Mike Nolan: Hiring Tomsula and Kelly is a blemish that Baalke will have to carry

Dec 5, 2016 at 10:05 AM--


Former San Francisco 49ers head coach and current NFL Network analyst Mike Nolan joined Joe, Lo & Dibs on 95.7 The Game to discuss, among other things, the current state of the team. The 49ers are coming off of yet another embarrassing loss to a Chicago Bears team that many, including critics, believe the 49ers should have beaten despite their then-10-game losing streak.

Nolan started by comparing the current team to the 49ers team that he took over in 2005. "There really was not a lot of good personnel on the team," Nolan said. "The difference though that I think is better and will continue to be better is they will be a much better cap situation football team going forward than we ever were back then. As a matter of fact, they'll be very good because Paraag Marathe does do an excellent job at his position with the 49ers as far as keeping their numbers right with contracts and all that stuff.

"But the losing is really killing them. And the personnel – I'll say this, too – the personnel is NOT as bad as they're playing. And that's the thing that really gets under your skin as a coach, because you're frustrated by what's going on. But more importantly, as the organization and the brass at the very top, naturally when they're thinking about, 'Do we keep this receiver or move on?' – I think something that enters into the picture here that is not really talked about so much but it definitely has to be on the mind of the ownership and all, and that is they're paying [Jim] Tomsula currently. They owe Jim [Harbaugh] at least two more years, if not three more years. If they make a change with Chip Kelly, that's another three or four years on the books. So you're going to have two head coaches you're paying contracts of. So if you go hire another guy, that's a lot of money, just wasted money, that's out there on coaches.

"The thing that I have thought most of the season was when people were talking about changes when the losses started to mount up, was not to change it. Because I know Trent [Baalke] personally, and Trent does a good job with personnel, and that's his primary job. But, for a lot of strange reasons – guys retiring, guys quitting a couple years ago, just a lot of weird things that occurred – their roster has kind of fallen off a little bit, but it is still a much better roster than some of these other teams that are not winning have. So that part of it, from my point of view, is done.

"At least identify the problem correctly. It's about players first, and I think they have the right guy in place to pick the players, but unfortunately for Trent, I think the choice of Tomsula hurt him, and currently right now Chip Kelly is not helping him either. All of a sudden you say, 'Look, we can't keep (Baalke), he's the one that picked the last two guys,' I guess is maybe what they're saying. I'm not sure overall. Nonetheless, that's a blemish that Trent is going to have to carry a little bit.

"But getting back to players, it's about players first. They do not have a bad roster. Obviously, they need a quarterback. They can be a .500 team in my opinion if they get a quarterback as near as next year I should say even. They've got a tough decision to make at the end because you're right, you don't want to lose your fans. But yet, they're going to lose a lot of money in the process, too. Where do you go? I'll say this – the team is making a hell of a lot of money, so maybe that isn't a factor."

You can listen to the entire interview on 95.7 The Game.

Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat has the majority of the transcript from the interview on his Inside the 49ers blog.

The 49ers hired Chip Kelly in January and he became the team's third head coach in as many years. On Sunday morning, it was reported by Jay Glazer on FOX NFL Sunday that Chip Kelly's job was safe and that he would return to the 49ers in 2017 no matter what transpired during the rest of the season.

Kelly has coached the 49ers to their 11th-straight loss, losing 26-6 to the Bears in Chicago on Sunday. Throughout the week, the 49ers had been favored by as much as 2.5 points. It was just the second time this season that the 49ers were favored in a game. Both ended in lopsided losses. Kelly has won just one game since taking over as head coach for the 49ers and just seven in his last two NFL seasons.

Baalke's job security remains up in the air. While many believe that he will likely be gone at the end of the season, Baalke continues to travel to college games in order to scout for the team. On November 9, Kelly was asked about Baalke continuing to travel so much for the team. "I'm confused," Kelly replied. "That's his job."

"I feel bad for the fans, I feel bad for a lot of people, the ownership in particular," Baalke said prior to the 49ers' November 27 matchup with the Miami Dolphins. "You know, they give us everything we need and I've said that. I've gone public with that. If we don't get it done, put it on me."



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