The 49ers are expected to fire head coach Jim Tomsula, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, citing a league source. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report has since tweeted confirmation of Florio’s report, though he adds (via Twitter) that no final decision has been made. Florio adds that the team is expected to retain GM Trent Baalke.
Tomsula, in his first season as San Francisco’s head coach after serving as the club’s defensive line coach from 2007-2014, was not blessed with a smooth transition to the top job. Although he was hand-picked by the organization to replace Jim Harbaugh, it would have been nearly impossible to live up to the standard that Harbaugh established, especially when the 49ers suffered through an unprecedented exodus of talent before the 2015 season even began. The team has stumbled to a 4-11 record, and as Florio writes, the record does not adequately reflect how disastrous this year has been. Nine of the 49ers’ 11 losses have come by double digits, and when combined with the team’s general lackluster effort and sloppy play, it has become increasingly clear that Tomsula is in over his head.
Florio names the recently-fired Chip Kelly as an “intriguing possibility” to replace Tomsula–if the 49ers ultimately choose to keep Colin Kaepernick, that is–and the PFT scribe also notes that Mike Holmgren has repeatedly expressed interest in the job.
Baalke, meanwhile, will return for his sixth season as San Francisco’s GM, and assuming Tomsula does, in fact, get the axe, Baalke will get the chance to hire his third head coach. Florio writes that the strong relationship between Baalke and owner Jed York is expected to save Baalke’s job for at least another year, but Baalke’s long-term future with the club likely hinges on his getting the next hire right. The hiring of Tomsula, whom the 49ers knew better than a team ever knows a head coaching candidate, is an embarrassment for the club and a black mark on Baalke’s otherwise solid track record.