Can you hear it? It’s somewhat faint but definitely audible; those 49er fans who rallied against the firing of former head coach Mike Nolan last week and were even more adamant that the interim head coach should not be Mike Singletary. They’re calling for Singletary’s head already, after one loss. A loss in which the man didn’t even have a full week to prepare for nonetheless. Alright so “calling for his head” is a bit of an overstatement. I have no doubts though that there are more then a few followers of this team who would no doubt use this contest as a premature measuring stick on Singletary’s readiness to be a head coach. In fact one man in particular, if he were able to would be using this blog as his soundboard as to why the man should never have been elevated to such a lofty position in the first place.
Anyone with even an ounce of brain matter however would be able to deduce that such thoughts are completely erroneous and that making such judgments makes one look foolish and shortsighted.
-What about the foolishness of the 49ers front office in firing Nolan midseason?-
Foolishness is something that can be ridiculed and derided, that being the case, the firing of Mike Nolan cannot be construed as foolish. Now, the hiring of Mike Nolan, maybe… but certainly not the firing.
-What about naming a man who has never been a head coach on any level to that position with the 49ers?-
The fact of the matter is that Singletary was once again going to be given more opportunities to interview for vacant head coaching positions this offseason. I believe that the front office did themselves a favor in promoting him to the top for at least the remainder of this season. It’s truly a win-win situation for the York’s when contemplating how this season will play out. Either the fiery, passionate hall of fame linebacker turned coach will pull the locker room together and salvage some part of this season or he’ll lose the players altogether and be lucky to win two more games from here on out. Either way the team will enter 2009 with someone leading this team onto the field, they simply allow themselves to determine sooner then later whether it’s going to be Singletary or not.
A couple of things from yesterday’s game that really stood out for me. First and foremost was the handling of Davisgate 2008. I applaud Mike Singletary for how he not only spoke to the 49ers newly maligned tight end but how he sent the apparent prima donna to the showers when it was evident that the man had absolutely no comprehension of how his playground antics affected his teammates and in retrospect thought he did nothing wrong.
Singletary is no dummy, he has been with the team since Davis arrived via the sixth overall draft pick in 2006 and he has seen first hand how he has behaved with teammates and coaches. I for one believe that he had seen enough and since he was finally in a position to handle Davis in a way that Nolan never would have, he took the opportunity to send a message. This me first mentality where the team seemingly doesn’t matter is not going to fly with the new regime. Nolan always said as much that it wouldn’t fly with him either but he rarely did anything about it when one of his players would act out, let alone yank the player from a game. The message should have been clear before but in case it wasn’t, it surely is now.
Secondly, the benching of JT O’Fumblintercepivan was far overdue and Singletary wasn’t going to let the perceived stepping on offensive coordinators Mike Martz’s toes stop him from making a move that should have been made after the Eagles game three weeks ago. Is Shaun Hill the future at quarterback? Of course not, if that was the case he would have been starting when the season began. It’s abundantly clear though the O’Sullivan isn’t the future either. Why not give Hill a chance to showcase his talents? He can’t do any worse then his predecessor.
Listening to the Razor and Mr. T. today on KNBR 680 I took offense with something that was mentioned by Ralph Barbieri in regards to Singletary’s post game news conference. He said that the coach even mentioning that the players in the locker room wanted to be champions was irresponsible and “stupid” as he put it. So players and coaches expressing their aspirations to be champions of their sport resides under the irresponsible tag? If so then by Ralph’s summation no player or coach, regardless of how good or bad their team might be performing, should ever talk of their desire to climb the league mountain and reside at the crest of it come season’s end? Wow… just wow. Perhaps if Barbieri had actually participated in some form of organized sport, save for numerous hot dog eating contests, he might have better comprehension of this goal.
Singletary has officially named Shaun Hill the starting quarterback for the 49ers Monday night matchup on Nov. 10th in Arizona. Great move is all I can say here. O’Sullivan has had his chance to take this team where it hasn’t been in what’s going on six years now, perhaps Hill will fare better and then again perhaps not. Again though, things can’t get any worse then they’ve been, what with the team leading the league in turnover ratio at -10 as of yesterday. O’Sullivan has thrown 11 interceptions to only eight touchdowns and has fumbled 11 times with six of those being recovered by the other team. It’s time for a change.
Granted the 49ers have more issues then quarterback play alone. The offensive line is in shambles and the defensive line has proven it has almost zero ability to get pressure on the quarterback. That being said, play on the offensive side of the ball starts with the quarterback and quite simply, O’Sullivan has not gotten it done. Again, the team can’t do any worse with Hill at the controls. Time will tell if the move to make Singletary head coach was the correct strategy. One thing is for certain, it’s going to a fun-filled ride as we find out.