49ers Clubhouse 


January 17, 2003

by Rob Baker
Clubhouse Writer and Draft Analyst

It's time again when I start writing my 'if I was Terry Donahue' section, when I get to express my opinions on free agency, the draft, releasing players etc. But this time I'll start of with a massive decision, the coach. Hopefully this will incite some discussion and I'd love to hear everyone's opinion on who should replace the infamous Mooch. Now for my opinion:

Now it's time to see the answer to the question I've been asking: Does Mooch call all those pussy plays because he was hiding our defense and keeping the ball on offense to give the defense less time on the field, or was he calling those plays because he is a useless coach that doesn't utilize weapons such as TO?

In my opinion, it was a good decision to get rid of Mooch, the niners need a coach with a Bill Walsh perspective on the game, when the 49ers are leading, don't slow the game up trying to keep the lead, play the game out hard and rub the salt in. Many times this season, the niners let big leads turn into narrow victories, and in some cases, losses. An example is the St. Louis game, our division rival, time to rub it in, time to show our back-ups are 20 points better than yours, but the niners let the game slip, now the Rams have got a win streak against us.

Now for the coaching candidates, there are three main ones at the moment: Defensive coordinator Jim Mora Jr., QB coach Ted Tollner and Dennis Green. (Oh, by the way, I'm the GM, Jim Mora, your fired, so you're not a candidate any more!). I'll also name a few more possibilities, but it's really between Tollner and Green now.

Ted Tollner:
Tollner and Donahue are great buddies, and it hasn't been a massive secret that Terry Donahue has thought about calling the plays again. This is an opportunity for Donahue to be a backseat driver. Tollner will coach, but Donahue can put his two cents in and Tollner will listen and act on it.

The idea is that Tollner coaches for a season or two while the niners search for a big name coach (eg. former offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren). Tollner has had experience:

1982: USC offensive coordinator
1983-86: USC head coach
1987: Buffalo Bills assistant
1988-91: San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator
1992-93: LA Rams assistant
1994-2001: San Diego St. head coach

but really, hiring Tollner would just be a way for Donahue to play around with the idea of coaching again.

Dennis Green:
This is Bill Walsh's choice. Green was at the niners in 1979 and 1986-88 as an assistant and an offensive coordinator for Walsh, and has said he's always felt like a niner deep down. But the major problem is that it's rumored that York isn't a big fan of Green. In the end the head-coaching job could be who has the most influence on York, Walsh really liking Green and Donahue pushing for Tollner.

Walsh is a massive supporter of Green, and he publicly showed his disappointment in the Jags after they said no to Green for their head job. Dennis had no chance with the Jags because he demanded more authority. That won't happen at the niners with Green saying publicly that he doesn't want that authority at the niners, and may even take an assistants job. Green has had experience with coaching Minnesota and did a great job, and showed when times are tough, he stands up and delivers (2000 season).


Pete Carroll:
He's pushing hard to get this job. Was a niner's defensive coordinator in 1995-96. The two time NFL head coach with NY Jets and the Patriots is now a head coach at Southern Cal. Doesn't have anyone at the niners pushing for him to get the job, so don't count on it.

Jack Del Rio:
Did amazing things with Panthers defense. Just think if he could bring that to the niners D, and if the get an offensive coordinator with play calling 'balls', look out! Will have to act quick to beet the Jags who are close to signing him.

Wade Phillips:
Always seems to pop up when coaching discussions occur. Defensive coordinator at Atlanta with head coaching experience will bring a defensive minded head to an offensive minded franchise.

Ray Rhodes:
Another with NFL experience, last coaching at the Pack. Though his situation with the Broncos is confusing, the Broncos say if a team hires him he'll need to be traded, but in a meeting with Mike Shanahan, Shanahan was said to have terminated his contract. Either way, he did wonders with the Bronco's D, if you take away this year.

Greg Knapp:
Of the niners are looking for a replacement for one year, Knapp must be in the running. He had the play calling taken away from him early this season (though Mooch didn't do much better) which isn't a positive for him. A positive is that if the niners are looking for a temporary head coach, they'll most likely look in-house, and seeing he's the most senior assistant (bye bye Mora!) he's a good chance.

George Seifert:
Long shot, but an interesting discussion topic. Did well at the niners, but poorly at the re-building Panthers. The niners are a club that love their history and re-live constantly (How many times has Jeff Garcia been compared to Montana and Young, Owens to Rice, Johnson to Jones, Parrish to McDonald etc. and bringing back Bill Walsh the guy responsible for the niners success). So bringing back a Super Bowl winning coach may help to keep the history within the franchise. Also, Seifert isn't the youngest of coaches, so maybe having him there for two or so years while the niners wait for a permanent replacement to come out of contract.

Mike Holmgren:
The 49ers are interested in him, no doubt, and Seattle aren't happy with him, releasing him from his GM duties. May be able to get him now for a smaller trade (1st and 2nd rounders possibly?), but at least they would have him now and wont get into a possible bidding war when he is released/contract ends.


Bill Walsh wins, Dennis Green is now the new head coach of the 49ers, and I'd do every thing in my power to get Ray Rhodes as defensive coordinator if his contract situation sorts itself out in Denver. I can't see the point in hiring a temporary coach when Mooch could have stayed for an extra season, which would have saved the niners $2.3 million that was payed out to him, and then the cost to hire a new coach. This way the 49ers have a great coach, no in-house split because of Green's relationship with Walsh, a coach that knows how to handle big time receivers and their opinions (Moss) and a coach that's taken his team deep into the playoffs. Hopefully with this team, a few defensive additions and a new head coach, the niners will win another ring!

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