Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports



Jim Harbaugh is the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Brady Hoke is still the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines.

David Shaw has not left his current position as head coach of the Stanford Cardinal.

These are facts (surprise!), and no matter what you hear or read this week those truths will not change. Well I can't guarantee the second one will last long as Big Blue wanted to give away tickets with the purchase of a Diet Sprite.

"Harbaugh Watch" got an earlier than expected start, when San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami posted his thoughts on the matter late yesterday. Kawakami has mused on the topic at various times this past summer, but all too often it felt like mere fodder to get us all through the off-season. Yesterday's piece however gave off a stronger sense of urgency on the matter. Was it a well-sourced, albeit ill-timed, column to further shed light on the looming dysfunctional future of the team? Or rather an opportune time to speculate, given the desert-sized wound recently inflicted on a fan base?

Me thinks the latter.

Tim Kawakami is a columnist. He's paid to be polarizing.

His job isn't to give fans practice notes or injury reports, but rather to project his sense on the state of team affairs and offer opinion on how he sees this team, on and off the field.

All that being said, yesterday's post was a transparent putout for page views.

The piece offers nothing more than a heavy serving of "if" and "could." I think most of us are capable of playing armchair owner or GM, but the reality is that this team has those positions filled. Jed York hasn't offered much publicly in this early season, but to suggest he has expectations of someone other than Harbaugh patrolling the 49ers sideline in 2015 and beyond feels…like a reach.

Some fans may be in disarray over the way the team lost games the last two weeks. I get that. I also understand the notion that coaching, or lack-there-of, played a critical culprit in these contests.

But the belief that this team could do better than the currently assembled staff is short-sided. The "LET HARBAUGH WALK" and/or "FIRE ROMAN" banners are neat mantras for message board diatribes, but not actual strategies for taking this team to the next level (the final one).

Kawakami argues that Harbaugh will not head into the 2015 season without a new deal in place. This thinking is based on how many coaches and players conduct themselves in similar situations; he has no proof that this is how Harbaugh will operate.

Jim Harbaugh has built an annual contender. Built is defined as putting together a strong NFL-level coaching staff, winning divisions, earning a wild card birth when a division title isn't available, victories in the playoffs and perhaps above all else, cultivating a level of expectation. Ironically, that may be why some wonder if his time has expired.

David Shaw seems to be a pretty good coach. Can he come in, assemble a staff, win 13 games and a Super Bowl next year? Doubtful.

The reality is that despite any perceived dysfunction amongst ownership/front office with Jim Harbaugh, it seems unlikely that they separate anytime soon. It's fun to throw out splashy names like Kevin Sumlin or Josh McDaniels (Really Tim?) as potential successors, but that suggests a degree of arrogance that, at the moment of Week Four of the regular season, feels even beyond Jed York & Co.

Yesterday's story was not an indictment of Harbaugh's ability to lead or the merit of his coaching ability. On the contrary, Kawakami recognizes that Harbaugh is somewhat irreplaceable. I don't take issue with much of his logic.

I just can't stand that two early season losses dictated this type of rational. It's a seed like this that plants a story of this magnitude on a national scale and that's when it gains traction and feels real (even if it isn't).

I certainly am not trying to attack Tim Kawakami. I am a regular reader of his work and constantly find myself entertained by his ability to go toe-to-toe with the twitter mafia.

This latest column, however, reeked of the knee-jerk variety. I believe fans have enough on their plate, as they try to scheme for a better pass rush and a commitment to running the football in the second half.

On second thought, perhaps Jim should be looking over his shoulder.