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Former GM looks at four key mistakes that led to 49ers downfall

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The San Francisco 49ers fall from nearly the top of the mountain (sorry, Alex Boone), was quick and ugly. The team went from NFC title contenders to also-rans in short order, due to a variety of reasons. It started with injury issues and the incessant Jim Harbaugh chatter. It continued with retirements, free agency defections, and the decision to promote Jim Tomsula into the head coaching role. It has been two down years, the second uglier than the first, and it is fairly easy to figure out what caused a lot of this.

Former Minnesota Vikings general manager and Tennessee Titans president Jeff Diamond decided to put together a look at four key reasons for the 49ers downfall. Diamond was NFL Executive of the Year in 1999, helping guide the Titans to a Super Bowl appearance, a year after his Vikings won a team record 15 games.

Diamond’s list of four mistakes hit on some obvious stuff, but I figured it was worth pointing out the article on a slow Tuesday afternoon.

Mistake 1: “Allowing the team to get old and losing great players to retirement ... and free agency ... without having solid young players in the pipeline ready to step up.”

Mistake 2: "Letting an elite coach in Harbaugh get in a distracting battle of wills with Baalke and losing him to Michigan.”

Mistake 3: Hiring Jim Tomsula.

Mistake 4: Mismanaging the quarterback position.

The article it self is basically a re-hash of the usual talking points. I do wonder how other GMs view the Trent Baalke/Jim Harbaugh/Jed York situation. Some of that would depend on how they view Baalke specifically. He seems to have a gruff personality, but I don't recall seeing much on how other general managers and personnel folks around the league view Baalke. They’re obviously willing to trade with him, but that’s not exactly a huge revelation. A relationship would have to be pretty broken down to not do trades, particularly on draft day, and even then, there are deputies who could help make things work.

We've heard Baalke reportedly has a good working relationship with John Elway, but I have not heard much else. I’d be curious how many GMs saw the power struggle and without necessarily knowing the full facts were on the Baalke/York side. I imagine owners would side with York in a power struggle against a big personality coach. That would seemingly come with the turf of being in charge. It’s not a particularly big issue, but it's something I’ve thought about as we’ve moved further and further past the Harbaugh debacle.