The San Francisco 49ers head into Seattle with a 3-6 record, but are coming off a nice win over the Atlanta Falcons. They wrapped up their bye last week, and now head into the final seven games of their schedule. The 49ers could find some success over the final seven games, but more losses will lead to further speculation about the status of head coach Jim Tomsula.
Bleacher Report NFL reporter Jason Cole had a report on Wednesday regarding Tomsula buzz via an unnamed source within the 49ers. I've transcribed Cole's entire report below, but essentially, Cole's source said Tomsula's job is safe so long as the 49ers remain competitive in their games. That's certainly a far cry from "We only raise Super Bowl banners", but given that this team is in fact in a rebuild and not a reload, it is logical. Here is what Cole said in his report:
Coach Jim Tomsula is by and large safe at this point in time to come back as the head coach for next season. But it is conditional at this point in time. And basically, if this team continues to be competitive, as it has been over the past four games, it's won two of its past four to kind of right the ship, then everything is going to be OK for Tomsula, and he should remain as the coach next season. However, if the team nosedives, and this is a team that has lost five out of six games by two touchdowns or more. If that trend starts again, and this team gets blown out in game after game in the second half of the season, starting with Seattle this weekend, and continuing with Arizona in the following me, then Tomsula could be in very serious trouble. Basically what the source said is you will know, one way or another, based on the results, whether Tomsula is gonna be the coach next year or not, based on what happens in the second half.
He talks about being competitive "as it has been over the past four games". They beat the Falcons and Ravens, but struggled against the Seahawks and Rams. In those two losses, the defense did good work, but the offense was a train wreck. They now head into Seattle with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. He looked decent against the Falcons, but faces a stronger pass rush when he faces the Seahawks.
And really, what does "competitive" actually mean in this context? Does a strong effort by the defense cover that if the offense struggles? Is it just a matter of keeping the score close for at least part of the game?
It would be fascinating to know who leaked this information to Cole. I am a bit skeptical when it comes to some of Cole's reports, but as I've said before, I don't think he is making this up out of thin air. Maybe it's Paraag or Jed. Maybe it's somebody else. Whatever the case, somebody has a reason for leaking this kind of stuff out.