Hue Jackson has given the San Francisco 49ers all the consideration they merit, and decided that the Cleveland Browns job is better. Laugh at that while you can
Oh, the story is that the 49ers have “moved on” from Jackson, but that can only be interpreted by sensible people as them not wanting to enter into a bidding war with the Browns while Jim Tomsula was still rolling around in his $10.5 million worth of chits. The time line, which always gets in the way of any 49er narrative, says that’s how it played out, and barring some other explanation (“We sat on this for several days and then made up our minds” is not convincing in any way, shape, or form).
Either way, Jed York and Trent Baalke have been given a flat "no," if not directly by Jackson than by Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam's wallet and willingness to relinquish some control. So business trumps football again, and we can eliminate, “This was our first choice all along” as a narrative line when they eventually do announce their next coach.
Jackson was an interesting target anyway, since he had waited four years from his Oakland Raider debacle-ette and learned all the available lessons he could in his time at Cincinnati about getting out over his skis. And he will prove that, of all places, in Cleveland -- the team the 49ers once thought would be an ideal dumping ground for Jim Harbaugh.
There's a lesson in that, and you may bet none of the jilted will learn it.
This leaves the 49ers with a barer cupboard, and a dissatisfied fan base no matter who they do hire. Jackson was clearly their first idea, and presumably their best idea, so they can now flirt with Tom Coughlin a bit more, shop down the less-traveled aisles for someone more in their price and philosophy range, or rethink their position on Chip Kelly in hopes of finding a way to repair an offense in shreds and shards.
And be not fooled here. They desperately need someone to radically rethink their offense, sort of now-ish. This, after all, is a team with a proud history of crap offenses, going back at least a decade. Please consult the accompanying chart, which lists league ranks for points, yards per game and red zone percentage:
Points Yards Red Zone
2015 32 31 31
2014 25 20 28
2013 11 24 11
2012 11 11 21
2011 11 26 30
2010 24 24 24
2009 18 27 5
2008 22 23 18
2007 32 32 16
2006 24 28 29
2005 30 32 27
2004 30 26 22
2003 9 5 21
2002 13 8 23
2001 3 4 2
2000 6 4 4
Jackson was supposed to solve all of that, plus be a charm machine for those perpetually dissatisfied media schlubs who weren’t sufficiently charmed by Jim Tomsula or the painfully rigid Baalke. By that standard, Jackson would have been an ideal hire.
Well, ideal may be gilding the gold brick a bit. He did guide the Raiders to a 7-4 record in 2011 before the cart careened into a ditch, with four losses in the last five games by an average of 15.8 points per game.
In other words, Jackson’s single season as a coach looked sensational when compared to those of his precedessors, Tom (17-27) Cable, Lane (5-15) Kiffin, Art (2-14) Shell, Norv (9-23) Turner and Bill (15-17, team revolt) Callahan, and his immediate successor, Dennis (8-28) Allen.
By math, a .500 percentage is better than .311. Only one coach in the modern era to ever have only one full season on the job, Al Groh in 2000 with the New York Jets, had a better record, and he quit to return to college.
But that is someone else’s issue now. For now, the 49ers are still working the fringes of the dance hall with no apparent partner, and are still trying to fill their seventh head coaching vacancy in 15 years, with Jed York’s hands all over the process he said would belong to Trent Baalke.
But however the next coach actually is hired, it won’t be a home run by the definitions of the know-nothing outside world. The 49ers will have to sell him and sell him hard, and if there is anything they do worse than dealing with twitchy subordinates, it is selling anything. In other words, the status is very quo indeed at 4949 Centennial, where striking out on Hue Jackson because even Jimmy Haslam's money is better than Jed's means that everybody’s ass is still up for kicks.