I won't say the 49ers press conference was anti-climactic, as much as it was relatively predictable. Jim Hostler was canned (I'm sorry "let go"), Mike Nolan gets another year on the job (or at least a few games barring a big losing streak) and Scot McCloughan is the official general manager. Nothing too stunning.
The best one can do is try and read between the lines. Mike Nolan was allowed to make an attempt to save face at the press conference, or at least he, McCloughan and York all made it seem as though promoting McCloughan to GM and keeping Nolan around were completely unrelated. We all know this is really not the case. At the same time, Nolan seemed to be in good spirits for a man who was professionally neutered. I do believe him when he says he and McCloughan work well together and will be able to continue working together. No matter what the relationship is between a GM and a coach, input is necessary from BOTH parties when it comes to the on-field product. I think this change in their relationship basically means tie goes to McCloughan.
Will this make a difference next year? Well I do think this is more than just a cosmetic change. However, I'm not sure yet what kind of effect this will have on Mike Nolan's in-game management. We all recognize this is an area where he really needs to improve. The use of Madden was mentioned, and while it may have been somewhat of a joke, it's sad to think that this could help Nolan become a better game manager. He has yet to show improvement in the area of timeout usage, personnel on the field and 4th down decisions. While I like to think I know plenty about football, this is one area I can't figure out. Maybe spending less time dealing with free agency and the draft and so forth will allow him to become a better game manager. Then again, maybe not. Some guys just aren't good situational coaches.
There was some discussion about the next offensive coordinator, but not much. Both Nolan and McCloughan stated this was Nolan's decision to make, although McCloughan did say he'd provide his own input if asked. There is no timetable for hiring an OC, and all Nolan said was that he wanted somebody with NFL experience. So I guess college OCs with no NFL coaching experience are out. I've got a little something I'll be posting later this evening to carry over into tomorrow opening up the OC discussion. I'll be looking at it from a more general view, but we'll get to that in a bit.
In the meantime, I'm curious what you guys think about this shift in power with the 49ers. Will it make a damn bit of difference, especially since it does not involve bringing in new blood? We're dealing with the same people, just shifted around a little bit. Has the front office simply pulled a little 3-card monte on us?