 3 out of their last 5 games are at home.  Its also fortunate that they play their closest rivals the Vikings (home) and Lions (road) one more time.  The also play at Lambeau a Seahawks that has been struggling on the road which helps the Packers chances.

Against the Eagles Aaron Rodgers threw for over 300 yards in part due to some excellent pass blocking and receiving.  Rodgers helped his cause by often getting rid of the ball quickly.  Devante Adams and Jordie Nelson had superb games with Adams catching two TD passes.

The defense gave up a lot of yards however the D had some key stops and their best pass rush of the year.

The one negative for the Packers is their inability to run the ball effectively.  James Starks was back but was held to 41 yards on 12 carries.  This forced Aaron Rodgers to carry the offense which he did last night.

Although not out of the playoff hunt the road is rough going forward.  The Packers almost certainly must win their division in order to get to the playoffs which will likely require five straight wins on their part and for the Lions and Vikings to both lose three or four games down the stretch.

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Not My Sports Year

Well 2016 has been a disaster year sport-wise for me as all my teams have not done well.  The San Francisco Giants may be the most successful of the failures.  The Giants had a winning record, finished second in the NL West and even made the playoffs.  Unfortunately after knocking off the Mets in a one game playoff they lost the NLDS to the Cubs in a 5 game series.  What made this so hard was they were leading at home in the 9th of game 4 when the bullpen, the team’s Achilles heal, blew the lead and lost the game.

All my football teams are having bad to very bad seasons.  Cal, Norte Dame and the Packers all have losing records.

Norte Dame is now being punished by the NCAA for adedemic infractions.  This goes along with multiple criminal incidents prior to the start of the 2016 season. Midway in to the season Brian Kelly fired the defensive coordinator to no avail and is now himself on the hot seat.

The Packers after a fairly decent start, meaning they won some games, have spiraled down to a 4-6 record with a hospital ward of injuries on both sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers is having an uneven season however he has no running game to help balance the offense.  Mike McCarthy is under the gun in the media every week and one wonders if he’ll be back next season.  In all likelyhood GM Ted Thompson will be shown the door as the roster seems to be getting weaker each year due to the fact that his draft choices not living up to their promise.

What can I say about the 49ers; a team record 9 game losing streak with no playmakers on either side of the ball. The Niners problems run throughout the organization from the owner, GM, coaching staff and roster.  This may be the worst Niners situation since the Joe Thomas days and maybe worse because the current owner, the York family, seem clueless as to what to do to turn around the mess. It is so bad in Santa Clara that Niner fans have basically stayed away in droves from the games.  Levi on any given Sunday is 20-40% empty and at least 40% of the fans that show up are rooting for the opponent.

What is nice about sports in their is always next year to renew once hopes.

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