I'm not entirely sure what I expected out of the San Francisco 49ers this offseason. Obviously, we all knew that Jim Harbaugh was on his way out, but beyond that, we really had no idea what approach the 49ers would take with building the coaching staff. To this point, it's looking an awful lot like they're trying to bring in a lot of, for lack of a better phrase, "yes men."
That's speculation on my part, and it should be noted that I'm a big fan of Jim Tomsula and believe he has what it takes to be a head coach in the NFL. I think when that season gets underway, if Tomsula can do his thing, then the 49ers will be in good shape. On the other hand, I have no idea if he'll be allowed to do his thing or what his thing even is at this point.
I don't know if Eric Mangini will coach his defense, or Tomsula's defense, or Jason Tarver's defense ... or Trent Baalke's defense. I'm not sure if the 49ers haven't hired an offensive coordinator because they already have someone in mind, nobody wants the job or if they're trying to find someone who will do what Baalke wants. I was already a pessimist, but I didn't count myself a true cynic until Jed York's post-Harbaugh press conference.
One thing about the coaching search that's interested me, aside from the odd fact that the 49ers are building from the bottom up and not vice versa (a rarity these days), is the experience of the guys brought in. All the 49ers have said, to this point, is that they're after synergy, but I recall Baalke saying something about not wanting too many guys with a ton of experience, because those guys are looking at turning each opportunity into another shot at being a head coach.
I don't know who would give Mangini another chance at being a head coach, but it's still pertinent. Sparano is still well-respected (and maybe should have had an opportunity to stick around with the Oakland Raiders) and then the reported top candidates for offensive coordinator -- Rob Chudzinski and Lane Kiffin -- also want to be NFL head coaches again.
If the 49ers have the kind of success they want to have, any one of those guys would earn another shot at leading a team in the near future. But one thing I've been wondering is whether or not the 49ers have another reason for bringing these guys in.
During his press conference after Harbaugh's departure, York made it clear that the next 49ers coach will be expected to win right away. Any owner should expect that out of his team and his coaches, but York took it a step further and suggested that things would need to change if the 49ers didn't win the Super Bowl. I don't know that the statement specifically suggests that Tomsula would lose his job in the event that he doesn't lead the 49ers to the big dance, but what if he performs particularly poorly?
Mangini, Sparano, Chudzinski and Kiffin all seem like guys the 49ers might want to have in place in the event that they let Tomsula go over the course of the regular season. If you'd asked me a couple months ago if I thought this was a likely possibility, I'd say there's no way and defend York. After that press conference though, I have absolutely no idea.
So what do you guys think? Are these guys here because they'd be good insurance in the event that Tomsula doesn't find quick success with the 49ers? Could we be looking at one of those guys leading the team in the interim sooner rather than later?