Marshall Faulk is back, and I am fairly certain he is trolling us with this final GMC question. The angle behind this series has been being "Professional Grade". With this final question, Marshall is asking us if the team had a Professional Grade season, and if not, what will it take to get there next year.
We can point to so many different issues when determining why the San Francisco 49ers did not have a professional grade season in 2014. The biggest on-field issues include the injuries, the lack of a deep threat wide receiver, and questionable play-calling at times. It is safe to say the offense was not remotely "Professional Grade" this season.
But one area where we can focus on the "professional" is in the way the Jim Harbaugh situation has played itself out. Assuming Harbaugh does in fact depart, it will have come amidst several months of rumors and speculation via anonymous sources. There is talk of players in the locker room, but there has also been plenty of speculation that Jed York and the front office have been behind some of these leaks. Oh, and let's not forget the rumors that seem to be coming from some members of the Harbaugh camp (be it family, David Dunn, whomever).
We'll never know for certain who is leaking what, which makes this whole situation all the more difficult to figure out. Nonetheless, the 49ers have been leaking like a sieve this year, and that is completely unprofessional. If the leaks are meant to provide some cover when the 49ers eventually do part ways with Jim Harbaugh, that's embarrassing and childish. Even without being in the building, we can say Jim Harbaugh is a difficult man to work with at times. We've seen plenty of on the record reports that clarify this. However, this season has just involved leak after leak on so many different aspects of the story. Whether it be the front office painting Harbaugh in a negative light, or somebody in Harbaugh's camp leaking information about the Raiders, Michigan or wherever, the whole thing has been disastrous to the 49ers season.
The 49ers can find plenty of ways to improve their offense. They can potentially find a deep threat, they can get healthier, and they can find better game plans. It's not as simple as getting it done, but there are tangible things to improve. However, when it comes to the leaks, there is not quite as tangible an option. Even if the 49ers find a coach they like and can get along with, what's to stop them from leaking crap again down the road when they decide it's time for a change?
And really that has been the biggest problem I have had with this season. Plenty will get pissed at Greg Roman, or Colin Kaepernick, or the injuries or whatever. But at times this season it has felt like there is a bigger organizational problem. Until they get things on track in that regard, the whole situation feels like it will remain wobbly to some degree. I think the 49ers can find ways to win in spite of that, but as we saw this season, it is easy for everything to go off the rails in a hurry. You can add offensive weapons, adjust the game plan, and otherwise figure out ways to improve the offense. Fixing broader organizational issues is a little bit more complicated.