James is back people… sorry for the hiatus. I recently moved back to California and upon doing so have been without internet for most of the last month and a half. This dilemma is over and I have since been able to secure a reliable mode of getting online on a consistent basis. Not as though anyone really missed me I’m sure, just wanted to let you guys know that I will once again be more of a constant here at 49ersnews.com.
So another season in the NFL has come and gone, at least for the teams who were not fortunate enough to make an appearance in the postseason festivities that are currently underway in various cities across the country.
For the San Francisco 49ers the events that have transpired since the early parts of September mean that the team, once a proud and highly regarded franchise in the league, has missed the playoffs for a club record sixth consecutive season. Much to the chagrin of the fan base and one would hope the ownership this team has been in complete and utter disarray for most of the last six years; right abut the time in which Dennis Erickson and Terry Donahue took over as head coach and general manager respectively.
There appeared to be a light at the end of the tunnel once the club made amends for their blunder and jettisoned the two men, naming Mike Nolan the new head coach, one who seemingly had a knack for aggressive defenses and had surrounded himself with what seemed like competent assistant coaches. This was also not to be however as has been witnessed since this event took place and the four and a half failed campaigns with Nolan at the helm.
Once again the team seems to have righted itself, at least in the now, as they have recently named one time interim head coach Mike Singletary as head coach with a new 4-year contract that will pay the man 10 million dollars over that span. This was the right move on all accounts and one would be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees with that sentiment. Singletary compiled a 5-4 record in his late season stint calling the shots from the sideline and his ability to rally his players and their overall trust in him were both likely key to him securing such a position.
All signs seem to point to changes for the better with Singletary in control and we need look no further then the recent news that he has interviewed and hired former 49ers fullback and running backs coach Tom Rathman for the same position which the genius Erickson removed him from upon the end of his first season in San Francisco. The new head coach as made it quite apparent that he intends to instill a more powerhouse offensive style which will set up the pass, a return to the conventional wisdom and philosophy of the late, great Bill Walsh. “I want to be able to impose our will on the other team at the end of games,” said Singletary.
In order to accomplish this he first removed offensive coordinator Mike Martz from his post almost immediately after the season concluded. This was viewed by some to be a hasty and altogether negative move being that the team will soon be introducing it’s sixth OC in as many season, something many pundits have pointed to as a major reason for the teams lack of success in recent years. This was however a decisive shift in coaching personnel, one which I believe will pay dividends in the end for the organization.
There are many questions which have yet to be answered since the 49ers last game on December 28th. Can Singletary hire a good offensive coordinator, someone who can and will install his offensive vision and philosophy with this team? Will he have the ability to effectively evaluate talent when free agency and the draft arrive in the coming months? Is he going to be an effective leader for his team and continue what he has started in the second half of this season? There is no way to answer these questions with any true form of certainty however if his performance over the nine games he coached are any indication, a time in which he truly earned his position, then he has a better shot at attaining these goals then anyone else the team could have hired to succeed him.