Faith No More

Nov 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM


I still believed. Despite what I saw, I truly believed.

Against the Giants' abysmal D, we'd scored 16 points despite 5 interceptions, only the last of which put it away. Against the Redskins' demoralized D, we'd scored 17 points, needing another near-miracle finish. And Seattle's D, having survived the first round of HGH testing, had quietly regained its place at the top of the league.

But damn it all, I still believed.

Because I believed in Jim Harbaugh.

I'd made a promise, you see. Nearly three years ago, we talked about faith. We talked about how certain figures—especially sports figures—have a superhuman aura about them, an aura that simply compels your belief. It's not that they truly do win all the time––which, of course, is impossible—it's that their losses don't seem to stick. They remain unbeatable, regardless of how many times they've been beaten. Naturally, that's unreasonable, but that of course is precisely the point. A confidence that's unshakable, even in the absence of reason—that's the very essence of faith.

During that first season, Harbaugh had already shown he was human. "But humanity aside," I boldly proclaimed, "he's still our new Superman, every bit the savior we'd hoped. [And] I won't lose faith in Superman."

And despite a slew of gut-wrenching tests, that faith didn't waver. After his second season, which ended in utter agony, I reiterated his coaching "genius" and proudly declared that I "wouldn't trade him for anyone else." And last New Year's Eve, despite a season of near-complete turmoil, I still just couldn't let it go. "You can ask your questions, lay out all your reasons for doubt. ... Yet no matter what, Harbaugh seems to come up with the answers. Of course I understand he might lose. But I'll never, ever, believe that he will."

And even this season, after asserting that Harbaugh's offensive schizophrenia was the spitting image of his pants-dropping predecessor's, I went on to predict, nevertheless, we'd be the league's best by the end of the year.

You're entitled to ask me what I was thinking, but that's just it: I wasn't really thinking at all. Faith, again, is the absence of thought, a state where the heart dismantles the mind. And no matter how much my mind was screaming, my heart remained in Harbaugh's hands.

And so, somehow, against Seattle on Thanksgiving night, I still believed.

But now, no more.

Naturally, I should've known. The method for beating Seattle is easy to design (if not necessarily easy to execute). Avoid their pass-rush, and avoid their corners. In other words, attack the middle of the field, and do it quickly. Increase your tempo to keep their D a half-step behind. And then use short passes, especially to your backs and tight ends. And once you've established a rhythm that way, then you can throw to receivers deep, but never, ever, outside the numbers.

That is to say, you run the West Coast frickin' Offense. Famously, Harbaugh promised to run it; but infamously, Harbaugh lied. So naturally, I should've known.

Despite our offense's recent woes, we didn't change a goddamn thing. We played at a slogging, mind-numbing pace, running the play-clock all the way down. And with rare exceptions, Colin Kaepernick threw deep into coverage, wasting play after play after play; each looked like it had been sketched on a napkin, and none had the slightest chance of success. And then, of course, just as he did in the title game—and because we never make the same mistake once—he challenged Richard Sherman outside the numbers, and did it with maybe his two worst throws ever, giving Sherman another chance to be the total Dick that he is.

Kaepernick has been destroyed. I'll never forget that Super Bowl run. I've never seen such a lethal blend of precision and power. He stood tall in the pocket, zipped through his progressions, found the open man, and delivered strikes all over the field. And every time he started to run, he simply took my breath away. And he did all this with a thrilling abandon, an absolute aversion to fear.

Now, thanks to Harbaugh, Kaepernick plays like a terrified rookie. Harbaugh's afraid of injury, so Kaepernick's afraid to run; the most awesome dual-threat in the history of the league now isn't a dual-threat at all. And because Harbaugh's passing scheme is basically all vertical—without what Alex Smith called "pressure-beaters"—Kaepernick can avoid the rush only by scrambling, and he's gotten so used to having to scramble, he's scrambling even when he can step up. And because he's scrambling (or thinking about scrambling), he isn't seeing the field anymore, and that, of course, leads to deadly mistakes.

Instead of doing a coach's most basic job—putting his players in position to succeed—Harbaugh's put them in position to fail. And having put them there, he's left them there. Call it stupid, or call it stubborn; either way, it's now become a total embarrassment. And, as Jed said, with a promise of change: it's totally unacceptable.

My illusions now shattered, everything looks different now. What do you call a coach who doesn't replace a punt-returner who's obviously a nightmare waiting to happen? A coach who can't get his team lined up on the first play of a Super Bowl? A coach who stands idly by while his young QB plays hero-ball with Lombardi on the line? A coach who entrusts his NFL offense to a coordinator whose experience in that position consists of a job at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, New Jersey?

Not a "genius," that's for sure.

During Harbaugh's tenure—now coming to an end, without any doubt—I've endured a constant battle between what I was seeing and what I was willing myself to believe. A battle between the mind and the heart. At the very beginning, my mind took note of Stanford's bruising, run-first offense, yet my heart latched onto a totally different, romantic idea, the notion of Walsh's last disciple restoring his master's brilliant philosophy. After Harbaugh's first game—a game where we ran on seven third-downs—my mind cried out that something was wrong ("I think we've had a misunderstanding"), but then, of course, the wins piled up, and my heart couldn't resist the Walshian script ("It's Niners football, but Niners football 2.0 ... it's total genius just the same"). And ultimately, despite noting Harbaugh's "illogical" methods, I threw up my hands and took the leap: "faith is what Jim Harbaugh's earned." And despite three seasons, with three incredibly gruesome endings, my faith in Harbaugh remained intact.

Seeing aside, it simply felt so good to believe.

But at some point, if you're true to yourself, you've got to see it. And if you don't, your heart must yield, your hope consumed by hard experience. What you see trumps what you believe, and you wonder why you believed at all.

Sadly, with Harbaugh, that is what I'm wondering now.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


85 Comments

  • acbasa
    JIM HARBAUGH AND HIS COACHING STAFF HAVE FINALLY SUCCESSFULLY SABOTAGED OUR SEASON. ONLY THING I COULD SAY IS "I TOLD U SO!!!" I SAW THIS COMING WAY BACK SINCE THE PRE-SEASON BASED ON EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE BEGINNING BACK IN JULY. TIME FOR A NEW REGIME.
    Dec 7, 2014 at 5:33 PM
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  • Terry B.
    Chris P. You don't post here? Then what is all this drivel I keep reading? Chris, do me a favor and read what you just posted. Is there any conclusion a reasonable person can reach other than that you are a first class knucklehead? "You say that to Singletary's face, hurkuh durrh..." It's hard to say something to someone's face when he drops his trousers and turns his back to you.
    Dec 5, 2014 at 1:31 PM
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  • Chris P.
    Fortunately for you Terry I don't post here anyways. This was the first and now last article I've read all season by Kaplan because...well he's Kaplan. Secondly...and more good news for you...I could care less what you think about my credibility. I just love how you guys trash people on here. Kaplan digs at Singletary every chance he gets and then people like you jump in on the trashing. To me, that's what's pathetic. People with no clue about coaching in the NFL act like they know everything about it. If it weren't for Singletary where would Vernon be right now? He injected some life into this team when we needed it and helped pass the baton to where we are right now. He left Harbaugh with a really good team. I'd love to see you guys say some of the stuff you say in here Singletary's face. It's one thing to criticize a coach or a player, but there is a way to go about it. You and Kaplan have no class and neither does 95 percent of Niner Nation so I'm not worried if I don't seem credible to you and yours. Cheers.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:24 PM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Just to clarify: I wasn't directing the comments about winning and losing at you, I was referring to Niners upper management. As far as what I think about the Niners being the preferred destination of potential coaches I would respond, not now. Yes, of course there are some coaches out there who could coach the Niners successfully, but do you think the dysfunctional front office could land them? Terry, who do you think would be a good replacement for Harbaugh? Gruden probably won't leave the booth.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 9:27 AM
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  • Lucky Phil
    I hear the Raiders are interested in Jim Harbaugh's sperm count. And The Niners are interested in trading it away. Any truth to this?
    Dec 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM
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  • Terry B.
    Chris P. You have now destroyed your credibility forever. You might as well just stop posting, because no one will ever take you seriously. Did you really utter the words "Singletary was a damn good coach"? Did you actually say that?? What was it that did it for you? The atrocious record? The blank stare as the game passed by in front of him? Dropping his pants and mooning the players? The schemes from the1940s? For God's sake, no other team will even allow him to be a defensive coordinator, let alone a head coach. All he can do is act tough, yell at people, and do his tough love routine. But he's not qualified to be an NFL head coach or defensive coordinator, and no team is dumb enough to hire him for those positions. (Only Jed York is that dumb.) On top of that, you bring out the tired, ridiculous, "you never played football" line. Really? Good grief, that's pathetic. And where have I trashed or blamed Harbaugh in these posts? I haven't. I simply have a functioning brain and can see what's in front of my face, so I'm admitting what should be obvious to anyone: Harbaugh is gone after this year.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 8:37 AM
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  • Terry B.
    Dallas. Of the teams that are likely to be looking for new coaches next year, you don't think that the 49ers are going to be the most desirable location? Whatever. As for the "wins and losses" comment, I'm merely pointing out that the relationships here have deteriorated to the point that it can't go on. Harbaugh is gone. And, unlike a lot of the morons who post here, I'm fully confident that another coach can win with this roster. And, yes, Jed sucks as an owner. Anyone who would hire Mike Singletary as head coach is unfit to own an NFL team. Be that as it may, Harbaugh is gone after this year, and it's time we all admitted it.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 8:27 AM
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  • Chris P.
    Terry, you're not acknowledging anything, you're trashing Harbaugh...and Singletary again. Enough already. If the goal each season is to win, then how can anybody blame Harbaugh for anything? How do you go to three consecutive NFC Championships and a Super Bowl and tell me he needs to go? Your pissy because he only won one of those? You're another spoiled Niner fan who fails to looks at anything objectively. Your offering me land in Florida and yet your the dude that is believing everything the media feeds you. No wonder you and Kaplan get along so well. You like these sportswriters that trash players and people because they don't win the Super Bowl every single year. You trash Singletary who was a damn good coach and guys like Alex Smith who was the classiest 49er that we've had in quite some time and a good QB. And yet you've never played a snap...and neither has Kaplan or 99% of sportswriters who just print garbage. I feel like a ten year old writes these articles because he isn't getting his way.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:01 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Terry B. A couple of things: First I said in my response that the probability of the Niners winning out is unlikely, I was just giving you a hypothetical to make a point. I disagree that the team would have their pick of coaches. As you pointed out Harbaugh was not happy about York's tweet you don't think other coaches are not going to look at that and think twice about working for York? All I am saying is that nothing is 100% in the NFL. I put Harbaugh leaving at about 60% and yes York is concerned about how the fans feel, or he should be since he still has to continue to fill a new stadium. At any rate I think that most would agree with me that Jed sucks as an owner. He's the problem not Harbaugh. Maybe your right that in this case its not about wins and losses but anyone who thinks that its not about that in the NFL is delusional and you know who I am talking about.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 3:30 PM
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  • Terry B.
    Dallas. Win it all? See below for my offer to get money out of a Nigerian bank. But, yes, I do think Harbaugh is gone no matter what. How many stories do you have to read before you believe it? Every day there's another story in the Webzone news feed. They were ready to unload him last offseason for two third rounders, and he was in an even stronger position then. And now it's gotten to the point that Jed is calling him out on Twitter and Baalke's daughter is publicly demanding Roman's head. This kind of dysfunction will not be allowed to go on any longer. It's not about wins or losses. The front office and York can no longer coexist with Harbaugh. And, knowing Harbaugh's personality, do you really think he'll play another season for an owner who calls him out on Twitter? It's over. Just accept it. And, no, the fans would not mutiny and burn the stadium. People would scream on talk radio and write angry columns on the internet. Jed doesn't give a crap about any of that. The team would have their pick of the hottest head coaching names on the market. They would pick the best of the bunch, and the fans would get on board with the new head coach.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Terry B. Suppose although probably unlikely that the Niners win out and either go deep in the playoffs or win it all. Do you still think that Harbaugh would be gone? All I am saying is that it is not 100% certain that he is gone and if the above should happen the fans would mutiny and burn the new stadium down in effigy.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 1:18 PM
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  • Terry B.
    Chris, first stop lying. One NFC Championship and one Super Bowl loss. If you've deluded yourself into believing that Harbaugh won three consecutive NFC championships and one Super Bowl, I don't know what to tell you. Second, please read what I wrote. All I'm doing is acknowledging the reality that Harbaugh is gone. If you don't believe that, then I need to talk to you about some land I have in Florida. (Also, can you help me get some money out of a Nigerian bank?) Thus, since we KNOW Harbaugh is gone, why are we setting up a false choice between Nolan/Singletary and Harbaugh's "close, but no cigar" (except in your fertile imagination where Harbaugh won 3 NFC championships and a Super Bowl)? Why shouldn't we believe that there's a coach out there who can win it all with this roster?
    Dec 2, 2014 at 12:40 PM
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  • Chris P.
    Three consecutive NFC Championships and one Super bowl and apparently that's not " good enough" for Terry B. I'm glad you and Kaplan aren't the GM.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM
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  • Terry B.
    All of this debate about who is to blame--Kaepernick or Harbaugh/Roman--is largely irrelevant because we know who's out of here. It's not Kaepernick. This is as good a time as any to point out that Jeff said all the way back in September that this was Harbaugh's final season in S.F., and he was flamed mercilessly for it: http://www.49erswebzone.com/commentary/1324-good-first-step-harbaughs-last-stand/ It should have been obvious to everyone--ever since the clumsy attempt to trade him in the offseason--that he was gone, but at this point, only the most willfully blind could believe that Harbaugh will be back next year. It's time we turn our attention to who the next coach is going to be. And can we please, please stop with this false choice that it's between Harbaugh's "good enough" and Singletary's pathetic record? Can't we be open to the possibility that there is a coach out there who could actually win it all with this very deep and talented roster?
    Dec 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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  • Lucky Phil
    Injury Status Update: Week 14. A.J. Bolino - Done For The Year. The Rabbit aka Jack Hammer (because it sounds tough) - Good to Go. Jeff Kaplan - Frontal Lobe Injury - Playing Thru. Sidney Mayhew - Missing In Action. Lucky Phil - Day to Day.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 8:56 AM
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  • Webzone Commenter
    Why can't we get some real colunmists back at this sight? Whatever happened to A.J. Bolino, Rabbit DelBarge, and Syndey Mayhem? Is it too much to ask to have columnists who know their rectems from a whole in the ground?
    Dec 2, 2014 at 7:44 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Fire Balkee, hire Lombardi. keep Harbaugh. York would never do it, because he is incompetent. Totally agree with you Tom.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 7:29 AM
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  • Phil C.
    People who think Eddie DeBartolo is some kind of genius who hired Bill Walsh at the beginning (Walsh only won 2 and 6 games his first two seasons, BTW), Eddie D hired Joe Thomas, who apparently was a complete a-hole. To Eddie D's credit, he let Thomas go after 2 years, but if you think the Erickson/Nolan/Singletary years were bad, Eddie D's first couple of years were a nightmare.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:24 AM
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  • pokerjohn
    So to the clowns who like to blame Kap instead of Harbaugh and Roman here...Kap has his problems but in case you didnt know it is the coaches job to put players in position to win, period. How can Kap scan a defense pre-snap if he doesn't get under center until 3 seconds before the play clock runs down? Because Roman is so incompetent we dont get to the line until 10 seconds and then for some reason EVERY play we have to be cute and shift 4 or 5 different players around as if it's fooling anyone at all. Now 3 seconds on the clock when we are set to go what should Kap do if the D is lined up perfectly to stop the called play? He doesn't have time to change the play if he wanted to. His only options are timeout or run the play that was called. He makes his share of mistakes dont get me wrong but Harbaugh and Roman haven't done anything to help him. One last point, nobody is upset with success. It's awesome that we have been to 3 straight NFCCGs. The problem is how frustratingly close we were to 3 straight SBs instead we are left with nothing. A few different small decisions and we win at least one of those. We have been successful thus far DESPITE coaching not because of it.
    Dec 2, 2014 at 12:32 AM
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  • Niner 4 Life
    Remember the Chargers success under Marty Schottenheimer and they blamed him for their losses in the playoffs - The owner chose the GM over their coach and fired Marty - 5 years of losing and down hill slide they finally fired the GM (AJ Smith) learn from history - Harbough brought the team from lousy to good again - granted we have not held the trophy but after 5 championships - unless we get the sixth we are unsatisfied - I do not want to revert back to lousy coaches - 3 years of NFC championships is not failure
    Dec 1, 2014 at 10:30 PM
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  • Niner
    Yeah Harbaugh is a arrogant pain in the az boisterous lousy offensive coach. But the yorks are the clowns who fired mooch and turned from the wco ( see Green Bay Ravens, Kansas city etc...) to the 3 stooges. Erickson and sing were bad but we could have had McCarthy and Rodgers for that dufus nolan. Maybe Harbaugh can't turn kap into a real qb, instead of the latest mike Vick clone, but it sure beats going on the cheap with tomsula . We have a offense problem with seifret ( remember having to hire mooch) to Harbaugh, and you want to hire a dl coach? Maybe we can fix flat tires with oil changes. Honestly I trust the goofiness of Harbaugh over the amateur incompetence of the yorks! New ownership turned it around for the Giants , Warriors and Seahawks. Please someone buy this team from the yorks please!!!
    Dec 1, 2014 at 6:58 PM
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  • tom
    Anyone calling for JH head is an idiot and void of any long term memory. JH is the best thing that has happen to Jed York. JH made the 49ers a legitimate team again. Jed York is a dork and a child for throwing his own team under the buss as if he had nothing to do with selecting the folks running the team. If Jed York does not do everything he can to keep JH including letting the GM go then I will no longer be a 49er faithful cuz I can no longer support a kid in York that has no clue in what he has. Coaches like JH don't come along but once in a blue moon.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 6:56 PM
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  • Lucky Phil
    Hey Webzone, lets give Kap a little credit that was a thirty yard strike he threw Dick Sherman.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM
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  • Webzone Commenter
    Are you f'n nuts?? Why o why do I keep reading you?? Boy you sure hate winning don't you? The only thing you hate more than winning is NFC championships! I guess we just have too many of those for you so you want to go back to coaching legends like Steve Maritucci and MIke NOlen!! I knew it would come to this. You and your friends in the liberal media wouldn't stop until you ran our coach out of town. Glenn Dickey, Tim Kamawaki, Kevan Lynch, Mike Triplittletit, Lowell Cone, Jeff Kaplan, you guys are all the same! You just think that if we don't win the Super Bowl every year we have to fire a good man whose our coach! When will you see whats right in front of your eyes and realise that the problem is your boyfriend Colin Kaepernick?!? HE cant play at all! God, if only we had Alex Smith back. Some people liked to be jerks and call him Alice but he was a real quarterback who knew how to go through his progressions and zip the ball three yards downfield like no one else who has ever played the game. Did you see how awesome he looked against Denver last night, oh sure he might have lost but he stood in there like a man and took a beating and kept on getting back up. That's the kind of leadaer we need. Not someone who just drops back and throes the ball right to Richard Sherman every single time. Harbaugh has the unwavering support of Greg Roman, do you read the front page of WebZone. He's a lot smarter man than you, and I trust him. Maybe if instead of getting rid of Harbaugh and Roman we could send you and Kaepernick packing and finally get back to winning championships. Just don't jump back on the band wagon when that happens loser.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 2:13 PM
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  • Bilal
    Listen guys, Our problem is poor QB play. From reading defenses, going through progressions, mechanics and accuracy. Every QB at the NFL level should be a pocket passer! I kills me when people say Harbaugh is trying to make Kap a pocket passer. Kap is being paid to be a QB, he must throw the damn ball to guys who make millions. Kap is a one season wonder with the read option. Has anyone here noticed that since kap signed his new deal he has been playing like old money. Im tired of hearing about the OC and HC, Kaps inability to beat teams as a QB is the reason teams defenses gameplan play to stop Gore, that's why his numbers are horrific, not because he is 31. and the defense as of 11/27 was top 2!!!!!!!!!!!! Kap dazzled us all as a runner but when teams take that away, he has all of you screaming for a new coaching staff when he's forced to play QB! Lets face it Kap is just mediocre and by the way, why does he only look for Bolden 75% of the time, and still throws it to him when he's completely covered! I know Crabby won't be back and I'm glad because he deservers more from a QB, Davis too. It will be hard to bring in quality receivers because of Kap. Now it maybe hard to fathom but, I am a diehard 9er fan and watching all of our offensive talent go to wasted is sickening. We need better production from the QB position , our staff is fine.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 1:53 PM
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  • acbasa
    Lol, everyone is blaming Kap when, in actuality, it was Harbaugh's regime who drafted him. It was JH who made the conscious decision to bench Alex Smith, a QB he acquired from previous regimes, and, instead, made the decision to start Kap, HIS QB, to the SB in 2012. Also...of course he's gonna stand by Roman! That's his OC at Stanford! JH brought Roman to SF in 2011; they share the SAME offensive philosophy!!
    Dec 1, 2014 at 1:50 PM
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  • Lucky Phil
    I smell shit. I smell a big pile of fresh bull shit. And since I am at work right now, that would not be a surprise. But I am at lunch and reading the latest "Unwavering support of Roman" coming from JH. Now, I have heard enough BS from JH to know when he is just piling on more shit. And this is one of those occasions when he spreading the shit on toast and serving brunch. So, I am going to take this like a grain of salt, pass on the crap, before my blood pressure spikes.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 1:37 PM
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  • tom
    Your problem is the same as it has always been. You failed to realize what it was that made the team successful in the first year and a half of Harbaugh's tenure. You wanted something brighter and flashier and you got it but now you're finding out that your boy crush can't read defenses has accuracy issues and generates almost as many negative plays as positive ones, and somehow this is all Harbaugh and Roman's fault. Not saying they are blameless but the real culprit in this scenario wears #7
    Dec 1, 2014 at 12:05 PM
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  • Lucky Phil
    Everything is going to shit.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 10:55 AM
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  • 49er4Life
    A coaching staff that has been to 3 straight NFC Championships with a Super Bowl appearance, four thousand yard receivers, arguably one of the best running backs in the game, one of the best OLines,a perennial top defense, and a helluva Special Teams. There's only one question mark in this equation, and it wears #7! Any decent QB would look like an All-Star with this team. Don't even think about what we would look like with a Brady, Manning, Rodgers, or any other QB of that caliber! Come on Folks, pay attention to the obvious! So many people fell in love with Kap the athlete, but what about Kap the QB? We wouldn't even be having this conversation, if we still had Alex Smith. He might not have been flashy, but he didn't lose games, Kap does! BTW, I'm speaking on Alex Smith with our current coaching staff and front office, not that crap we had before.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 9:49 AM
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  • Mark
    Folks, what Kaplan says is true. Stop fooling yourself, this team is so loaded with talent yet look how they struggled with Washington and Giants, two of the worst. Seattle is simply better prepared and coached. Balkees daughter was dead on but they issue apologizes for her speaking the truth. Roman for the most part is so bland and has an inability to adjust. Kaperdik has fallin apart. He stands along side RG'3. Broken. He can't see his progressions, panics, and cannot run to save his life. What happened to the crossing pattern???? Too many fans are using the injuries as an excuse, but look ar Borlin, amazing. Between our running backs, tight ends and receiver corps, we should be unstoppable but Kapernick is the entire problem. I can't be denied. He was half year wonder. If Roman isn't shown the door the team is doomed. Harbaugh doesn't know it all and needs to admit change is necessary. Instead of the cocky-assed attitude he gives off at press conf, it's time he accepts his mistakes and makes changes. Of course he can't sit Kap because we only have Gabbert instead of McCoy. At least Erickson, Nolan, and Singletery didn't have this talent.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 9:06 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    ... Unlike Jed York who sends a pathetic tweet that throws his people under the bus. Here's a question, not a likely scenario but what if the Niners win out and go to the playoffs. What would everyone think of Harbaugh then? I think we all should not give up on Harbaugh just yet. But Jeff, if the Niners make the mistake of getting rid of Harbaugh who would you say should replace him? Not much out there I would think.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 8:23 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Jeff I am sorry to hear that you are losing faith in Harbaugh. I haven't yet. Here's why. Harbaugh still has an excellent winning percentage. He was very close to winning 3 super bowls (think about it). So the Niners had one bad game, big deal. Don't forget that the Seahawks beat a very good Cardinal team 19-3. I don't see the Cardinals wanting their head coaches head. The Niners with all the injuries and set backs have a very good defense this is quite remarkable and no one wants to give Harbaugh credit for that, but he's the head coach he is responsible for everything good and bad. As your readers have pointed out other great coaches went through crisis situation when their organizzations considered firing them( Cowher, Landry). When these organizations made the decision to support their coaches great things followed. Are the Niners at that crossroad? Yes the offense is horrible, the Seahawks have our number but I have faith that Harbaugh can right the ship. Sure he should of fired Roman, but Harbaugh is very loyal to his people which can be a weakness but can also be a strength and the sign of a good leader.
    Dec 1, 2014 at 8:16 AM
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  • Dman
    Nolan was a good head coach, Harbaugh is a great head coach the other two middle of the road. Common denominator in all of their lack of success? Baalke. Playcalling in redzone is the real issue check out Denver's 6 man O-line for that fix, we have the league's best RBack, try more effort at blocking for the guy in short yardage and redzone. Roll Kap to the healthy LH side of our O-line . . .
    Nov 30, 2014 at 11:24 PM
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  • Shooter
    What is all this "Harbaugh is an A-hole" talk? There are plenty 'o teams that would love to have our problems. Does anyone here remember Dennis Erickson or Nolan or Singletary?? There is no coach on the market that is an upgrade to Harbaugh. Give me a break. We watched a decade of crap football after (and during) Marriucci. And now you guys want to go back?? F that! I say promote the guy.. Baalke is the real schmo of this bunch.. Everytime Harbaugh wants a guy Baalke poo poo's it (marecic/fleener etc).. We were jacked up by injuries, suspensions and salary cap casualties. Now it's time for Harbaugh to go?? No thanks..
    Nov 30, 2014 at 10:46 PM
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  • acbasa
    Remeber 9er Faithfuls: Our allegiance is to the Team, NOT to a coaching staff, players, management (Baalke) or even the current owner. Remember, it was Harbaugh who brought in Greg Roman as his OC at Stanford (2010) when he came to SF in 2011. Therefore, he beleives in Roman's offensive coaching philosophy. He was the one who drafted Kapernick, and made the critical decision to bench Alex Smith (QB he acquired), and start Kap to the SB in which we lost. Coaching staff is like a political regime: u cant just fire the OC and not also the HC, both of whom have the same offensive ideals/philosophy. So to fire Roman is essentially to "clean house." In my opinion, the only coaching staff from the Harbaugh regime who deserves to stay is Vic Fangio. I beleive he is the NFL's Defensive Coordinator of the Year with all the new faces/personnel and injuries he had to deal with.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 9:03 PM
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  • jon
    Since harbaugh : 48-19-1 Before harbaugh: 48-82 Put the crack pipe down Whitney Houston
    Nov 30, 2014 at 8:55 PM
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  • Eavalerio
    I love the niners just hate to see such a talented team go down like this. Harbaugh is a good coach the offense is bad, they do need a better offensive coordinator who is just gonna try to identify an identity, someone more creative, screens!, better formations someone to tell kap not to throw a fast ball all the time. Get rid of some older players and try to get younger and faster. I wish we had the Eagles offense, things would be a lot smoother on offense. This team a good we just need to be more creative this off-season. The sad thing is that harbaugh is to proud to change his philosophy and that in the end will finish him.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 7:33 PM
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  • Jan
    Yup. Jeff, you echoed what's been running through my mind. This season has been about a lot more than just winning or losing games. We barely won games where we should have blown out the opposing team. And we lost ugly last Thursday. That one hurt. A lot. The way the offense has been playing is "off" and I don't know if it's coaching, players, both, or something more. I just know I don't want to watch another game like this last one.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 6:24 PM
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  • Gabe
    Harbaugh isn't the problem. Us not having a competent O-line is a problem. Davis, and Kilgore not being there hurts. Harbaugh isn't the problem. Kaepernick is garbage if he isn't running. Period. He throws a pick or garbage pass, and he smiles or sulks on the sidelines instead of studying. Oh, did I mention we have also been banged up on the defensive side of things? Harbaugh turned a team of losers, into a team of winners. To convert the mind of a man in such a way and so fast, is not an easy thing to do. Get rid of Roman. Draft a QB and offensive linemen. Kaep is all we have because God forbid Blaine gets in there. I still believe. If it can happen to last year's San Diego Chargers team, it can happen to us. Go Niners!!!
    Nov 30, 2014 at 6:14 PM
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  • Miguel torres
    Don't worry we will go 4-0
    Nov 30, 2014 at 5:27 PM
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  • ron
    WOW!!!!! Kaplan.....what the hell is wrong with you? A team with a rookie center...a second or third string tackle.... a guard who held out for several games and has played below standards....a tight end who with injuries and salary worries has become soft like mush....a defense without Bowman, Willis, Brock, and nine games without Aldon.....and you want to blame the qb and the coach. Have you forgotten where the Niners were before Harbaugh? YES they laid an egg AND ACTED LIKE TURKEYS ON THANKSGIVING....BUT DON'T GIVE UP JUST YET ON THIS SOAP OPERA....I THINK THERE'S ONE ACT LEFT!!!
    Nov 30, 2014 at 5:16 PM
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  • danol
    At the expense of sounding arrogant, I gave up on Harbaugh last season. He is neither the great offensive mind nor the great QB coach. He really doesn't know what to do in the pros. He is still running the college offense he ran in San Diego and Stanford. Jeff has seen the light. ;)
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:50 PM
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  • April
    I am pissed at that LOSS, yes! But one thing I will never do is quit believing in my team...yes I believe they have some regrouping to do and trading but never will I stop believing. ...I respect your input and do not judge you because FAITHFUL or NOT it is your opinion....
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM
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  • Phil M
    I agree with a previous post. Don't let Harbaugh walk or get traded, it's Roman we need to lose. If Harbaugh insists that Roman stays and there are no changes offensively, then get rid of both. The offense is horrible, and that falls squarely in the OC's lap.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM
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  • Monsterniner
    Let´s be honest. We don´t run the WCO because Kaepernick is the anti-WCO QB. He can´t read a defense pre and after snap, he can´t hit receivers in stride (that´s why we never throw short passes) and he has an awful accuracy in his deep ball. We are stuck with a QB that only can play from the shotgun or the pistol formation and only wants to throw deep and has a giant ego because he makes the same mistakes over an over. Kaepernick can´t play QB in the NFL and fans have to admit it.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:43 PM
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  • Phil C.
    One more thing: I've seen too many people say if we let Harbaugh walk, then it's back to The Dark Ages. My question is: how do you know? You act like Harbaugh's the only good football coach out there, that any other person who comes in after him will be mediocre. Sure, the Niners struck out with Erickson, Nolan and Singletary, but teams strike out with coaches all the time. Giants struggled under Felipe Alou before Bruce Bochy, and even under Bochy they struggled until guys like Panda, Linecum, Cain, Wilson, etc. came into their own and Posey and Bumgarner were called up. Warriors had crappy coaching for God knows how many years until Mark Jackson, and even then the Warriors switched to Steve Kerr because they didn't feel Jackson would get them where they wanted to go. It's not like the Niners football history started in 2003; they've had over two decades of success before that.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:21 PM
    0
  • Phil C.
    YES! Thank you so much for writing this! I too drank the Harbaugh/Kaepernick Kool-Aid for the last 3-plus years, and now my eyes have been opened. Harbaugh is not a genius; he's been blessed with superior talent, especially on defense, and it's clear now the real genius has been Vic Fangio. Harbaugh's benefitted by having a great defensive coordinator keep his sputtering offense in games. If not for Alex Smith keeping that locker room together (according to Kaepernick himself) the team would have mutinied in 2012. People are so starved for success with the Niners that they're willing to stake their claim on a coach who we're starting to see more evidence of isn't the guy long-term. The Warriors had the guts to move on from Mark Jackson even though he led the team to 47 and 50 wins and playoff appearances for an unproven Steve Kerr, and so far it's looked like the right move. Wouldn't surprise me if York and Baalke have been talking to Lacob and Myers, and the latter two have said to not invest in a guy who not only wears on people with his personality but coaching-wise has fallen short in big games.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:13 PM
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  • Lulu
    49ers don't need fans like this . Good riddance go cheer for the Raiders
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:10 PM
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  • Chris P.
    To finish that thought, Kaeper needs to learn how to manage the game better...ironically. He takes bad sacks, forces throws, gets skiddish when his first or second read is gone. But geez let's not forget what Harbaugh and Kap have done over the last few years and just kick these guys out. If the goal of a franchise is to win and contend for Super Bowls year in and year out then it is a no brainer...you keep Harbaugh.
    Nov 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM
    0

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