Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Tomsula the Silver Lining?

Andre Tameta
Mar 10, 2015 at 11:36 AM

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Yesterday was simply known as "Black Monday" for the San Francisco 49ers after a multitude of reports ranging from an early retirement to an arrest on suspected spousal battery.

After Jim Harbaugh's departure, many wondered if matters could get any worse and apparently they have. Despite the bleak off season that is just beginning, is it possible for the 49ers to reload their golden luster with the appropriate talent and game plans? If history is to repeat itself, the answer would unfortunately be an emphatic "NO," but all is not lost.

The last time the 49ers had a tumultuous off-season that is comparable to the current situation, San Francisco initiated their almost decade long descent into the NFL cellar until the Harbaugh hire. Prior to Steve Mariucci's firing after the 2002 season, the 49ers had just embarked on a historic 2+ decade run that took home 5 Super Bowl championships. They had a solid system that was implemented by Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh and much continuity amongst their staff and players. However, there is now a revolving door at 49er headquarters that many of us didn't notice during this recent 49er rebirth under the successful Harbaugh regime. Harbaugh, like Walsh, coached at Stanford and is a member of the legendary coach's tree.

Those who remember the days of Dennis Erickson and Tim Rattay at quarterback know true football fan suffering. After the 49ers fell from the upper echelon after 2002, San Francisco consistently suffered from a lack of talent and continuity amongst its schemes. This was no doubt a dark age for 49er football and is a period that many fans do not want to return to. However, unlike those 49ers who failed to adequately reload for the salary cap era, this current group still has quality talent and are not starting from scratch. Fans can take solace in the fact that there are athletes and coaches on this team that have tasted the recent success and that there is some continuity despite all the change.

A complete overhaul that culminated with a 2-14 record in the 2004 season is unlikely if new head coach Jim Tomsula can take command of whatever forces he still has left and provide the leadership that his athletes have grown accustomed to during his tenure as the team's defensive line coach and interim head coach after Mike Singletary's firing. Tomsula started his coaching career as a strength and conditioning coach and being a strength and conditioning coach myself, I know Tomsula has the fiery demeanor to lead this team during a period of such great strife. Those of us who specialize in strength and conditioning know there is a mental component that can supersede the physical aspects that occur on the field. The athletes who played for Tomsula already have an established level of neuromuscular programming associated with their coach and are adapted to play at a high level that was consistent during the Harbaugh era.

Tomsula's hiring wasn't an accident and may actually be a silver lining to this dark storm. He's a battle commander type that treats his players like men which is a stark contrast to Harbaugh's my way or the highway style that may be better suited for collegiate athletes who are still maturing into men. The best schemes in the world will not be executed properly if the athletes on the field are uncomfortable taking orders from an overly abrasive leader such as Harbaugh or if former offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan was brought back as head coach.

If the 49ers are to avoid another tragic collapse, they must ride the shoulders of their eclectic head coach whose journey to the NFL is worthy of a novel.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Lucky Phil
    Everything Is Going To Shi!.
    Mar 16, 2015 at 7:50 PM
  • Tracker
    The Chicken Little mentality of fans that permeate the NFL "fan" landscape each and every offseason is an endless source of amusement. Welcome to the modern day brand brand of free agent/salary cap of professional football. It's time for a large group of fans out there to sack up, put on their "grown folk" pants and research how this game works on and off the field. Perhaps then some of you can calm the F down and deal with the inevitable yearly changes that transpire by being able to evaluate and process them individually with a more objective and educated perspective. I promise you this. If you do, you'll find being a 49er fan, and the game on a whole a heck of a lot more enjoyable.
    Mar 14, 2015 at 1:49 AM
    Response: Spoken like a true coach.
  • chris cunnningham
    Waste of time reading this article. The only silver lining is my hope that you get fired from ever writing another article.
    Mar 13, 2015 at 9:10 PM
    Response: With two Master's Degrees (one in English and the other in Kinesiology), experience covering the 49ers in the Candlestick press box with a media credential, and multiple years working in high level NCAA Division 1 collegiate sports as a coach, I highly doubt that. Get better at life, BRO.
  • dmacready
    50 year Former faithful - We fundamentally agree insofar as incompetent ownership - something that goes back to 1997 when Eddie D. had to hand over the franchise to his sister & co. I had hopes when Jed took over from his father a few years ago, and he even had a couple moments, but with the firing (calling it what it is) of Harbaugh, it's become clear it's all just more of the same. That said, sounds like you might want to find a new hobby.
    Mar 13, 2015 at 8:08 AM
  • ron g
    Mr. Jedyork commenter, if you are going to trol grammer, get it right. It's "a" historic.
    Mar 13, 2015 at 3:36 AM
  • Lucky Phil
    There are some people that think outside the box, and some that miss the bowl, and shit on the floor. This organization has gone beyond thinking off the bowl, they are just walking around town shitting all over themselves. Jed is afraid to drop his pants, he doesn't know Whaaaat he has Down There! He takes a big man to say "You have a big pile of shit down here....You need to empty yo drawers, now fella".
    Mar 12, 2015 at 2:36 PM
  • 50 year Former faithful
    dmacready, the vitriol comes when ownership takes a 5 time superbowl winning franchise and turns it into a joke. the vitriol comes when season ticket holders spend their money to keep the 49ers sold out only to find out the management is incompetent. The vitriol comes when the answer to that incompetence is to hire the child of the incompetent owner to add inexperience to incompetence. The vitriol comes when ownership decides that those faithful ticket holders should cough up tens if not hundreds of thousand of dollars just for the rights to buy new seats, in a worse location, for over double the previous price. All in a poorly thought out stadium in a location nobody wanted. The vitriol comes when ownership scammed the faithful longtime ticket holders by ignoring both the number of tickets and years held in handing out super bowl tickets. The vitriol comes when managements answer to improving on 3 NFC Title games and a super Bowl Loss is to fire the very reason they achieved that much and then watching the roster implode at the hands of the backstabbing gm who has Jr's wrapped around his finger. They got lucky with harbaugh and even screwed that up 100% losers
    Mar 11, 2015 at 7:11 PM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    I don't know, I guess you can say that Lombardi was an abrasive leader and they named a trophy after him. Your insinuating by your comment that Harbaugh did not treat his players as men. All you have to do is look at the last game of the season and how Harbaugh's players played their hearts out for him with nothing on the line to know how they felt. Do you think that there would be such a large exodus of Niner players if the coaching staff would have remained in place? I suspect not.
    Mar 11, 2015 at 3:18 PM
  • Jerry
    What are you smoking? Harbaugh and Shanahan have great coaching records. Your personal beliefs are interfering with your critical thinking abilities.
    Mar 11, 2015 at 10:56 AM
    Response: They do have great coaching records and I'm merely suggesting that their approach may not be meshing very well with this current generation of football players. It's called thinking outside of the box.
  • dmacready
    Not sure why some of the other comments here contain so much vitriol. I happen to agree with you. I think a 10-6 record is completely realistic. To piggyback on your points: - the burden of expectation will be lower. Lots of turnover, yes, but the team was also exhausted from the Harbaugh era (that's not a knock, just the price of success taking its toll) - Make or break time for Baalke's picks: Carradine, Thomas, Martin, last year's late round db picks, et al all need to step up. If all or most of them do... - Luck will be a factor (ball bouncing our way on fumbles/turnovers, penalties, minimal injuries, etc. - Picking at 15 in the draft is the highest we've picked since 2011. If we get this right, could be the makings of a future star or at least a guy who can step in immediately - Back to your thesis, if all these things happen and Tomsula is even competent or (hopefully) above average as a coach, we'll be fine. People/fans seem to forget, we're back to being underestimated. People are writing the 49ers off, and it's March. That could certainly work in our favor. How quickly we forget...
    Mar 11, 2015 at 7:48 AM
  • 49ers Guy
    Dude this may be the most obvious planted story I've ever seen. How much did the front office put in your pocket for this one? If you didn't get paid to write this then you are dumber than a box of rocks pal. Saying Tomusula is silver lining because Harbaugh was too abrasive during his best in NFL history first 3 years in the NFL (last year doesn't count because our front office sabotaged him) is so absurd that I'm blown out of my chair that e dry one isn't berating you. Patrick Willis RETIRED rather than play for this team. Do you get it??? He knows the Niners are so f'd that no amount of hard work will bring them back. He's retiring and will be playing for a different team in 2 years. Our entire team left with Harbaugh....that was because he was "too abrasive" when players took less money to play for him when he was the coach????? You are an idiot.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 11:31 PM
    Response: You are obviously completely dissatisfied with your own life to comment with such classless disrespect. I suggest you see a therapist ASAP before you hurt yourself or put others in danger, PAL.
  • dwight jones
    Thanx Scott Hudson well said
    Mar 10, 2015 at 6:42 PM
  • Malcolm Birkbeck
    i live in Queensland Australia and have been a 49er fan since the 70's and will be till the day I die I wish everyone would just get behind our coaches and players and believe people we will be ok have faith we are a good team lets just all stand as one behind them and show our support no more negative talk
    Mar 10, 2015 at 5:12 PM
  • Paul Bacik
    What I was objecting too, was your attempt to portray Harbaughs coaching methods with young players as inferior to Tomsulas. Look at Chris Culliver for instance, he joined the club at the same time as Harbaugh and was so damaged by exposure to Harbaughs methods, that he presented Harbaugh with the ball after his interception in the last game. The simple fact is that Harbaugh was an incredibly succesful 49ers coach and the rest of the league are still laughing at us for getting rid of him. Any attempt to potray him as inferior in any way to Tomsula is laughable.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 3:44 PM
  • 50 year FORMER faithful
    Quit trying to re arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. This ship is sinking because the captain and first mate cannot steer straight. This situation came about because an incompetent disloyal dentist got handed the best franchise in the NFL through a forced sale to eddies sister. He is either unaware or unconcerned by his or his sons incompetence. They have become and will continue to be laughingstocks. The only way to properly reward the Yorks is through their pockets. Stop buying anything that pays them money until they sell the team. Hey Jed. Why don't you just lead by example and get drunk sell some weed drive around while drunk and then go home and beat the stuffing out of your wife. That's the York 9er way
    Mar 10, 2015 at 2:56 PM
  • Paul Bacik
    What a load of touchy-feely nonsense. Harbaugh Abrasive = Bad? Tomsula Firey = Good? Of course we forget that Harbugh methods were a complete failure at College level. Oh Wait!!!!! Then he went to the 49ers, where the players failed to respond to him, leading to a mere 3 championship games and 1 Super Bowl appearance.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 2:43 PM
    Response: You are an example of an abrasive individual that disregards sport psychology as a contributing factor. A fiery leader does not have to be abrasive in his dealings with others. You obviously cannot differentiate between the two, so thank you for proving my point!
  • scott hodson
    we will be great this year I am predicting a Super Bowl victory! the people that are shitting bricks are the band wagon jumpers if it does happen to go to hell in a hand basket I'm still faithful as I have been for the last 26 years and I 31 so chill the fuck out and go for the ride.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 1:56 PM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    You people are delusional.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 12:13 PM
  • Edwin
    Why is everyone going crazy. The only surprise from yesterday is Willis retiring. Besides replacing him with another HOF linebacker, Borland is as good as it gets. Hyde is taking over for Gore, Docket is taking over for the cowboy if he retires with young talent like Tank behind him, Smith replaces Crabtree and you have young options at Guard for Iupati. Plus we still have all of FA and the draft to continue adding talent. Willis retiring gives us even more cap room. Yes we are losing a lot of leadership and some all time niner greats but there is a plan in place and the likes of Staley, Bowman and Boldin are still great leaders. Niners fans need to relax. We will be ok.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 12:11 PM
  • Mica Snell
    If is not broke, don't fix it. The only thing that matters is winning. This isn't pop warner football where everyone gets a medal. If grown men earning a paycheck don't like winning because their head coach in "mean" to them, well boo freakin' hoo!!! This is a total collapse and Mr. JedYork I will be as juvenile as your ego when this is over and tell you I told you so! Welcome in, not the dark ages 02-11, but the STONE AGE!
    Mar 10, 2015 at 12:10 PM
  • Jock Strap
    Good article. Let's not forget the lack of bandwidth in Harbaughs coaching and the fact we've not won in Seattle since 2011. Kaep's regression. Uninspired play calling. Inability to change game style after half time. Harbs was a good one dimensional coach. It took 3 years, but teams caught on to his approach. The coaches that took over from Harbaugh in San Diego State and Stanford didn't regress. Their programs continued in strength. I believe Tomsula is set to do the same for the Niners.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 12:04 PM
  • JedYork
    "An" historic. Other than that, good read.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 11:45 AM
    Response: History sets precedence.

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Ex-49ers coach Jim Tomsula named Coach of the Year after guiding Rhein Fire to European championship

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Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula has guided the Rhein Fire to a European League of Football championship. The 49ers named Tomsula their head coach in 2015 after the firing of Jim Harbaugh. His tenure lasted just one season as San Francisco went 5-11 that season. Chip Kelly replaced Tomsula in 2016, who also lasted just one season. Kyle Shanahan has been the 49ers head coach since 2017. Tomsula went on to serve as the defensive line coach for Washington (2017-19) and the Dallas Cowboys (2020) before being named the new Rhein Fire head coach last year. It was a reunion with the team he coached in 2006, when the Rhein Fire were a part of NFL Europe. Tomsula guided his European team to a 7-5 record last year. This year, he went 12-0


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