The San Francisco 49ers have some holes left to fill in their coaching staff, but they have filled many of the major roles. They lack a defensive line coach and defensive backs coach, as well as a variety of periphery assistants, but otherwise they have filled plenty of roles.
The team has been connected with a variety of names the last two weeks, but many of these outside names ended up returning to their old job, or deciding on a new job. Some will view this as the 49ers doing due diligence, and things just shaking out the way they are going to shake out. It remains to be seen what the specific plan was for the 49ers, but the process has resulted in the team landing some fairly experienced assistants. The team has ex-coordinators and head coaches getting position coach-level responsibility. A glass half full type can certainly take some positives from that.
On the other hand, there is the perception that the 49ers ended up with a coaching staff loaded with guys who did not have many other options. We cannot say for certain that there were no other options for many of these guys. However, when a coach was mentioned in connection with the 49ers along with other jobs, he generally seemed to take one of those other jobs. You can point to specific reasons why the person took the other job, but it still happened over and over again.
The question some are asking now is why this was the case. Was it a matter of people not wanting to work for the Yorks? Was it a matter of not wanting to deal with the tumult we have seen in Santa Clara? Or was it something else?
Cam Inman reported on Wednesday that one source suggested coaches were wary because they viewed Jim Tomsula's situation as potentially a one-and-done scenario.
One league source indicated that many such coaches feared the 49ers staff will undergo another overhaul next year if Jim Tomsula flops in his first year as head coach.
Given the turnover in the coaching staff, I don't think it is entirely unreasonable for an outside coach to be a bit wary. If they join Tomsula and quickly see him fired, they are left holding the bag, potentially fired as well. This whole thing very well could work out, but there is an appearance of instability, and I understand why a coach might want to wait for something better.
Another interesting angle is that of "the Yorks are cheap and it is driving away candidates." Jason Cole brought this up in suggesting that even before Tomsula was hired, the plan was to go cheaper with assistants. Even before that though, Bay Area Sports Guy came to that same conclusion. BASG pointed more specifically to Denise York as potentially why this might be the case:
They may believe that Tomsula is the next great NFL coaching star, but Denise Debartolo York is pocketing a lot of money with this coaching change. And that's where I'm hesitant to lay all of the blame for what's gone on in the past year on Jed. It's not his money. He may have control over how certain amounts of money get spent on various things, but it's not his team. He may have stake in the game and a loud voice, but the final say on all decisions based on money? Highly unlikely.
People are going to pick and choose what they believe. I think BASG has some ground for his conclusions, but I get that not everybody will agree with him. However, it is still something that can reasonably be on our radar. Steve Young brought up the issue of the negative 49ers perception at the moment during his KNBR segment.
Whatever you think of how this process has gone down, and however you think this will play out in the fall, there is a perception problem. The only way to move past that is to win some football games, so we are left to wait until September to see exactly how this whole thing shakes out. Of course, in the meantime, free agency is less than two months away. I have to say, I am kind of fascinated to see how free agency progresses given the coaching changes and given the perception some have of the franchise. We'll obviously have plenty more on this as free agency gets closer. It is not exactly the easiest thing to quantify, but it is something that can't really be ignored.