Originally posted by 9erfanAUS:
I'd be more sympathetic to Erickson if his drafts weren't absolute rubbish. They best thing they gave us was Brian Jennings and Andy Lee. I don't know how much control Donahue had over the draft but I have to bet that Erickson had sizeable input.
I think that Donahue had most of the control over those drafts. Since Mariucci was the coach for the 2002 draft you would have to blame him for that putrid draft if you are going to blame Erickson for 03-04. In reality, the lions-share of the blame fall squarely on the sun-tanned shoulders of Terry Donahue. I think you would be hard pressed to find many drafts over a three year period worse than Donahue's record from 02-04.
There was no doubt that the Niners were going to experience a major fall because of the salary cap situation. At one point they were paying more cap money to former players than to the players on the team. They had to purge the roster and build anew. No choice. But the problem was compounded considerably by the fact that Donahue was a terrible GM and that his drafts destined the Niners to stay on their knees longer than was necessary.
One thing that Donahue was good at was office politics (which is impressive considering all the time he spent on his yacht in Newport Beach) and he had managed to get more power for himself at the expense of the head coach. That caused fritction between him and Marriucci if I remember correctly. I don't think the "impulsive" Dr. York fires Marricucci without consulation and perhaps encouragement from Donahue. By the time Erikson is brought on board Donahue is firmly in control. Those were his drafts.
I think the Erikson was probably a better coach than Nolan or Singletary. I don't remember Erikson having the on-the-field or off-the-field issues (rumours about drinking I guess) that both Nolan and Singletary had. He had been a very good head coach in college and didn't really embarrass himself in Seattle. What he was, I think, was an average to maybe a little below average NFL coach in a situation that was much to big for him and made worse by the incompetence of the front office. I really doubt, given the cap purge and the horrendous drafts that Marriucci would have done much better.