Monday afternoon, Tim Kawakami posted an article talking about how the 49ers might already be lining up Jim Tomsula as the next scapegoat for the team's ugly season. TK has written frequently this season about how the scapegoating works, and listed out seven potential scapegoats earlier this month.
I bring this up because there is some confusion about one of the underlying premises in TK's article. He talked about Tomsula as a potential scapegoat, and said that if it were to happen, it would be through leaks to the national media. He then says, we can already see that happening due to a report on Sunday:
How it started: Fox's Jay Glazer, who passed along a few key Harbaugh tid-bits last year, is very credible and is tied into 49ers management, Sunday morning reported that the 49ers might not dump Kaepernick in the offseason because... wait for it...
They might fire Tomsula, Glazer said, and replace him with an offensive-minded coach who likes Kaepernick.
That's pretty specific. That has all the Jed York Scapegoat elements I've always been able to identify-the 49ers are in a bad situation, 49ers management is frantic, is talking to national reporters, and needs to blame somebody.
Glazer did talk about Colin Kaepernick and Jim Tomsula, but it was not quite as specific as TK seems to understand it. You can watch Glazer's video here, and here is the transcript of his comments when asked about Kaepernick's future with the 49ers:
The big "if" is who the coaching staff is going to be. And I said that, IF Jim Tomsula is the coach there, obviously something's got to change. But if there's somebody else that comes in, maybe they fall in love with Colin Kaepernick, maybe they don't. It's kind of like last year with the Chicago Bears, where we all assumed Jay Cutler and his contract were going to be released. That wasn't the case. John Fox came in and said "these guys don't grow on trees" and kept him. Same thing. The operative, the big date here though is April 1. On that day, if Colin Kaepernick is a 49er, $11.9 million gets guaranteed of his salary.
After that report, Kawakami tweeted this:
Did I hear @JayGlazer make the first national suggestion that the 49ers are considering the firing of Jim Tomsula at the end of the season?— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 22, 2015
That was followed by Jay Glazer tweeting this:
Nope, I said IF that ends up happening. Doesn't mean it's already been discussed but you know this (cont) https://t.co/XciaW2KQLo— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) November 22, 2015
I can see why Kawakami might interpret Glazer's report as he did, but let's take into account what we know about Glazer. When he is reporting on a scoop, he is very specific with his information. One possibility is that he was told Tomsula being out is a possibility, but that he couldn't specifically discuss that in his report, and so his comments were an out. The other possibility is that it is pretty obvious the 49ers are not a good team, even coming off the win over Atlanta, and it is not difficult to put two and two together that Tomsula could be out.
On the other hand, one does have to wonder what led to the Kaepernick side of this report in the first place. He did not say something like "I'm hearing" or "sources tell me", which seems to be how he usually approaches his scoops. It is sufficiently vague that I don't know exactly what we can take out of it. But it does not seem to provide quite the clear information that we might otherwise assume.
As for the Kaepernick portion of that report? I suppose anything is possible, but it is hard to see this working out in the end. I can't imagine he is pleased with how a lot of this has been handled, at least publicly. And coming off the benching, will the team be willing to pay him $11.9 million even if they want him back next season? It could lead to a sizable confrontation as the April 1 deadline approaches.
It is also worth noting that Jay Glazer is not the first person to report on Tomsula's job security. Jason Cole discussed it last week, suggesting his job was safe so long as the 49ers remained competitive. They were competitive for a while against Seattle, and then seemed to take the foot off the gas in several instances in the third and fourth quarter. If that is what the 49ers office considers remaining competitive, we're in for a looooooong rebuilding process.