A Wagon With No Wheels is Really More of a Tent

Nolan has dysentery (Oregon Trail, Wagon Wheel, Get it?) ah nevermind

Nolan has dysentery (Oregon Trail, Wagon Wheel, Get it?) ah nevermind

And tents, as we know, don’t go anywhere.

There was a time, a time before quarterback controversies and lowered expectations, when as a collective fan base, 49er fans were, to use the slogan, Rollin’ with Nolan. Talent was being assembled, a young QB was maturing under the watch of one of the league’s best offensive minds, and progress was being shown, offering a glimmer of hope for a future that could have ranked around the brightest of the bright.

Fast forward to now.

Wait, can I not? Can I rewind? No? Gotta fast forward…fine.

Many things remain the same. There is talent abounding. One of the league’s best offensive minds is in tow. Progress has been shown, albeit not where one would have assumed it would have shown. But the big difference is that nobody, and I mean nobody, is Rollin’ with Nolan any longer.

What a difference a year makes (just ask Dennis Erickson).

Let me state a few things for the record:

1) I did not want Mike Nolan as head coach. I was initially in favor of Jim Fassel, a retread, but a retread with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt.

2) I did not want Alex Smith. I hoped (like everyone else) that the 49ers could trade down. If they were stuck at #1, I was hoping for Braylon Edwards. I thought Tim Rattay had shown some promise…enough to warrant a good look. I did, however, prefer Alex Smith to Aaron Rodgers head-to-head.

3) 2006 made me buy in. I started getting behind the coach and the player prior to that to some degree, but like many I was really on board the what-I-thought-was-a-bullet-train to a Super Bowl down the road after a promising 7-9 season.

4) 2007 did not make me buy out. The expectations were unrealistic, the Norv Turner dog-and-pony-show was crippling, and Alex Smith fought with some tough injuries. I considered myself a realist. I liked the hiring of Mike Martz, and I was still on board the now-it’s-a-choo-choo-train-at-the-zoo.

5) July 30 made me buy out. As an aside, July 30 is my birthday, so buying out on my birthday is somehow doubly cruel. July 30 was the day JT O’Sullivan ascended the throne to become the “we haven’t made any decisions yet” starting QB.

I consider myself a straight shooter. I’m a musician for a living. You can fly across the country (or the world) and pay every expense of a trip to audition for a job, only to play your instrument for less than one minute and be told “thank you, next.” Criticism abounds, and you know very quickly where you stand. So a little honesty (like “save your money because we already have someone in mind for the trombone opening”) goes a long way with me.

Which is why the current quarterback situation is so bloody troublesome.

Look, Coach, I’m not a genius. But I have a Master’s Degree, I got an 1160 on my SATs, and both my girlfriend and my mom tell me I’m special, so you’ll have to excuse me if I take a surprisingly high degree of offense when you tell me that this is an open competition. According to my mom, I solved a fairly intricate logic puzzle from the back of a magazine when I was 6 years old, and my glasses cost $200, so I can put together a few things in the old noodle with this glorious gift I’ve been given called being a human being with even a modicum of reason and intellect.

Let me see if I can put this together. JT O’Sullivan takes all practice snaps with the 1st team offense. JT O’Sullivan has started the first two preseason games, and will start the third game as well. JT O’Sullivan is not the starting quarterback. It is an open competition. Am I right so far?

You can see how that looks a tad confusing, can’t you Coach? Maybe you should call a timeout and think about it for a second and get back to me.

Meanwhile, I’m going to sit back and hope that you get the hell out of the way long enough for this team to pray to any Gods out there that will listen for even ape-level QB play, there by enabling the rest of this rather talented squad to make a run at this Katrina/9-11/Iraq fiasco they call the NFC West.

And I hope that sometime soon you roll with the lovely Mrs. Nolan down to the unemployment office. You’ll probably run into Alex Smith there. You’ll remember him…he’s the one who lost the open competition.

  • Little Caesar

    Hear, hear. Butttt Smith hasn't had a chance to learn the offense. His couch in college said "if given the chane to learn the offense he's great." Learn the offense?? He get's another one every year. If he could get his timing down he would be heads above 3rd string JTO. He just needs a bit more time (and work). He will be starting before long.

  • Mike

    Nolan what happen to the Get Rollen with Nolan. Yes, O’Sullivan made some points but I have agut feeling that Smith is the best QB that 49ers have and you are not giving him a fair chance to show what he can do under the new OF Coach. Wake up Nolan and smell the coffee and listen to the team and people talking to you before it is to late.

  • mouse


  • Rob

    At this point, the only thing I can pray for is that J.T. O'Sullivan is an undiscovered gem of the NFL (like a Kurt Warner or more recently Derek Anderson) and that the Niners will have an unexpected breakout season. It is possible. As long as JTO is that undiscovered gem, we have a rookie WR that could be something special in Morgan, a RB that could have a big year under Martz, and a maturing defense with enough talent to get the job done. So, an unexpectedly good season is possible. I think it all depends on JTO and if Nolan can actually coach, or if he is a bust, after all. Personally I just don't think, and never have thought, that Nolan was all that great. I almost hope we tank this year so that we can bring in a real coach…

  • Billy

    Get Smith to cut his 9.9999 mil $ contract and give the jerk off insentives that should be enough to get him motivated, heck I hope Cards release Kurt Warner!!! Then wed be playoff bound for sure

  • Samra

    bottomline im a 49er fan and not a alex smith fan…if he proves himself fine if he doesnt o well…its not like it’ll be the first time the ownership fucked up…nolans been a huge mistake and im just ready for 2009 this year is looking to shape up into a disaster…no solid QB…a horrible o-line like always…crappy raggedy WRs (ie bryant johnson, ashley lelie)…a horrible NT…weak safety play (ie mark roman)…and horrible decisions by Nazi Mike “your eyes are deceiving you” Nolan

  • Niner Pundit

    Little Caesar…I’d love it if my couch could talk.

  • Nice piece there Crack and spot on as far as I can see.

    *Waits for MSouza to chime in with his don’t be upset that there is an open comeptition QB drivel*

    I really fail to see how O’Sullivan is some diamond in the rough who is going to magically take over and lead this team to greatness. Smith on the other hand is a former #1 pick and one who I believe has the ability to lead and be a good quarterback in the this system. He is not being given a chance and until he gets some real work with the first team offense he won’t be. In short I agree with Erik here coach, don’t claim it’s an open competition when only one player is taking first team reps and starting three preseason games as well.

    In my second season preview I stated that Smith should be starting if for no other reason then that the team needs to know what it has with him. I will stand by that because the JTO Show is going to come to a screeching halt and when it does people like Erik and I will be here to tell you we told you so.

  • ShaneO

    This is the greatest article of all time!! i been saying it for weeks, i always supported Nolan and the 49ers cuz im a true faithful and thats what we do, but im so fuckin sick of his lies and bullshit all while he thinks he is so clever. the irony is i do hopes he keeps his job cuz that means we made the playoffs and i didnt have to suffer thru another miserable sept-dec with every sunday absolutly ruined!! i guess go JTO!!! (God help us)

  • Mungo

    I was actually all for Jim Schwarz myself. Hey, we could still get him at the end of this year. Guessing which co-ordinators will make good HCs is a bit of a lottery, but you could start by picking one who actually is a great co-ordinator (Nolan made the Ravens D look good…..a monkey could have run that D with Lewis, McAllister, Reed et al at their peak).

    For the record, I would have supported Nolan through another losing season with Smith under center, seeing what we really have with him. If he’s going to arse around with JTO as his “win now” guy, then he deserves to be fired for stupidity.