Link to Monday column. Text below:
What happened was they fired Jim Tomsula couple of hours after the game. Niners beat Rams 19-16 in overtime. Didn’t matter. Niners had seen enough of Tomsula. Everyone had, except maybe his wife and kids.
End of The Tomsula Era. Call it The Tomsula Error. RIP.
What happened was 49ers didn’t also fire Trent Baalke. Should have. Baalke is a bigger mistake than Tomsula. A longer-lasting mistake. Compared to Baalke Tomsula was a bit player in the Niners melodrama. Or is it pure farce?
Tomsula is taking the fall for lots of people. Sure, Tomsula deserves to go down. Bad coach. Bad leader. No presence. The absence of presence. Kind of a clown.
But so are other people. Like Jed York. What happened is Jed can hide behind the firing of Tomsula to show he’s doing something. Taking responsibility. Has high standards. Conducts himself with class.
What happened is Jed had a worse season than Tomsula. Jed had the worst season of anyone in the 49ers building except for Paraag Marathe who got demoted to minor-league soccer. Jed has not demoted himself. He should.
Baalke had the second-worst season on the Niners. Way worse than Tomsula. What happened is Baalke had a terrible series of seasons, including this one.
For starters, Baalke hired Tomsula. Could be Baalke wasn’t the only one who hired Tomsula. May have been a committee — some committee. But Baalke participated to the max. Allowed Jim Harbaugh to leave — what a joke — and ushered in a nonentity. This is on Baalke.
Here’s more stuff Baalke did wrong. Read this list and think about him running the rebuilding process. Could be more like a blowing-up process. Worry about a team that entrusts its future to him.
Gave Tomsula one of the worst rosters in the known world. Starting with no offensive line. Baalke is the football brains in the 49ers organization. Maybe he flunked the IQ test.
What happened was Baalke whiffed on the 2012 draft. No player from that draft is currently on the 49ers roster.
What happened was Baalke drafted a bunch of busts over the years.
A.J. Jenkins. First round 2012. Bust.
Vance McDonald. Second round 2013. Bust.
Tank Carradine. Second round 2013. Bust.
Corey Lemonier. Third round 2013. Bust.
Arik Armstead, defensive tackle. Baalke’s first-round pick in 2015. This story is a beauty. Armstead was a project, a basketball player in college who also played football. He still is not strong enough to play against the run in the base defense. Years away.
What happened was Baalke drafted Armstead like the 49ers were a contender, like Baalke had time for his first rounder to grow strong, learn the ropes. Baalke drafted for the future. He forgot about now. The result? The 49ers’ “now” — which happily is in the past — was an abomination.
And then there were the halt and lame Baalke drafted like poor Marcus Lattimore. Fourth round 2013. Never played a snap in the NFL.
I could go on. But I won’t.
What happened is Baalke has given the 49ers no solid core of players, especially on offense. He doesn’t understand offense. Mental block.
The core, if you can call it a core, is running back Carlos Hyde. Unproven and hurt. McDonald. A bust (see above). Torrey Smith. Good receiver the team didn’t know how to use. The Niners couldn’t use Smith because they had no offensive line. And don’t say Anthony Davis loused up the 49ers by retiring unexpectedly. Sure he did. But Baalke already knew Mike Iupati was gone, and did not compensate.
Another core issue. Anquan Boldin is a free agent and, if he’s of sound mind, he’s outa here.
This 49ers core contains no quarterback, although the Niners try to convince themselves Blaine Gabbert is the bees knees. Please. What happened was Baalke didn’t draft a quarterback the last two years. Thought Colin Kaepernick and Gabbert were swell.
Baalke wanted to stress the running game. This we know. What happened was Tomsula was babbling in his introductory news conference — it seems like decades ago — talking about Joan from payroll, etc. When Tomsula took a breath, Baalke leapt in with his now famous line, “I think somewhere in there he said we’re going to run the ball.”
What happened was Baalke gave the team one quality running back, Hyde. Well, maybe he’s a quality running back. But he runs high, takes full-on killer hits and he went down. Baalke never bothered to get another good running back for his featured running game, just in case. Baalke missed the class on Planning Ahead 101. Unless you consider Reggie Bush planning ahead. Bush, the human rehabilitator. Naturally, Bush got hurt. Injured reserve. Total nonfactor.
Nice going, Trent.
So, what is Baalke’s chief talent?
Tomsula, as we know, is a survivor — except now he hasn’t survived. But Tomsula is kindergarten compared to Baalke’s doctorate. No one works an organization like Baalke. He convinced Jed he is indispensible. Without Baalke the 49ers would be no good.
Oh, they aren’t any good. Silly me.
Baalke is a public-relations zilch. It’s an imposition when you ask him to talk. To carry on a simple conversation. To be cheerful. Polite. To explain himself. To justify himself. He holds grudges, which fits right in with the 49ers culture. He seems small-minded.
It’s a sign of Jed’s lack of expertise — of his shallowness? — that he leans on Baalke, keeps giving him the key to the car so Baalke can keep driving it into the bay.
What happened was Baalke brought down the 49ers. Continues to bring down the 49ers. That’s what happened.
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.