Tag:Jim Harbaugh
Posted on: December 28, 2010 6:21 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2010 9:48 pm

SF's GM choice will have Gruden, Harbaugh in mind

Posted by Andy Benoit

Young 49ers owner Jed York has indicated that he will hire a GM to run the football operations in San Francisco. Included in those operations will be deciding on a new head coach.

York is making it known that he plans on delegating the football decisions to a “footbJ. Gruden (US Presswire)all guy”. Still, as the owner of J. Harbaugh (US Presswire)the team, his preferences and wishes will inevitably trickle down to the front office. This is why many, including Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, believe York will hire a GM who can lure either Jon Gruden or Jim Harbaugh to the Bay Area.

Both of those head coaches are in high demand, and both have working experience in Northern California (Gruden with the Raiders, Harbaugh in his current position running the Stanford program). Harbaugh has suggested that he doesn’t plan on changing jobs, but with his team playing in the Orange Bowl January 3, what else would you expect him to say at this point? We have great reason to believe Gruden would be interested in the job – his son said a few weeks ago that the plan has been for Dad to go to either San Fran or Cleveland in 2012.

As for GM candidates who would work well with either of these two coaches, Kawakami offers a few names:

-George Kokinis (current Baltimore personnel exec, former Cleveland GM, a fit with Harbaugh via Harbaugh’s brother, John, the head coach in Baltimore);

-Mike Lombardi (NFL Network analyst, worked with both Gruden and Harbaugh with the Raiders, and with Gruden with the Eagles);

-Bruce Allen (current Washington GM tied to Mike Shanahan, which is swiftly becoming a sour situation; unlikely Redskins will fire both men, but Allen might be looking for an out; he has very close ties with Gruden and could be a perfect do-it-all-exec to work with Harbaugh);

-Trent Baalke and Tommy Gamble (in-house 49ers’ potentials who are seen as potential relationship gap-fillers–they already know Jed, understand the roster, and one or both might be able to reach out and “York-ize” Harbaugh or Gruden).

There was an Associated Press report Tuesday saying the Niners interviewed former Panthers/Rams executive Tony Softli.

The 49er job is one of the most enticing in football. Besides the history of the franchise and committed ownership (we think), there is a talented roster there that is one quarterback away from being a serious contender in the NFC.

UPDATE 8:00 p.m. ET: According to Pro Football Talk, Trent Baalke is “a lock” to get the Niners GM position. Baalke has been handling most of those duties since Scot McCloughan was fired in April. It is believed that the interview with Softli was, to be frank, merely a way to comply with the Rooney Rule.

UPDATE 9:48 p.m. ET: Peter King said on NBC's Tuesday Night Football halftime show that, according to his sources, Gruden is NOT a candidate for the 49ers job. Harbaugh is the hottest name.

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Posted on: December 26, 2010 9:18 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2010 10:05 pm

Tebow helps Panthers clinch No. 1 draft pick

Posted by Will Brinson

The Carolina Panthers are on the clock for the 2011 NFL Draft. And so are the New England Patriots (at least on the second day anyway -- the Panthers sent their second-rounder to New England in exchange for the wonderful shot at turning Armanti Edwards from a FCS quarterback into an NFL wide receiver).

That's because Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos stormed back on the Houston Texans and pulled off a semi-miraculous comeback to win 24-23. The Broncos needed to lose out and have the Panthers beat the Falcons in order to "win" the top overall pick.

This means the next meaningful deadline for Panthers fans becomes January 15th, when Carolina will learn whether or not Andrew Luck, the highly coveted junior quarterback at Stanford, declares for the NFL draft.

The ramifications of his decision are pretty widespread. If Luck enters the draft, the Panthers have to decide if they like Jimmy Clausen enough to pass up the chance to pull the trigger on Luck (and, perhaps, a combo of Luck and current Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh). They could also choose to trade the chance at grabbing the potential franchise QB, as there are plenty of teams that might be interested in moving up in the draft.

But maybe Luck won't even go pro -- Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night in America reports that, having talked to Harbaugh, "academics are important to Luck" and Harbaugh doesn't believe the junior will leave early. (Although a quick purview of any basic mathematics class will inform him how much money he's missing out on by playing college football.)

In the possible event of Luck returning to college, he'll hurt the Panthers leverage in the top spot of the draft (regardless of how much is owed to the No. 1 pick) and he'll likely turn the draft world upside down.

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Posted on: December 12, 2010 11:35 am

Report: Luck will only leave if Harbaugh's gone

Posted by Will Brinson

Even though Cam Newton's the "best player in college football" (or whatever you want to call the Heisman Trophy winner), Andrew Luck is the current prize of the 2011 NFL Draft.

However, a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Sunday indicated that Luck might not actually be available.

"Sources familiar with the thought process say Luck is more likely to return for his junior season if Jim Harbaugh remains his coach," Mortensen said. Potential injury and loss of wages will not weigh as heavily -- Luck planned on four years and a college degree."

In other words, the only real way to lure Harbaugh out is to get him hired by an NFL team (or another college team). The Panthers stand out as an obvious location for both guys, because they'll need a new coach after 2010 and are likely to hold the top spot in the NFL Draft.

However, Mort notes the Panthers would need "a stroke of luck" to get Harbaugh, who apparently would prefer staying on the West Coast.

That makes the position of the San Francisco 49ers very, very interesting because if the Niners hired Harbaugh, they'd probably be unlikely to grab Luck without making a deal. Given the strong connection between Luck and his coach, there's no question they'd be interested in moving up, but they certainly wouldn't be able to pretend they aren't desperate.

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Posted on: November 16, 2010 4:45 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 4:55 pm

Top Ten With a Twist: Potential head coaches

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With Wade Phillips getting the pink slip last week and with much discussion about the job security of Minnesota’s Brad Childress, it’s become obvious that it’s that time of the year when fans debate the merits of firing the coach of their favorite teams. That obviously equals bad times for coaches like Marvin Lewis, John Fox, Gary Kubiak, Norv Turner, Josh McDaniels and Mike Singletary.

Since Phillips is gone and Childress might as well be gone, let’s dive into the intriguing possibilities of who will be available – some long-time assistants who hunger for their first shot at a head coaching job, some former head coaches who wouldn’t mind getting back into the business and maybe a college coach or two who want to test himself at the pro level.

Many of the following likely will get interviews after the season when the current coaches who can’t work themselves off the hot seat clean out their offices. Until then, let’s speculate on who might be available.

10. Dick LeBeau: I know, I know. He’s probably not going anywhere, and his three-season stint as the Bengals coach wasn’t so good (12-33). But LeBeau has been such an innovator on defense, I’d like to see the Steelers defensive coordinator get another shot at running a team. It’s not going to happen, because he’s 73 years old, but there would be a ton of smiling faces around the league if he got another chance.

9. Rob Ryan: We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?

8. Mike Zimmer:
He arguably performed his best coaching job of his career last year when, despite the death of his wife and of Bengals WR Chris Henry, the defensive coordinator led Cincinnati’s defense to the No. 4 ranking in the NFL. For as long as the Bengals have tried to improve their defense, Zimmer finally was the one to make it happen. Cincinnati’s defense ranks 15th this season, but his players respect him and his coaching style. At some point, you’d think a team will take a chance on him.

7. Jon Gruden/Bill Cowher: Yes, they’ve both got lucrative analyst deals with ESPN and CBS, respectively, and both seem to do a pretty nice job (although Gruden spends a little too much time being a little too positive on his Monday Night Football gig). It’s hard to tell if Cowher is serious about getting back into coaching, but it wouldn’t be hard to believe Gruden wanting to jump at the chance (those are the whispers you hear, at least). He just seems hard-wired for the long hours, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he were to return. For Cowher, it’d probably have to be the perfect job. And I’m not sure that kind of job will appear in the offseason.

6. Marty Mornhinweg: The 5-27 mark he recorded while coaching the Lions is pretty difficult to swallow. But one of the biggest achievements this season made by Mornhinweg – the Eagles offensive coordinator – has been the transformation of QB Michael Vick from a playmaker with brilliant talents to a complete quarterback that’s nearly unstoppable with his legs and his arm. The Eagles rank second in points scored and third in yards per game, and much of that is a credit to Mornhinweg.

5. Cam Cameron: It’s a testament to Cameron that the Ravens, previously known as a strong defense that couldn’t score points, are now known as a high-powered offense that has a more difficult time stopping opponents. Cameron has weapons (QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, a plethora of receivers), and he knows how to use them. It might not happen for a few more years, but Cameron deserves another chance (if a prospective owner can overlook the 1-15 season he had while running the Dolphins).

4. Perry Fewell: He had a taste of head coaching last season after the Bills fired Dick Jauron and made Fewell the interim. He led Buffalo to a 3-4 record – looking back on it, it was almost miraculous – but he and the rest of the coaching staff were fired anyway. Now, he’s the Giants defensive coordinator , and not surprisingly, they’re the No. 1 defense in the NFL in yards allowed.

3. John Fox:
He doesn’t have much longer in his current role, as the head coach in Carolina, and despite the team’s putridicity (?) this season, he remains a well-respected figure in the league. Why, you ask? Well, he led the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII, two seasons after a George Seifert-led Panthers squad went 1-15. Overall, he’s 72-65 as the coach in Carolina, and you can be sure Fox will have a job somewhere in the NFL. And quite possibly as a head coach.

2. Jim Harbaugh: If the Stanford head coach still wants an NFL job, he will have an excellent shot to get one. The brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Jim – a 14-year NFL QB who made the Pro Bowl in 1995 – has done wonders in Palo Alto. The previous two coaches before Harbaugh went a combined 16-40, and in the past two seasons, the Cardinal has gone a combined 17-6. He already interviewed for the Jets job that Rex Ryan eventually won two years ago, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he beats out somebody else for a head coaching position.

1. Leslie Frazier: How long will it take before Frazier – perhaps the most respected assistant coach in the league - finally lands the head coaching position he so obviously wants? Well, considering his office is just down the hallway from Childress’, it would make sense for Minnesota to hire its current defensive coordinator when it fires Childress. For a defense that hadn’t been good in more than a decade before Frazier took over, he’s transformed the unit and made himself indispensible. No doubt about it, he should be a head coach.

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