Advice for Jed York: Make Mike Holmgren 49ers GM

Andy BenschSenior Writer IDecember 13, 2009

The San Francisco 49ers finally have a head coach, finally have a capable quarterback, and finally have defensive stars to build around.

First off, the head coaching spot has been solidified by Mike Singletary. While his game-management isn't quite where it needs to be, his intimidating presence and willingness to alter the team philosophy due to player personnel are positive signs moving forward.

Unlike any other coach in the league, Singletary has an innate ability to get the very best out of his players. As the 49er coach learns on the job, the game-managing will improve and the true mentality of his team will develop.

Secondly, as much as I have criticized one Alex Smith over the years (even blaming him on my facebook for last week's loss), the former No. 1 pick seems to have hit a comfort zone.

In six-and-a-half games this season, Smith has thrown for 1,577 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Just to put those numbers in perspective, the 49er quarterback would put up 3,880 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions for a full season at his current pace.

The 49ers may not be winning as of late, but the offensive line has been below average at best and the defense hasn't been able to stop the pass all season. That being the case, it is extremely difficult to blame the quarterback for the overall record.

Now while the defense needs an improved pass rush and secondary help, middle linebacker Patrick Willis is already a perennial Pro Bowler in just his third season. Combined with defensive-end Justin Smith, up and coming free safety Dashon Goldson, and corner back Nate Clements, San Francisco has some play makers on defense.

The 49ers may be ranked amongst the bottom of the league in defending the pass, but they are only a couple of tweaks away from having a playoff caliber defense.

But despite having all these parts of a successful football team, why are the 49ers still stuck in mediocrity?

While San Francisco has the integral parts of a championship caliber football team, they are missing the right man to steer the ship. They are missing a true captain. GM Scot McCloughan is not the man for that job.

Although he has only been officially the GM for less than two years, McCloughan has been vice president of player personnel since 2005.

While the 49ers have drafted Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis, and Michael Crabtree in that time frame, the overall drafts over that span have not produced any depth.

Especially considering drafting Davis, Willis, and Crabtree were essentially no-brainers, it boils down to rounds two through seven not producing enough talent on the field.

Remember two years ago when the 49ers drafted Kentwan Balmer and Chilo Rachal with their first two picks when they could have drafted Philadelphia's star wide-out DeSean Jackson?

What in the world was McCloughan thinking? Kentwan Balmer? Seriously? San Francisco was desperate for play-maker and with Bay Area fans familiar with Jackson's talents while playing at Berkley, it was only a perfect match.

With a late first round pick, the 49ers had a chance to nab the dynamic star. Instead they passed up on him and selected Balmer, a defensive-end from North Carolina. But no need to worry, the 49ers could still draft Jackson with their second round pick.

Except they drafted an offensive guard instead. 

It is simply inexcusable to pass up on such an obvious talent two different times in the same draft. 

Can I guarantee that Mike Holmgren would have drafted Jackson had he been 49er GM at the time? No, it would be impossible to make that claim.

But Holmgren is a football mind, he knows how to evaluate talent, and assess his team's needs. He turned Matt Hasselbeck into a championship caliber quarterback he is today. Holmgren groomed the current Seahawks quarterback as a backup to Brett Favre and then when Holmgren took over in Seattle he brought Hasselbeck with him.

Simply said, Holmgren knows talent and knows how to run a successful franchise.

Who is Scot McCloughan exactly? Apparently he is a former minor league baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

While McCloughan was playing minor league ball, Holmgren was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, where he eventually won a Super Bowl in 1996.

But before Holmgren was a head coach with the Packers, he was part of the late Bill Walsh's coaching tree which also features fellow Super Bowl winning coaches like Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden.

From 1986-88 Holmgren served as San Francisco's quarterbacks coach before taking over as offensive coordinator for the following three seasons. During the six years as an assistant with the 49ers, Holmgren was apart of two Super Bowl champion teams and helped develop two hall of fame quarterbacks in Joe Montana and Steve Young.

Holmgren has been coaching football for nearly 40 years before stepping down as coach of the Seahawks after last season.

Familiar to both 49er fans and the entire NFL, Holmgren is a prominent figure in football, and bringing him back to the franchise where he began his NFL coaching career could be the finishing touches on an amazing career.

The 49ers need a face, they need a leader. Granted Scot McCloughan isn't the worst talent evaluator, but he is simply a name.

San Francisco need more than a name, they need a proven football figure who can get the job done.

Not only would Holmgren make smart moves through the draft and free-agency, but he will also help Singletary improve as a coach and help Alex Smith develop at quarterback.

It would only be fitting if one of the key figures from the 49er glory days helped return the franchise to that prominence.

Holmgren has been confirmed to want back in the NFL, and hopefully Jed York will realize the best place for him is where it all began.