49ers

Nolan: Problem with 49ers systemic, 'they love you, then they hate you'

Nolan: Problem with 49ers systemic, 'they love you, then they hate you'

Mike Nolan had the so-called “trigger,” responsible for the final say on personnel matters during his first three seasons with the 49ers, beginning with his arrival in 2005.

That was the same year Trent Baalke arrived with the 49ers as an area scout responsible for the west region. Baalke worked under then-director of player personnel Scot McCloughan.

Nolan and McCloughan are long gone from the organization. And Baalke is the general manager of a team that finished 5-11 last season, fired coach Jim Tomsula after one season, replaced him with Chip Kelly, and has stumbled to a 1-6 start this year.

“The problem there in San Francisco, in my opinion, is systemic,” Nolan said during an appearance on CSN Bay Area’s 49ers Insider Podcast. “They love you, and then they hate you. They love the next guy, and then they don’t like him any more.

“Right now, unfortunately for Trent, he’s on the down slide. But about three years ago, he was the man, and there was a lot of love for him.”

[LISTEN: Mike Nolan reflects on time as 49ers coach and how it compares to now]

After the 49ers were eliminated from the playoff picture late in the 2014 season, the decision was made to part ways with coach Jim Harbaugh. Baalke promoted Tomsula from defensive line coach.

Only three starters from the 49ers’ Super Bowl team of 2012 remain on the 49ers’ 53-man roster: Colin Kaepernick, Joe Staley and Ahmad Brooks. The 49ers have been unable to freshen the lineup with players approaching the same levels as those who are no longer around.

But Nolan said he remains confident in Baalke’s ability to construct a winning roster.

“I think Trent is a good personnel guy. He has shown that. He’s done a good job,” Nolan said. “He was a lead scout for us when I was there. And (he) was the interim general manager when Scot was dealing with some personal issues when I was there in the fourth year (2008).

“So I think Trent does a very good job. I would hate to see Trent let go for anything after the season or if they dump it all on him, because when it comes to winning football games, you need to have good players, and you can do a lot worse than Trent Baalke when it comes to picking players.”

Nolan, whom CEO Jed York fired after the 49ers started 2-5 in 2008, noted Baalke was with the 49ers when the parameters were put into place of how the organization would go about constructing its roster. It is a system that Nolan said was installed over a period of years that took into account the ideals of Ozzie Newsome, Bill Parcells and Dan Reeves.

“When Harbaugh walked into there, believe me, as everybody knows, he walked into a pretty good situation with a great-looking football team,” Nolan said. “And that just doesn’t happen over night. That took us several years to get that thing in place, and part of that is staying on track.

“Now, the problem they’ve had as of late, as we all know, they’ve had a lot of continuity problems with players, whether it’s retirement – they’ve had a lot of strange things occur where they’ve lost some key guys. Trent is a very qualified guy to do his job, and I think he does a good job of it.”

Nolan said a lot of pieces are in place within the organization, including Paraag Marathe, whose football duties with the organization have not changed since having his title shifted from president to chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations.

“Paraag is a genius when it comes to the cap and contract negotiations, compensatory picks,” Nolan said. “And all those things affect winning on the field because they all affect players and how you can get good players. So there’s a lot of good in the building.

“Obviously, they have to get back on track with the personnel, but outside of that, they have to bring the building together again, in my opinion. Because when you hear a lot of rumblings on the outside that means there is some division on the inside. Otherwise, there would be no talk.”

There is no indication the 49ers plan to part ways with Baalke, who continues to travel throughout the country to scout college prospects. Baalke returned to the 49ers’ practice facility on Thursday after watching the Western Michigan-Ball State and Toledo-Akron games earlier in the week.

Kyle Shanahan takes blame for Ahkello Witherspoon's rough game

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USATSI

Kyle Shanahan takes blame for Ahkello Witherspoon's rough game

SANTA CLARA – Ahkello Witherspoon had a difficult afternoon Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford virtually ignored Richard Sherman’s side of the field and focused on Witherspoon. When targeting the 49ers' second-year cornerback, Stafford completed eight of the 12 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus. Stafford missed some open receivers down the field. Witherspoon was also called for two penalties and missed a tackle.

But Witherspoon was playing on a bum ankle, and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan took the blame for even putting Witherspoon in that situation.

“He wasn’t 100 percent, and he wanted to play, but after watching the tape and everything, I don’t think I should’ve had him (play),” Shanahan said on "49ers Game Plan," which airs on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“I shouldn’t have played him last week because we didn’t get his best and he obviously wasn’t ready to do that, so I’m going to make sure that I don’t put him out there unless he is 100 percent. I think we’ll find that out (Sunday) before the game.”

The 49ers may not know with Witherspoon and strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) until Sunday morning if they will be able to play against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes threw 10 touchdown passes in the team’s first two games – the most by any NFL quarterback through two games. On the day before his 22nd birthday, he became the youngest player to pass for six touchdowns in a game in the Chiefs'  42-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Shanahan said the Steelers’ defense made it too easy on Mahomes and his speedy wide receivers, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, with too many blown coverages. The 49ers’ secondary must be a lot more disciplined, regardless of who lines up at cornerback and safety.

“You watch that Pittsburgh game, and there’s about six plays in the first 2 ½ quarters where guys were wide open in busted coverages,” Shanahan said. “If you give this quarterback and that speed a bunch of freebies by making mistakes, that’s the results will be.

“We’ve got to make them work for everything. And the way you do that is you stay sound, you don’t make mistakes, you got to be willing to give up some check downs, but don’t give up the touchdown. We have to be smart, disciplined, stay on top, and when they check it down, we need 11 guys swarming to the ball.”

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo reveals he still texts with Tom Brady

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo reveals he still texts with Tom Brady

Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady always will remain connected in the media. Apparently, the two quarterbacks still are connected with each other through their phones. 

Appearing on Freakonomics Radio's The Hidden Side of Sports, the 49ers quarterback explained that he became close with both Brady and quarterback Jacoby Brissett during his time with the Patriots. 

"We always had a good relationship," Garoppolo said. "Initially when I was younger, kind of like an older brother type of relationship, but as I got older and matured through the NFL, we became closer and we became good friends. 

"You know, we still text here and there. Jacoby was a good friend of mine, too."

Garoppolo and Brady even shared the same agent, Don Yee, in New England, and still do to this day.

"The three of us always were texting each other," said Garoppolo, who was traded to the 49ers last year. "Everyone said it was a terrible decision to have the same agent, but I think it worked out very well. 

"Our agents look out for both of us, both of our best interest. But at the end of the day, it's the NFL. It's a business."

Garoppolo made quite the stir this summer when he made comments on how he "thought he was better" than Brady when he was backing up the five-time Super Bowl winner.

“It’s like when I go to New England,” Garoppolo said in July as part of a feature story with Bleacher Report. “When I first got there, I thought in my head, ‘I’m better than this dude.' "

It sure sounds that off the field, the two quarterbacks are on much better terms than perceived. On the field, Brady has thrown for 511 yards and five touchdowns with one interception this season while Garoppolo is behind at 467 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions.