Lowell Cohn: Jed York deserves all the blame for 49ers' mess

It’s your fault, Jed.

Your quarterback and head coach took the heat after that Arizona monstrosity, but it’s all your fault. Arizona was your fault and, before that, Pittsburgh was your fault. In two games, your team gave up 90 points and had almost no offense.

Who knows what comes next for the 49ers? Well, for starters, Green Bay comes next. Good luck.

No need to pile on Colin Kaepernick, who is regressing as a quarterback, or Jim Tomsula, who’s in over his head-coach head. Never should have been appointed 49ers coach. These are the 49ers, for heaven’s sake.

You should have chosen a coach with more talent, more gravitas. You should have chosen a coach who could attract talented assistants as opposed to that group of mediocrities designing your team’s game plans. In a former era, the 49ers had assistants like George Seifert, Dennis Green, Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan. These were cutting-edge coaches, deep thinkers who changed football. Name one cutting-edge coach on the current staff. Geep Chryst? Eric Mangini?

You should have chosen a coach who could have kept cornerstone veterans. Instead, you had a mass exit - in part a vote of no-confidence in the coach, the organization. And you.

Your fault.

For a change of pace, let’s focus on general manager Trent Baalke, your man. Your main man. Your anointed one. How is Baalke doing in his chosen profession? His stock is plummeting. Right now, his stock is at the recession level, but it’s veering toward a resounding crash.

Despite all the warning signs about Kaepernick, signs a casual fan could see, Baalke has been skimpy in drafting quarterbacks. Spot quiz: How many quarterbacks has Baalke drafted the past two years? The answer is zero. That’s what you call planning ahead.

None of Baalke’s first-round picks are impact players for the Niners right now. The list please: Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Aldon Smith, A.J. Jenkins (remember him), Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward and Arik Armstead.

How’s that for being a successful GM?

Baalke gets full credit - or blame - for drafting the starting center, Marcus Martin. Problem is Martin is weak and can’t push anyone back. It’s a center’s job to push people back. On the contrary (the French would say “au contraire”), defensive linemen routinely push poor Martin back toward Kaepernick, and then Kaepernick panics and starts running around like there’s a terrorist loose in his head or he throws a pick. None of this is good.

Baalke traded for right guard Jordan Devey. Got Devey on the cheap. Could have gone after former All-Pro guard Evan Mathis, who would have been more expensive - not much more expensive. The Niners had plenty of cap room to sign Mathis.

Baalke had input on assembling this coaching staff that does not meet league standards.

If the Niners win four or fewer games this season and Tomsula gets the ax, Baalke should get fired as well.

Jed, it looks like I’m blaming everything on Baalke. I’m not. Baalke deserves a ton of blame, but I’m blaming you. If Baalke is incompetent - he may be - you chose him. You gave him the keys to the car which used to be a BMW but is now a used Buick.

I don’t mean to be redundant about your sins as an owner, but it’s important and only fair, to remind you every so often of the destruction you’ve wrought. Ran off a successful head coach. That was strictly your business. But before you banish a winner, have someone just as good coming in.

You flopped on that one, promoted Tomsula based on an insignificant coaching history. Defensive line coach to head coach, oh my. What was his qualification? That you felt comfortable with him? That you and Baalke could manipulate him because he felt so darned grateful for the job? I mean, really, what was it?

You ran off some of the best assistant coaches in the league. Or they ran away from you. Vic Fangio. Mike Solari.

Your fault.

You sold seat licenses based on a Harbaugh team and now the poor fans have a Tomsula team. Bait and switch?

You did all this and you did it fast. Makes people wonder about your competence.

Do you ever have a moment of clarity? Pay attention, Jed, because this is important. I’m talking man to man. I sometimes have moments of clarity, painful but true moments about who I am and what I have done in my life. Now that I’m old, I have them more often. The moment can come when I’m shaving and I stare at my reflection in the mirror and I ask, “Who am I and what have I done? Am I living a good life? Am I a good person?”

When I experience a moment of brutal clarity, I stop what I’m doing and think. I know what’s happening has meaning, is definitive.

Do you get these moments? I hope you do. I hope everyone does. Or do you slide along the surface of life never asking yourself serious questions about what you’ve done and who you are. Do you deflect blame onto subordinates or the media? And please don’t tell us you “take full responsibility.” That phrase is so empty and, when you say it, people titter.

So, who are you, Jed? Right now, you’re defined as the man who’s ruining the 49ers. How do you feel about that?

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at

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