It’s well past midnight and the Cohn Zohn is asleep except for me. I’m writing like a maniac because I found the Super Bowl so interesting and it’s sparking a million thoughts in my brain, such as it is. So please bear with me. Earlier tonight, I wrote about my dissatisfaction with Greg “Fall Behind Early” Roman. Now, I’d like to add a thought about Niners general manager Trent Baalke who had something to do with making the 49ers a contender, although Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan also helped a lot. Nothing Baalke did in the offseason helped the Niners on Super Bowl night. LaMichael James, a second round pick, fumbled. He gained 10 yards total. Randy Moss caught two passes, no TDs. A.J. Jenkins, the much heralded first-round pick, did not get on the field as far as I could tell from my TV set. He sure didn’t catch a pass. He didn’t catch a pass all season — correct me if I’m wrong. Baalke will have to do better this offseason. He bragged about putting Jenkins’ name in an envelope before he drafted Jenkins. Maybe Baalke should change envelopes.

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  1. Johnc

    There are so many issues linked to defeat today and I am looking forward to your analysis . This was a bitter defeat because the Niners beat themselves with a lot of help from the coaches.
    Example..first TD by Bolin..everybody in the world knew they were going to throw to him.. He ran the same pattern that he ran throughout the playoffs..right down the middle toward the posts. It looked like a replay from previous games.

    February 4th, 2013 2:31 am

  2. Patrick Leiva

    Ray Lewis did ascend into heaven, though not until after they left the field, and thankfully, so we don’t have to look at his puss any more. The Ravens surely won Super Bowl XLVII, but they did not beat the Niners. The Niners beat themselves. Checkmate.

    February 4th, 2013 2:47 am

  3. lameduck

    Moss will be gone after the G.O.A.T. Statement and not backing it up. It could be argued that he didn’t extend to catch the ball on the interception.

    Alex will be gone, too.

    Yet, I bet Baalke drafts defense.

    February 4th, 2013 3:42 am

  4. KezarMike

    No GM hits home runs every year. Trent had a great 2011. I wish he would have drafted the Stanford TE last draft, but then again, I wished Bill Walsh wouldn’t have drafted Gio Carmazzi three rounds in front of Tom Brady to be our QB of the future. Of course Walsh had some of the greatest drafts in NFL history, so well just have to see what happens over the next few years.

    February 4th, 2013 4:23 am

  5. Tom Quinn

    Kick ‘em while they’re down right Lowell? I thought you weren’t a fan?

    February 4th, 2013 4:51 am

  6. Rob

    The 2012 draft was a disaster. A couple more of those, and the Niners will be back to where they were under Nolan and McCloughlin.

    February 4th, 2013 6:31 am

  7. Paul


    Correct again…

    February 4th, 2013 8:31 am

  8. Dr. Feelgood

    So disappointing, right from the start.
    How does a team that practices the opening play for two weeks then line up in an illegal formation, negating an outstanding 20 yard gain?
    That set the tone for the entire first half.
    Shoot yourself in the head.

    February 4th, 2013 8:35 am

  9. Dr. Feelgood

    So disappointing, right to the end.
    First and goal at the seven for the Super Bowl.
    Everything you’ve dreamed about, prayed for- only seven yards away!
    Then you see it was all a mirage.

    February 4th, 2013 8:56 am

  10. Dan

    I’d like to see better receivers, defensive backs and an eventual replacement for Justin Smith … Here’s a question: if the 49ers want to keep using the pistol, do they acquire a backup for Kaepernick who is a running threat? I’m assuming that Alex Smith will leave somehow, and I don’t think that Scott Tolzien is really a running quarterback.

    February 4th, 2013 8:57 am

  11. CohnZohn

    Blind Tom, Please look back over my writing. I criticized Baalke on this account when they were up. Calm down, please.

    February 4th, 2013 9:04 am

  12. Brodie2Washington

    Baalke tried.

    With last year’s defense, the 49ers would have gone 15-1 and dominated the Super Bowl. The 49ers defensed the run pretty well last night, but the pass rush was not nearly as good as 2011.

    The sources of the fade can be traced to a freak cluster of preseason injuries at Outside Linebacker, leaving the 49ers with only two on the entire roster.

    Back in April the 49ers were self described by Baalke “dangerously thin” at outside linebacker in 2011. They responded by drafting two at that position to backup Brooks, Aldon Smith and underrated Parys Haralson.

    Then the injures came. Gone for the season were Parys Haralson. Also lost were the two OLB draftees. Aldons legs were toast by game 14.

    I thought the 49ers would be drafting for depth on defensive line. Unfortunately we might have to duplicate the 2011 draft, targeting receivers and pass rushers instead. Lets hope Parys, Manningham, Williams and Hunter come back 100%

    February 4th, 2013 10:02 am

  13. Gopal

    Bitter defeat!

    I feel like LaMichael James and Randy Moss helped contribute greatly to getting to the Super Bowl in the first place, if not during the actual game.

    And draft picks are generally best evaluated at season 3, are they not?

    February 4th, 2013 10:14 am

  14. CohnZohn

    Gopal, It is a stretch on your part to say Moss and James “greatly” contributed. James was not even active for the first half of the season.

    February 4th, 2013 10:19 am

  15. Bob In Portland

    My disappointment ended when I went to bed last night. This morning I woke up thinking about their 13 draft picks and where they plan on plugging up holes on the roster.

    The jury’s still out on Jenkins and James. I’m not too worried right now. It used to be that the Niners had to count on their draftees, now they have the talent to let them grow.

    February 4th, 2013 10:25 am

  16. bill wertz

    Yer an EFFIN genius for writing how the niners will win unless their offensive coord. tries to be “smart”.
    Poor Frank Gore. He played like a MAN during the 2nd half. When he touched the ball, he was not to be denied. So, for the 2 pt conv. attempt or when first and goal, just give it to Frank… But NOOOOOOOO. Feel bad for the players. Not their fault.

    February 4th, 2013 10:31 am

  17. loneraider78

    Patrick Leiva

    Ray Lewis did ascend into heaven, though not until after they left the field, and thankfully, so we don’t have to look at his puss any more. The Ravens surely won Super Bowl XLVII, but they did not beat the Niners. The Niners beat themselves. Checkmate.


    Because it sure looked like Joe Flacco did whatever he pleased for most of the game.

    Jacoby Jones crispy fried Culliver, and then refried the entire kickoff team.

    Anquan Boldin turned a fierce secondary into watchers.

    Sure, they shot themselves in the foot more than once, but so did Baltimore.

    They got beat.

    No excuses.

    February 4th, 2013 10:49 am

  18. Blind Tom

    What was the Niners record two years ago? Three, four, ten years ago? Just sayin’… And Lowell, there’s a time and place for everything including the kick in the nuts. I would have waited a week before getting on anyone’s case in Ninerville, but, hey, that’s me and that’s you… YMMV

    February 4th, 2013 12:45 pm

  19. Salvomaster

    The tone was set when the Niners lost the coin toss-that wouldn’t have happened w/Walsh.

    February 4th, 2013 12:58 pm

  20. dharte

    Couldn’t resist: the elephant in the room this morning is the fact that they’ve now lost two championship games in a row, and both times played tight right at the end, not to mention the Special Teams mistakes that keep killing them in these big games.

    Harbaugh’s personality is fascinating, he clearly inspires people to buy into a team concept, and he’s got an eye for talent (AJ Jenkins excepted…). But no one would confuse his ability to think under pressure with the second coming of Bill Walsh, and that loss yesterday leaves him well short of the standard of The Genius, 2.0. Harbaugh looks, frankly, like an early heart attack candidate; if I were his brother or a friend I’d be worried about him over the long haul of an NFL career.

    The irony is that we’re talking about Captain Comeback, one of the better pressure players of the 90s. But playing and coaching require quite different skills, and I wonder if Harbaugh is wound too tight during moments of maximum pressure on the sidelines when cooler heads are needed to prevail?

    That’s it from this corner. All the best, Lowell. You clearly have more stamina than I do for this stuff!

    February 4th, 2013 1:04 pm

  21. CohnZohn

    Blind Tom, streetglide, Tommy Quinn, You always are one of my favorites. You know that. What you see as a kick to the groin, I don’t. I see it as fair analysis. It is what you get when you lose the Super Bowl and don’t coach all that well. Let’s agree to disagree. OK?

    February 4th, 2013 1:17 pm

  22. CohnZohn

    Salvomaster,I totally agree with you about Walsh and the coin toss. Also, if Walsh was there, the lights never would have gone out.

    February 4th, 2013 1:20 pm

  23. CohnZohn

    dharte, Thanks for all your comments. I’m not sure I have more stamina than you. I’ve been off from work about a week and am dying to write.

    February 4th, 2013 1:22 pm

  24. Greg

    Don’t forget the signing of Brandon Jacobs. Almost everyone scratched their head at the time, and it proved to be terrible. If Hunter didn’t get hurt, then the offseason would have deserved a grade of F. Without the Hunter injury, James would not have played. Drafting James was redundant since we all ready had Hunter. They should trade Alex Smith, James, and their first round pick and move to up as high as possible in the draft. They need a young stud DL.

    February 4th, 2013 1:47 pm

  25. Blind Tom

    Well Lowell-san, you are hands-down my favorite sports writer; and when you choose to be one of the best writers period. Sharpen it up and you could be trading prosies with Elmore Leonard.

    And if you are looking for a good read, I heartily suggest “The Violin” by David Schoenbaum. Just came out and it is 700+ pages of terrific writing about the history, mystery and thievery surrounding the world of those little buggers. Five stars Blind Tom says “Check it out…”

    Meanwhile, a little countyer-blessings might be in order after this most interesting season in Ninerville.

    February 4th, 2013 1:51 pm

  26. Steve the cat rescuer

    Hmmm, interesting. I don’t see any references to “we” or “us” in any of the comments. Only “they” or “the Niners.” Suddenly when they lose where are all the loyal fans who consider themselves an integral part of the team? They lost because of poor play and even worse coaching. My Monday morning reality check: after a few minutes of disappointment, the players will continue to make millions and I won’t.

    February 4th, 2013 2:11 pm

  27. lameduck

    The NFL draft is in April which means that Alex should be traded in the next couple of months. I’m guessing he ends up in Cleveland and will be reunited with Norv. Trent Richardson is an up and coming great back.

    I’ll guess that the 9ers get an OLB or other defensive position in return.

    February 4th, 2013 2:36 pm

  28. Mark M

    What a devastating loss. Still reeling a bit here. Kudos to Lowell for seeing much of this stuff this season. No one else had as clear a view of this team this season.

    But I don’t understand why you leave Fangio off your wrath list. The defense stopped being a Niner caliber defense the second half of the Patriots game and never really recovered. Pass rush disappeared and the run D became more vulnerable, especially in the nickel. We gave up major yardage and point totals against the Seahawks, Packers, Falcons and Ravens, and particularly fell victim to the big play in those games. And yet not a peep about this inexplicable letdown that I’ve seen. Instead I see a call to can Roman when we scored big points and rang up huge yardage in all 3 playoff games. Yes, I didn’t like the play calling at the end of the SB, nor the slow starts to the last few games. But we ended up scoring plenty of points for a team that supposedly had one of the league’s top defenses. I don’t understand this collapse nor Lowell’s lack of criticism in this area.

    February 4th, 2013 2:38 pm

  29. Just too Fast....

    Lowell, the most obvious issue with the Niner defensive scheme is that they clearly do not start the game to stop the key player on opposing offense. It was Jones in the Atlanta game and it was Boldin in this game. Clearly their D can not defend strong WRs. The other obvious weakness is the Special Team(kicker and coverage). They have not played well this year since the departure of Costanzo.

    February 4th, 2013 3:23 pm

  30. CohnZohn

    Mark M, I agree with you on all counts.

    February 4th, 2013 3:42 pm

  31. KauaiRobert

    Steve the cat rescuer:
    Diehard Niner fan here.
    WE feel like crap today.

    February 4th, 2013 5:18 pm

  32. Hoferfan67


    Good read.
    After reading some of the comments, I don’t agree with only blaming GR. We don’t know if JH changed the plays by overruling GR. We also don’t know if CK, who as standard protocol, receives a running play and a passing play was the one that chose three consecutive passing plays including the 4th down play. We’ll never know because JH is evasive and he won’t want to state one way or the other, being in protection mode believing that the actual culprit would take the overall blame.

    February 4th, 2013 7:36 pm

  33. Sophrosyne

    Lowell had the best pre-game analysis. Like him, I was surprised that the ravens were not favored by more experts. They had played a t a very high level throughout the playoffs.

    We really must be smart about departures and acquisitions this off season. Moss needs to go and we need a big-bdied, aggressive WR to complement Crabtree. We really lacked a genuine number two since Manningham went down and that seems like months ago. I also think we missed Kyle and Hunter more than people were saying.

    February 4th, 2013 8:07 pm

  34. shawn mc

    I find it so interesting to contrast your criticism style when writing about the 49ers as opposed to your style when criticizing the Raiders. Its a matter of tone. You always make good points and the criticism is usually warranted, but your tone when the Raiders are concerned almost feels like you enjoy their misery. When writing about the 49ers it feels like you’re offended that they are not living up to the lofty standards set by the great teams of the past. I think stems from your personal feelings towards Al Davis and Bill Walsh respectively. Both teams have greatness in their past and now both teams have lost super bowls.

    February 4th, 2013 10:21 pm

  35. CohnZohn

    shawn mc, please look over my Raiders columns from the past season. I tried very hard to be patient and understanding. I may have failed but I tried and I did not enjoy their misery.

    February 4th, 2013 10:56 pm

  36. Steve the cat rescuer


    Devastated? Because a sports team lost a game? I’m a fan of the local teams too, but there are more important things in life to be devastated about. At least to my way of thinking. And I’m not happy about your misery – just making a point in reference to a column that Lowell wrote a few months ago.

    February 4th, 2013 11:10 pm

  37. Sammy D.

    I agree with the comments about Fangio and the deffensive falloff. Injuries to the cowboy aside, I think the big difference is that last year we had a world-class defense, and this year we did not. Perhaps the players were MORE adept at playing Fangio’s system this year(with the benefit of a full offseason), whereas last year things were more simplified as players were playing more on talent and instint. Would be ironic if there was deffensive falloff due to better understanding of the coaches system…Of course, we can never know, but this thought has crossed my mind over the past 6 weeks…

    February 5th, 2013 10:01 am

  38. Stan

    I heard some announcer during all the hoopla say that the lawsuits brought against the NFL might end the game in 30 years. It was what I said here on CohnZone in the form of a question to Lowell.
    I think the NFL will make all the rules it can to protect players and put each one in Nerf padding before they give up. But,it is interesting to think a game like the NFL’s might go away some day.

    February 5th, 2013 11:02 am

  39. Tommy CostaRica

    Lowell I’m with you, that was really a bad draft. If Jenkins was any good they would of found a way to have gotten him in there. James looks like he’s not tough enough to hold onto the ball. However, I think the saddest part of the loss is our once brilliant coach Jim Harbough is way too emotional to be a leader of men in crunch time. When you are throwing one sideline tantrum after another, how can you think? You can’t! Thus all those poor decisions on the final offensive series of the game. Throw in his recent heart problems and I can’t see how he can last any more than a year or two?????

    February 5th, 2013 11:57 am

  40. Stan

    ohhhh Lowell, you got ripped forwards and backwards -by name- By Krueger and Radnich too. He called you out for your questions and asked “Who does Lowell Cohn think he is?!” Radnich? He opined “If you are behind doors,you can ask a question like that,but in a roomful of people? Your just showing off”. LOL, Radnich? accusing you of “showing off”?..
    Me? I cried tears you asked Jim a question after he cashed another Super Bowl check,bonuses on top of his $5 mill a year..boo-hoo!
    Radnich,I would think,isn’t going to say he loves you anymore. He doesn’t need you now.

    February 5th, 2013 12:14 pm

  41. Stan

    Kate Scott actually took your position in a way. In return she was mocked by Kreuger “You would have asked..Gooooo Cowboys!” Kreuger told her. No,it made no sense to me either.
    But they laughed at her.

    February 5th, 2013 12:17 pm

  42. Bob In Portland

    All the guys drafted during the Nolan/Singletary stretch that looked so good this year didn’t have a winning season under those former coaches. Crabtree was crap initially.

    It takes time. We have all off-season to improve ourselves, even Jenkins and James.

    February 5th, 2013 12:52 pm

  43. Dennis

    Stan, Are you talking about Lowell’s question of Harbaugh’s sideline demeanor when he doesn’t like the call?

    February 5th, 2013 3:33 pm

  44. Stan

    TheGame on the contrary not only didn’t rip you Lowell,they gave a segment at noon- 3 about the topic you raised. I heard that “That question had the national media buzzing”..and Why did Harbaugh be so cold?..the last not an exact quote. I was busy fighting traffic..and sort of missed the rest.

    February 5th, 2013 4:07 pm

  45. terryc

    Take it easy Lowell! You and your companion writers at the SF Chronicle and Examiner made a living beating up on the 49ers during the Walsh and Seifert years! Not only them but also Montana! As a matter of fact, you and your buddies articles were bulletin board material for the team to get them up for the next game they were so negative and full of personal attacks, that they didn’t need to hear what the other team was saying about them!

    So cool it for once! The 49ers bulletin board is already full!

    February 5th, 2013 4:51 pm

  46. Stan

    That’s it Dennis. Reviled on only one sports station..the other media did the proverbial “hmmm,interesting”. What a columnist is supposed to do. I will leave it at that ..Tim.

    February 5th, 2013 5:10 pm

  47. Stan

    I don’t believe it. After his morning radio show when he said “You cant get that personal in a room,behind close doors maybe. But in front of people that’s just showing off” And nodding his head in agreement as Kreuger ripped you…Radnich did a complete make over on KRON. “Lowell Cohn got in Harbaugh’s face..showing off is fine for local media”..!!!…Like he was now giving you credit!!!..Just a huge hypocritical spin on what he had said this morning.

    Playing both sides is con artist 101,and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. Used car sales is awaiting Raddy..

    February 5th, 2013 7:01 pm

  48. Albert Park

    Lowell, how is Mrs. CohnZohn doing?

    February 5th, 2013 10:15 pm

  49. Rob

    Larry Krueger was especially critical of Lowell Cohn’s question involving Harbaugh’s sideline behavior. Krueger actually imitated Lowell’s voice and scoffed at the question, saying “Lowell had lost his fastball long ago.” He and Radnich then said that the question was unprofessional under the circumstances and that Lowell was “showboating.” I really thought Krueger’s accusing Lowell of unprofessionalism was the cat calling the kettle black, as Krueger has shilled the 49ers for the last two weeks and predicted a 49er blowout while Lowell called for a Ravens win. Krueger’s a big time bloviator and not very

    February 6th, 2013 8:24 am

  50. CohnZohn

    Albert Park, Thanks so much for asking about Mrs. Cohn Zohn. The awful pain in her hip has vanished. She still has pain from the operation, but that is normal. She walks with a walker, but soon she will be free of that. She does exercises many times a day. And I hear her singing around the house.

    February 6th, 2013 9:11 am

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