'Coach' Trent Baalke's input welcomed on 49ers' defensive side of the ball

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Is it that big a deal that San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke is “coaching up” some of the team’s defensive backs?

On one hand, a GM’s job is simply to cobble together a winning roster and get out of the way and let the coaches do their thing. On the other hand, what’s the harm, so long as Baalke is not micromanaging and secondary coach Tim Lewis is allowed to do what he is are paid to do with the Niners secondary?

The way defensive coordinator Eric Mangini sees it, it’s no big deal.

“When you have that title … your bounds are different,” Mangini said Wednesday. “It’s the same thing if you’re the owner or wherever you are in the structure. You have to look at the big picture. You have to look at everything, and if you feel like there’s something that needs to be said or that you feel like there’s something that could help somebody, you’re going to do it.”

The Niners have the No. 26-ranked passing defense in the NFL.

“I know as a head coach I would do it to different positions or different areas if I felt strongly about something or if I felt I wanted to communicate something to somebody,” Mangini said, adding he saw the likes of Mike Holmgren in Cleveland and Mike Tannenbaum in Miami do similar things.

“Trent’s always been on the field, and he talks to all the guys,” Mangini said.

“(General managers are) vested, not just from a picking-players and putting together a roster (standpoint), but also watching their development. It’s a positive thing when you have a consistent message coming from all the different levels. I think that’s a good thing … Trent’s always been on the field at different points.”

This seeming tempest in a teapot, then, began when defensive backs Jaquiski Tartt, the Niners’ second-round draft pick this past spring, and Jimmie Ward, the team’s first-round selection in 2014, told reporters on Tuesday that Baalke had been giving pointers on the practice field.

“When you see him, he’s always going to coach something,” Tartt said of Baalke, “so you have to be ready for it. He’s pretty cool.”

Ward agreed.

“He’s like another coach,” Ward said. “Sometimes I make a mistake and be like, ‘Coach Trent?’

“He’s correcting my techniques, too, when I’m on the field … I don’t mind that.”