Here is a link to my Sunday column about Jim Tomsula, babbler. The full text runs below:
I used to feel a certain way about the Nobel Prize when Al Davis ran the Raiders. If the Nobel committee offered me the Nobel Prize for Literature but said I never again could cover the Raiders, I would turn down the prize.
That’s how much of a hoot they were. Al showing his kiss-off letter to Lane Kiffin on the overhead projector was one of the great days in the history of Western civilization.
I no longer feel that way about the Raiders, who have become normal. Now I feel that way about the 49ers. Nobel Prize be damned. I want to cover these guys. Barnum & Bailey should fit Jed, Trent and new coach Jim Tomsula with big red noses and put them under the big top.
I’m thinking about Tomsula’s intro press conference, which I could not attend — I will regret that for the rest of my life. We were led to believe Tomsula is a straight shooter as opposed to Jim Harbaugh. Ask Tomsula a straight question. Get a straight answer.
How about this for straight shooting? He began to talk about his football philosophy. Here is straight-shooter Jim.
“I know we’re here to talk about football and we’ll get to it, but I think all of this is part of it. All of this is part of why I’m so proud to be a part of this and what’s built. Joan in payroll. She’s not only in payroll, Joan’s my financial advisor. Joan’s making sure I’ve got enough money in my 401(k). You go on and on and on. Vilma at the front desk. You’ve got all of these wonderful people in the building.”
I’m sure Joan in payroll is a miracle, Vilma at the front desk a phenomenon. But they won’t improve Colin Kaepernick’s passing accuracy or pocket presence. How did they enter the discussion?
One reporter asked Tomsula to talk X’s and O’s, his offensive and defensive philosophies. Tomsula’s answer was an all-timer:
“My X’s and O’s philosophy are quite simply you build a team to a scheme. You go into the draft, you go into free agency and you acquire … you’re in the talent acquiring business, to a scheme, OK? And then I feel like the most thing is when that’s over, now you have to do a 180. And now, see I look at it from a personnel to fit a scheme. So, I’m looking at that scheme and I’m trying to fit the pieces.
“We don’t live in a perfect world, it’s not a perfect science. Things happen. People aren’t available. So, once we have that talent and we have those players, now we have to flip that and now we look at it, we want to take that scheme and fit it to the players. So to me, when you talk philosophical, that’s the way in building your schematics and building your approach to teaching and your building blocks, that’s where the … you have to have that latitude going in there to be able to … It’s a structure. We stay within our structure, but you have to have that latitude to be able to adapt and adjust your schematics to fit the players. So, I hope that answers your question.”
Huh? Are you kidding me?
Poor Trent Baalke couldn’t understand the man, either. Baalke said, “I think somewhere in there he said we’re going to run the football.”
Tomsula the Babbler is no straight shooter. Or maybe he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Then came this whopper. A reporter asked Tomsula why the team took a leap forward in 2011 when Jed hired Jim Harbaugh. Get a load of this:
“I’ll tell you the truth, the laugh that I had with it. I don’t have a pinpoint answer for that but the laugh I had with it was, all the guys, we were off. It was a lockout. So, coaches couldn’t interact with players. So our players were getting together themselves and they were working out over at San Jose State. They were running mountains and hills and they were doing it together. There was a bonding thing that kind of happened. Just that group of guys together that were spearheading that. It morphed. They were really working hard and driving each other and having fun doing it.
“And when we came into training camp, yeah, there were some X’s and O’s and playbook stuff we had to learn. Couldn’t learn that much. Couldn’t install the encyclopedia. But what was installed was nice and tight. The guys were so excited and the coaches there did a great job. It was players, coaches, the schematics, but the overlying factor to me was we had a really large, good core. There were other teams during the lockout nobody saw each other. They were all over the country. They were all fired up when they got back from the lockout high-fiving, ‘Hey, how you doing? You grew a beard?’ Our guys didn’t do that. We had a really large, good core of guys that stuck together.”
I edited that stream-of-consciousness ramble for concision. It would have been harmful to your health to wrestle with the whole thing. Tomsula never once mentioned Harbaugh when he explained the 49ers’ turnaround. It’s as if Harbaugh’s presence was a coincidence.
Tomsula was rude to Harbaugh. Is he smart enough to understand that? Every new coach gives the previous coach credit. Jack Del Rio praised Tony Sparano. Steve Kerr even praised Mark Jackson. Just imagine the enmity that existed between Harbaugh and Tomsula — Tomsula admitted they haven’t spoken since Harbaugh left.
Straight shooter? Give me a break.
Harbaugh may have been difficult, but he had dignity. A sense of himself. Tomsula you expected to genuflect to Jed and Jed’s sisters at the news conference. He asked the PR guy where to sit. He acted like some guy delivering pizza.
This is the face of the franchise?
I leave you with this Tomsula gem: “Discipline to me is a way of life. I know it sounds petty, but it’s the way you handle a meeting, or on the road in the hotel, everybody, ‘Hey, pick up your stuff.’ I know that sounds really small, but it starts adding up. ‘Pack your own bag for the game. Don’t forget your shoes.’ We’re talking elementary, but those are things that are big.
Those things I definitely get behind. If Anquan Boldin has a messy locker, make him sit out a game. If Justin Smith doesn’t pack his bag, fine the bum. Patrick Willis forgets his shoes, make him play barefoot. Or Tomsula announces to the team in a ticked-off voice, “We’re not getting on the plane until NaVorro cleans up his locker.”
I get it. I really do. It reminds me of what Miss Blonsky said back in third grade. “Neat desks and neat notebooks are the keys to success in life.”
The Niners didn’t hire Jim Tomsula. They hired Miss Blonsky.
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