Jed's Ego is the San Francisco 49ers Kryptonite
If you’ve ever been to a 49er game, you’ll notice the Faithful love living in the past. In fact, 49ers fans are like Walter Sobchak: Thinking of 70 years of beautiful history… from Joe Perry to Joe Montana… you’re damn right they are living in the past!
They want to see a quarterback under center, drop back and find Jerry Rice on a flanker drive, or John Taylor in the back of the end zone on a corner-post route.
That era is dead and gone, and the current 49ers are the disgraced, bastard offspring of almost 30 years of class and championships. 4949 Centennial Boulevard is in dire need of a high-colonic to cleanse the slag and sludge that drip from all corners of building.
Here are a few suggestions that Jed won’t follow, but it would get the organization back to actually doing something – maybe even winning – with class.
Build for the Future and Build for Today
It should be clear that this is Trent Baalke’s last week of work for the 49ers. Sure, Jed could sit in his unfinished pool cabana, put down a few drinks, get a little surly and give the middle finger to the Faithful. No changes made, and we continue to watch the organization burn as Jed feeds the fire with kerosene, liquid hydrogen and hydrazine.
But let’s assume Jed stays sober and shows Baalke the door on January 2. The next move is to set fire to all of Baalke’s draft and build strategies. Extinguish the flames with fluoroantimonic acid to ensure no future generation can ever find the instructions to destroy a championship roster. Then burn a little sage for good measure.
Whoever gets hired has short to-do list. First, get aggressive in the free agent market. Like any great Fortune 500 company, you have to buy talent and leadership. It’s a worthy investment, and why companies hire proven leadership. However, invest in a position that makes sense to have a leader (read: not a cornerback or running back).
I’d look for a veteran inside linebacker first; someone needs to take the pressure off NaVorro Bowman as the sole mauler on defense. If not a linebacker, then go after a proven quarterback… so long as he didn’t date Jessica Simpson, wear number 9 or have a star on his helmet.
Second, the 2017 draft is going to be a critical turning point for the 49ers. This team can’t afford to draft more project players, skill position guys who are missing key knee ligaments or half-assed quarterbacks in the seventh round who don’t make the final roster. Draft for need first, and then draft the best guy on the board, regardless of position.
Third, along with your new blue-chip rookies, you need to develop the men on the practice squad. Fans were outraged that Jacksonville signed Mike Rush, and then watched the 49ers sign two completely unproven linebackers later in the week. While a great preseason does not make a great player, at least Rush knew the concepts behind Jim O’Neil’s pathetic excuse for a defense.
Finally, if we do get a new general manager… please, please don’t draft a defensive back in the first round.
Goodbye Mr. Chips
There’s a grim reality behind Chip Kelly’s time with the 49ers: Kelly was a desperate hire by two desperate men. Whatever Jed ‘n Trent thought they’d get from Chip and his coaching staff was purely delusional thought, probably brought on by heavy mescaline and ayahuasca use. Trying to sell fans Jim O’Neil as a capable defensive coordinator was insulting at best. Did Kelly really look at O’Neil’s track record with Cleveland and think, “He’s going to build us a top five defense this year.”
Let’s use our fifth grade math skills and do some averaging.
Last year with the Browns, O’Neil’s scheme surrendered 27.6 points per game. This year, O’Neil called a defense that’s allowing 31 points per game. In 2015, the Browns defense gave up a league worst 2265 yards rushing, or 141 yards per game. This year, the 49ers defense has given up 2567 yards rushing through 15 games. That’s 171 yards per game, and we still have one game left.
Curtis Modkins as offensive coordinator is no better. Modkins ran the Bills offense for three seasons. He had a 28th ranked offense in 2010, 14th best in 2011 and ranked 21st in 2012. This year, the 49ers rank 27th in total offense. The team is dead last in passing yards, 27th in points – averaging 12.4 points per game – and averaging 312 yards of total offense per game.
When you hire below average talent, you see results that are below average. I’m unclear how Chip or Trent thought they’d get a winning offense or defense from these two coordinators.
It goes further; this year’s coaching staff played as if they were grossly overwhelmed and under prepared for competition. Offensively, the game plan is boring and lacks any kind of surprise. Not every game needs a ridiculous flea flicker or some triple end-around. But we’ve suffered through two years of watching the offensive coordinator call for passing routes well short of the first down marker, or the defense giving up 21 yards on a 3rd and 19.
Check Your Ego at the Door
As I scratched out my notes for this article, everything pointed back to the top. The biggest weakness the 49ers have is Jed’s gigantic ego. Jed, you’re the CEO of the 49ers not because of your skill; rather, because Mummy and Daddums have little to no interest in running the organization. The faster you come to that meat-hook reality, possibly through intense electro-shock therapy, the better CEO you’ll be.
Once we cross that hurdle, your next task is to let the coaches coach. You aren’t a football genius, Jed. You aren’t a player so don’t show to player meetings. You don’t get to have a hand in choosing football talent. Hire a new general manager, and let him do his job.
Your mission Jed, should you choose to accept checking your ego, is to actually build the 49ers into a class organization. Nobody in the football world – player or coach – is clamoring to work for you. You’re the one encouraging the press leaks and whispers to your pals Trent Dilfer, Ted Robinson and Jay Glazer.
Ask yourself Jed: Would you work under these Turlock Junior High-like conditions?
As much as the 49ers need a new general manager, new coaching staff and various players to fill glaring needs, if Jed cannot alter the way he runs the organization, nothing will improve. He’s fully accountable for his own change and growth; fans cannot force him to eat humble pie… even it’s from French Laundry.
Where is this franchise?
Trent Baalke said during Jim Harbaugh’s ‘mutual parting ways’ press conference, “We’re not in a rebuild. This isn’t a rebuild situation, this is a reload situation.” The 49ers have been trying to rebuild from the bombed out bundle of splintered lumber since Jed’s ego fired… err, ‘parted ways’ with Harbaugh. Neither Jed or Trent will admit that, but the entire NFL universe knows it.
The 49ers are at a crossroads. They are not as far down the path to hell as the Browns or Jaguars are, and are capable of weeding out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved franchise.
But this exercise starts and stops with Jed.
Like a cocaine fiend finding Jesus at the bottom of an 8-ball and making empty promises to God to finally sober up, Jed has to first come clean with himself. Admit you need help, and then actually seek it. Let great people do the things you cannot comprehend or do yourself.
And, allow for failure. Athletes and coaches are human – even Joe Montana.