With reports circulating that the 49ers are trading Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos for 3 late-round picks, it appears as though 49ers brass have called "time of death" on this season in Week 8 (though many fans had called it weeks ago). I'm not surprised that it took them this long to realize that this coaching change has been a failure.

Jed York and Trent Baalke can't possibly be thinking that this result is better than what they previously had and dismantled. Usually when a change is made in the workplace, it's done because the new person coming in to replace the departed employee is better. They can't possibly think that getting bombed week in and week out by teams that the 49ers regularly used to beat (or at least be competitive with) is better than what they got rid of in Jim Harbaugh. They couldn't possibly think that this was going to work.

I was among those who shared an early optimism that the 49ers just needed to turn the page and they had enough talent to compete...especially after the Week 1 win against Minnesota. However, this league has a way of exposing teams really quickly and that's precisely what happened to the 49ers in the past few weeks.

While Jim Tomsula continues to say "it starts and ends with me", this is far beyond him and his shortcomings. This is exactly what Jed York and Trent Baalke wanted. They wanted a guy who would hold himself accountable so they wouldn't have to. They wanted a guy who would take bullets for them. Tomsula indicated that it was his decision to cut Jarryd Hayne. While it's the head coaches decision on who to activate on game days, anyone who knows anything about how a football team operates knows that it's the general manager who is in charge of releasing players, not the head coach.

Isn't it great when a head coach takes accountability? Not when he's 2-6 and doesn't know what adjustments to make to turn things around. It's clear that Tomsula is way in over his head, and we're only halfway through the season. The enduring image of Jim Tomsuia for me is him staring blankly at the field as the play clock expired 2 weeks ago against Seattle. It struck me because this is something that the team had worked at all summer, yet there he was, a statue on the sidelines. How is this any better than what Jim Harbaugh was doing last year?

I won't get into how awful the game plans have been - if you can even call them game plans - as that's a conversation for another day. I will, however talk about the personnel.

It is beyond me why Jordan Devey and Erik Pears continue to start every week. They regularly give up pressure on seemingly every play, but you'd be surprised at how many times the 49ers try to run behind them. Pears was rated number 76 out of 78 right guards last year, yet the 49ers thought that he'd make a good starting right tackle. Devey was even worse, ranking last among all qualifying guards. He was so bad that Bill Belichick benched him after 4 games last year. A quarterback is only as good as his offensive line and it's no wonder that Kaepernick has struggled so much because (in addition to all of his other flaws) he rarely has time to throw.

Look, I can hear people saying "but there have been injuries and retirements, they couldn't have planned for that." Well, yes and no. NFL teams (specifically good teams) go through attrition every single year. The difference is that the best teams are able to find ample replacements for what they lose. We need to look no further than the NFC West. The Seahawks lose players every year to free agency, does it ever affect them? Absolutely not, because they have a good general manager in John Schnieder who brings in players that fit nicely into their system. It seems like every year he finds undrafted gems that contribute right away. Couple that with a strong coaching staff and you have a perennial contender. The 49ers have neither of these.

The 49ers knew what was going on. The 49ers knew that Patrick Willis and Chris Borland were retiring. Did they address it through the draft or free agency? Nope. Baalke was busy drafting a punter in the 5th round as well as adding more players to his All-ACL team and an 8th tight end to the roster. The 49ers knew that they weren't going to re-sign Mike Iupati, Michael Crabtree, Perrish Cox, Chris Culliver, Frank Gore and Dan Skuta. Did they address those losses? Not really. Torrey Smith was brought in to replace Crabtree, but then Baalke went and signed Jerome Simpson - yes, the same Jerome Simpson that was out of football last year and suspended for the first 6 games of this year. Baalke also "addressed" the cornerback position by signing Shareece Wright, the most penalized corner last year. Justin Smith's retirement was expected, and Baalke drafted defensive end Arik Armstead, but the coaching staff is only giving him 14 snaps per game at this point. With the season already halfway over, he needs to be getting more time.

This shouldn't come as a surprise though, seeing as how this is the same GM that rolled with Brett Swain and Joe Hastings as receivers in the 2011 Championship Game against the Giants. It's just interesting to me as to why Baalke would consider players that are graded the worst at their respective positions to be replacements for departed starters. This would have made the sting from Anthony Davis' unexpected retirement much less harsh. Good teams will have a 6th offensive lineman that can come in and start if needed, and the 49ers pretty much only have 2 serviceable offensive lineman in Joe Staley and Alex Boone.

For those of you who think this year is bad, wait until next year. Vernon Davis is already gone. Those that might follow him out of town are: Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin, Ahmad Brooks, Joey Staley, Alex Boone, Phil Dawson, Antoine Bethea (who has a cap hit of $6.2M, Jaquiski Tartt was drafted for a reason), Garrett Celek and Ian Williams. The roster will surely be far less talented next year.

We're getting a good draft pick, you say? There's no guarantee that a top-5 pick will amount to anything with Baalke at the helm. Out of 29 draft picks in the last 3 years, Baalke has produced exactly 1 Pro Bowler (Eric Reid). The philosophy of throwing a ton of picks at a draft and hoping to come out with some good players has clearly failed and it's one of the main reasons why the 49ers are so devoid of talent right now.

With regard to Colin Kaepernick, we all know how bad he is right now. Part of it is his own fault because he is the one that makes (or doesn't make) the throws. The other part of it is what surrounds him. I'd want to see him in an offense that's not high-school level. I'd be willing to bet that any quarterback in this league not named Manning or Brady would struggle to put up decent numbers on this team and with Geep Chryst calling plays. Ultimately, it will be Kaepernick who will be the first one to take the fall for this debacle because he's the starting quarterback (for now). For those who think that Blaine Gabbert is the answer, they don't know what the question is. Gabbert has won a grand total of 5 games in his career and there's a reason why no one outside of Jim Harbaugh was willing to give him a shot as a starting quarterback in this league after he left Jacksonville.

Also regarding Kaepernick, I want to point out the when he signed his contract before last season, he was given that deal because he was supposed to be "the guy." He signed it with the intention that: A.) The team would have enough money to re-sign some of his teammates and B.) He would be the franchise quarterback for years to come. First off, did the 49ers make ANY attempt to re-sign the players mentioned above? They didn't. Secondly, why did the 49ers give him that big contract only to throw him under the bus the next year? If they want to get rid of Kaepernick because he's the last link to Harbaugh, why don't they do the same with Gabbert because he was brought in to learn under Harbaugh? It seems that the front office has no idea what's going on and no idea of how to fix it.

Jed York doesn't have a winning formula. Jim Harbaugh took that with him to Michigan. The seeds for this collapse were planted long ago and were watered by poor personnel decisions, the "leaks" that were created and speculation that surrounded the franchise for the past few years.

This season feels all too similar to 2004-2010, where the 49ers or their management couldn't seem to make the right decisions at the right times. What we're seeing now is the the last of the talent remaining from the contending run of 2011-2014. The 2015 49ers are historically bad, but the scary part is that there is still some talent on this roster and when that talent leaves, it's only going to get worse.


  • Who Should Be The First To Go?
  • Trent Baalke
  • Jim Tomsula
  • Geep Chryst
  • Colin Kaepernick
  • Eric Mangini
  • 3,402 votes