Jed York's next big decision

Jed York has a profile in mind for the 49ers' next coach, but he's smart to leave the hiring up to the general manager, whoever that person is.

Nobody knows what Jed York is up to today, but there's a good chance he's either drawing up a list of potential general manager candidates for the San Francisco 49ers or interviewing someone for the job.

One of the more impressive things York, the team's president and CEO, said Monday was that the process of finding a GM would begin this week. Another impressive thing he said was the GM – not York – would hire the next head coach.

Good decision. Remember, it was York who removed Singletary's interim tag in 2008 after the team won four of its last five regular-season games. But York, like everyone else at the time, was simply reacting to the emotion of a strong finish. It was his first significant move as president, and it was applauded by most fans.

We know how that turned out. Singletary was never a good fit. He had no real background as an NFL coach and had never been a defensive coordinator at any level. His motivational skills may have resonated briefly with players, but that only takes you so far in this league. At some point, a coach has to coach, and Singletary never did much of that.

You couldn't blame York for getting swept up in Singletary-mania, but it's to his credit that he finally realizes he's not the person to hire the next coach. And that's why he's going to find someone who will do it for him.

Of course, based on what we've seen so far, York is not about to step back entirely from the process. He has a profile of a head coach in his mind – he even said he wants someone who recognizes the team's offensive shortcomings – and the next GM will have to accept that the team needs someone with that kind of background.

It's clear that York is prioritizing the 49ers' needs: general manager, coach, quarterback. Everything else comes after that.

Assuming that's how it plays out, the likelihood of someone like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher being hired is slim. Both men wield too much power, and if they decide to leave the TV booth and return to the sideline, they'll want to choose their own GM, someone who will handle the day-to-day chores while ceding ultimate power to the coach.

That won't happen in York's current scenario. But that doesn't mean there aren't some viable candidates out there. Now that he's taken care of the nasty business of firing Singletary, it's time for York to find the right person to handle the football operations. Then he can return his attention to building a new stadium.

But frankly, we don't see Jed separating himself from the product. In the end, if the 49ers fail again, it will fall on him – and he knows it.

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