There are 194 users in the forums

Remember
Not a member? Register Now!

49ers need steady leadership, not panic (ESPN Article)

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/24468/49ers-need-steady-leadership-not-panic

By Mike Sando

These need not be the end days for Mike Singletary's tenure as San Francisco 49ers head coach.

Three defeats to open a season should not shatter dreams, particularly when one of those defeats, against New Orleans, featured obvious silver linings.

The 49ers are 0-3 heading into a difficult road game against the Atlanta Falcons. Big deal. It's a long season. The 49ers' division rivals aren't likely to build an insurmountable lead. San Francisco started the NFL's youngest offense in Week 1 and the team has fallen flat at Qwest Field and Arrowhead Stadium, two of the toughest venues for visitors when the home teams are playing well.

Now is the time for steady leadership, not panic.

I know this. Singletary surely knows this. It's fair to wonder whether Singletary can effectively communicate this to his team.

So far this season, Singletary has called an emergency team meeting after the first game, gotten baited into talking smack about New Orleans, claimed his team has turned a corner and fired his offensive coordinator less than 24 hours after saying Jimmy Raye would keep his job all season.

No wonder the 49ers appear so uptight.

It's not all Singletary's fault, of course. Team president Jed York put pressure on Singletary from the beginning by guaranteeing a playoff appearance last season. York didn't need to repeat himself heading into 2010. The team had to produce in an NFC West without Kurt Warner. That was a given.

York hired Singletary under the mistaken belief that the 49ers needed more "passion and intensity" to win games. He thought the 49ers were getting "out-intensitied" by their opponents.

"I'm very excited to see what Mike can do, and bring out the passion and the intensity in our football players," York said at the time.

Artificial intensity is like caffeine. It produces unsustainable highs, followed by inevitable crashes. Singletary's intensity is real. It's just not enough by itself to sustain 53 players.

Besides, a lack of intensity is the least of the 49ers' problems right now. If an intensity shortage ever existed, it was a symptom, not the disease. The team arguably needs less intensity from its head coach right now. It needs Singletary to demonstrate command of himself and the situation. It needs to know everything will be fine if the players do their jobs. Intensity will be there when a team knows its coach has real solutions for real problems. If Raye's leadership of the offense had run its course, perhaps a change to former quarterbacks coach Michael Johnson will make a real difference.

One victory Sunday changes everything, so it's premature to write off Singletary or say his leadership style cannot work. But there's also no way a reasonable person can ignore the cracks as they form in the 49ers' foundation. If the team does implode, forensic analysts will not be short for evidence.

Singletary faced special challenges from the beginning because he lacked administrative experience -- he had never been a coordinator -- and he had been a position coach for only five seasons. He would rely disproportionately on the coordinators he hired because Singletary was in no position to take over play calling, particularly on offense.

Singletary's short apprenticeship meant he had fewer connections to assistants throughout the league. That made it tougher for him to make the most important hire a defensive-minded head coach can make: that of his offensive coordinator.

Raye was well down the list of candidates to interview for the position (Scott Linehan declined the job). The team hired Johnson as quarterbacks coach separately. That meant Raye inherited his offensive staff. This was a forced marriage between Raye, Johnson and the coaches already there. A forced marriage is not necessarily an untenable one, but there could be no built-in loyalty to Raye.

Singletary walked into a similar situation. He inherited the staff from former coach Mike Nolan.

When Singletary lamented the presence of a "rat" following publication of an unflattering story built upon unnamed sources, the forced marriage between Singletary and his assistant coaches came to my mind immediately. That doesn't mean the story came from an assistant coach. But it was a fair assumption to make under the circumstances. It would not have been the first time.

Others on the staff Singletary inherited surely had their own opinions about whether Singletary should have become interim coach following Nolan's firing and coach in full after the 2008 season. Some surely had their own ambitions. When Singletary famously dropped his pants for effect during halftime of his first game as interim coach, the embarrassing story got out quickly. When the 49ers signed receiver Brandon Jones, Singletary had to read about how the move went over poorly with some staffers.

Singletary's run as head coach has also featured Scot McCloughan's abrupt departure as general manager, the sudden retirement of backup running back Glen Coffee and the uncomfortable departure of 2008 first-round choice Kentwan Balmer. I think it's a stretch to weave those items into the meaningful paragraphs of a circumstantial accounting of any current or future 49ers' implosion, but they're convenient.

The 49ers still can salvage this season. Eight victories might win the NFC West.

Eight teams finished last season 8-8 or better after enduring losing streaks of at least three games. Tennessee went from 0-6 to 8-8. Carolina went from 0-3 to 8-8.

The Titans had Jeff Fisher on the sideline. The Panthers had John Fox.

The 49ers have Singletary. They weathered a four-game losing streak last season and still made it to .500.

The current 49ers have played two tougher-than-anticipated road games and a home game against the defending Super Bowl champions. They probably would be 2-1 at this point if they had played the Arizona Cardinals' schedule (at St. Louis, at Atlanta, home for Oakland).

This is the time for patience, perspective and true leadership.

Is Singletary up for the challenge?







Sorry mods, i didnt know what thread to put this in. Merge if needed
[ Edited by valrod33 on Sep 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM ]
OK. I'll admit. This isn't bad. Points well taken.

But Alex Smith has got to play better football. If he doesn't -- it doesn't matter what Dingleberry does.
Originally posted by billbird2111:
OK. I'll admit. This isn't bad. Points well taken.

But Alex Smith has got to play better football. If he doesn't -- it doesn't matter what Dingleberry does.

Agreed
Originally posted by valrod33:
Originally posted by billbird2111:
OK. I'll admit. This isn't bad. Points well taken.

But Alex Smith has got to play better football. If he doesn't -- it doesn't matter what Dingleberry does.

Agreed

x2.

Having said that, get this even-keeled somewhat hopeful bulls**t out of here! This is NINER TALK, DAMMIT!! PANIC IS WHAT IT DOES BEST!11!1!
  • AZ9er
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 6,484
Originally posted by valrod33:
Originally posted by billbird2111:
OK. I'll admit. This isn't bad. Points well taken.

But Alex Smith has got to play better football. If he doesn't -- it doesn't matter what Dingleberry does.

Agreed

Agreed. But I will take it one step forward. The defense needs to scheme better during the week to give the players up front in the 3-4 to get a decent pass rush. Coach Sing is a defensive guy, he has got be be able to see what the opposing offense is doing and get together with Manusky to make the changes necessary at the half. He needs to focus on defense and trust Johnson and the rest of the offensive coaches to take care of the offense.

I say Coach Sing gives more leeway to the O-line coach and Rathman to help with the run game. Likewise the WR coach and Johnson need to get together to get the passing game going. It is all hands on deck moving forward.

Will be curious to see if Johnson goes up into the booth or not.
^ I think that he should stay on the sideline with a big sheet of plays. You know, like the real teams do it.
Originally posted by NineFourNiner:
^ I think that he should stay on the sideline with a big sheet of plays. You know, like the real teams do it.

this x 1 million, also he gets to interact with Alex right away and go over what did or didnt go well and stuff like that
Originally posted by valrod33:
Originally posted by NineFourNiner:
^ I think that he should stay on the sideline with a big sheet of plays. You know, like the real teams do it.

this x 1 million, also he gets to interact with Alex right away and go over what did or didnt go well and stuff like that

Agreed. Good article. But I'm getting tired of all this waiting. Just let Sunday -- and I hope to high Heaven with a win -- get here freakin' already.
Thanks for a well written and intelligent post. It's refreshing.

Many people say that football is a business and I'll use that for some comparisions. I'm a business consultant and see what's happening to our team in many companies accross the country. It starts with direction from the top.

First - The business model that Sing has established is not working in a competitive environment that show other models succeeding - like the Colts, Packers, and most interesting the Chiefs. Just look at what they've done with very good coaching and less talent than we have!

Sing's model [as I see it] is a keep it close, smash-mouth game and imposing our will nonsense. Frankly, it lacks smarts! Bill Walsh thoroughly dismissed that old myth with the WCO. Sing's model will not work anymore - it's gone the way of the brontasaurus. His model is not fully using our talent. Why have a VD, Crabs, Westbrook if you don't use them to their potential? Which would also win us games.

2nd - As you pointed out, he is short on essential job experience. He needs a Bill Walsh type mentor and I really don't know if the team has access to one or if he would actually listen.

3rd - He has demonstrated an unwillingness to adapt and this is his real downfall. Raye took orders from him - a real case of the blind leading the blind.

If he can get a realization that he is part of the problem then maybe he can turn it around. This is an essential business success trait. If he can change direction we can still win.

For the 49ers sake I really hope so. If he can't we'll be in the middle of the pack at best. I'm hoping we can turn it around but it will not happen unless there are big changes on the part of Sing.

GO NINERS!

We need a real football mind at the helm and a HC who is modern and smart. Currently we have neither.
  • ZRF80
  • Member
  • Posts: 13,551
I dont buy the "silver lining" bs. I can point out several games over the past 5 years where there was a visible "silver lining", only to see the team collapse and not make the playoffs. Playing NO to the end was no different than the game at Qwest in 06 (?), when Smith led the team on a final drive victory. The fact that we can list these games on our fingers goes to show just how inconsistent he is.

Should we panic ?

Absolutely. This team has the longest playoff drought in the NFC. If anyone told you in 2005, right after drafting Smith, that we'd still be scratching our heads and wondering about the state of the 49ers 6 years later, heads would have been guillotined.

As a fanbase, we became enamored with Smith because he was THE pick. He wasnt a guy that was picked to fit the system (Montana), he wasnt the guy we traded for cause he had attributes not seen in other QBs (Young), and he certainly wasnt the seasoned guy that had already been in pro football (Garcia). He was our heir apparent, and he flopped. And a lot of people have had a hard time swallowing that, and instead of holding him accountable, we've held everyone else instead.

Whether it be offensive coordinators (Hostler, Raye, McCarthy), receivers (ABryant, Crabtree, Lloyd), RBs (Barlow, Gore), TEs (VD, EJohnson), olineman (Jennings, Harris, Baas), coaches (Nolan, Sing), etc............we've been quick to point fingers and label them as detriments in Alex's development.

Well, enough is enough. This was supposed to be Alex's put up or shut up season. Instead, his failures (yet again) have been put on a coach.........a coach, btw, who is using the SAME system he was using last year. Were the plays conservative ? Yes. But did Smith take advantage of the limited opportunities he was given ? NO.

Same old Smith. Same old mistakes. Same old excuses.

Time to move on.
Leadership is not about Alex yelling or throwing his helmet. He needs to show leadership by simply playing better.

It seems that in the midst of this season during these last 3 games we all forgot what everyone said was the key to a successful season for us. The answer was Alex Smith.

No more excuses about play calling. We all knew our season was riding on his shoulders. So far he has let us down.
logic fail once again. Some people just will never get it. Why would you base your conclusion on a subset of available data?

Sing is not 0-3....he has lost more than 3 games. Further, if you watch his games...win or lose.....he is outcoached at least 75% of the time
  • Wodwo
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 8,104
Originally posted by ZRF80:
I dont buy the "silver lining" bs.

We are all shocked.

the article's sentence near the end--the 49ers faced two tougher than anticipated opponents on the road----while true----can also be restated as the Niners faced two up and coming teams on the road that have passed them by with better coaching and better use of their talent.
Originally posted by ZRF80:
I dont buy the "silver lining" bs. I can point out several games over the past 5 years where there was a visible "silver lining", only to see the team collapse and not make the playoffs. Playing NO to the end was no different than the game at Qwest in 06 (?), when Smith led the team on a final drive victory. The fact that we can list these games on our fingers goes to show just how inconsistent he is.

Should we panic ?

Absolutely. This team has the longest playoff drought in the NFC. If anyone told you in 2005, right after drafting Smith, that we'd still be scratching our heads and wondering about the state of the 49ers 6 years later, heads would have been guillotined.

As a fanbase, we became enamored with Smith because he was THE pick. He wasnt a guy that was picked to fit the system (Montana), he wasnt the guy we traded for cause he had attributes not seen in other QBs (Young), and he certainly wasnt the seasoned guy that had already been in pro football (Garcia). He was our heir apparent, and he flopped. And a lot of people have had a hard time swallowing that, and instead of holding him accountable, we've held everyone else instead.

Whether it be offensive coordinators (Hostler, Raye, McCarthy), receivers (ABryant, Crabtree, Lloyd), RBs (Barlow, Gore), TEs (VD, EJohnson), olineman (Jennings, Harris, Baas), coaches (Nolan, Sing), etc............we've been quick to point fingers and label them as detriments in Alex's development.

Well, enough is enough. This was supposed to be Alex's put up or shut up season. Instead, his failures (yet again) have been put on a coach.........a coach, btw, who is using the SAME system he was using last year. Were the plays conservative ? Yes. But did Smith take advantage of the limited opportunities he was given ? NO.

Same old Smith. Same old mistakes. Same old excuses.

Time to move on.

I agree with you 110% on every point you make.

But Sando is right. It's only been three games. You can't write off a season after just three games.

Alex still has a game or two left to reverse course and become the kind of QB we all hoped and dreamed he would be when he was drafted.

I'm not going to hold my breath. Personally -- I don't think he can do it. But -- the point is well taken -- it's only been three games. And three games does not make an NFL season.