49ers Head Coach & GM Decision: The Impact On Player Philosophy

The front page discussion this past week here at Niners Nation has focused primarily on the 49ers search for a new general manager and eventually a new coach. That has been interrupted at times by some bowl chat, including last night's epic Orange Bowl thread (well-played everybody!). However, I wanted to take a slightly different angle on the GM/coach discussion. There are probably limitless angles to consider, but this is one I have thought of only over the last day or two, and I think it has to do with the season coming to an end.

One of the series of posts I enjoy writing as much as any is offseason 53-man roster projections. I like sorting through the roster like a puzzle and plugging players into different roles. That often leads to individualized posts about the given role of a particular player heading into the upcoming season. That leads to posts projecting positions and looking at the potential impact of a single player.

I bring all this up because the 49ers coach and GM search will turn a lot of our preconceived notions about the current batch of 49ers on their collective ears. Whether it's an offensive-minded coach like Jim Harbaugh or Marty Mornhinweg, or a defensive mind like Jeff Fisher, various players will find themselves in new roles next fall. The example that has come to mind most frequently is a guy like Josh Morgan. Under the McNolanSing regime Morgan was brought in to be the number two wide receiver. He showed a lot of skills his first preseason but has been somewhat inconsistent since then. He had an OK finish to 2010, but where will he stand with a new coaching staff and new GM?

Even after the upcoming draft, what will we really know heading into training camp about Morgan's fit with the team? He's signed through the 2011 season and there has been some mention by the media that he might be a candidate for a contract extension. Is that the case with a new coach and GM? I suppose if Trent Baalke is the guy who gets the job maybe that doesn't change quite as much. However, the new coach's 53-man roster decisions will affect a guy like Morgan.

I'm not writing this in the way Lowell Cohn bagged on the team's talent under a new coach. Whether he's right or wrong, we're talking about the players that are currently in place. How will the new coach look at a guy like Chilo Rachal or Ahmad Brooks or the host of bodies in the secondary?

None of this changes the 49ers need for change, but it is one issue that is not discussed nearly as much as one might expect. Any thoughts on this aspect of having a new coach and somebody finally in the official GM position? I suppose for now all it means is that my projections over the summer on some of these players might have even less credibility than otherwise planned!

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