5 Things We Know Today that We Didn’t Know Yesterday

Oct 21, 2008 at 1:02 PM

What a difference a day makes. After another frustrating Mike Nolan postgame presser, the inevitable has occurred. Mike Nolan is no longer the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Early rumors had Nolan being dismissed after this weekend's contest with the Seahawks, but apparently the idea of a lame-duck coach didn't sit well with 49er brass. Though mid season coaching changes usually amount to disaster on the field...it isn't as though this team wasn't a mess already. That stated let's take account of what we have, and get down to what this move by the 49ers says to the fans.

The Yorks Were Paying Attention
Believe it or not, ownership has actually been paying attention to what's going on in 49erland. Since the Yorks took control of this team, fans across the country have felt the same thing: disinterested ownership. Can the same be said after yesterday's move? Hardly. At the very least, fans should feel that the ownership is interested in helping the team succeed now. Was this the right time to pull the plug on Nolan? Only time will tell. Does ownership suddenly know what they're doing? Probably not. Is this the move that vaults the 49ers back to prominence? Definitely not. This move will probably not generate wins this season, but it can change the conservative culture fostered by Nolan, and may also replace "playing not to lose" with "playing to win". That won't create a dynasty, but it might create a team that isn't out of games before kickoff.

Jed York Is Taking Over
Listening Scot McCloughan during today's press conference, what was once widely speculated became crystal clear: Jed York is now the decision maker for the York clan as it pertains to the 49ers. He may be listed on the team's website as a consultant, but the fact is, Jed has been groomed to be the decision maker since he was brought on board. For good or ill, he is in the driver's seat for the time being. While some may worry about how young Jed is, there is one thing that all fans can take comfort in...and that is his relationship with his Hall of Fame caliber uncle, Eddie DeBartolo. Will Jed leverage his uncle's vast experience while charting the future course of the organization? Fans can only hope so. Will Jed succeed where his father failed? Only time will tell. After listening to him speak today, it is obvious that he watches games, knows the roster, and wants to win.

Mike Nolan Was Losing His Team
While you won't hear anybody say it, everybody knows it. Mike Nolan was losing his team. Any of his post game pressers this season said as much. He was focussed so hard on keeping his job that he forgot to do his job. Whether you want to cite his "miscommunication" with Alex Smith, or his offseason "misunderstanding" with Arnaz Battle, the fact is, Mike Nolan's grip on the reins of the team was slipping...so much so that a change had to be made. His botched handling of Josh Morgan's staph infection, his dogged reliance on a soft zone in the 4th quarter, his refusal to bench a non-motivated Jonas Jennings and his seeming inability to manage a game from start to finish frustrated fans and local media. It would be foolish to assume that such things weren't weighing on the players, too. Sloppy play, emotional outbursts, and the general lack of discipline shown by the team on the field suggest that player confidence was flagging. Such things are a reflection of coaching. While Mike Nolan may have been a fine person, he was not a strong enough leader to keep this team together.

McCloughan's Promotion Was More than Symbolic
After McCloughan was promoted to GM last season, some thought the move was symbolic, and that Mike Nolan still retained some control over player personnel issues. After Nolan's dismissal yesterday, it is obvious that this was not the case. Though Scot was Nolan's underling for his first three years with the team, it has become evident that ownership has faith in his ability to evaluate talent, and wanted to create separation between Nolan and McCloughan in the event that the "Great Nolan Experiment of 2008" was a failure. Will Scot become the kind of GM that can revive an organization that has forgotten how to win? Maybe. But the fact is, ownership believes he can.

Mike Singletary Is a Charismatic Leader
Mike Singletary is passionate about this team. Will that be enough to make him a great head coach? Probably not. Will the players continue to play hard under his leadership? Almost certainly. Is charisma all that Singletary has got going for him? Only time will tell. While his experience is limited, there is something about being one of the best defenders in the history of the game that will command respect from the players. The team may win under Singletary, and it may not. One thing is certain, though...the team will not lose for lack of effort.

Any way you look at it, this change is going to shake the franchise. The team was due for a coaching change. Fans screamed for it. Local media speculated about it. Until yesterday, we thought it could happen. Now we know.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • bbarry
    as much as i want to believe that Jed is minnie-eddieD ... i dont' know if you can quite say that he's taking over just yet? furthermore how do we know of his closeness w/ his uncle, and how it's having, if any an effect to what he's doing? Not rhetorical - but honest question .. would be interested to know. Bill p.s. good articles AJ ;)
    Oct 22, 2008 at 9:55 PM
    Response: Hey Bill! Good to hear from you, amigo. Hope the family is doing well. In any case...let's get to your questions. I think that the appearance of Jed, and only Jed, at the press conference announcing Mike Singletary as head coach speaks volumes. His decision to leave his investment banking job in New York when the team was getting ready to hire Mike Nolan, and his everyday presence at team headquarters says a lot, too. Its obvious that he's interested in the direction of the organization, and the finished product on the field. As for his closeness with is uncle, there is this recent quote from Jed himself: [quote]"My uncle called probably three or four times this season, just to give me support,'' Jed York said. "The way I feel, that's like Joe Montana or Steve Young calling Alex Smith.''[/quote] There is also this quote from Mr. D himself: [quote]"He's not a spoiled young man. He's hard-working. Give him a little bit of time and he'll show his mettle,"said Jed's uncle, Eddie DeBartolo Jr.[/quote] How will Eddie affect the actions of his nephew and godson? Directly, not very much. However, if Jed emulates his uncle, or decides to use him as a mentor, he should do just fine. Thanks for the questions, and be sure to get the word out about the site! Keep reading, and keep in touch, too.
  • PDX Mike
    There is certainly hope that Singletary can excel as the HC. There is a growing number of high caliber coaches coming from the ranks of former players. Jim Zorn is an excellent example in Washington. He also came in with no HC or coordinator experience and he has been doing pretty darn well in the nations capital. Though QB's tend to make the transition best because they tend to be more cerebral, know the entire offense and are accustomed to dealing with pressure and the media, much the same can be said of Singletary. He was the unquestioned leader of his defense in Chicago, was one of the primary contacts with the media and he is extremely intelligent. It might just be wishful hoping, but there is certainly a solid argument that he should excel.
    Oct 22, 2008 at 9:57 AM
    Response: Until we see what Coach Singletary can do in a game, all we can do is hope. There are things that point to Coach Singletary doing a great job, though. His reputation as one of the all time great players in league history, his intensity, and his ability to connect with and motivate players could work wonders. Will they? We'll find out on Sunday.
  • HB
    Jed is a buffoon. A 27 year old inexperienced buffoon. Mommy is a backstabber, daddy has been in hiding since he got booed a t halftime a couple of years back. The 49ers will be a horrible team until the Yorks sell the team. Help them out with the decision. Stop buying tickets, stop buying gear, stop spending money on the 49ers and show the Yorks how it feels where it coupnts most to them, the wallet. The Yorks are a disgrace and have ruined a once great franchise. All for their own egos. Go back to Youngstown and shut up already. Just put a for sale sign up and walk away. You clearly have NO CLUE, Jed, johhny, Denise
    Oct 22, 2008 at 8:20 AM
    Response: Don't be so quick to damn Jed. He is young, but he's also bright. Remember, Eddie was very young when he took over as the head of the 49ers organization, and 4 years after he bought the team, he put together an organization good enough to win the Super Bowl. Don't be surprised if Jed is smart enough to use the experience of those around him to get things going in the right direction. By the way...if you stop buying tickets, you will become part of the justification for moving the team to another market.
  • niner
    Jed could turn this around ! a real GM will allow us to keep a d guy for coach but without one, scotty is not a "stong" gm, we will be in the same old mess again. draft a qb who isnt coached well, or oc leaves. ( remember why we traded in seifret for mooch????...check out who took shanahans place.) i will not bash the yorks, 1) becasue johen is not there, 2) they fired nolan 3) tehy fired WARhop! ( its about time, no one in history of nfl has had the last ol 3-4 years but him-nolan your fault)
    Oct 21, 2008 at 3:19 PM
    Response: I hope Jed can turn it around. A lot will depend on who he surrounds himself with, and how willing he is to lean on more experienced peers within the organization. That stated, I am not worried about McCloughan. He has a championship pedigree, and knows how to spot talent. Remember, he worked with Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren, and went to Super Bowls with both. Give him some time to use the power he was given this offseason, and I think you'll be pleased with the results.

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