Lowell Cohn: A coaching hit and a miss for Raiders, 49ers (w/video)
The Raiders got rid of the untalented guy, the ordinary guy and hired someone special. The 49ers got rid of someone special and hired the untalented guy, the ordinary guy.
It almost reads like an equation, and the equation means the Raiders are on the way up and the Niners are going down.
To complete the equation for you: The Raiders got rid of ordinary but nice Tony Sparano and hired dynamic Jack Del Rio as head coach. Great hire.
The Niners managed to get rid of dynamic Jim Harbaugh and hired ordinary but nice Jim Tomsula as their head coach. Bad hire.
In a news release heralding the ascent of Tomsula, Jed York said, “Jim is a great teacher and a tremendous mentor who conducts himself with great class and integrity.”
That might imply Harbaugh was not a great teacher or mentor and did not conduct himself with integrity. Maybe the Niners should have hired Tomsula as the team chaplain instead of the coach. As a coach this is what we know.
He was not even a main assistant on the 49ers’ staff. Oh, he was head coach for something like a day after the Niners fired Mike Singletary. On Harbaugh’s staff he was third banana. He never rose to the level of coordinator, was a face-in-the-ground guy instructing three or four defensive linemen.
He has shown no overall vision of football. He has shown no philosophy of football. He sure hasn’t shown an offensive philosophy. Just because a man can teach one position doesn’t mean he can lead an entire team. What does Jim Tomsula bring to the job that exceeds the capabilities of Harbaugh?
His primary quality is that he’s nice. Seriously. Players like him, although not as much as they like defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who didn’t get the job. After Tomsula loses a few games, after he shows how limited he is, the players won’t like him so much.
Another good Tomsula quality is Jed feels comfortable with him. Jed didn’t feel comfortable with Harbaugh. Is comfort a requirement for a head coach? If niceness and the ability to create comfort were essential, the Niners could have hired a psychiatrist or a dietitian as head coach.
The word “Tomsula” is a synonym for “puppet,” Jed’s puppet and Trent Baalke’s puppet. He will feel indebted to them for promoting him beyond his abilities and will fetch when they say “fetch.” He may come cheap.
It has been reported he is looking at Jason Tarver for his defensive coordinator. Tarver flopped in Oakland and now he can flop in Santa Clara.
Fangio, who should have been named head coach, has one year left on his contract. Do you think he wants to coach under Tomsula? Unlikely. He would be coaching under his underling. It’s a bad management setup. Fangio, a better coach than Tomsula, will try to get out of his contract now or he will leave after one more season. Tomsula’s hiring doesn’t solve problems. It creates problems.
And one other thing. This uninspired hiring confirms Jed and Baalke never had a plan the way grownups generally have plans. They forced out Harbaugh without a sane alternative and then they settled — yes, settled — for a coaching nonentity. This hiring reveals their own mediocrity.