Jed York needs to take lesson from Mark Davis this offseason

Jed York needs to take lesson from Mark Davis this offseason

It has been 1,075 days since the San Francisco 49ers last did that postseason thing, which frankly isn’t that long a time when compared to, say, the Tennessee Titans (2,910), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3,280), Jacksonville Jaguars (3,285) or Los Angeles Rams (4,366).
Waiting, you see, can become a habit, and learning to wait can become a curse.
But the 49ers’ 1,075 days haven't exactly flown right by, either. They have been replete with teeming levels of analyst/observer disgust at the wasted opportunity, and outright fan hatred (they long since passed mere anger) as the team that was once well-positioned for even the most uncertain future enters its third consecutive offseason with a big firing atop the agenda.
The one we anticipate this time, the dispatching of general manager Trent Baalke, will at least be more popularly received. Jim Harbaugh, who was fired by mutual consent two years, was and is hailed as Jed York’s single stupidest idea, and Jim Tomsula is mostly regarded as a handsomely compensated victim who was far out of his depth.
There is, however, little optimism about what comes next in Youngstown West because the target everyone agrees upon is the actual architect of this fetid mess – the redoubtable (as in you can doubt him repeatedly and he never fails to make you doubt him again) JohnEDward York.
York has overestimated himself again and again – first in his ability to ride the tiger that is Harbaugh, then in his ability to properly reward a likable surrogate in Tomsula, then in his loyalty to Baalke. It may be that he might even overestimate himself at some point on his true pride and joy – Rollercoaster Stadium – but so far it has been the one gift that has kept on giving.
And he has certainly overestimated his ability to convince people that he commands his space. Even Mark Davis, who is reviled in these parts for other reasons, figured out the hardest part of being an owner – hiring a smart guy and getting out of the way.
So why would York’s next move be better than anything he’s done in the last three years? Random chance? Blind luck? The law of big numbers?
Well, let’s be charitable and say he could recapture lightning as he did with Harbaugh, and this time have the wisdom he didn’t have last time by letting a difficult personality be someone else’s problem.
But let’s also understand something else – 2017 under any form of management will not be like 2011, when the 49ers reached the NFC Championship by coalescing a talent base with an experienced coaching staff and catching the league on its heels. This renaissance, if there is to be one, is going to have to be done slowly and patiently, as the Raiders’ was done.
Or need we remind you that Reggie McKenzie was savaged as being irredeemably over his skis for three seasons before his deliberate work digging out from the post-Al Davis rubble? It took the reorganization of the entire football operation, the sweeping of an entire roster, two clever drafts and resisting the temptation to quick-fix problems with overpaid, overaged and underinterested free agents as Davis had done.
But it also took Mark Davis’ patience and ability to resist the mockery of the outside world, because McKenzie has held his job for five full years this coming Thursday, and currently ranks 15th in tenure on the job. That and knowing how not to meddle in areas outside one’s competence are hallmarks of an owner who . . . well, isn’t a dunce.
Jed York, on the other hand, has had five coaches in eight years, including Mike Nolan, whom he inherited from his father, and Baalke’s replacement will be his third general manager. In fairness, Baalke’s predecessor, Scot McCloughan, was an excellent player evaluator but had personal demons (notably alcoholism, as he acknowledged in 2014) that undid him.
But at some point York will have to commit to a general manager and coach who can work well as a partnership and produce what the Raiders have now – if you forget that Derek Carr is currently on crutches and Mark Davis wants to leave the state. York will have to become the owner he hasn’t been – someone with the knowledge to hire well, the patience to keep those hires, the willingness to delegate entirely to those hires and the thick skin to understand that his true role is to hire, write checks, ignore the irritations and let the credit go where it may.
If there is credit to be had, that is. After all, there are teams who aren’t nearly so reviled but have waited far longer . . . like the Miami Dolphins (2,916), the Cleveland Browns (5,107), the Buffalo Bills (6,200), or, if you want to be completely perverse, the city of Los Angeles (8,383).
And if you want to remain hopeful despite the evidence, there are always the Raiders. Their meter is at 5,086, but you may be sure their fans have stopped counting.

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman believes he has a lot of good football ahead of him.

But he knows he is not coming to the 49ers after seven seasons with the rival Seattle Seahawks just for how he fits into defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. The 49ers signed Sherman to a three-year contract on March 10 -- one day after the Seahawks released him.

Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, views his job description as being a major influence and contributor to the 49ers on and off the field.

“I think it’s probably 50-50,” Sherman said Tuesday in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, I’m going to be asked to play at a high level, and that’s what I expect from myself and that’s what I expect to bring to this team. But outside of that, I think I bring an aspect of culture and a winning mentality.”

Sherman is a four-time Pro Bowl performer and three-time first-team All-Pro. He said the commitment to winning is all-consuming. It is a mindset he helps to share with his new teammates.

“It’s about waking up and doing things that will contribute to winning later, whether it’s your diet, your sleep habits, how you treat your teammates, how you converse,” Sherman said. “Do you go out tonight or do you stay in and get some extra studying? What are you doing to help us win the game on Sunday? Just that mentality will help a lot of these people.”

There might be no young player on the 49ers in need of a good role model more than Reuben Foster, who is set to enter his second NFL season. Foster was arrested this offseason for possession of marijuana in Alabama. A month later, he was arrested in Los Gatos for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said no decision has yet been reached whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster.

Sherman said he has not spoken to Foster but he will be willing to be a mentor to Foster and provide him with support. Sherman said he has heard a lot of great things about Foster.

“If I can help him, I’ll do my best,” Sherman said. “I look forward to meeting him and being a teammate of his, and helping him in any way I can. To think I can change everything he does, I’d be foolish to say I could. But am I going to try my best to help him and put him in positions to be more successful in the future? Yes, I am.”