Was Tomsula a 49ers stop gap?

Jim Tomsula looks to the heavens during another 49ers defeat

Jim Tomsula was never going to last three years in the 49ers’ coach hot seat.

Last January San Francisco’s CEO, Jed York, unveiled the team’s former Defensive Line Coordinator to the world and declared that the new man at the helm of this once great franchise would be the teacher his players needed to help guide them towards that elusive sixth Super Bowl win.

Tomsula sat in that first press conference looking like a PE teacher suddenly thrust upon the media. His performance behind the microphone left many wondering if this teacher was ready to graduate to the big time.

He came across as a player’s manager. The team appeared to relish his coaching style. It was plain for all to see in their reaction to the opening 20-3 win over the Vikings in Week 1.

That was the only highlight in an otherwise abysmal season. At the same time as their coach was trying to find his feet, the team looked lost on the field. Too often they were seen looking to the sideline for answers and too often he was appeared gormless, looking toward the heavens for answers.

So it came as no surprise when the franchise announced they had terminated Tomsula’s contract just minutes after their 19-16 overtime win at home to the Rams. That result was their only divisional win of the season.

Tomsula had his challenges. You don’t lose the likes of Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Mike Iapati and Chris Borland in a single offseason and expect to challenge the NFL’s elite. But the fans expected more than the lacklustre performances they witnessed in 2015.

Jed York said on Monday that club won’t be appointing their new head coach from within. He told 49ers Faithful that he wants a leader.

It’s interesting that the owner has gone from wanting a teacher to head his troops to a leader. So, was Tomsula promoted to steady the ship through a difficult transitional period?

Was York holding out for the leader he desired, knowing that his leader would become available within a year or two? Is that why he stuck Jimmy in there until his man became available?

Is that man Sean Payton? The Saints boss is reportedly interested in the 49ers hot seat and offers that leadership their CEO craves.

He comes at a price with a second round pick being touted. His proven track record is worth more than what an unproven rookie would bring.

Payton has the attributes to move a talented squad of youngsters onto the next level in one of the most difficult divisions in the league.

There will be a lot of speculation in the coming weeks and whether Payton is indeed the man York has been longing for since Jim Harbaugh’s departure remains to be seen.

The Saints coach is the ace in a pack of contenders working their way through the coaching merry go round. He might be the hand Jed York has been wanting to play.

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