Well, it became apparent over the last few days that Jim Harbough would be coaching in the NFL in 2011, and it's now official that he'll be leading the San Francisco 49ers after singing a 5 year, $25 million deal with the Niners Friday.
I am writing this before the press conference, and I have no idea on which coaches Harbough plans to retain or which ones he'll let go, but right now, you have to be feeling pretty good if your a 49ers fan. After a flat-out disappointing showing in 2010, the 49ers didn't even allow Mike Singletarry to finish the season as head coach. So, for the first time since signing Mike Nolan, the 49ers started their offseason without a Head Coach. That didn't last long though, as they had their sites set on Harbough, and blew him out of the water with their offer. I don't know how much Eddie D. had to do with this move, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the 49ers targeted their man and got him after bringing Debartolo into the mix. Now I'm curious to see who Harbough retains on the 49ers coaching staff. I'm hoping for a whole new philosophy, like no more 3-4 defense and a much more aggressive offensive attack, and I think Harbough will end up implementing both of those things.
Now, all that said, and as much as I endorse this signing, bringing Harbough in itself isn't going to turn this 49er team into a 10-game winner, they still have a ways to go and really need to figure out an identity both offensively and defensively. First and foremost, they need to figure out who exactly will be behind center for them next fall. There aren't really any free agents who stick out at you as potential QB's to build around. Mike Vick and Peyton Manning are both potential free agents, but Manning isn't going anywhere and I think Vick has found a home in Philly. The Niners could decide to deal for a quarterback, and if they do decide to go that route, one option I'd look into would be Philly's Kevin Kolb. The disgruntled youngster has never gotten the opportunity he was expecting in Philly, and he has done some very good things for that offense when given a chance. He's got kind of arm and decision making ability to be a starter in this league, no doubt, and right now, between free agents, and guys who could be realistically be available through trade, he'd be my top choice. They could still decide to go through the draft again for their QB, but after the Alex Smith failure, I think they may want to go with more of a sure thing. Andrew Luck would have been a legitimate target, but unfortunately, he's going back to Palo Alto for his junior year.