49ers

Reports: 49ers expected to fire Chip Kelly, Trent Baalke

Reports: 49ers expected to fire Chip Kelly, Trent Baalke

The 49ers are reportedly expected to fire coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after Sunday’s season finale.

The firing of Baalke has been expected for weeks. But Kelly was believed to have a chance to retain his job for a second season. Both ESPN and the NFL Network, citing league sources, reported both men are likely on the way out.

The 49ers had no comment about the reports.

The 49ers conclude the regular season on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. The firing of Baalke was expected to be announced after the game. Kelly’s status could also be finalized at that time, too.

Kelly’s chances of retaining his job appeared to hinge on his willingness to make changes to his offensive philosophy, which does not value time of possession, and coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil. 

If Kelly is fired, the 49ers would have to consecutive one-and-done head coaches. After the “mutual parting” of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh after the 8-8 season of 2014, Baalke promoted defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.

Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 last season. Kelly was hired two weeks after he had been fired as Philadelphia Eagles coach.

The 49ers have stumbled even worse under Kelly’s direction. The 49ers (2-13) had a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak, which the team snapped last week with a 22-21 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. Both of the 49ers’ victories this season came against the Rams.

The 49ers would be expected to look outside the organization to fill both the general manager and head coach positions.

Jeff Garcia: 49ers are their own worst enemy in difficult season

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Jeff Garcia: 49ers are their own worst enemy in difficult season

The 49ers are at a crossroads in their season. After being competitive throughout the first six weeks of the season, the 49ers were not competitive against the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams.
 
The next three games before the bye week will likely tell us everything we need to know about the team. Here are three main points as the 49ers come out of their 39-10 loss to the Rams, and look ahead to facing the NFL’s other three, one-win teams over the next three weeks:

49ers have been their own worst enemy

As much as we try to look for positives to focus on as this season plays out, the 49ers' play has not left much to be optimistic about. Last Sunday, the Rams manhandled the 49ers in all aspects of the game. It was especially noticeable when the team had to abandon the run and play catch-up. That D-line and scheme from the Rams just ate them alive. Aaron Donald is a top-tier defensive player, and he looked like the NFL Defensive Player of the Year last Sunday. 
 
However, believe me, even though this is becoming redundant: If the 49ers cut down on their mistakes, they could bounce right back during this middle stretch of their season. There’s the positive. Three weeks ago, the 49ers had a great opportunity to win a game against the Arizona Cardinals after a couple of hard-fought losses against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. The game against Arizona was a chance to right the ship, playing at home against a rookie quarterback.
 
They failed because of their own self-implosion with five turnovers. That is what it has been like week-in and week-out for the 49ers. They have competed with some really good football teams during this season, but they are their own worst enemy. They’re on track to set a NFL record for turnover differential in a negative way. That path of self destruction is not a path you want to be on. 
 
The 49ers, as a young team going through growing pains and injury, must stay united, stay hungry, and stay focused on what they need to do as a team and find a way to eliminate the costly mistakes that have hurt them every single week. 

Kittle has winning mindset

This is a game of physicality. The team that is more physical, more passionate, more emotional, in their approach to the game, on top of being mentally prepared, is going to have an advantage. You must play with anger and a chip on your shoulder. You must know exactly what you’re supposed to do and eliminate the mental errors. This game is all about coming with aggressiveness, confidence, and a mindset to run through a brick wall so that you will not be denied.
 
Tight end George Kittle has brought that sort of mentality every game. He was one of the few guys you saw playing with that emotion and characteristic against the Rams.
 
The third running back in their rotation, Raheem Mostert, is running hard and has become an asset in the backfield. He is earning an expanded role in this offense, but Kittle is one of those guys who has proven himself as a leader to the 49ers. He has earned his way to becoming a highly regarded tight end in the NFL. He plays with intensity, effort and toughness. His teammates need to follow his lead.  

Schedule softens in the coming weeks 

As bad as this season has been, the 49ers have great opportunities in the coming weeks to match up against teams that are in similar situations, if not worse.  The Cardinals, Raiders, and Giants are all going through some sort of self-implosion. If there was ever a sense of urgency to turn a season around, it has to start this week by taking care of business on the road in Arizona. They have a tremendous opportunity to get this season back on track. 
 
The Cardinals are on a downward spiral. They fired their offensive coordinator and players have openly voiced their want for change. There’s a struggle to the commitment in Arizona right now, and that’s something the 49ers need to utilize to their advantage. They can only do that though if this team finds ways to eliminate the costly mistakes of turnovers and mental errors. 
 
Otherwise, a loss here to Arizona would be devastating, in terms of turning their season around. This is the most winnable stretch of games on their schedule. Winning three in a row going into their bye week is a doable task and would be a huge confidence builder for the remainder of their season.

How’s that for optimism?

Members of 49ers' last Super Bowl winner share messages with current team

Members of 49ers' last Super Bowl winner share messages with current team

There were no instant results from an inspirational 49ers’ meeting on Saturday night.

Former 49ers standouts John Taylor, Brent Jones and Steve Wallace – members of the Super Bowl-winning 1994 team – spoke to the current team in Santa Clara on the eve of the game against the Los Angeles Rams. They shared their thoughts about that experience on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

On Sunday, the Rams crushed the 49ers, 39-10, but the messages Taylor, Jones and Wallace delivered focused on a bigger picture.

“I wanted to encourage them to keep fighting,” said Jones, a four-time Pro Bowl performer and three-time Super Bowl champion. “Sometimes people on the outside can look at your record and say, ‘Gosh, you guys are struggling' or whatever. But I said, ‘This team is so close.’ We talked about the variables. The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is so minute. It’s attention to detail and the small things.

“I wanted these guys to know from an outsider’s perspective and a guy that played the game, I can see that they’re building something special. You can feel it. I know that there’s something great going on in that locker room, and these guys have to keep at it. They’re a young team but they’re absolutely heading in the right direction.”

Wallace, who played left tackle, was flattered that coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch would ask him speak to the team.

“For a former player, that was like a dream to go back and speak to the guys and let them know we’re all for one,” Wallace said. “You try to inspire the guys, that when you come here to play, you can’t just do what the coaches tell you to do.

“Jerry Rice and the leaders like that, they go get on the treadmill extra, StairMaster extra. They’re lifting. Joe Montana is doing the extra film work. That’s what sets you at a different level. If you just do what the coaches tell you to do, you’ll only be as good as everyone else.”

Taylor was one of the best receivers in the game. But rather than insisting on going somewhere else to be featured, he said he did not mind being the No. 2 receiver behind Rice because his focus was on winning championships with the 49ers. He was also a member of three Super Bowl winners.

Taylor provided one of the great moments in 49ers history with a 10-yard touchdown catch of a Montana pass in the final minute of Super Bowl XXIII for the game-winning points against the Cincinnati Bengals. Taylor came through with the kind of career moment that should be a goal for every player in the room.

“Remember growing up and playing football in the streets,” Taylor said. “Everyone says, ‘If I make this throw we win the Super Bowl’ or ‘If I make this catch, we win the Super Bowl.’ I can honestly say I lived that part. It’s amazing.”