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.

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Michael Wilhoite has spent his whole five-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.

But now the free agent inside linebacker is reportedly switching sides in the NFC West rivalry. Wilhoite is set to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. 

Terms of the deal are unknown at this time. 

Wilhoite, 30, played in all 16 games last season for the 49ers, starting in only six. In 2016 he recorded 55 tackles, 30 less than 2015 in four less games, and forced one fumble. 

After earning a promotion from the 49ers' practice squad in 2012, Wilhoite's career in the Bay Area comes to an end with 268 tackles and three interceptions in 65 games. 

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NEW YORK -- NFL owners will consider proposals next week to cut regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10; eliminate players leaping over the line on kick plays; and expansion of coaches' challenges and what can be reviewed by officials.

In what promises to be a busy annual meeting next week in Phoenix that will include discussing the Raiders' potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, the 32 owners also will vote on changing the mechanics on replay reviews and other items intended to reduce downtime during games.

The Eagles proposed four rules changes, including abolishing the leaping techniques that league football operations director Troy Vincent said Thursday "don't belong in the game."

Seattle and Buffalo co-authored a proposal allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, whether a foul is called or not.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week," NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino said.

Another major change would be the reduction of overtime in-season; the extra period in the playoffs would remain at 15 minutes. The powerful competition committee, of which Vincent and Blandino are members, believed it's a player safety issue, noting that number of snaps for games going to OT - especially deep into the overtime - is excessive. Especially if a team has a quick turnaround.

"We don't know where a team is going to be playing the next week, it could be four days later," said committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. "We felt we should put an end to it. We don't think it will lead to more ties. Could it? It could, but we are not concerned with that."

As for changing the format of overtime to ensure both teams always get a possession - a popular topic after how the Super Bowl ended - Blandino said the league's wants to keep the element of sudden death in the extra period.

The "leaper rule" has taken some priority among competition committee members, the players' union and coaches. Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can "create a real safety issue."

"It is really in the best interest of the game" to outlaw leaping on kicks," Vincent added.

McKay noted that the NCAA is in the process of passing a similar ban on the technique.

During the meetings that run from Sunday to Wednesday, the teams will be shown plays the competition committee believes should result in suspensions or ejections. Game officials already have had the leeway to eject players, but it rarely has happened; there were three in 2016.

"They don't happen very often, let's give the players credit," McKay said. "We have 40,000 plays in a year. We'll show a tape that will have four or five plays that would warrant suspension. This is not a widespread situation."

Added Vincent, a former NFL defensive back: "When you see the plays, they are catastrophic. We had two players who did not return for the season. They are high-impact plays that belong out of the game. It will be a real point of emphasis this season."