The 49ers’ new lapdog, er, coach, has been silenced by his masters. Jim Tomsula hasn’t been heard from since his Comcast SportsNet Bay Area interview was so bungled that it wound up as a comic masterpiece on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
Meanwhile, we’ve heard from Jim Harbaugh, who is tired of the Jed York comments that he wanted to leave the Niners for his alma mater, Michigan. Harbaugh said he was told two weeks before the end of the season, after a loss to the Seattle Seahawks that eliminated the Niners from the playoffs that he wasn’t coming back.
Harry Edwards had the best summation of the situation. Talking with other black leaders at a symposium, the team consultant said he was still employed by the 49ers so he didn’t want to get into a discussion about it, but he noted, “The guy they let go immediately went to the top of the list for any team looking for a coach. The guy they hired has never been on anybody’s list.”
And why hasn’t he? It’s not for a lack of coaching experience. Tomsula first coached in college, then went to NFL Europe, moving to head coach of the Rhein Fire for one year. But only the 49ers were interested in hiring him after that and only as a defensive line coach.
That was 2007. No NFL team has even been interested in him as a defensive coordinator. Have the 49ers divined some special qualities that no other NFL team has? We know the answer to that. For general manager Trent Baalke, who is clearly running the show now, his special quality is that he’ll do as he’s told. When Baalke said he would be the one to decide on the 53-man roster — which no other GM does — Tomsula didn’t object.
Meanwhile, both coordinators have left. Vic Fangio, the defensive coordinator, wanted to interview for the head-coaching job but didn’t have the opportunity. Baalke probably felt he was too independent. Many in the NFL consider Fangio the best defensive coordinator in the game. He’ll be missed.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is highly regarded around the league, too, though not in the Baalke family. That tweet from Baalke’s daughter about Roman having to go didn’t come out of the blue. Roman couldn’t do much of what he wanted to do last season because of injuries to offensive linemen. Among other things, tight end Vernon Davis had to be used primarily as a blocker, not a receiver, which took away the 49ers’ primary deep threat.
Baalke clearly convinced club CEO Jed York that he was the one who should be in charge, but he has overreached because now, the responsibility will all be on him. He’s already said the 49ers will be reloading next season, not rebuilding. But the Niners are potentially facing some very big losses. Michael Crabtree is likely to leave, as is guard Mike Iupati. Davis will certainly leave. Frank Gore probably will, too. Gore is the only one of those for whom the Niners have a replacement on the roster.
The fans who have paid ridiculous ticket prices in the new stadium are going to be dismayed by what they see. Bad times are ahead.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com.