Adam Schefter's Insider piece explains why the San Francisco 49ers' coaching vacancy might not interest Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. The reasoning overlaps some of the thinking I outlined on the blog.
My earlier logic did not compute for one 49ers fan. Dan, reaching out via Facebook, offered this counterpoint:
Mike, this has been bugging me. Why is the 49ers' GM and head coaching job being seen as undesirable? They have a lot of good players in place -- better than, let's say, the Broncos or Panthers. Analysts make it seem like no high-profile head coach will want to go to SF and it's a complete Dumpster fire. I don't get it. The team just seems like it's a coach and quarterback away. Why do the other head coaching jobs appeal more than SF appeals?
Some of the other vacancies and potential vacancies do not come with some of the potential concerns Adam and I outlined. You are right in saying we shouldn't pretend the 49ers' job has no appeal. Among the reasons a coaching candidate, high-profile or otherwise, should strongly consider the 49ers' opening:
The team already has playmakers on both sides of the ball. Patrick Willis is arguably the best inside linebacker in the game. The front seven is tough overall. Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis give the offense talented building blocks. All the players mentioned in this paragraph were high draft choices. All remain young. A lot of the heavy lifting has already been done in San Francisco.
A coach with impressive credentials should be strong enough to navigate whatever issues might arise internally. An established coaching candidate should not fear a potentially impressionable 29-year-old team president, should he?
The new coach would not inherit someone else's quarterback project. Mike Singletary had to give it a go with Alex Smith. The new coach could start over at the position. That is more appealing, in some ways, than inheriting projects such as Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow. The new coach would have time to find his own quarterback and the clock wouldn't start ticking loudly until one was aboard.
The new coach would walk into a winnable division. Sure, the St. Louis Rams have a franchise quarterback, but no other team in the division seems to have one. The 49ers have more talent than the other teams in the NFC West.
The more relevant question might be whether the 49ers are interested in high-profile candidates. Multiple reports have suggested they'll go with a less glamorous choice.