Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports



You could make the argument that Jim Tomsula was dealt a losing hand. After all, the San Francisco 49ers had one of the most disastrous and bizarre offseasons in the history of the NFL, and not many coaches could succeed with that kind of roster turnover. Okay...I guess that's valid. The thing is, the cupboard wasn't exactly bare. There were still good players on this team, as well as young and promising ones. While the talent level wasn't anywhere near what it had been in recent years, the expectation of being competitive was still front and center, although not necessarily at a playoff caliber level. You can win five or six games and still be trending in the right direction. The issue is, the 49ers aren't.

Thus far, through 11 games, the negatives have far and away outweighed the positives, and much of it falls on Tomsula and a coaching staff that appears to be filled with has beens and never will be's. Sure, the general manager and owner should take most of the blame for putting the organization in this position to begin with, but for now let's just concentrate on what's happening on the field.

The 49ers' record currently sits at 3-8 and they are in every way a 3-8 football team. To start, they're absolutely abysmal on the road. In five games (all losses), the Niners have been outscored 176-71. As bad as that is, the point differential doesn't even tell the whole story. You see, the 49ers have gotten their doors completely blown off from the get go in all but one game (at the Giants in Week 5), and have found themselves in halftime deficits of 29-3, 31-7, 13-6, 20-6, and 20-7. That's not good, especially when you're defense is giving up 464 yards and 35 points per game. Ouch.

As bad as things have been on the road, Tomsula's bunch has shown some promise at home, currently boasting a 3-3 record. The defense is still giving up yardage (342 per game), but is keeping opponents off the scoreboard and not allowing more than 20 points in any game. The issue is, the offense still stinks. The 49ers are averaging a mere 13.5 points per game at home, versus 14.2 on the road. Pretty terrible, no matter what state they happen to be in. Part of the problem on the offensive side of the ball is how slowly they tend to start. San Francisco is yet to score a first quarter touchdown this season.

The results listed above are mostly the product of poor game planning, scheme and well...just plain bad coaching.

Given how inept the overall staff is, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they were unable to further develop Colin Kaepernick. Actually, they helped make him worse. Look, I am not a Kaepernick guy. I just don't think he's very good and doesn't have what it takes upstairs to play the quarterback position in the NFL. Still, you can't ignore the fact that he has extraordinary physical tools and he can make some plays if you center your offense around what he can do (running, throwing on the move, etc). Good coaches coach to their players strengths, but the 49ers didn't do that. Overall, they probably stayed with him as the starter a game or two too long on top of it.

The whole Kaepernick scenario is puzzling to me though, and here's why:

If you don't have a quarterback in this league you're in trouble. Going into this season, if Kaepernick didn't work out, the 49ers had an issue at the position moving forward. The one thing they HAD to do this season was develop their quarterback. The guys they entrusted to do it? Career defensive line coach Tomusla, Geep Cryst, and Steve Logan. Not exactly Bill Walsh and Mike Holmgren.

Anyway, Tomsula has also been too slow to pull the plug on what isn't working in other areas. Case and point: the offensive line. I understand injuries and retirements put them in a bind, but to stick with a combination that just wasn't working for so long made no sense. Let's look at the Jordan Devey situation. Devey, a career backup at right guard, was acquired a few weeks before the season started for a sixth string tight end. He was named the starter shortly there after. Not surprisingly, Devey has graded out as one of the worst guards in the league with a -16.1 rating over 397 snaps (according to Pro Football Focus) . Despite the fact that his play was clearly hurting the team from the word go, Tomsula was reluctant to make a change. Eventually, Andrew Tiller was given more playing time, but Tomsula insisted on him splitting snaps with Devey instead of just pulling the plug. Tiller was eventually given the starting nod, and has responded with a +2.5 rating over 288 snaps. But again, why not make a change sooner? Devey wasn't exactly a proven player.

Tomsula's slow approach to making changes shouldn't come as a surprise though, given the fact that his careful nature also comes through in his actual coaching. It almost seems he approaches games as if he's scared, trying to keep it close enough not to get blown out. Even with the playoffs not being a remote possibility, Tomsula is still reluctant to go for it on fourth down or push the envelope to try and get big plays. He seems content prodding along and taking what other teams are giving him.

Jed York said he wanted a teacher when he was looking for someone to replace Jim Harbaugh. What exactly is Tomsula teaching? The defense to be wildly inconsistent and terrible away from home? The offense to be conservative and inept? Even with the unit moving the ball more consistently with Blaine Gabbert under center, they have still only managed 43 points the last three games.

The long and the short of it is, if the 49ers really care about their future, they have to fire Tomsula after this season. He's not the answer and he never will be. Giving him another year to go 5-11 will only stunt to development of the franchise. What are they going to do, draft Jared Goff and leave him in the hands of this staff? Even worse, they could hire a new offensive coordinator for next year, and then fire him too when Tomsula's finally given the boot, further stunting the development of players.

The truth is the answer to the team's coaching issues were probably right in front of them when they could have had the combination of Adam Gase as their head man and Vic Fangio staying as defense coordinator. But York tried to push Tomsula down Gase's throat and he resisted. Now you have the position coach no one wanted as a coordinator running your whole team.

Moving forward, there are strong candidates that will be available this upcoming offseason. Gase (although that ship has probably sailed), New England Patriot's offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Stanford's David Shaw, or even the New Orleans Saints probably soon to be ex-head coach Sean Payton. Any of them would be excellent choices that would infuse some life back into the team. The thing is, would any of these guys (all of whom will probably have options) want to work for someone like York?