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The 49ers tried to end a two-game losing streak with the limping Philadelphia Eagles visiting on Sunday. Instead, they mismanaged themselves to another loss in yet another winnable game. The 40-26 loss drops the team to a 2-4 record as they fall further behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West. With rumors originating from Yahoo! Sports that Mike Nolan may be fired if he does not win a game prior to the bye week, the end may be near for the San Francisco head coach.
You can see that the stress is building for Nolan. He can now be seen yelling at players after they make a mistake on the field. After all, his job is on the line and his 2008 campaign to prove his worth is failing miserably.
It may be time for Nolan to hit the panic button and make a big trade to bring some more talent to the 49ers. After all, if he doesn't, future draft picks will be of no concern for him because he won't be employed by this team anymore. Earlier this week, it was reported that the Lions and Bengals were listening to offers for receivers Roy Williams and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The 49ers have been mentioned as one of the teams interested in both players. Nolan may be willing to trade future picks for one of these players to start opposite Isaac Bruce, finally giving the team some real firepower on offense.
While it is easy to blame ownership for the fall of the 49ers, it is the lack of leadership in Nolan that dragged this team down. That is not to say that ownership is innocent in this mess. After all, they hired Nolan. The team's next coach needs to be a proven winner and someone that can properly use the team's talent. Isaac Bruce can still play and Frank Gore has proven to be the team's best offensive weapon. Even tight end Vernon Davis, who has been falling out of favor with fans, looks good with his 6 receptions for 75 yards. However, it is a bit frustrating to see a couple of dozen screens (obviously an exaggeration for those that were getting ready to rewind their DVR's and count) every game. Especially when opposing teams and even every day fans know that they are coming. They just aren't working. On defense, the team has a good nucleus of talent to build around in linebacker Patrick Willis, defensive end Justin Smith and cornerback Nate Clements.
If the team were to fire Nolan during the season, which I doubt ownership would actually do because they tend to avoid any type of decision making until after the season has ended, it may be worth it to see if assistant head coach Mike Singletary or offensive coordinator Mike Martz could do any better. Martz has commented that he has no desire at the moment to be a head coach again and is perfectly happy just calling the plays. He may change his mind if the vacant spot is right in front of him. Singletary on the other hand does have a strong desire to become an NFL head coach. Both men are more respected by players than Nolan. Martz if often referred to as an offensive genius by his former players and defensive players respect Singletary because of his accomplishments as a player with the Chicago Bears.
While quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan is not the main reason for the miscues on offense, if the team had a capable backup, fans may already be screaming for a change at the position. However, I am not ready to scream out, "Let's see what Shaun Hill can do!" With Alex Smith being out for the season, the youngster, who is also probably in his last season with the team, is not an option either. The only other quarterback on the roster is the 38-year old Jamie Martin, who was signed because of Smith's injury. So for now, the team will have to work with O'Sullivan, who is the most familiar with Martz's system.
Next up are the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants ... IN New York. At the time of this writing, they are 4-0 and play the Cleveland Browns on Monday night.
On a side note, 49ers running back Frank Gore had a 100+ yard game against the Eagles with 101 yards on the ground. The team's record when Gore rushes for over 100 yards drops to 10-4.