Why was Al Guido talking to Jay Feely? Jim Tomsula wasn’t really sure Monday, not that anyone else was, either.
Guido, the 49ers’ chief operating officer, soon will be named team president, replacing the departing Paraag Marathe. Over the weekend, Guido told Feely, now a CBS sideline reporter after a long NFL kicking career, that Tomsula’s job as head coach may be safer than some think because management may account for a mass exodus of team leaders and cornerstones last offseason.
Except the 49ers, when asked about Guido’s comments, said Feely was interpreting something that may or may not have reflected their true position about the coaching staff. Got it?
“He was talking to Al Guido?” he said Monday, in what seemed a comical interlude to a disastrous 4-10 season that continues Sunday in Detroit. Tomsula did note that it has been difficult, to say the least, in replacing the leadership and talent of Patrick Willis, Frank Gore and Justin Smith, among others.
“There was a core group here with Justin and Frank. I was with all those guys the whole time,” said Tomsula, formerly the defensive line coach. “There was a core group here that built up through some tough times and got into some really good times and did a heck of a job leading and just the tightness, you know what I mean?
“I don’t think we’ve hidden from that. That core is gone. We’re developing another core. We’ve got to develop a core. I think there’s a lot of pieces to that core here. A lot of them are young, but I keep talking about the Jimmie Wards and the Blake Bells and the Eli Harolds and the [Jaquiski] Tartts. We’ve got some guys there that I’m really excited about. And you match that with an Ian Williams. You know, you’ve got NaVorro [Bowman] here, you know what I mean? But that young crew I’m really excited about. Now, is it a welded together core? No, not yet. But, are they working towards it? Do they have the intangibles? I believe they do.”
So what was the Guido thing about, anyway? “Yeah, I don’t know anything about that, but, no, I’m not in any staff meetings or coaches meetings or anything with Al Guido,” Tomsula said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Al Guido. He’s a great guy, he really is. But in terms of that, I meet with [general manager] Trent [Baalke] and I meet with the owners.”
As for remaining story lines, might Jarryd Hayne get another chance with the flurry of injuries at running back?
The 49ers thought so highly of the former Australian rugby league star that he was their opening-night punt returner despite playing football for just over seven months. But after three fumbles on punt returns, including his first ever attempt in the season opener, Hayne found himself on the practice squad.
“He needs to learn how to play football,” said Thomas McGaughey Jr., the 49ers’ first-year special teams coach. “To learn how to run and cover kicks and protect punts. That kind of stuff, that’s going to be invaluable for him with his overall skill development.”
Hayne was released on Halloween after appearing in six games before clearing waivers and signing onto the practice squad two days later.