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49ers Insiders: Will Jim Tomsula and Trent Baalke Be Back in 2016?

Dec 9, 2015 at 12:19 PM29

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On Monday, writer John Croston wrote a piece that asked if San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula deserved to return in 2016. While he personally would like to see a new coaching staff come aboard, for numerous reasons, he doesn't believe that will happen.

On Tuesday, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area said that he believed that both Tomsula and general manager Trent Baalke would return in their current roles in 2016. Maiocco does not feel that the team made such drastic offseason changes just to start again after one year.

"I think the ownership has a lot of confidence in Trent Baalke to stock that roster with a lot of draft picks. I think the 49ers like Jim Tomsula a lot. They like Trent Baalke a lot. I think right now, with four games left, there's no question they're back," said Maiocco.

This brings up an interesting topic of discussion. The 49ers went through one of the worst offseasons in franchise history, ejecting the majority of their coaching staff, losing key free agents, watching a number of players unexpectedly retire, and losing other key players as the offseason went on. Last week, they even had some front office drama when it was revealed that team president Paraag Marathe would be "reassigned" from his position following Super Bowl 50. While these are not reasons to defend Tomsula and his coaching staff, who have at times looked lost on the sidelines, it would be hard to imagine anyone succeeding with so many setbacks.

However, over the course of the past four weeks, and since QB Blaine Gabbert has taken over the starting job, the 49ers have improved. They have won two of their last four games and the defense has kept them competitively close in all but one of those matchups. The team may have found a capable change of pace back for next season in RB Shaun Draughn. Even the offensive line, whose right side looked more like a revolving door earlier in the season, has improved thanks to moves like G Andrew Tiller replacing Jordan Devey. The real question is, 'What took so long for that move to happen?'

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler both had season-worst passer ratings against the 49ers. Per Pro Football Focus, young players like CB Kenneth Acker (+2.9) and DB Jimmie Ward (+2.4) had career-high grades during Sunday's 26-20 overtime win against Chicago.

So I decided to ask some of the other 49ers beat writers, those that are near the team on a daily basis, their thoughts on the topic. Do they feel that Baalke and Tomsula would (not should) get another shot following what has been seen as a disastrous season by much of the Niner Faithful?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

As for my opinion, I agree with Croston. That opinion was different earlier in the season. Should they return? Probably not. Will they? Considering that the 49ers have been competitive of late and have not been rolling over and playing dead, as they appeared to be doing numerous times earlier in the season, I think the team will retain Tomsula and Baalke for one more season. Despite any obvious blunders, I never really felt that Jed York would be willing to part with Baalke just yet. Throw in the fact that, for right now, San Francisco might be a tough sell to available top coaching candidates, and it seems even more likely that both will return.

The following responses are listed in the order that they were received.

Matt Barrows

"Yes. Remember, they have a de facto 'get out of jail free card' as far as the unprecedented and unexpected string of retirements in the winter and spring. That is, the team can (and probably will) argue, 'Yes, we were bad, but what team possibly could have flourished under these circumstances?'"

Chris Biderman

"I think all indications are they will both be back. As has been written before, the 49ers do not want to go through another offseason of transition, and they are hoping the roster can take the experience from this year, along with the coaching staff, and build upon it heading into the offseason. Given how much faith the Yorks have in Tomsula, whether it's warranted or not, they would seem to have a hard time making him a one-and-done coach.

"There will be a number of coaching openings this offseason, and the 49ers would appear to be low on the list of desirable destinations, which could make the pickings slim in terms of finding a top-tier candidate. Someone like Jim Harbaugh, who was the A-list candidate when hired in 2011, isn't going to be available to the 49ers if they go through two coaches in two seasons.

"I think the same goes for Baalke. The 49ers have a lot of faith in their young players, even if they didn't produce this season like like many hoped. There are still some promising players on the roster who are improving. And San Francisco will absolutely look at the injuries to the running backs, Carlos Hyde in particular, as a major sticking point as to why the offense didn't produce. Injuries happen and shouldn't be used as an excuse, but they won't view that as any fault of their own. Obviously the outside perception on that will differ from what they believe.

"My guess: the front office will look at the roster, all the cap space heading into next season ($41 million, before Kaepernick's money comes off the books), and think they're in a pretty good spot to rebound next year. Despite all York said publicly – about expecting to go 11-5, compete for the Super Bowl, etc – the front office likely looked at all they lost in the offseason and realize they probably weren't going to be very good this year.

"With Blaine Gabbert being on an affordable contract, all that cap space and draft pick toward the front of the first round, the 49ers are set up pretty well for the future. Given the way York operates, I have a hard time envisioning him deviating from the process and going a new direction with a new GM and head coach one year after the worst offseason in team history."

Ryan Sakamoto

"In talking to many people both inside and outside the organization, I truly believe that GM Trent Baalke's job is safe. As a General Manager it is very difficult to manage a roster when so many question marks and unknowns hit you at once. From the abrupt retirements of ILB Chris Borland, ILB Patrick Willis and RT Anthony Davis to dealing with the continued off-field drama of OLB Aldon Smith – Baalke was in a hard position to field the best possible roster as he found himself scrambling in the end.

"As for Tomsula, I believe he is on the hot seat. The NFL stands for Not For Long and while Tomsula is considered a player's coach – in the end winning is all that matters just ask Jim Harbaugh. However, if he is able to win a couple more games he could buy some time with the team for at least one more year as firing Tomsula at year's end would be admitting fault and I don't think Jed York or Baalke are ready to do that just yet."

Thank you to the 49ers beat writers who took the time to answer the question.


  • Will both Jim Tomsula and Trent Baalke be back in 2016?
  • Both will return
  • Only Baalke will return
  • Neither will return
  • Only Tomsula will return
  • 764 votes
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.


  • Viperad17
    Total dumpster fire. Tomsula is in way over his head. I never see him speak into his headset, offering leadership. Now Balke is coaching the team at practice. Wtf. The Yorks only care about the almighty buck. So obvious. I'm faithful to my wife. Not the money sucking York's and his team of imposters. I won't spend another dime to see that team play. Time to boycott the finale in the loss to the Rams.
    Dec 27, 2015 at 5:04 PM
  • Mniner
    Baalke and Tomsula needs to go.Geep Chryst too.But they probably won´t .Another ugly team for the next season.
    Dec 22, 2015 at 4:53 PM
  • Niner
    Of course Tomsula will stay. Unlike his uncle who fired 3 coaches to get Bill Walsh, the Yorks kept Nolan sing and Tomsula. They stink, they lose, they get humiliated, but Baalke York don't care as the $ is already made . The fans put up with it before and will put up with it again is their reasoning. I guess they figure if the politicians lie they can too, no one really is going to do anything.
    Dec 21, 2015 at 2:39 PM
  • Marty
    If Tomsula is back in 2016 49ers will have to give away season tickets. I guess that will not be involve in the decision. Arizona & Seattle will jump for joy. 49ers may be lucky to split with the Rams making them 1 & 5 in the division. When & if this is announce most 49ers fan give up on 2016. You can no convince Tomsula will ever be a NFL HC.
    Dec 19, 2015 at 6:02 AM
  • Big T
    Do I think both will be back - YES. In order to make a major change you have to have a an owner with some guts .. little jed and papa don't have guts - or any football instincts. Do I want them back - No way. Balke maybe good talent scout - a terrible team constructor. Tomsula - a heck of a nice guy, dent postiion coach - a very bad head coach.
    Dec 15, 2015 at 7:10 AM
  • Once a 49er Fan
    Jed York is an idiot period. How stupid to hire Tomsula as a head coach in the NFL. Even J Jones of the Cowboys does a better job than York (which is not saying much). One can only imagine what the other owners think of York. Too bad how sad for the 49ers.
    Dec 14, 2015 at 6:04 PM
  • Datvader
    Being liked by the Owner to be a HC is a dumb move by this franchise. if both of these knuckleheads are back!! you will loose more fans!!! Who would want to work for any of these people??!!!!
    Dec 13, 2015 at 12:56 PM
  • RishikeshA
    Thanks David, I believe it's been difficult for fans not to make an emotional decision in the firing of Baalke and Tomsula. I thought if the Niners showed progress they should both stay. They are showing that progress. No need to tear down the whole thing and start over again. Some solid players along the O-line and a few pass rushers put the team back in contention. Baalke can address this. If the team goes backwards next year then it would be time to start over.
    Dec 12, 2015 at 7:35 AM
  • Niner
    What idiot would think they would not be back? York has no issues , it totally " acceptable" . Losing , football, the fans are meaningless to the tray fund baby. They never wanted the team, they took it as Eddie d had no choice. Now he has NFL tv money, a new stadium, increase team worth and cut his player and coaching salaries millions f dollars he gets to pocket. Winning is costly, good coaches and players cost money. Baalke turned a team full of probowlers into a team picking up rbs, ol off the street. ( remember gore, vd, iupati ?) you think a owners intent n winning would allow this? Draft choices are cheaper. Just look at what happened after mooch brought the 49ers back to the playoffs post Steve young. Jed is lol at all the dumb fans who root because they win 3-4 games!
    Dec 11, 2015 at 4:11 PM
  • Zion Niner
    If you look at the decisions the owners/FO have made since the Yorks taking over, you quickly realize that the Harbaugh years of (almost) Glory were a total aberration. The Yorks will keep the 9ers an also-ran for as long as the $$$ flows and they can keep treading water with fans hopes of true glory.
    Dec 11, 2015 at 7:37 AM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    The Niners are not cursed because only one coach can coach the team. They are cursed because their upper management is incompetent.
    Dec 10, 2015 at 1:58 PM
  • RealNiner
    How come everyone wants instant success and no coaches are able to have time to develop anymore? The only reason they want him to go so fast is because everyone is still butt hurt about Jim Harbaugh and have something to throw in Jed's face. Whether it was a mistake or not, Jim Harbaugh is never coming back just deal with it, its not like the team is cursed and the team can only win with one specific coach
    Dec 10, 2015 at 12:58 PM
  • Dan Waterman
    @ ant Chon - I agree and I am afraid that this is exactly what it is going to be; Gabbert Jeff Garcia Shawn Hill scenario. He might win barely enough to keep Tomsula safe and that is all.
    Dec 10, 2015 at 8:08 AM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Who cares if Harbaugh's offenses were not in the top ten. Look at his win loss record. You forget that had the football bounced a little differently we would have had 3 Super Bowl trophies. People forget how close we were. Harbaugh was not let go because of performance, he was let go because of politics pure and simple. Balkee is an average GM at best.
    Dec 10, 2015 at 7:46 AM
  • ant Chon
    So far Gabbert is playing well enough to save Tomsula and the FO from total embarrassment. he the next Shawn Hill or next Jeff Garcia?
    Dec 10, 2015 at 12:03 AM
  • Lucky Phil
    If fans want an accurate litmus test of the talent of this team and quality of our coaching staff, they should wait and watch the Bengals game on the 20th. That should be a reasonable indicator wheather this team is getting better or not this late in the season. Wheather we beat the Browns, Rams or the Lions means nothing. Lets see how this team performs against a team that wants to win. If we lose to the Bengals by 14 or more, that should reaffirm that this coaching staff is shit.
    Dec 9, 2015 at 7:06 PM
  • Sly
    The 2010 Draft board was already set before Baalke became GM so no her doesn't get full credit for that & anybody naming Kilgore Acker Reaser Hunter Jimmy Ward Culiver & players like that as a supposed feather in Baalkes cap needs their head examined..none of them are even Top 10 in the league at their don't get credit for drafting a bunch of depth guys who really aren't starters..With his last 40 draft picks Baalke has selected 1 Pro Bowler.Eric Reid, no team is going to be good or maintain with that level of inept talent being brought in & as for the comment about Harbaugh not having a Top 10 offense, last time I checked it's the GMs job to draft playmakers for the offense as well to which Baalke added 0!! Not even mentioning the 2012 draft that doesn't even have a single player from it in the entire league anymore. Show me a GM who has been worse since 2012 & then let me know if he still has a job..
    Dec 9, 2015 at 7:00 PM
  • Lucky Phil
    Dec 9, 2015 at 6:45 PM
  • Rayp
    Oh how most of you forget how hard drafting players is. How about a reminder of the greatest Coach in 9ers history faired? 99 - 1st round Reggie McGrew?, Chike Okeafor, Anthony Parker, Pierson Prioleau, Terry Jackson, Tyrone Hopson, Tai Streets, Kory Minor. What an awesome draft! Now the next year he did better, but still drafted Giovanni Carmazzi, really?? You act like our current GM didn't draft Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Navarro Bowman, Anthony Dixon, Aldon Smith, Chris Culliver, Kendall Hunter, Daniel Kilgore, Bruce Miller, Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, Chris Borland, Aaron Lynch, Keith Reaser, Kenneth Acker, plus last years picks that are starting and gaining experience. Look I'm not saying Baalke is the best, but he certainly isn't the worst! and shouldn't as yet be run out of town because our last coach (the quarterback whisperer) couldn't produce an offense that ranked at least 10th in the league ONCE while he was our coach. Don't forget that while you all whine for the days of Harbaugh. If we had a 10th ranked offense we probably would have won 2 super bowls and he would still be here coaching.
    Dec 9, 2015 at 6:31 PM
  • Modes
    @Jason Merton Hanks was the FS for that secondary, also a pro bowler. You bring up an outstanding secondary sir. I'm now somewhat torn. But I think I'll stick with the year the pro bowl secondary starters for the NFC was all niners ;-)
    Dec 9, 2015 at 3:03 PM
  • Jason
    JDeesnuts: We have the best secondary we've ever had? Were you born after 1994? That year we had Eric Davis, Deion Sanders, and Tim McDonald...they were so good I don't even remember who our free safety was. Going back before that our secondary had Ronnie Lott and Eric Wright. I agree we have a promising secondary but nowhere near as good as when we had the guy who engraves team names on Super Bowl trophies on speed dial. What this secondary needs to continue to grow is a pass rusher or two who can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and force mistakes. Not sure who thats going to be.
    Dec 9, 2015 at 2:48 PM
    Response: Somewhere, Merton Hanks is crying that you forgot about him and his chicken dance.
  • 49ers915
    I hope they don't.. As a GM how could you let go of a coach who gave The Faithful a winning season on his first year with the team. Some coaches are better being a position coach than being a HC in the league. My opinion keep Mangini as DC. Try to lure Chucky out of the booth from ESPN, and have him find a good OC to fit to Kap
    Dec 9, 2015 at 2:48 PM
  • Modes
    @JDeesnuts I am thinking the nuts in your name is to stand for the crazy in your posts. Baalke is a top 5 gm? This is a guy that drafted Aldon Smith ahead of JJ Watt and AJ Jenkins ahead of Alshon Jeffrey. Marcus Lattimore ahead of Latavius Murray. He has drafted 30 players since 2012 and has 1 pro bowler to show for it. Top 5? Surely you jest. "The best secondary we have ever had" 1985 secondary is the best the niners have ever had. Ronnie Lott , Eric Wright, Dwight Hicks, Carlton Williamson, and Jeff Fuller. If Acker and Reaser suddenly get a lot better and become pro bowlers, we can revisit this topic.
    Dec 9, 2015 at 2:43 PM
  • Dan Waterman
    @ JDeesnuts - WOW! That is all I can say. This man named Baalke has blown away complete draft of year 2012 (A.J. Jenkins) thus we lack the depth on the roster. He is a master of drafting players with torn ACL and other team's cast off. In my humble calculation, so far he has drafted 29 players only 3 managed to break the starting line up in their first year. 3 out of 29 are you kidding me. I admit that It may not be totally his fault because the ownership is cheap they don't want to spend money; because they did not earn to own the team, it simply ended up on their laps. However, I agree with most beat writers, both him and Tomsula would be back next year, not because they are a 'hot commodity' but by default no one decent will come and join this ownership. The Yorks have made a habit of hiring useless coaches and got away with it: Erickson, Nolan and Singletary. They needed Jim Harbaugh to build this stadium. After the stadium is built they did not need him. But those three coaches were hired when the team played in Candlestick. Here at Levis they have a huge debt (aprox $650 Million) to be paid off, therefore the stakes are higher now. I hope pressure from fans also keeps up.
    Dec 9, 2015 at 2:28 PM
  • PiratePrentice
    Right...nobody thinks they will fire these two. This column is asking a question that everybody says a resounding "no" why write this column?! Isn't a question only interesting if there is a possibility of answering it both ways. More creativity please --how about finally figuring out what the hell actually went wrong with Harbaugh, or Maraathe -- something besides a column only created for the sake of adding mindless content
    Dec 9, 2015 at 2:18 PM
    Response: I doubt anyone wants to hear anymore about Harbaugh. Do you really want to read another Harbaugh piece? Also, I don't think you read this column if you think it was "a question that everybody says a resounding 'no' to."
  • JDeesnuts
    I've said it before and I will say it again.....baalke is a Top 5 GM in the league, no doubt. Does he miss, yes, every good GM in the league misses. Ok, AJ Jenkins in the First was bad, but Aldon Smith, Jimmy Ward, Armstead is looking good when everyone was talking ish about that. Vance MacDonald is coming together. We have the best secondary we've ever had and they're young. Anthony Davis, Iupati, Eric Reed, Taart, Kilgore was a 5th round pick, Hyde, picked up gabber for a 6th round pick. Deandre white, boone, and all the other good FA draft picks. All you Baalke haters don't see the big picture as well as reality. You see the record and all the players we've lost to FA and retirement. Look at our roster when it's healthy and we have a top 10 roster talent wise in the nfl. Baalke will stay and I'm blown away that he is even mentioned in this article. Now Tomsula is a different story.
    Dec 9, 2015 at 1:57 PM
    Response: You kind of lost me after "We have the best secondary we've ever had." We've had a lot of great secondaries in this franchise's storied history. Baalke is mentioned because he has been a topic of discussion among fans, many of whom want him gone. While I don't see it happening, he has had his share of great blunders. Forget singling out AJ Jenkins. What about that entire 2012 draft class? That was just three years ago and not one of those seven players selected is on the team. 2016 will be a key draft for him. With the team no longer stacked with talent, he can't afford to take risks on players anymore.
  • Robert
    They all need to go. The beat a couple of horrible teams. Barly
    Dec 9, 2015 at 1:54 PM
  • Tom
    Awesome, Another year of Draft pick Blunders, Free agent Players that are past there prime, and a Coaching Staff that is totally out of there league each week, Can't wait until next Season!
    Dec 9, 2015 at 1:53 PM
  • Al
    Baalke needs to go, he has missed too much considering the amount of draft picks he has had in his time. It's time to move on. Always trying to find his diamond in the rough with high draft picks that don't work out.
    Dec 9, 2015 at 1:25 PM

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