Prior to the arrival of Jim Harbaugh, we had generally had a coach approval poll most every week of the year. With guys like Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary running things, there was no concern about one-sided responses...well, until things went in the tank with each of them.
When Jim Harbaugh took over and then put together a strong first season, ratings were high. Although there have been some downs mixed in with a lot of ups, fan confidence in Jim Harbaugh is pretty damn high. There are definitely areas for improvement, with clock management being a significant one.
In reality, clock management is not something that can automatically hang on one person. Blame can be spread around from QB Alex Smith to the coaching staff. Since it's a little more difficult rating the coordinators, you can also consider this a sort of overall coaching staff approval rating. I realize that might change your votes to some extent, but this is a fairly unscientific poll, so I think we can live with that.
In a good bit of timing, Sporting News put together a midseason poll of 103 players from 27 teams to assess the most overrated and underrated coaches. It is interesting to note that Jim Harbaugh received four votes for most underrated and three votes for most overrated.
I could see arguments on both sides of this situation, although I would give more weight to the underrated arguments (SHOCKER!). The argument for overrated is that he came to a roster that was already incredibly talented, and simply undercoached. Being overrated would not mean he is a bad coach, but it would simply mean that he was dealt a great hand. In this regard, I have to think he poured over the 49ers roster before accepting the job, and noted the talent on board.
The underrated argument is more just how much he has done with a roster that struggled under previous coaches. There were changes to the personnel, but the coaching staff change would appear to be playing a critical role in the drastic improvement in such a short period of time. I would lean more towards this argument, but I can see why people would make the former argument.
Through eight games, the 49ers sit at 6-2 and are in solid shape heading into the second half of the season. We are seeing better execution, while at the same time seeing question marks here and there in game-planning. I would not give Jim Harbaugh a 10 just because as he says, you are either getting better or worse every day, and I like to think he is getting better.
I would give him an 8 at this point. He is a great coach, but there sometime seem to be areas where he is stubborn in his approach. The team was having success running the ball against the Vikings and Giants, but seemed to go away from that approach. There are potentially reasons for that which I will never know. I can only base my assessment on what I have seen, what I know and what I feel comfortable inferring. Accordingly, Coach Harbaugh gets an 8. Great work with room for improvement.
Give us your number in the poll below, and tell us why you voted the way you did.