After a 2-14 season the 49ers will start anew once again
THE SANTA CLARA
January 11, 2017
The San Francisco 49ers are taking a step back to regroup after the team’s dismal season.
The organization fired the head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke in a move that shocked no one.
Kelly, who previously coached college ball before getting run out of town in Philadelphia, was San Francisco’s third coach in three years.
The revolving door at the head coach position signals dysfunction, but the 49ers did right in firing Chip. Kelly proved he wasn’t worthy of the job after a 2-14 season, and Jed York had to pull the plug instead of compounding his mistake by giving Chip another shot.
It’s fair to say the 49ers have hit rock bottom. Their ascension back to prominence begins with bringing in the right coach and general manager. That’s easier said than done, and there’s nothing that Jed York has done in recent years to inspire confidence.
York’s decision to fire Jim Harbaugh is unforgivable, especially when you try and replace him with the likes of Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly.
The Red and Gold need a bright young coach to turn around the franchise, such as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels or Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
But don’t expect the 49ers to land a premier candidate.
If you’re Josh McDaniels, would you want to keep winning Super Bowls with Belichick and Brady or work for an extremely impatient owner in Jed York who expects wins despite a serious flawed roster? Do you think Kyle Shanahan will choose the Broncos and their Super Bowl caliber defense or try to fix the worst defense in the NFL?
Regardless of who the 49ers bring in, they must have some patience. There are a slew of problems on this roster and it’ll take a while for the new leadership to implement their culture and philosophies that will ultimately return this team to relevance.
“There’s got to be more accountability in the meeting rooms and on the field,” said offensive tackle Joe Staley. “We’ve got to move forward, and we know that things have got to change around here.”
It starts with a new man under center, as neither Colin Kaepernick nor Blaine Gabbert resembled a franchise quarterback last year.
Kaepernick received plenty of media attention for his national anthem protest, but his performance on the field was barely worth discussing. Sure, he was better than Gabbert, but it would’ve been hard to be worse.
It’s one thing to criticize Kaepernick, but one man cannot be the sole reason for a team’s implosion.
The offensive line offered little protection and other than running back Carlos Hyde, there were no impact players in the skill positions.
As dreadful as the 49ers offense was, their defense was somehow worse. By nearly every metric San Francisco has the worst defense in the league. They allowed 30 points per game and gave up more yards than any other defense.
The best way to build is through the draft and San Francisco is poised to replenish their roster with the number two pick.
It’s tempting to take a quarterback with that pick, and many 49ers fans will want Clemson QB Deshaun Watson after his stellar performance in the National Championship game. But San Francisco’s roster is full of holes, and the 49ers should take the best player available, not the most popular.
There’s no rule stating that the franchise quarterback has to be a first round pick. Derek Carr was drafted in the second round, Russell Wilson was in the third and Tom Brady had to watch 198 players get their name called before he was selected in the sixth round. The point is the 49ers can find their franchise QB later in the draft.
There’s no way to sugar coat it—the 49ers 2016 season was a dumpster fire. But at least the ownership realized that and decided to start anew.
The 49ers won’t win many games next year, nor the year after that. But at this point it’s not about wins and losses. It’s about progress, and with a new coach, quarterback and a few promising draft classes, the 49ers will finally return to the path towards a championship.
Contact Claire McLoughlin at email@example.com or call
Articles in the Sports section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.