Did you hear? The big news out of the OTAs?

Sure, there were some lesser stories. Master motivator Mike Singletary was unable to motivate half his defense to show up. (Nate Clements went AWOL even at the cost of half a million bucks; aren't you LOVIN' the team spirit?) Alex Smith showed off his new Peyton Manning leadership skills, though the impression went a bit south when he started, you know, throwing. (But don't worry; the QB isn't the most important player, remember?) And our new fleet of punt returners were rattled by the stiff winds of, um, Santa Clara. (Is it too late to put a ROOF on that stadium?)

The BIG news, though, was something else.

After much thought, study, and analysis, Jed's come up with our new organizational structure.

Prepare to be inspired.

In March, when he announced Scot McCloughan's exit, he told us he wasn't sure what would come next. He'd let Trent Baalke run the draft, and then he'd figure out "what's the right structure."

Not exactly a vision of Singletarian clarity.

But the draft went on, and the draft went well. Baalke, the so-called "point person," proved he was compatible with Singletary; he proved it, of course, by doing exactly what Singletary wanted. But whatever. The draft went well.

That's good news, naturally. But it comes at a price.

Jed took the draft as evidence that a mushy structure works. So now he's decided to keep it. And that's a bad idea.

There isn't one right way to build a successful football organization. Typically, there's a head football executive (with any of various titles) and a head football coach. But the executive can be over the coach (think Bill Polian over Tony Dungy), the coach can be over the executive (think Bill Belichick over Scott Pioli), and the coach can even BE the executive (think Bill Walsh, but beware; thinking of him too much can cause nostalgia of a heartbreaking sort).

The organizational chart doesn't matter. What matters is the clarity of the chain of command. A successful organization involves cooperation, but ultimately it's not a democracy.

There's gotta be one boss, and everyone's gotta know who it is.

Let's take a look at Jed's new structure, and let's figure out who's the boss, shall we?

As expected, Baalke's officially the head football executive. (True, Paraag Marathe's title is "executive vice president of football (and business) operations," whereas Baalke's is merely "vice president of player personnel," but until Marathe's in charge of any football operations that don't involve the use of a slide rule, Baalke's the head football guy.) And Singletary, of course, is the head football coach.

But who's over whom? The answer is: nobody.

Try to follow this. According to Jed, Singletary "will have control of the 53-man roster," as he's had "from when he was hired." (From when he was hired, eh? That's news. And McCloughan's exit is starting to make a LOT more sense.) Baalke's "in charge of the draft" and "in charge of trades." Free agency, too? No; for reasons unknown (and likely inexplicable), Baalke can't be in charge of THAT, so he and Singletary will be "working together." Neither reports to the other, and both report to Jed. As for who's got the all-important authority to hire and fire the head coach, Jed could only offer a joke: "The head coach because he is going to keep winning."

Good one, Jed.

So, got it? Baalke can draft and trade for the players he wants, but the roster will feature only the players that SINGLETARY wants. (Put another way, Baalke can bring 'em in, but Singletary can send 'em right back out.) As for who we sign in free agency, that's more important than drafting and trading (?!), so Baalke and Singletary will make those decisions together. (If they disagree, I can only assume it'll be rock-paper-scissors, best of three.) And though I don't suppose that Singletary's REALLY in charge of whether he's fired--though I doubt I'd be surprised--I think the question's a bit too important for Jed to dodge with a bit of schtick. Is that decision up to Jed? Or is Dear Old Dad still pulling that string?

Did you figure out who's the boss? If so, you're a whole lot smarter than I.

It's easy to assume--as I'd been assuming--there IS a boss, and it's Singletary. That draft of course was clearly his, so you'd naturally think he's a Belichick, with Baalke playing the loyal Pioli. But Jed didn't say that, and despite all the flak I've given Singletary, I'd much rather have him in a Belichick role than the kind of mush that Jed's set up. At least there'd be that clear chain of command. There'd be one boss, and everyone would know who it is.

Sure, everything looks rosy now. So far, Baalke and Singletary have worked well together--to whatever extent they've actually worked together--so why rock the boat? But ANY structure holds when the weather's calm. The question is how it'll hold in a storm. And no matter how well this season goes, we're bound to hit a storm or two.

In a typical structure, when the storm hits, the boss makes the call. He listens to advice, of course, but the decision is his. Clear leadership, clear accountability. But in THIS structure, when the storm hits, everyone will sit down, join hands, sing Kumbaya, and work through it together. The leadership is muddled, with no accountability at all.

History shows which structure's more likely to lead to success. But as we know, history's never meant much to the Yorks.