I know that we have plenty of threads to discuss the last two weeks of nightmares that are the Niners 2011 offseason thus far. The problem is, I didn't want this to be overlooked amongst all the mess that are our daily thousand comment threads filled with nothing but spam.
I know that there are some who don't particularly enjoy this hire, or promotion, but maybe we're getting ahead of our selves. Before I get into it, I want to direct you to the article below. It's written by a guy that probably catches quite a bit of flack, Michael Silver of Yahoo sports, because he can come off as cocky and arrogant and sometimes a prick. But keep in mind that this was a guy who was in love with the McCloughan promotion and talked him up quite a bit. I've also grown to respect his articles a bit more than when he first appeared over at that Yahoo place, and he gives a nice review of how hiring Baalke might not be as bad as we think it is. More after the jump....
For those who can't stand reading an article from Silver, I'll briefly highlight what he discusses. Generally he gives a history of how he came into the ranks of scouting and what did once he received his first job and how he progressed. Turns out he was chosen by then Jets' Personnel Director Dick Haley, father of current KC Chiefs coach Todd, in 1998 to be interviewed as a scout for the Parcell's coached team.
“That’s been my dad’s thing forever: There are so many non-football guys making football decisions now, and they’re not going to be good ones generally,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said of his father, Dick, the executive who gave Baalke his break back in ’98. “I think it’s important that these guys who’ve been out on the road, scouting, grinding away, are the ones who are put in those positions.”
There is also a reference to Baalke taking a similar path to that of Thomas Dimitroff, former Patriots personnel guy and current Falcons GM. Also an interesting tidbit about Dimitroff, he was hired after a video conference with Arthur Blank and no formal interview.
“Trent Baalke is a football guy through and through, with a very good understanding of the game and a very sound evaluation process,” said Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. “And he’s driven – he has a tireless work ethic. He’ll do everything in his power to help restore that organization to prominence.”
How's that for an endorsement? Did I mention that Dimitroff was named Executive of the Year in his first year on the job? He also brought in a relatively unheralded head coach which led them in their third year together to the #1 seed in the NFC. This is encouraging for us as Jim Harbaugh currently seems to be slipping out of our grasp. Perhaps we can take a similar path if we fail to land Harbaugh?
And just for kicks, I'll throw in some quotes from Baalke......
“College scouts don’t get a lot of notoriety ‘cause they’re out of sight, out of mind,” he says. “In my humble opinion, there’s not enough respect given to the job they do. But what’s the foundation of the business? Scouting. It’s the road scout – the guy who’s getting up early, staying up late, staying in crappy motels, eating lousy food."
“You go to bed thinking about what you’re evaluating and you wake up thinking about what grades you’re going to give. It’s a lonely existence on the road. To be good, you have to be organized and detail-oriented; you have to develop intimate-type relationships with key people at universities, people that’ll tell you the truth. You can never assume you’ve got all the information you need. You’re always searching until the final pick on draft day. Your quest for information never ends.”
“People ask me, ‘What makes you prepared?’ ” Baalke said. “One of the things you look at that’s important, whether you’re hiring coaches or front-office people, is have they gone through all the steps? Have they started at the bottom and worked their way up? Now if you got someone who fits that profile, it’s not definitely going to work, but it’s a proven model for success."
“I haven’t missed any of the steps. And that’s one reason I feel very prepared for this opportunity.”
So as I said, with Harbaugh likely slipping away, and one of those un-sexy hires becoming more likely, how do you feel about this when looking at it objectively?