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Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Post Press Conference Thoughts

Jan 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Here are some thoughts on the Harbaugh coaching hire just after the press conference:

• If we are going to bash the 49ers and Jed York for looking like a hapless front office incapable of landing their number one coaching prospect, we have to compliment them on how this ended up. The 49ers got their man and did it while staying true to the front office structure they wanted (a GM overseeing a head coach) AND, if the reports are true, are going to pay him less than some other suitors. They are even going to be paying Harbaugh less than Pete Carroll, the new-old arch nemesis. The 49ers seemingly didn't blink and people have got to give credit where credit is due.

• It's also clear that Harbaugh, true to reports that emerged before he was openly courted by the 49ers, really does have a reverence for the 49er franchise. "Bill Walsh is the most important person ever" Said Harbaugh of the man who created the West Coast Offense. "I have a picture of him that I look at every day on my computer screen. Legendary man, great coach."

• This also means that Miami, Stanford and Denver were more than likely being used as leverage to get more from the 49ers. This might explain why the Denver Broncos cooled quite quickly once they put feelers out. I think Harbaugh realized the 49ers weren't going to budge any more and gently rebuffed Denver.

• It looks like the Manusky era is likely over in San Francisco. I personally hope he gets the Carolina head coaching gig, but either way it looks like Harbaugh is going to bring in Vic Fangio as his defensive coordinator. Fangio, named defensive coordinator of the year, coached a defense that pitched three shut outs this season and allowed just 17.8 points per game (11th in the Nation). He was previously a defensive coordinator for the Panthers under Dom Capers (1995-1998), the Colts under Jim Mora (1999-2001) and the Texans (2002-2005) again under Dom Capers.

• Some initial digging on Football Outsiders could give us a picture of Fangio's defenses while he was a coordinator in the NFL. As a refresher, Football Outsiders uses a metric called DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) that takes each individual play and charts it's success against the league average for that situation. Below are the league rankings based on DVOA.

1995: 5th (San Francisco was ranked 1st based on DVOA this season.)
1996: 6th
1997: 23rd
1998: 21st
1999: 27th
2000: 23rd
2001: 29th
2002: 20th
2003: 29th
2004: 18th
2005: 32nd

• Trant Baalke will have full control over the roster. Baalke indicated there will be lots of collaboration between everyone, but Baalke will be the "trigger man" on draft day as well as on the final roster cuts to trim the squad to 53 players.

• Tim Ryan from CBS Radio asked probably the most asinine question of the entire press conference. "Is it a done deal, moving the team to Santa Clara? Does it even matter to you?" Harbaugh's response? "I have no idea what your talking about." Harbaugh then said he felt more comfortable answering the previous question and did just that.

• Matt Maiocco asked what Harbaugh's top qualities Harbaugh looked for in a QB. According to Harbaugh they are: "Athletic Instincts, accuracy, timing, decision making, leadership, intelligence and you can keep going on and on. They're all important." He went on to say that the quarterback is the most important position on the field. This is a vast departure from the previous regime where the quarterback was seemingly marginalized.

• Harbaugh really likes the phrase "competitive opportunity."
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.


  • The_Real_Randy
    I agree with your first point but I'll stay consistent with my York-bashing and say that Harbaugh simply isn't the second coming of Walsh we're hoping for. He had already turned his nose up at us b/c of our godawful front office, just like McDaniels, but decided to take the job anyway even after Miami offered a lot more money (so much for money not being any object, eh Jed?). Doesn't really pass the smell test. I've said before that no decent coach will want to work under the mgmt of the York front office and stand by it. Harbaugh either isn't who we thought he is or Jed gave him total control of personnel decisions. I seem to recall us giving total control to a guy who had never been NFL coach before about 6 years ago, with a rsoter plagued by any of the ills that haunt us now, and it didn't go so well.
    Jan 8, 2011 at 2:04 AM
    Response: Just like a draft pick, a coaching hire is best judged after a few years. However, based on TODAY and the fervor with which Harbaugh was pursued, it's a huge win for York to land Harbaugh. Gotta give credit where it's due, man.
  • danvilledan
    What will the defense be 4- or 4-3?
    Jan 7, 2011 at 9:05 PM
    Response: I presume you meant to ask 3-4 or 4-3? If so, then I would guess a 3-4. Manusky runs a 3-4 is we keep him. If we add Vic Fangio he also runs a 3-4. Our personnel is suited for a 3-4 so I think we should keep it as a base defense.
  • austrich
    I, too, find it completely fair and befitting that for every drop of verbal fuel to the fire regarding the perceived failures of the York ownership and 49ers front office, I pledge to give them an equal amount of credit when they succeed and prove competency. In this case, as I believe Jim Harbaugh is a very good hire and at a reasonable-to-good price when compared to reported offers, Jed York, Trent Baalke, et al succeeded. To and for that, I give them credit. It's just that it's been so long, few, and far between that we the 49ers faithful have gotten what we believe is best for the franchise, that it at times seems almost unattainable. This time, however, it was attained. And, for that, I am grateful. -austrich
    Jan 7, 2011 at 6:03 PM

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