We recently put a poll on this site asking fans whether or not they felt San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan should be with the team next season. At the time of this writing, almost 92% of the fans feel that he should not be here anymore. After a 2-1 start, the 49ers entered the meat of their early schedule and have now dropped their last two games to fall to 2-3. They were completely outmatched in New Orleans. However, fans felt a little more confident about the matchup against New England. After all, the team had lost their best player for the season with quarterback Tom Brady's injury and was coming off of an embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins. Sure they are the defending AFC Champions, but this is not the same team that went 18-1 last season.

Against the 49ers defense, the Patriots ran their longest play of the season when Matt Cassel completed a 66-yard pass for a touchdown to Randy Moss in the first quarter. Actually, the 49ers offense played pretty well in the first quarter. You throw out J.T. O'Sullivan's interception drive, which was one play long, and the offense scored during two of their first three possessions jumping on top of New England by the score of 14-7. However, good coaches make good adjustments to counter what the opposition is doing and New England definitely has a good coach in Bill Belichick. On the other side of the field, the 49ers' coaching staff seems to be incapable of making adjustments to what the opposition is doing. Or when they do make adjustments, it leaves the fans scratching their heads wondering what they are thinking.

The team moved to more conservative schemes on both sides of the ball after the first quarter. While there are holes on offense and defense, the team should have enough talent to at least compete with a lot of teams in the NFL. That is what makes watching this team so much more frustrating than last year. Last season, fans pretty much knew the team was going to lose. This season, the team offers hope, but never really delivers. For most fans, it is painful to watch this team. One fan even said that it is comical to watch the team on Sundays. While it is sad that it has come to this, that attitude seems to be a bit healthier.

While the talent has improved since Nolan took over, what fans are seeing on the field has not. The team typically looks unprepared and unwilling to do what is necessary to win football games. The coaching staff refuses to utilize the strengths of this team.

One example would be running back Frank Gore. He is the team's best weapon on offense. The 49ers are 10-3 when Gore rushes for over 100 yards in a game. During those 10 wins, the 49ers handed the ball off to Gore an average of 26.4 times per game. This season, the 49ers are handing the ball off to Gore 17.6 times per game. This includes the only game where he carried the ball more than 19 times, a win against Detroit where he rushed 27 times. Last week against New England, he rushed only 12 times. You would think that one of the goals on offense would be to utilize your best weapon. Apparently, the 49ers have a different game plan. This stat is a bit scarier considering the knock on offensive coordinator Mike Martz was the fact that he would often abandon the run in favor of the pass. That certainly seemed to be the case during Sunday's loss.

It is interesting to note that during the television broadcast on Sunday, the commentators talked about Tom Brady so much that if I did not know better, I would have thought he was playing in the game. When J.T. O'Sullivan made a mistake, they were quick to defend him by bringing up the fact that this was only his fifth start. Never did they mention that the quarterback on the other side of the ball, the one completing all the passes and looking like a veteran (our defense tends to do that to a number of quarterbacks), has two fewer NFL starts than O'Sullivan and has been in the league 3 fewer seasons. The difference is that he seems more prepared.

Nolan has already lost the fans. He may only be a couple of losses away from losing the team if players like Frank Gore and Patrick Willis, the team's two biggest stars, do not start winning some games. The bad news is that the two teams next on the schedule are Philadelphia and the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Toward the end of Sunday's game, as New England continued to eat at the clock with first downs, Gore's frustration was obvious as he sat on the sidelines. After the game, Willis refused to speak with the reporters waiting in the locker room.

The 49ers were 2-3 at this point last season, the same record they hold now. You can bring up all the stats and rankings you want to try and prove that this team has improved, but the bottom line is wins and losses. That is all that matters in the NFL. Nolan got schooled by Belichick on Sunday. The only problem is that fans are starting to wonder if he is capable of learning.