Originally posted by kem99:
I hear what you're saying but not sure if it is truly a fair assessment:
1. Accountability and willingness to change course
You cannot objectively look at this season and say Singletary has not been accountable, held the players to be accountable and showed a willingness to change course. He changed from Hill to Smith when it became obvious Hill was not going to take the 49ers where they needed to go. Once Crabtree was signed, he moved him quickly into the starting line-up once he proved he could handle it. He demoted Bruce in favor of Morgan. He even took Clements out of the starting line-up.
Maybe accountable about certain players, but that's not what this thread is about. This is beyond just being a position coach and singling out individual players. It's a similar argument I have with the McCloughan apologists who only talk about the draft: a HC can't take a myopic view of the team. He has to be accountable for ALL of it, including the offensive game plan. Changing QBs was so obvious because Hill was completely ineffective and didn't have the arm strength nor athletic ability to escape the rush constantly allowed by a dreadful OL. So my question to you is, then who's ultimately responsible for fielding this line? Who's responsible for the repeated failures and reoccurring ineptitude of the game plan? When asked about this his response wasn't "yes, I'm responsible for getting this right"... it was "Mike Johns, Alex Smith and Jimmy Raye are all talking." What about the HC inserting himself and saying "hey guys, this isn't working so you need to change this." But the reason why he can't do that is because he simply doesn't have the coaching (X and O) chops to constructively critique, much like the Nolan/Hostler situation.
The 49ers are currently tied for last with the Bears for least number of rushing attempts, which is a staggering statistic given what was expected this year and what you read on these boards. One would think that notwithstanding the score, the 49ers have stuck to the 60/40 run/pass ration they aimed for at the start of the season.
The problem isn't the philosophy, it is the execution.
There's a simple and alarming explanation for this. The reason why the 49ers and Bears are last for the least number of rushing attempts because now in the majority of games, both teams are well behind and can't afford to run the ball to win. They HAVE to pass to catch up. This means your rushing attempts are going to tank and you have no balance in the 2nd half.
2. Football logic/understanding of X's and O's
The gist of this point seems to be that the team has to be a passing team to win in today's NFL and Singletary doesn't understand so the 49ers are getting beat. In 2008, the 49ers were a passing team with Martz as the OC. They averaged 21.2 points per game, threw 31.8 passes per game, has a 21/19 TD/INT ration and a QB ratio of 81.4. In 2009, the 49ers are averaging 20.8 points per game, attempting 31.1 passes per game, have a 14/9 TD/INT ratio and a QB rating of 80.3. The numbers are pretty similar across 2 philosophies from 2 different OC's.
In 2008, 9 of the top 12 teams in terms of pass attempts per game did not make the playoffs. In 2008, 8 of the top 13 teams in terms of yards did not make the playoffs and one of the 5 that did was the Chargers who were 8-8.
This year, the QBs whose teams are near the top in passing and are at or near the top of their divisions are: P. Manning, Brady, Warner, Brees, Rivers, Favre and Romo. The other division leader is C. Palmer despite the Bengals being 20th in terms of passing yards. By comparison, the 49ers have had a combination of S. Hill and A. Smith.
Points per game mean nothing if your opponents score more points than you do. Yes, the 49ers score on average 20.8 points a game but giving up an average of 21 points a game. This is because during the first half of most 49er games, the opponent has scored more points. And what cements this fact? 3rd down conversion. The 49ers are 28th in 3rd down conversion percentage, joining Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo and KC. That tells me the offense is not sustaining drives and explains why they're 23rd in the league in TOP. Furthermore, most of the 49ers scoring comes in the 2nd half of games - again proving that the offense led by Raye, accountable to Singletary is repeating the same repeatedly proven, failed offensive strategy.
Those criticizing the offense for its scheme and calling for a full-time use of the spread point to Smith's better numbers using that offense but never address exactly how many teams in the NFL run that kind of offense successfully. The Patriots probably use the shotgun-spread offense as much as anyone but, again, they have Tom Brady, have run it for a few years and have experienced receivers named Moss and Welker. The 49ers have Smith/Hill, are being asked by the fans to make it work on the fly when they prepared the entire off-season to run another offense and their best receivers are young and have had little time with their current starting QB. Even the Cardinals have been at their best, including their SB run, when they ran the ball well and had Warner under center more than in a shot-gun.
All of this is to say, it is not as easy to say the 49ers are behind the times in wanting to be a running team in a passing league and everything would be better if they just let Smith throw the ball more. What they are finding out is that they probably do not have the personnel to run the kind of offense Singletary wants. The OL is just not as good in its run blocking as it was in 2006. It is not the scheme, it is the execution. The OL has not run blocked or pass blocked consistently well.
This argument seem contradictory to me. You say the 49ers can't just become a passing offense, yet you argue above that the scoring average is up despite running less. Wouldn't that prove this argument moot? Don't your statistics prove that the 49ers are more effective when they pass vs when they get into a "Tiger" formation or I and try to pound the ball? Most of the 49ers TD have been receiving TD, not passing (Davis at one time lead the league in TD receptions). And it would seem you fall into the same trap as Singletary:
There is no RUN or PASS binary logic in the NFL. Teams adapt and (should) scheme to what accentuates their abilities the best. The 49ers most effective offense including Smiths TDs come mostly when he's out of the shotgun to Davis, the perfect seam pass between the safety, over the LB to the TE. When Alex reads this coverage, he's been almost money every time. Is it not possible as one reporter asked to run out of the shotgun? Singletary never answers this, but should be a question we all as fans ask of a long tenured OC. Can he be more creative to weave in runs with the shotgun formation? Where's the rule that you MUST run out of a running formation effectively and you MUST pass out of a passing formation effectively. Creativity is needed here. As long we convince ourselves that somehow the offensive strategy is limited to what we've seen, we buy into the same limited approach this coaching staff has taken.
Furthermore, what do you have to lose at 4-6? Really. Risk? Are you serious? Why NOT make it up on the fly. Who cares about statistics here. You're a team that's two games below .500 and 3 games out of the division title, and a very small chance of making it to the playoffs without some extreme help. Why not risk it? Why not become creative? Again this cements what we've seen - the "play not to lose" philosophy vs playing to win. I'd much rather have a loss and the team trying to execute a great game plan for 60 minutes than some hurried, sudden realization that what hasn't been working for 30 minutes needs to be re-evaluated. It will always create the question: "why didn't we do that from the start?"
I felt from the beginning of this year that the most important thing to come out of this season was for the 49ers to find out if their QB of the future was on the roster or they needed to go get a new QB. That is still the case and it is still an open question on Smith. Until the 49ers solve that question, seasons like this are going to continue regardless of who the coach, GM or OC happen to be.
And this is where we disagree. I don't think it's just a player problem. My hope from the beginning of the season is that the 49ers would win - at all costs despite who was on the roster. I hoped that our GM would answer the questions set forth at the beginning of the off-season (RT, pass-rush, safety). I hoped that Jimmy Raye would actually be creative. I hoped that Singletary would have enough football knowledge to recognize when he could or could not implement certain philosophies given his team's abilities before declaring an approach. I had hoped he wouldn't keep starting damn Chilo Rachal! I had hope the HC would not have cut our best option at KR before solidifying his replacement. That act alone cost us at least one win (Houston).
I was, was a Singletary supporter. After today's presser however, he had no answers. He had no explanation. He had nothing but a motivational speech about "we will do it" but can never tell you how.
That's what we call where I'm from an empty sales pitch.
[ Edited by NinerGM on Nov 23, 2009 at 7:49 PM ]