The San Francisco 49ers may have gutted out an admittedly ugly win against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday but that hasn’t stopped some reports from suggesting that Jim Harbaugh is on the verge of losing the 49ers locker room.
One unnamed 49ers veteran was quoted in an NFL Network report as stating that everyone’s job is on the line right now, including that of Jim Harbaugh.
“Let’s face it: For us, it has to be now. Because after this year, a whole lot of us could be gone, including the head coach.”
ESPN analyst and resident body language expert Trent Dilfer (who played for the 49ers for one season) said that the team is “toxic”, which he seemed to conclude based on how hunched the 49ers’ shoulders were during the Eagles game:
It was creepy, that’s the feeling I had in that game, it was creepy. Brutal on offense. In fact, it made me sick last night how great Frank Gore was, that throw Colin Kaepernick made to Stevie Johnson. They had 4,000 opportunities to do something on offense, because their defense was so good. They just kept getting the ball back, getting the ball back, getting the ball back.
Offensively, it’s frenetic, it’s spitball, it’s ugly — horrible clock management. I mean inexcusable clock management. Lack of energy by offensive players. Series ended and there was no communication, guys slouching their shoulders, just bad body language.
I do think it’s become almost toxic. Now winning fixes all that, so please everybody before you start flipping out, if they win a couple more, it’s all good. That’s just the way the NFL is. But (Sunday) was truly a must-win for the 49ers.
Deion Sanders also stated that there was friction between the Niners players and Harbaugh. To Sanders credit, he cited unnamed sources at the very least:
“They want him out. They’re not on the same page,” Sanders said on the NFL Network’s NFL Gameday Highlights Sunday night. “I really want to know if they’re really playing for the head coach. I got a question with that. Are you really down with your head coach, San Francisco 49ers? Because the way it looks and what I’m hearing, you’re really not down for your head coach. And that’s a problem.
“They really got some problems that we hear rumblings. We all know people inside locker rooms.”
Of course, Jim Harbaugh responded bluntly to the reports on Monday:
“Personally, I think that’s a bunch of crap,” Harbaugh said Monday after two NFL Network reports that quoted unnamed sources that the players have grown tired of him.
Harbaugh went as far as to mention Dilfer and Sanders by name, noting that both aren’t exactly day-to-day presences in the 49ers locker room:
“I haven’t seen Trent or Deion around much,” Harbaugh said.
According to Harbaugh, he has heard no complaints from players. He also stated that 49ers GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York have not come to him to voice any concern over the locker room or to voice the concerns of any players.
And while one couldn’t expect Harbaugh to say anything other than “everything’s fine folks,” it’s hard to imagine a coach who’s made three consecutive NFC Championship Games being on the hot seat.
At the very least, there needs to be more evidence available than Trent Dilfer’s eyes.