Link to my Tuesday column. Full text below:
SANTA CLARA — This is about the big 49ers lie, the big Jim Tomsula lie.
Almost every day, some 49ers apologist writes me about Jim Tomsula. I’m too hard on the poor guy. He got screwed with a bad roster. No one can fairly judge his performance. And then comes the lie.
Bill Walsh went 2-14 in his first 49ers season (1979). Tomsula currently can win five games – a big maybe – so I shouldn’t judge Tomsula harshly.
What a lie comparing Tomsula to Walsh. What an example of poor thinking. Jim Tomsula is no Bill Walsh. Never will be. Jim Tomsula is an inadequate coach. Jim Tomsula is nothing but Jim Tomsula. The 49ers shamed themselves by making him head coach.
Are we clear?
Compare Walsh and Tomsula, compare their first seasons as Niners coach.
In Walsh’s first season, he began building something. That something became a five-time Super Bowl champion. In Tomsula’s first season, he broke down something. Ruined it. He lost his quarterback. He did not establish a successor quarterback. His defense fell apart. He went from an eight-win team under Jim Harbaugh to a possible four-win team
The rebuilding process may begin next season if the Niners are lucky. If they fire Tomsula in the next few weeks and hire someone competent.
I rarely ask you to look at numbers. Today is an exception. Please forgive me.
This is where the current 49ers – Tomsula’s 49ers – rank. In total offense based on yards gained, they rank 31st. They rank 30th in passing yards. This in a 32-team league. Those rankings are so pitiful Tomsula should hide under his bed and refuse to come out.
What about Walsh?
First, a little background. The season before Walsh arrived, the 49ers had two coaches – Pete McCulley and Fred O’Connor. They combined for a 2-14 record.
How did McCulley-O’Connor rank in key departments? They ranked 27th in offense based on yards gained and 25th in passing yards. This was in a 28-team league. Not so hot.
The next season when Walsh also went 2-14, his 49ers ranked sixth in yards gained and third in passing yards. Amazing improvement. A sign of things to come. Walsh was burdened with a horrible defense, which he would fix over time. And his quarterback was Steve DeBerg not Joe Montana. It still was an excellent offense.
Jerry Glanville, at the time the defensive backs coach for the Falcons, told me he was so impressed with Walsh’s offense he would study it. “I could see what he was doing,” Glanville said. “I could see it was special.”
When did anyone ever study Tomsula’s offense or defense or say it or he are special?
And please don’t say Tomsula has a worse roster – especially on offense – than Walsh had in 1978. Tomsula has a future Hall of Fame receiver, Anquan Boldin. And an elite wide receiever, Torrey Smith whom the Niners are paying $40 million over five years.
Walsh had the smarts. His leading receiver in terms of receptions was Paul Hofer, a running back. Second was Freddie Solomon, a great receiver. Third was Wilbur Jackson, a fullback. Fourth was Mike Shumann, an excellent wideout and a friend of mine.
In other words, Walsh got DeBerg, who had limitations, to spread the ball around. Why doesn’t Tomsula get his quarterbacks to do that? Obvious.
Please don’t insult the 49ers great tradition by comparing Tomsula to Walsh. Don’t insult yourself.
The argument that Tomsula deserves another season is empty and false. He deserves one more chance, the argument goes, because he had a bad roster. That means Tomsula might do better with a better roster. It doesn’t mean he will do better. No one knows if he can do better. I don’t think he can. Why should the Niners take a leap of faith on this proven loser when coaches with superior portfolios exist?
Tomsula held his weekly news conference on Monday. He was talking about building the team which made me conclude he was talking about being back next season.
“You’re talking about building,” I said. “Do you expect to be the coach next season here?
“Yeah,” Tomsula said. “I’m going to coach until somebody tells me I’m not.”
Someone please tell him not.
“Have the 49ers addressed that with you, your status?” I asked.
“No. I see people every day and we talk about, the biggest thing that I get asked is can we help? Is there anything we can do for you? Do you need anything? That’s what I get asked constantly. And quite frankly, from that end of it, they couldn’t give us any more than they’re giving us.”
Which means, I guess, Tomsula thinks he’s returning. Lord help the 49ers. Lord help us.
Then Tomsula, who has a certain amount of chutzpah – I’ll give him that – explained how his team has improved. Here’s an abridged version:
“Well, I think in certain areas we did. It didn’t equate to the win-loss record, which is the ultimate. I got it, that’s the measuring stick. But, in certain areas we did. As I’m watching the guys and I’m watching the way they’re working and I’m watching some of the things that we’re doing, that the coaches are doing and what some of the younger guys and where they’re getting and the gel that you’re starting to see happen there, I think that is good.”
Oh, Tomsula notices some good things. He was kind of vague on those good things. If you find any good things, drop me a line. One thing is clear as a bell – Tomsula’s current three-game losing streak. That’s very clear.
So, here’s what I say. Tomsula is no Bill Walsh. He is McCulley-O’Connor. Whatever happened to those guys?
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.