Sunday, December 28, 2014

The answer in Ann Arbor?

So apparently University of Michigan officials were in San Francisco to meet with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, suggesting that A) they think he's the guy to revive the House That Bo Built, and B) they've sufficiently money-whipped him that he's willing to listen.

I think "A" presupposes Harbaugh won't get "B"ed hard enough by other lusting NFL teams (Paging the Raiders ... paging the Bears), and that Harbaugh will therefore take the money and follow a path hardly any accomplished pro coach follows. How many head coaches who've gotten to a Super Bowl have gone back to the colleges?

And then there's this: "A" also presupposes Harbaugh actually is the guy to revive Bo's House.

I have my doubts.

I have my doubts, because when I look at Harbaugh all I see is a glammed-up version of Brady Hoke: A Michigan man who's a short-term fix. Hoke's fix lasted until he ran out of Rich Rodriguez' players. Harbaugh's would last until his ego and sandpaper management style harshed everyone's mellow in Ann Arbor, or until he was lured away by the right NFL job.

The only reason I can think Harbaugh's even listening to Michigan, other than the wads of cash it's throwing at him, is that he hasn't seen what he likes on the NFL market. The Raiders seem like a dead-end even for Harbaugh, given their Hooterville front office. Ditto the Bears, who have problems that extend far beyond Marc Trestman essentially throwing up his hands and giving up on Jay Cutler.

The O-line's still a mess. The defense remains softer than goose down. The Bears' front office hasn't adequately addressed  either of these problems, which makes you wonder if it ever will. If you're Jim Harbaugh, that should give you pause.

The issue I don't see with Harbaugh-to-the-Bears, frankly, is the one so many others see: How good a fit he'd be with Cutler. Two headstrong men in the same room would seem to be the setup for an epic train wreck, but maybe not. If Harbaugh's shown anything, it's that he's great with quarterbacks, particularly QBs with confidence issues. Under his hand, Alex Smith became an effective NFL quarterback, and Colin Kaepernick, this season notwithstanding, thrived. And that was largely because of Harbaugh's constant positive reinforcement.

So maybe Harbaugh's exactly what Cutler needs.

And Michigan?

Don't think Harbaugh's what Michigan needs. Not unless it wants to be hiring another coach in the next five years.

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