I don’t want this to devolve into a Smash Mouth roast, since their Twitter behavior seems to consist of a guy (or several) throwing whatever crap against the wall they can find in hopes of going viral. Their recent habit — posting photos as a tribute to recently-deceased celebrities, with their own band logo prominently slapped on as if Smash Mouth themselves sponsored the fatality — shows they’re willing to do and say anything to get attention.
Still, @smashmouth was the source of a pretty funny set of mini-rants and mini-arguments to follow this morning.
Jed: So, why should we keep you as GM of the 49ers?
Baalke: (slides phone across desk)
Jed: This is Smash Mouth’s twitter.
Trent: (nods) pic.twitter.com/tL1SfGFNID
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) December 29, 2016
This wasn’t the first time Smash Mouth went to bat for Trent Baalke. You might quibble with my rankings, but if you had to rank Baalke’s advocates in terms of loyalty and volume, the order would probably look something like this.
- Trent Dilfer
- Tim Ryan
- Smash Mouth
- Bob Fitzgerald
- Ted Robinson
Baalke’s standing with 49ers fans is another matter, as the team’s Chief Hoarder of Defensive Backs has gone from being thought of as a shifty, value-driven genius to the most hated non-ownership figure since Lawrence Phillips allowed Aeneas Williams to zoom past him on a blitz and render Steve Young unconscious.
The most likely scenarios to be announced when Jed York speaks with the media next week (and as Tim Kawakami points out, Jed only speaks after terminating an employee) are either (a) Baalke is fired and Chip Kelly stays or (b) Baalke and Kelly both get axed. It doesn’t really matter if that means the Yorks hire someone to oversee football operations who then hires a GM, or they hire/promote a new GM who’s willing to work with Kelly, or they find a new GM who gets to choose his own coach. As long as the Yorks fire Baalke, a large group of fans will be willing to give Jed and his parents the benefit of the doubt — at least through free agency and the draft, anyway.
But what if Jed’s loyalty to Baalke, and Baalke’s loyalty to the Yorks, results in what most fans would consider their ultimate nightmare:
This would certainly mean no more Kelly, because someone has to pay for what will probably be a 2-14 season, and Kelly has gone out of his way to subtly and overtly complain about roster quality. The Baalke/Kelly relationship is surely more cordial than Baalke/Harbaugh was at the end, but it’s probably fairly icy by this point considering the team’s performance and Kelly’s methods of explaining why they lose almost every week.
While keeping Baalke is the least likely scenario, at least as far as conventional wisdom tells us (Jay Glazer reporting that Kelly’s job is safe is still the leader in the clubhouse as far as 2016 San Francisco 49ers leaks go), it’s still possible that Baalke weasels his way through this.
Stop cursing my name for a minute and please, just bear with me as I ask a few questions.
— Other than very few penalties and no character issues (except for Bruce Miller, but he was selected by Baalke and Kelly probably didn’t want him on the roster anyway), what mark has Kelly made on this team (or the NFL as a whole)? Whose talents has he maximized on offense? Couldn’t Baalke concoct an argument that Kelly’s offense, plus his inability to lure a respected defensive coordinator, hampered Baalke’s prized pupils? (Granted, it’s a short list of pupils headlined by DeForest Buckner, who Baalke will probably use as his chief argument for staying … along with @smashmouth’s timeline, of course.)
— Isn’t it possible that Baalke has never gotten to hire his first choice? He wanted Bill Parcells before going out and getting Jim Harbaugh. The York family (including Denise) loved Jim Tomsula and probably still does. And hiring Kelly seemed to be Jed’s way of trying to follow in his uncle’s footsteps when he hired an “innovator” named Bill Walsh. Kelly definitely didn’t seem like a Baalke guy, just based on the latter’s draft priorities.
— The 49ers have nearly 20 guys on injured reserve this year, including 10 starters and several other “contributors.” They also had all of those departures after Harbaugh left — not only the infamous retirements, but free agents fleeing as well (which saved the Yorks a little money over the last two seasons). We all know how ridiculous it is to use those excuses to buoy Baalke’s standing as a general manager — particularly since his freaking job is to maintain depth to avoid getting crushed by injuries in an insanely violent league, and he’s done an exceedingly poor job of finding solutions at quarterback and wide receiver, two positions that are KINDA important in the NFL. But we know there are people who York respects (think the list above, perhaps without Smash Mouth but who knows) who believe it’s Kelly’s fault and not Baalke’s that the team is absolute trash.
If Baalke pulls off the unlikely feat of convincing Jed and his parents that he, and he alone, deserves one last chance to not only make the team’s earliest draft selection since Alex Smith, but hire his NUMBER ONE choice for head coach … hoo boy.
I’ve been asked by friends like KNBR 1050 host Ted Ramey if the 49ers have hit rock bottom several times this year (pretty sure I got the same question last year, too — we were so, so naive). My answer is no, the abyss could be never-ending. Because every time I think things can’t get any worse in Santa Clara, they lose to a team like the Bears. Or the Jets. And no matter how bad things get, no one seems to care.
I don’t think Baalke is going to last through next week (I’ve been predicting a promotion for Tom Gamble for months). But these are the Yorks! So anything is possible, including Jed naming Paraag Marathe as Baalke’s replacement.
However, if Baalke — a Parcells disciple who doesn’t possess his mentor’s ability to build a true *team* instead of a collection of assets — gets his chance to make the head coaching hire, with little to no input from the Yorks, we’re looking at an even longer rebuilding period than this would take if the Yorks tore the whole thing down. Whether Baalke went after Tom Coughlin (a rumored candidate in the later stages before they eventually hired Kelly) or someone else from the Parcells coaching tree like Steve Spagnuolo (yuck), it wouldn’t matter.
That’s right, even if Baalke was able to trade for Sean Payton while keeping the No. 2 overall pick, this team will end up going nowhere for the rest of this decade. Baalke isn’t the worst talent evaluator in the world, but he’s stubborn and has shown an inability to shake the terrible habits (this is where you can insert the same jokes about ACL tears and A.J. Jenkins we’ve been hearing for years) that got the 49ers into this mess … despite what a pop-rock act from San Jose might tell you.
And yes, I know most of you will skim this post (or not read any of it at all) before heading to the comments section to make “You’re an All-Star” jokes. Knock yourselves out.
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Trent an York have no business trying to run a team. You could cut 20 players off this team that Baalke drafted an they'd never play again. The draft used to be my favorite day of the year. But with Baalke it's 3 D.B - 2 injured player an then the 6th an 7th picks. This Moron would trade the 2nd pick an give up a 2nd 3rd pk for a Q.B this year! It's insane why he's still there. It's a shame for us Niner Fans too see such incompetence coming out of what, was a Great Organization!
Did Trent Baalke Intentionally Try to Get Fired?
I for the life of me don't understand the Chip Kelly hire. I have to assume Jed wanted him. If Baalke pushed for Chip then he is a bigger moron than we all think. To be clear, I think Chip has potential. However, he is like a fixer upper significant other -- I like Chip IF he's willing to change (to complimentary football).
I don't care if our D never cracks the the top 20 if we have a top 5 O, buut, it's always going to be destined for failure under Chip's current system. The NY Jets game was the best example to me. How can you rush for 250 yds and get destroyed on time of possession/gas your D to the point where they lose a no brainer W????
But Trent never gave Chip a inkling of chance, which is why he deserves to be fired. To be clear, early indications are Trent had one of his best drafts in A LONG time. Buckner looks great, Trent Brown looks like the future at LT, the sky is the limit with Robinson. All three of those guys could be pro bowlers at some point in their careers. It looks like there is some depth on the D line, at CB , and Safety. Also, Beadles looks like a steal in FA.
That infusion of talent could equal a solid base for 2017 -- with Harbaugh as your head coach! But with Chip as your head coach, who F'ING cares about most of the players Baalke drafted?! The only chance the Niners have of winning games under a Chip system is great offense. Baalke did NOTHING. He honestly believed Gabbert was the answer (reason enough to be fired).
It hurts my brain trying to understand the logic here. It's as if Baalke never watched a second of tape on Chip Kelly (conspiracy theory?). I think this team was lucky to have 2 wins (maybe 3, but c'mon that's hard to believe).
In summary, the level of stupidity displayed in the hiring of Chip Kelly with a GM that CAN'T find offensive weapons is a new low of overwhelming stupidity. Baalke is so limited as a GM that only a great defensive minded coach could be successful with the way Baalke assembles a team. Why THE HELL do you bring in a coach that thinks defense is nothing more than a necessary evil if you're going to give him nothing but defensive talent?? It's like he wanted to be fired (another conspiracy theory??).
@PeterZavlaris It's hardly an original thought, but I think Kelly was probably the best the niners could get at the time. Whether it was Baalke or lil Jed or both spreading rumors (or getting their mouthpieces to do it) about Harbaugh, undermining his coaches in the media, etc., the other coaching candidates throughout the league witnessed it, heard/read about it, and could easily see the dysfunction in a York franchise.
Add to that the likely restrictions placed on any head coach by Baalke, and possibly lil Jed himself, and it's not hard to imagine that only candidates without options would consider the niners.
@BASportsGuy Need to hire someone who can bring much needed leadership, who actually values offensive skill positions too
@BASportsGuy Promoting Gamble is probably what York's do however they shouldn't. Need to hire an outsider with a plan, an actual vision!
Who really cares anymore what the 49ers do? It's about 3 or 4 years before the York's will decide that spending money on a competitive team is in their financial interest. Till the you are looking at sub .500 seasons.
Smash Mouth is so cool I must agree with their moronic opinion regarding Trent Baalke. How could I have been thinking otherwise.
Various talking heads on CSN et al have been saying for a while the conventional wisdom is Baalke will be let go at season's end. I agree (as I'm sure most of us here would) that's what *should* happen, but I have difficulty ruling out Yorks doing something stupid.
E.g. I can see there not being any repeat uncomfortable pre-game hugs this weekend, and Baalke (and Chip, et al) being back next year. Status quo, one big happy family, right?
@coredump Trent an Jed sleep together. An if you put both of their brains in a Sparrow=The damn bird would fly backwards!!!
Are Smashmouth on the York payroll somewhere? Because 3 of the other 4 from your Baalke advocates list are, in one form or another, and I can't figure out why they would care otherwise.
Of course I still don't really understand Dilfer's motivation for being a York shill either, since he's currently an ESPN talking head. Maybe he's holding out for a 49ers coaching (or GM) job himself, just in case ESPN gets wise to him. If he wanted Baalke's job you'd think he'd be throwing him under buses, so again -- I don't get where his support is coming from.
@BASportsGuy any real niner fan with half a brain could put his arguments to shame.
@BASportsGuy if baalke stays, you might as well be walking on the sun \U0001f60f
@BASportsGuy Promoting Gamble is as good as keeping Baalke.
@BASportsGuy York is a pos
@BASportsGuy You’re better off turning off comments, FWIW—your site, your soapbox.
@BASportsGuy I've been pretty calm about this but your "Jed named Paraag as new GM" made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
@BASportsGuy they'll just hire another hire worse than the last..this is the family who gave Mike Nolan full control. Dumbass family
@BASportsGuy This picture just makes the entire thing so much better.