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Dilfer: "Baalke smartest football man in the league"

Originally posted by candlestick49er:
I disagree that Baalke may be the "luckiest" football guy.

First of all, it doesn't matter if you don't land the top prospect on your board (if he isn't worth trading up for). What matters is that you make a good selection. If your main target isn't there, then select the next available player you believe in. At the end of the day, you have to make the pick work regardless if you got the "top" guy or not. All good GMs have a backup plan, and obviously Baalke was prepared if Peterson wasn't available at #7.

Second of all, Baalke wasn't placed in a position where he was forced to draft Smith. There were several talented players available. He wasn't forced to pick Smith, he DECIDED to choose Aldon. If Smith develops into a dominant pass rusher, then Baalke deserves credit for making a great pick. He could have easily chosen Amukamara, Watt, Quinn, etc...but he went with Smith.

Lets say BOTH Peterson and Smith become top players at their respective positions. What would you say is the smarter move for a team whose philosophy is to build through the draft:
A) Give up several picks and/or player(s) to get a dominant CB
B) Keep all our picks while getting a dominant pass rusher

Its a no brainer. I respect that Baalke didn't trade up and overpay for who we assume was his top prospect. He obviously weighed out several options and went with what he felt was best for our team. That's not luck.



The Niners probably could have kept Baas if they were willing to make him a top 3 paid center. I think it was a smart move to let him walk because he isn't worth what the Giants are paying him. There isn't much of a drop-off between Goodwin and Baas skill wise. But contract-wise, we got an upgrade. It was a smart move by Baalke to replace an (overpaid) average center with a (cheap) average center. You assume that Goodwin was at the bottom of Baalke's list, but you don't know that for sure. What we do know is that it was a decision that worked out.



Yes, we are seeing a theme here...we aren't overpaying for players even if they happen to be at the top of our list. We could have overpayed for a good CB, but instead we got a good CB for cheap. Also, was Carlos Rogers number 8 on Baalke's CB list for 2011 or was he number 8 on your list? There were other CBs available (Marshall, Carr, etc) who Baalke could have signed instead of Rogers. Once again, Baalke ended up getting a solid (in this case a GOOD) player without overpaying (are we seeing a theme here?)



I haven't seen Watt play much, but I think our pass rush needed to be addressed more than the DL. Based on Aldon's play so far, I think he was a great pick especially with McDonald taking care of business at DE.



This is what makes Baalke a smart decision maker. Its low risk, high reward. Baalke's misses so far aren't hurting the team financially. If Braylon bounces back and finishes the year on a strong note, thats great for us. If he doesn't, that sucks but his cheap contract allows us to move on without cap problems.



I can't say that Baalke is the smartest, but I do believe he is one of the smartest. As for the training camp projection, that means nothing. With the lockout, most teams didn't have full rosters during training camp and were still in the process of adding players. Snyder-Rachal-Davis was a temporary lineup. Training camp depth charts aren't always projections of the regular season lineup. Snyder starting at center wasn't a good idea going into the season, which is why it was addressed with Goodwin. I don't see how this is a negative for Baalke because that training camp lineup is irrelevant today. The fact that it was addressed should be seen as a positive move by Baalke.

Excellent post, Candlestick.... I wish there were more posts like it in the zone....insightful, well articulated, and with evidence to back up your points.

Just to chime in on this myself, I think the "theme" of Baalke's tenure as GM thus far is value....getting the most bang for the buck. Given the fact that there is a salary cap in the NFL and that the Niners have had a history of cap problems (especially in the Donahue era), what Baalke's actions have demonstrated is that he understands the current realities of the league. I think it also shows that he realizes that he doesn't have to have elite guys at every position in order to build a winner. What it takes is some elite guys and a very good supporting cast with good depth.

Now, have the Niners been fortunate that so many of their FA guys and draft class have contributed so much right away?....probably. However, when one looks at the signings / choices that any GM makes in any sport, when those FAs work out and contribute, it makes the GM look good and if not, it makes the GM look bad. Part of that is luck...but...it is my view that it is more a matter of probability coming to fruition.

In other words, signing guys like Edwards, Rogers, Ginn, and Goodwin at lower than market value for one year are signings that are likely to work out well for the team. If the player tanks or is injured, it is a one year deal and he is gone after that season. If it works out well, then the team and the player are happy and the GM looks like a genius.

Another zoner said it much more succinctly than I.....low risk, high reward. I would even say this...low risk, good probability of success, high reward...

When one looks at Baalke's approach to the draft (which is inherently more risky), he still took a measured approach....getting guys that fill positions of need, will work hard, and fit the schemes of what the HC and coaches wanted to run.

To sum up, has Baalke been lucky?....a bit yes. Did he put himself in a good position to be successful.....YES!!!

Cheers, guys...
Originally posted by dj43:
A good GM has a blend of "smarts" along with "luck" and "skill." If it were all so predictable, we would have computers making the picks and eliminate the human element completely.

With a view somewhat in hindsight, Baalke appears to have a significant advantage in personnel decisions as a result of his time spent as a scout. In that role he has talked to a lot of college coaches and analyzed their programs in relation to what he sees in the pro game. While that seems like stating the obvious, it has become more evident in his ability to identify and sign Harbaugh as well as draft some players that are looking very promising for the future. It remains to be seen but the best thing he has done appears to be the signing of Jim Harbaugh. An excellent coaching staff will make a GM look good every time but that fact does not mean that the GM has been lucky. Rather, he made a good hire and deserves credit for getting it done. Therefore, by extension, his drafting looks good as well.

Personally, I was quite negative on TB. I wanted an experienced NFL guy who had been with a winning program - perhaps an assistant but someone who had seen how it works. Baalke was not that kind of guy, however, that does not mean he isn't going to get the job done long-term as well as short. For my part, I am very pleased with what has transpired and look forward to see if it can be sustained.

well said.

I think most fans realize that the jury is definitely out on Baalke but that early returns looks incredibly promising, and just the fact that he got Harbaugh looks to add so many brownie points in his favor that he's going to have to have a whole slew of Taylor-Mays-styled messups before all that goodwill evaporates.

what i like about Baalke is that he's first and foremost a "football guy." Like you said, his experience as a scout--and his continued involvement in scouting--has made a big difference in our front office and its relationship to the coaching staff. and though he's inexperienced, "new blood" has to come from somewhere. NFL teams can't expect to hire and fire and re-hire guys like Mike Holmgren forever.

and, really, the fact is that its all a crapshoot. I think most people would agree that the Pats and Colts are premiere franchises, and they get a lot of credit and benefit of the doubt on their decisions, but they've both made big mistakes in the draft, and to a lesser extent free agency, and have a bunch of whiffs to their credit, and field some incredibly weak units. So sometimes the "big boys" make mistakes, and sometimes reputations are better than results.
Originally posted by dj43:
A good GM has a blend of "smarts" along with "luck" and "skill." If it were all so predictable, we would have computers making the picks and eliminate the human element completely.

With a view somewhat in hindsight, Baalke appears to have a significant advantage in personnel decisions as a result of his time spent as a scout. In that role he has talked to a lot of college coaches and analyzed their programs in relation to what he sees in the pro game. While that seems like stating the obvious, it has become more evident in his ability to identify and sign Harbaugh as well as draft some players that are looking very promising for the future. It remains to be seen but the best thing he has done appears to be the signing of Jim Harbaugh. An excellent coaching staff will make a GM look good every time but that fact does not mean that the GM has been lucky. Rather, he made a good hire and deserves credit for getting it done. Therefore, by extension, his drafting looks good as well.

Personally, I was quite negative on TB. I wanted an experienced NFL guy who had been with a winning program - perhaps an assistant but someone who had seen how it works. Baalke was not that kind of guy, however, that does not mean he isn't going to get the job done long-term as well as short. For my part, I am very pleased with what has transpired and look forward to see if it can be sustained.
Very reasonable post. Well said.

Personally, I didn't know Baalke from Adam, and have only an outsider's view of what it might take to be the GM of an NFL team. From listening to guys like Charley Casserly and Mike Lombardi on NFL Network, it doesn't appear that one has to be a rocket scientist, but someone with alot of patience and common sense could, with hard work, time and effort, succeed. Baalke appears to have those qualities.

My guess is that he did not prep for the draft in a vacuum, but spent many, many hours during the lockout discussing football, discussing the Niners and their current roster, and discussing team needs, with Harbaugh and his staff. It seems likely that the coaching staff spent many hours reviewing scouting reports, looking at film, and interviewing prospects, and Baalke was in the midst of it all. So his draft selections are not necessarily a reflection of his "genius" as a talent evaluator, so much as they reflect some excellent teamwork by Baalke, the scouting dept and the coaches about who to select.

Baalke's real genius might be in getting everyone on board, and working together towards a single vision or plan for how the team will look and play on the field. That, and pulling the right strings at the right time to get the guys that were ultimately identified as the targets.
Originally posted by oldninerdude:
Originally posted by dj43:
A good GM has a blend of "smarts" along with "luck" and "skill." If it were all so predictable, we would have computers making the picks and eliminate the human element completely.

With a view somewhat in hindsight, Baalke appears to have a significant advantage in personnel decisions as a result of his time spent as a scout. In that role he has talked to a lot of college coaches and analyzed their programs in relation to what he sees in the pro game. While that seems like stating the obvious, it has become more evident in his ability to identify and sign Harbaugh as well as draft some players that are looking very promising for the future. It remains to be seen but the best thing he has done appears to be the signing of Jim Harbaugh. An excellent coaching staff will make a GM look good every time but that fact does not mean that the GM has been lucky. Rather, he made a good hire and deserves credit for getting it done. Therefore, by extension, his drafting looks good as well.

Personally, I was quite negative on TB. I wanted an experienced NFL guy who had been with a winning program - perhaps an assistant but someone who had seen how it works. Baalke was not that kind of guy, however, that does not mean he isn't going to get the job done long-term as well as short. For my part, I am very pleased with what has transpired and look forward to see if it can be sustained.
Very reasonable post. Well said.

Personally, I didn't know Baalke from Adam, and have only an outsider's view of what it might take to be the GM of an NFL team. From listening to guys like Charley Casserly and Mike Lombardi on NFL Network, it doesn't appear that one has to be a rocket scientist, but someone with alot of patience and common sense could, with hard work, time and effort, succeed. Baalke appears to have those qualities.

My guess is that he did not prep for the draft in a vacuum, but spent many, many hours during the lockout discussing football, discussing the Niners and their current roster, and discussing team needs, with Harbaugh and his staff. It seems likely that the coaching staff spent many hours reviewing scouting reports, looking at film, and interviewing prospects, and Baalke was in the midst of it all. So his draft selections are not necessarily a reflection of his "genius" as a talent evaluator, so much as they reflect some excellent teamwork by Baalke, the scouting dept and the coaches about who to select.

Baalke's real genius might be in getting everyone on board, and working together towards a single vision or plan for how the team will look and play on the field. That, and pulling the right strings at the right time to get the guys that were ultimately identified as the targets.

Well said indeed. However, I just wand to add that there are a lot of personnel people who work for teams who never get noticed by the press, never have articles written by them but very capable in what they do. I do believe Baalke had some exposure to Parcells and others during his tenure in the NFL. I'm sure he learned quite a few things and maintained relationships over time.
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
I'm disappointed with your logic MD. I value your opinion, and strongly agree that judging someone in 6 games is insane, however your logic doesn't add up. The Peterson argument specifically frustrates me. By that logic, you are either assuming that every team has the player they pick in the 1st round as the #1 player on their board, or they should trade the farm to trade up. Was Peterson the first player on our board? maybe. Did we trade for him? no. But there are two parts to the equation. How much better is he than the guy you're going to draft? and what is that going to cost you? I'm sure that everyone outside the top 3 does not draft the #1 player on their board. So who was going to trade with us? AZ who wanted Peterson also? Cincy who had their heart set on AJ Green? Carolina? Denver? Buffalo? They all wanted players who would have been gone by our pick, and would have required the farm for a trade. We couldn't offer that much for 2 reasons: 1. Baalke knew he wanted to draft a QB later in the draft and needed not only the 2nd round pick, but also other ammunition. 2. Last I checked Peterson is not Andrew Luck...you don't trade the farm for CBs! Then you say he got "lucky" with Aldon Smith. Again, by that logic every team is lucky. The Colts were lucky with Manning, someone will get lucky with (excuse the inadvertent pun) Luck. Other than that, drafting is a skill. Aldon Smith was the top rated player on our board, we wanted to trade down to get him later, and we chose him over players that many thought we would take. Completely unfair to call that luck. You think Watt will be better? Fine. Very possible. You think it's too early to tell if Aldon will actually be good? That's fair again. But to call a pick lucky? Come on! Same logic goes for FAs. We all know that loosing teams have to do more to get FAs, and sometimes the player doesn't even consider non-playoff teams. But back to my point... we had a value assigned to certain players, and if another team valued them higher, then we stopped competing. That's what you're supposed to do! If you value someone at $3MM/yr, and someone pays them $9MM/yr (random #s) then you didn't fail, you stuck to your guns. As for the 1 year players, I hardly doubt we'll have much trouble re-signing the ones we want. Rodgers has stated he wants to stay here long term. Ginn took a pay cut to stay. I'm sure he'll resign. Alex will do as Harbaugh says. Morgan will have a long term deal before the season ends, and any judgement on Edwards should be saved until he actually plays (how did you say that he was a mistake on Baalke's part? He go injured in game 2! How do you predict that?). You really think signing Costanzo will be an issue? The other 1 year contract guys? Who cares? Too early to tell how good Baalke is, I agree, but reading your review I can't help but see an agenda to be skeptical. Unfair criticism for much of it.

Well put. I'd also add that Edwards is only being paid 1 million this year unless he catches 90 passes (something he's never done and certainly won't do now).

No one posting here actually even knows what our board looked like either and are taking some media reports as gospel (which isn't at all reasonable IMO, but w/e).
[ Edited by Evilgenius on Oct 27, 2011 at 12:39 PM ]
Trent Dilfer read this thread and said it's the greatest thread in the world.

Then he glanced at the funny gifs thread and said that was the greatest thread in the world.
Luck is when preperation meets opportunity. Luck is not a "random' thing that happens to some people and not others... I firmly believe that you're either lucky or unlucky by how you prepare yourself for an opportunity that may or may not ever present itself.

I also find it funny that some people think they KNOW what Baalke thinks... who was the top player on his board, or where he had players ranked. The bottom line is AT THIS POINT virtually every move that he's made has been criticized and yet they have almost all worked out! That is not luck, he stuck to his guns and made his move based on how he valued a player... Did he go after some FA's yes... but when the price was inflated beyond how much he valued that player he backed off and went after value. To criticized the Carlos Rogers signing because of interest in Nnamdi or Joseph is assanine. I don't think there is a team in the league that got better value for their draft and FA signings this year. Based off of that, Dilfer has something to base his oppinion off of...
Dilfer is always so positive about his reporting. Shame he was not a hayday 49er
  • obx49
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Originally posted by ObePwnD:
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
This morning on Colin Cowherd's show Dilfer again praised Baalke, stated again that he's the runaway winner for the executive of the year award, and that even beyond Holmgren, Dungy and other brilliant football minds he's been around, Baalke is at the very top of the list. Guarantees we are going to be Patriotesque for the next decade because of him. He's kind of a niner homer, but it's nice to hear.

Thoughts?

Biggest homer we have. He was a homer with Sing in the driver's seat. Doesn't get more homer than that.

...and that's bad? Love to see homers such as Berman, Young, and Dilfer say good things about this team. After a decade of futility, we are well over due for a little homerism from the talking heads.
Originally posted by HessianDud:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:


First Round- Aldon Smith- C grade
Smith was the best OLB left on the board when the Niners selected.

seems like you thought Von Miller was the best OLB in the draft.
Thanks for the correction. Miller was the highest graded on my board at OLB, then Smith. I guess I overlooked Miller in this thread since he was off the board so quickly. Thank you for posting what I said, that he was the highest on the board once Miller was selected at number two.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
Originally posted by HessianDud:
Originally posted by MadDog49er:


First Round- Aldon Smith- C grade
Smith was the best OLB left on the board when the Niners selected.

seems like you thought Von Miller was the best OLB in the draft.
Thanks for the correction. Miller was the highest graded on my board at OLB, then Smith. I guess I overlooked Miller in this thread since he was off the board so quickly. Thank you for posting what I said, that he was the highest on the board once Miller was selected at number two.

no problem.
Originally posted by genus49:
I think it's funny that some guys just can't admit that they're wrong.

I agree it's early to say one way or another that the moves made by Baalke in the draft are right or wrong.

What I do know is that the team is clearly much improved and the players that we did take are making a big impact on the current roster.

Maddog, if we draft JJ Watt who do we have instead of Aldon?

Sure JJ Watt would've been great but you draft him and you don't have Aldon.

Personally I'll take Aldon Smith + Ray Mac than what the alternative is.

Also trying to imply that Baalke "lucked" into the free agent deals that he got is just ignorant. He still had to know when to cut bait with the big free agents. IIRC you wanted them to go all out and sign Aso. Baalke felt the money wasn't worth it. That's not luck. They let Baas and Spikes go because they didn't feel they were worth the contracts they got - thats not luck.

They signed the guys they did when they were available for everyone. They didn't spin some roulette wheel and win a contract with Rogers. They could've signed Richard Marshall or one of the other guys. They signed the right guy.

GM's can't always get it right but it's pathetic that people think they can do a much better job. It's all speculation. I'm quite happy with what we've seen so far from this front office. If you can't admit you were wrong don't make it worse by implying it was luck. Sour grapes...
Lots of topics. Where to start first...

First, nobody should ever concede that a six game window either makes or breaks a player, a player personnel director, a coach, a GM, etc. It is always the long haul. My critique of Baalke may end up being brilliant if the team begins to slide, or it may be a colossal failure in analysis. The issue becomes for many that any criticism of Niners' management is a direct attack on the team and fans, and for some, board members. People shouldn't take things so angrily, personally. Claiming victory after half a season either way (the critic or supporter of management) is tenuous, as the NFL is a tricky business. Teams rise and slide easily.

I'm not sure the talent is better than last year, but rather the system put in place by the coaching staff is superior.

They may have signed the right guys by accident, as other teams continued to outbid players the organization wanted, but was unwilling to commit the money. To me, that is not genius, as some suggested.

It appears that some enraged by my critique of Baalke are requesting that I make a public statement that I was wrong. These individuals are going to have to wait a while. The window of time is far too short. I will have no problem saying I was in error down the road (because that obviously means we have a consistently solid team for some time), and for a handful of individuals, for some crazy reason, this will make their fondest wishes come true. But, it would be silly for me to grovel on the board after a third of the season, then potentially watch the team slide, or watch free agents walk away after this year and have a subpar season in 2012, only to take back the grovelling. Time is the true test of anything, and my analysis, as explained earlier is based on the long-term health of this organization.

As for Baas and Spikes, the situation was a bit different for both guys. The team did not appear interested in re-signing him, so his departure was not a shock. Baas' signing was a blow. The team, from the beat writers, intended to make a run at him, and seems blindsided by the events that took place. Neither was let go by the organization as both were free agents.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
First, nobody should ever concede that a six game window either makes or breaks a player, a player personnel director, a coach, a GM, etc. It is always the long haul. My critique of Baalke may end up being brilliant if the team begins to slide, or it may be a colossal failure in analysis.
I agree, 6 games isn't enough to grade long-term performance because we don't know how things will turn out in the future. However, its enough to critique performance so far. During the offseason I wasn't willing to make bold statements (good or bad) about Baalke because I wanted to see the results first. He has my support because he's our team's GM and he hasn't done anything to show he isn't capable. You disagreed with many of his moves, which is fine. You may be right in the future, but we don't know that yet. What we DO know is that he's done a great job so far.


Originally posted by MadDog49er:
They may have signed the right guys by accident, as other teams continued to outbid players the organization wanted, but was unwilling to commit the money. To me, that is not genius, as some suggested.

Wow. So if Baalke's moves don't pan out, it was a bad move/decision. But if his acquisitions do pan out it was by accident? According to you, Baalke is either going to be a poor GM or a lucky one. Its lose/lose and he'll never be good in your eyes if that's how you look at things. You aren't respecting the fact that GMs make decisions and a thought process occurs before decisions are made. Baalke CHOSE Aldon Smith, he wasn't forced to select him (Amukamara, Watt, Quinn, etc were available). Baalke CHOSE to sign Carlos Rogers, he wasn't the only CB left (Carr, Marshall, etc). Sure it was reported that we were interested in Patrick Peterson and Nnamdi, but you have to consider value. If interested in a player, GMs can either: A) attempt to acquire at all costs regardless of the price (even if it hurts the franchise) or B) attempt to acquire if the value makes sense. From the outside looking in, I would say Baalke is more of a value guy. Is it genius? No, but its a smart approach.
Originally posted by Joecool:
Trent Dilfer read this thread and said it's the greatest thread in the world.

Then he glanced at the funny gifs thread and said that was the greatest thread in the world.

Well, duh, it is
I wonder how Holmgren is esteemed as a GM when he wasn't very good in Seattle. Now, the Browns seem to floundering.

Their coach is totally unprepared because of the lockout.

I heard Harbaugh on the radio during the lockout and he had plans for like 10 different time lines, depending on when the lockout ended. Each one mapped out how the team would prepare for the upcoming season.

When I heard this, I knew this guy would be good.

Dingleberry would have just shown up on the first day of camp picking his butt wondering what to do.

Baalke seems to be the same kind of GM. I was skeptical at the time but I'm glad he and Harbs play squash together :)