It's been quite the week for the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff. There has been plenty of discussion about execution, with Jim Tomsula and Geep Chryst getting a bit more defensive as things have gone worse. If things continue down this road, I can't imagine it changing a whole lot.
On Friday, Jim Tomsula met with the media to wrap up the 49ers preparations for their Week 15 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. A day earlier, offensive coordinator Geep Chryst was a bit defensive in explaining away some of the problems with the 49ers offense. Tomsula was asked about Chryst's comments, particularly those specific to injuries. Tomsula had this to say:
"I want to answer that question, but I want to say this: there's a long list of excuse we can grab and we can make those reasons and we can validate. I could do all those things and I'm not going to and we're not going to. We've had struggles on offense. We've seen some things improve on offense. We've seen individuals improve. Not consistent enough. Too much up and down. We've got to just keep that going up. But, in terms of the roster, every team in the NFL has players in and out of the lineup every week. So, we have to overcome those and we have to perform on Sunday."
That was followed up with a question about how he would evaluate the job Chryst has done this season:
"I think Geep does a nice job. I think Geep does a good job. Again, just talking today, we were talking about [QB] Blaine [Gabbert]. People talk about, I don't know that you all were surprised that Blaine has come out and done some good things and the way he's handled himself on game day. But, you've seen him in practice. You've seen him since he's been here. But, I think people outside of our hub, from what I understand, were surprised at what Blaine's doing and the way he's progressing. So, we were talking about that with he and Geep and the way they worked last year and then the way Blaine's working with [quarterbacks coach Steve] Logan and Geep this year. There's some really good things going on there. So, we've got to continue to improve. None of us have done a good enough job or the left hand column would have a higher number than it does."
There were plenty of snarky reactions to the idea that Geep has done a "nice" or "good" thus far. Tomsula was not going to throw his offensive coordinator entirely under the bus, and say he has been awful. But he also could not say Chryst has done a great job, given how poorly the offense has performed. And so, we get this kind of comment. Injuries and execution are both partially to blame for the offensive woes, but play-calling has been a big problem as well. Some of the play designs have left a lot to be desired.
The watch is now on for how long Chryst survives with the team. With only three games left, a firing the remainder of the regular season would strike me as a fairly pointless gesture. A new coordinator would have a week or two to work with the offense, and you're not going to be able to assess the coordinator all that much before making a decision on the next full-time coordinator. And so, I don't think we see Chryst canned between now and Week 17. After the season is another question entirely. I don't see how they can justify bringing him back next season. I don't know who they would hire or promote from within, but I have a hunch there will be an OC watch come January.