Jim Harbaugh, former 49ers coach, had only coached that team, from 2011-2014. Before that he was a Stanford coach, where he won an Orange Bowl. Once he left Stanford for the 49ers, he played 4 years. In his first three years, he made it to the NFC Championship all three times, but only made it to the Super Bowl once, and lost to the Ravens. But in 2014, everything changed. He had his worst year in the NFL, where the 49ers only went 8-8. He then left for Michigan, where he won the Citrus Bowl, going 10-3, made a rap video, and is currently going 3-0 this year. But what if he never left San Francisco.
Let’s start with the obvious. New coach Mike Tomsula wouldn’t be there, and they probably would have gotten a better record 5-11, worse than any of Harbaugh’s records. IN Kaepernick’s last year with Harbaugh, he made 3,369 yards, with a QBR of 86.4, and scoring 19 touchdowns. In his first year with Coach Tomsula, he had only 1,615 yards, a QBR of 78.5, and only 6 touchdowns. Perhaps a chunk of his stats were taken away Blaine Gabbert, Kaepernick’s competitor for starting quarterback, but still, that is a humongous drop. Also thanks to Coach Tomsula, Kaepernick has lost the ability to throw out of the pocket under pressure. For this first time in 10 years the 49ers were at the bottom of the NFC West standings. The entire 49ers team differencial dropped from -34 from Harbaugh’s last year to -149 in Tomsula’s first year. Harbaugh’s best year in this statistic was his first year when he had 151, the last year that was better than that was way back in 1995. Perhaps if Harbaugh stayed, all of Tomsula’s new ideas would not have gotten to the players, and they wouldn’t have had as bad of a season.
Even if his last year was his worst, that doesn’t mean that he was going to progressively get worse. A lot of key players didn’t play in some games. Aldon Smith served a 9-game suspension in the beginning of the year. Patrick Willis only played the first 6 games, then was out for the rest of the year, and you never know if he would have stayed in football if Harbaugh stayed. Vernon Davis missed a couple games. Navarro Bowman missed the entire year. Carlos Hyde missed the last two games. If Harbaugh stayed the next year, he could have used all of these players like he did in previous seasons.
This leads us to the 2016 draft. They do better this year so instead of the 7th and 28th pick they get the 25th pick. They pick up Artie Burns, CB which upgrades their second CB spot to a much better player. With their talents, the 2016 49ers, still with Jim Harbaugh. They make it to the playoffs, and that is as far as my “What if” eyes can go.