49ers get their man -- Harbaugh hired


49ers get their man -- Harbaugh hired

Jan. 7, 2011
Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comThe 49ers got their man.Jim Harbaugh entered the 49ers' headquarters in Santa Clara early Friday afternoon to sign a five-year contract, a source told Comcast SportsNet. The 49ers have scheduled a press conference for 3:30 p.m. Friday in San Francisco to announce Harbaugh as head coach.The 25-million deal, first reported by ESPN and confirmed by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, ends a four-day flurry of interviews and intrigue after Harbaugh guided Stanford to a 40-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl to cap a 12-1 season.
SOUND OFF: "Finally as a season ticket holder, I am really excited about 49ers again" -- viennersHarbaugh, 47, decided to head to the NFL, where he will join 49ers president Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke in hopes of ending the organization's eight-year slide.Ultimately, Harbaugh decided to take the 49ers' five-year contract offer instead of returning to Stanford to make a run at the national championship. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross returned to Florida early Friday morning after failing to convince Harbaugh to be his coach.Harbaugh built the Cardinal into a national power in just four seasons after replacing Walt Harris as coach. Stanford was 1-11 in 2006 -- the season before Harbaugh was hired.RATTO: Orange Bowl wins ushers in new era
Now, Harbaugh will be become the central figure in charge of returning the 49ers to NFL prominence.The 49ers have not made the playoffs since the club won the NFC West in 2002 with a 10-6 record under coach Steve Mariucci, who was fired a couple days after a 31-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the playoffs.Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary had their chances and were fired as head coaches over the past eight seasons. Jim Tomsula served as interim coach in the 49ers' season finale, a 38-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.The 49ers were looking for an offensive coach who can work well with quarterbacks. Under Harbaugh's tutelage, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Luck this week announced he is returning for another season at Stanford, which seemed to increase the chances of Harbaugh remaining, as well.NEWS: Luck returning to Stanford for 2011 season
Harbaugh was 29-21 in four seasons at Stanford.The 49ers targeted Harbaugh as early as the midpoint of the season, according to team and league sources. Baalke had done all the research and background checks on Harbaugh. Baalke met and spent time with Harbaugh while scouting Stanford players in recent years.Harbaugh will compete in the NFC West with former Pac-10 Conference rival Pete Carroll. The Seattle Seahawks signed the former USC coach to a five-year, 33 million deal last year that included full control over the club's football operations.Harbaugh played 14 NFL seasons as quarterback with Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore and San Diego. In his final season, Harbaugh's quarterbacks coach with the Chargers was 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson.He served two seasons on the Raiders' coaching staff. He was an offensive assistant in 2002 and quarterbacks coach in 2003 on Bill Callahan's staff. He was 29-6 in three seasons at NCAA Division I-AA San Diego before getting hired at Stanford.

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.