Nolan: Problem with 49ers systemic, 'they love you, then they hate you'

Nolan: Problem with 49ers systemic, 'they love you, then they hate you'

Mike Nolan had the so-called “trigger,” responsible for the final say on personnel matters during his first three seasons with the 49ers, beginning with his arrival in 2005.

That was the same year Trent Baalke arrived with the 49ers as an area scout responsible for the west region. Baalke worked under then-director of player personnel Scot McCloughan.

Nolan and McCloughan are long gone from the organization. And Baalke is the general manager of a team that finished 5-11 last season, fired coach Jim Tomsula after one season, replaced him with Chip Kelly, and has stumbled to a 1-6 start this year.

“The problem there in San Francisco, in my opinion, is systemic,” Nolan said during an appearance on CSN Bay Area’s 49ers Insider Podcast. “They love you, and then they hate you. They love the next guy, and then they don’t like him any more.

“Right now, unfortunately for Trent, he’s on the down slide. But about three years ago, he was the man, and there was a lot of love for him.”

[LISTEN: Mike Nolan reflects on time as 49ers coach and how it compares to now]

After the 49ers were eliminated from the playoff picture late in the 2014 season, the decision was made to part ways with coach Jim Harbaugh. Baalke promoted Tomsula from defensive line coach.

Only three starters from the 49ers’ Super Bowl team of 2012 remain on the 49ers’ 53-man roster: Colin Kaepernick, Joe Staley and Ahmad Brooks. The 49ers have been unable to freshen the lineup with players approaching the same levels as those who are no longer around.

But Nolan said he remains confident in Baalke’s ability to construct a winning roster.

“I think Trent is a good personnel guy. He has shown that. He’s done a good job,” Nolan said. “He was a lead scout for us when I was there. And (he) was the interim general manager when Scot was dealing with some personal issues when I was there in the fourth year (2008).

“So I think Trent does a very good job. I would hate to see Trent let go for anything after the season or if they dump it all on him, because when it comes to winning football games, you need to have good players, and you can do a lot worse than Trent Baalke when it comes to picking players.”

Nolan, whom CEO Jed York fired after the 49ers started 2-5 in 2008, noted Baalke was with the 49ers when the parameters were put into place of how the organization would go about constructing its roster. It is a system that Nolan said was installed over a period of years that took into account the ideals of Ozzie Newsome, Bill Parcells and Dan Reeves.

“When Harbaugh walked into there, believe me, as everybody knows, he walked into a pretty good situation with a great-looking football team,” Nolan said. “And that just doesn’t happen over night. That took us several years to get that thing in place, and part of that is staying on track.

“Now, the problem they’ve had as of late, as we all know, they’ve had a lot of continuity problems with players, whether it’s retirement – they’ve had a lot of strange things occur where they’ve lost some key guys. Trent is a very qualified guy to do his job, and I think he does a good job of it.”

Nolan said a lot of pieces are in place within the organization, including Paraag Marathe, whose football duties with the organization have not changed since having his title shifted from president to chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations.

“Paraag is a genius when it comes to the cap and contract negotiations, compensatory picks,” Nolan said. “And all those things affect winning on the field because they all affect players and how you can get good players. So there’s a lot of good in the building.

“Obviously, they have to get back on track with the personnel, but outside of that, they have to bring the building together again, in my opinion. Because when you hear a lot of rumblings on the outside that means there is some division on the inside. Otherwise, there would be no talk.”

There is no indication the 49ers plan to part ways with Baalke, who continues to travel throughout the country to scout college prospects. Baalke returned to the 49ers’ practice facility on Thursday after watching the Western Michigan-Ball State and Toledo-Akron games earlier in the week.

49ers sign free-agent wide receiver

49ers sign free-agent wide receiver

The 49ers, a team with no head coach and no general manager, on Thursday added their third player in the past week to a reserve/future contract.

The 49ers signed wide receiver Rashad Ross, a product of Vallejo High School. Ross has appeared in 20 NFL games the past three seasons with Chicago and Washington. In 2015, Ross caught eight passes for 184 yards and a touchdown in 13 games with Washington.

Ross (6 foot, 180 pounds) played collegiately at Arizona State via Butte College in Oroville. Ross caught 37 passes for 610 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 with the Sun Devils.

Washington released Ross on Dec. 22. In addition to seeing game against with Chicago and Washington, he has also been on the practice squads of Tennessee and Kansas City.

The 49ers also signed Nick Rose, a kicker who spent last offseason with the Atlanta Falcons, to a reserve/future contract on Wednesday. Rose made 27 of his 38 field-goal attempts duringhis four-year career at Texas.

Last week, the 49ers signed left-footed punter Brock Miller (Southern Utah) to a reserve/future contract. A reserve/future contract takes effect at the beginning of the new league year on March 9.

The 49ers’ personnel department remains intact after the firing of general manager Trent Baalke. Assistant general manager Tom Gamble and director of pro personnel Mike Williams are most likely responsible for the signings.

CEO Jed York said on Jan. 2 that the new head coach and general manager will have full power to assemble their staffs.

Shanahan wins NFL Assistant Coach of the Year

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Shanahan wins NFL Assistant Coach of the Year

Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the presumptive 49ers' next head coach, was announced Thursday as the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

Dallas’ Jason Garrett was selected as NFL Coach of the Year and Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie was chosen as NFL Executive of the Year in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan as head coach until the Falcons’ season has concluded. Atlanta plays host to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.

Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 5 during the Falcons’ bye week in the playoffs. He is scheduled for a second interview with the club next week, regardless of the outcome of the Falcons’ game Sunday.

Under Shanahan’s direction, the Falcons scored an NFL-best and franchise record 540 points, which tied the 2000 St. Louis Rams for eighth-most in NFL history. Atlanta’s 6,653 total yards ranks No. 13 in NFL history.

The Falcons finished as champions of the NFC South with an 11-5 record and the NFC’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, who was announced this week as the PFWA NFL Most Valuable Player, thrived in Shanahan’s offense. Ryan threw touchdown passes to a NFL-record 13 different receivers and led the league with a 117.1 passer rating.