San Francisco (4-6)
The reality is that the Niners — despite their comeback in Green Bay — aren’t a playoff team yet. They’ve had too many games where their defense has vanished, and QB Alex Smith isn’t ready to make a playoff run. I’ll agree that this team is close, but that doesn’t matter in ’09. – Matt Bowen, National Football Post
Consider instead the larger picture, which Singletary himself hinted at a couple of times early in his news conference - that the offensive line in its present state is not yet trustworthy enough to keep Smith upright in any offense.
And the even larger picture, that the 49ers' 22nd-ranked defense isn't much better than its 27th-ranked offense. Evidently, if the 49ers can throw the ball, it doesn't much matter that the other teams can throw at them with even greater ease. So that's just how it's going to be. The offense isn't suited to the personnel, or it isn't suited to Singletary's biorhythms, or both - which, intriguingly enough, is exactly what was said back in August when the 49ers were going to be a running team.
It seems clear, as opposed to superficially noticeable, that the 49ers still lack sufficient personnel to run any offense well enough if their defense isn't going to be half as good as it needs to be. – Ray Ratto, San Francisco Chronicle
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/11/24/SP5A1APANK.DTL#ixzz0Xt9XbCTT
The Niners have talent, but they are still a year away when it comes to the playoffs. – National Football Post
"Vernon Davis is a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end right now. (Michael) Crabtree is legitimate. Frank Gore is legit. (The 49ers) have three guys there who can make plays, but the offensive line is in disarray. Losing (OLT Joe) Staley really hurts them. (OLG Chilo) Rachal and (OLG David) Baas are bad. And the quarterback (Alex Smith) had one good half when he came off the bench, but he has come back to where he was when they benched him." – Pro Football Weekly
Maybe, just maybe, you guys are overreacting. You guys are frustrated and angry with losing, understandably so. Hell, I am. But Singletary needs time. Mike Nolan was given 4 years for god’s sake. What you guys are failing to see is that cleaning house so soon has an impact on the next hire.
I think the problems are talent related.
Quarterback & Offensive Line
You guys are upset with Mike Singletary’s straight-forward idea of offense, because it’s a stark difference from what we are accustomed to seeing. In order to be able to run the ball and impose your will on the defense, you have to have an offensive line that can win their individual one-on-one matchups and the 49ers don’t have that. What Mike Singletary is seeing is that the 49ers can’t run OR pass because of an ineffective line.
I think the main issue, feel free to disagree, is that the 49ers do not having a reliable starting QB on the roster at this point in time. If they did, at worst the 49ers would be 6-4 even with the other problems. Show me an effective offense that has a below average offensive line and a questionable at best quarterback situation? In the end it comes back to talent.
People are b***hing about Jimmy Raye’s offense, and I wouldn’t shed a tear if he was replaced, but examine his philosophy. He uses the digit system, coming from the Norv Turner tree, which relies on a physical running attack supplemented by a vertical passing game. That was the offense Alex Smith was the most successful in (2006). Well, in order to execute the deep passing game, you need a QB that can make defenses pay for loading up at the line of scrimmage and you need to be able to run the ball. In the end it comes back to talent.
People are pushing for a more spread out attack because of what we saw in 2 halves (Houston, Green Bay), and a drive (Indianapolis). We saw what happens when you get too pass heavy (Tennessee). It’s clear in his actions and his words that Singletary feels he doesn’t have a QB he can trust right now.
If it turns out that the 49ers do need a QB, people will argue against it because of the supporting cast. If the guy can play, he will elevate those around him. There are many examples of QBs that came to bad teams early and had early success (Brees, Ryan, Palmer, E. Manning (heck his brother), McNabb, Rivers, Rodgers, Stafford to some degree). Some of these guys had the benefit of sitting behind an established player before taking over. The question isn’t whether or not putting the cart before the horse, it’s whether or not there’s a franchise guy out there somewhere.
We know why we struggle on defense. No pass rush or speed in the secondary. To beat good teams (especially on the road); you have to dominate the line of scrimmage. Other than Staley, most of Scot’s picks here have failed so far. He drafted Lawson and Haralson to be the OLBs in the 3-4, but Lawson hasn’t panned out a pass rusher and Haralson is more of a role player than a starter.
I don’t think Scot McCloughan should be replaced, but I do think he needs help. If I was Jed, I’d strongly consider adding a guy like Mike Holmgren in sort of an advisory role before Cleveland or Seattle gets to him first. He knows offense and has head coaching experience, which can only help Mike Singletary. He has worked with McCloughan in the past so he knows how he thinks and can offer another opinion if anything to balance things out. If not Holmgren, there are qualified and experienced personnel people out there that can help run the front office, while McCloughan handles personnel.