SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Memo to San Francisco 49ers’ CEO Jed York: Fire everyone.
You can fire them now, or you can fire them at the end of the season—doesn’t matter. After losing 20-3 to the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night, your season is over. Your team’s record is 2-5. Nothing more for you to see or evaluate.
You can start by firing quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He played scared against the Seahawks, like he always does. Seattle owns him and he knows it. The 27-year-old quarterback came into Thursday night’s game with a career passer rating of 53.7 against Seattle.
Thursday, he posted a passer rating of 68.8 and seemed terrified of throwing an interception or making a mistake. So, on 3rd-and-2 from the Seahawks' 17-yard line late in the third quarter, Niners down 17-0, Kaepernick threw a ground ball to Anquan Boldin.
That was the game. The 49ers had one last shot to make a run at the Seahawks, a team that specializes in choking away second-half leads, and Kaepernick didn’t even give Boldin a chance to catch the ball. Kaepernick conceded the loss instead of going for the win and risking embarrassment by throwing a pick.
Fire him. Get a quarterback with guts, someone who can play well against your primary division rival some of the time. Maybe you can trade for Alex Smith.
After you fire Kaepernick, fire your head coach Jim Tomsula and his entire coaching staff, starting with the coordinators, Geep Chryst and Eric Mangini.
Mangini is a former defensive backs coach—the secondary is his specialty. The Niners' secondary couldn’t cover anyone Thursday night. Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson seemed to find a wide-open receiver every other play.
Wilson threw two picks right to 49ers cornerbacks. Other than those plays, he was almost perfect. He completed 75 percent of his passes and averaged 9.8 yards per pass attempt.
Mangini had no adjustment. Fire him.
Chryst was even worse than Mangini. The Niners offense scored three points Thursday night—it was the third time this season San Francisco has scored seven or fewer.
Chryst opened the game with Kaepernick in the shotgun, even though he’d had success the past two games under center. Brilliant.
Not once did Chryst attack cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman played man coverage most of the game with no safety help behind him. Seattle conceded Sherman’s deep third of the field. Chryst didn’t attack it.
Sherman was covering Torrey Smith. Chryst could have made Smith run a post route, and Sherman would have followed him to the middle of the field.
Then, Chryst could have brought a receiver from the opposite side of the formation across the field on a deep crossing route into the void left by Sherman. The receiver probably would have been open.
Chryst didn’t do this, or anything particularly clever. Fire him.
You’re not done yet, Jed. The entire team came out flat, and that’s on the head coach. The players looked like they didn’t even practice this week. Maybe Tomsula gave them the week off, because he cares about them and appreciates how hard they work.
Tomsula is such a caring coach, he let the Niners take the end of the fourth quarter off Thursday night. San Francisco punted twice with fewer than five minutes remaining in the game. Tomsula probably wished it would end early.
Then, you can fire your general manager, Trent Baalke. He hired this coaching staff, and he drafted these players. If Baalke had drafted better, the Niners wouldn’t be this awful.
Look at the list of busts Baalke drafted in the first three rounds the past four drafts: wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, running back LaMichael James, defensive end Tank Carradine, tight end Vance McDonald, outside linebacker Corey Lemonier, center Marcus Martin and guard Brandon Thomas. That’s seven busts.
Then there are Baalke’s free-agent busts, like running back Reggie Bush, who is earning $2.5 million from the Niners this season. He touched the ball only seven times against the Seahawks. He seems interested in earning money, not playing football. Good investment.
The 49ers have to hire a new coaching staff and draft a new quarterback next year. Do you trust Baalke to do either of those things?
Here’s the rub, though. If you fire Baalke, you’d have to replace him by hiring someone else. Do you trust yourself to make that hire, Jed?
How could you? You’re the guy who kept Baalke and parted ways with superstar head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Go ahead and fire yourself, too.