Random thoughts on the 49ers’ strong finish

Dec 28, 2008 at 7:48 PM6


The 49ers finished the season by winning five of their last seven games. Mike Singletary, who just became the permanent coach following the team's win against the Redskins, finished with a record of 5-4. While the team was out of the playoffs early, it was a finish to be proud of.

It is very safe to say that the team can win with the level of talent that they have. It just took some good coaching decisions to make it happen. Mike Nolan, who was fired after a 2-5 start, could not make these decisions and his mistakes continually put the team in bad positions.

The 49ers were very close to a playoff appearance. Had they won that Monday Night thriller against the Arizona Cardinals, both San Francisco and Arizona would have ended up with 8-8 records. Imagine what the team could have done had they decided to play Shaun Hill from the start rather than J.T. O'Sullivan. Of course, there is a good chance that had they done that, Nolan may have still been the head coach.

Congratulations to 49ers running back and fan favorite Frank Gore. He became the first Niner to rush for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Gore had 1,695 yards in 2006, 1,102 in 2007, and 1,036 this season. It could not have happened to a classier guy.

Unless the 49ers somehow land a premiere quarterback, Shaun Hill should go into 2009 as the starter. It is unbelievable that he did not start from the beginning this season. Even last year, the team knew that he did not practice well. But when it came to game time, Hill was a natural team leader and the guys rallied around him. The guy just knows how to win football games. It may not be pretty, but he wins. He is 7-3 as a starter. It is time to stop doubting him and give him a chance.

If he is willing to cut his pay and work to prove his worth, quarterback Alex Smith, the team's 2005 #1 pick, should be brought back. A lot of people have given up on the guy, but as a backup, he still has some value to the team. He just needs some confidence and an opportunity. It is not easy learning a new system every year of your early career.

The 49ers group of receivers looks solid. The youngsters Josh Morgan and Jason Hill look like they could be the team's receivers of the future. Isaac Bruce, while at the twilight of his career, looks like he still has a bit more left in the engine.

The team needs a solid backup for Frank Gore. While former UCLA Bruin DeShaun Foster has filled that role admirably over the last few games, it would be nice to have someone more dependable. It also would have been nice to see what 2007 6th round draft pick, Thomas Clayton could have done. He always seems to be a strong preseason player, but never really gets an opportunity. Maybe Singletary will be willing to give him more of a look.

I have seen enough of Mark Roman. Please find a solid replacement for this guy.

What can be said about the team's 2006 1st round pick, tight end Vernon Davis? He has all of the physical attributes to be a truly great player and fans want to like the guy. However, he needs to get his head into the game and stop making so many stupid mistakes. Maybe Mike Singletary is the type of coach that can get through to the kid.

And finally, what should the team do about offensive coordinator Mike Martz? If only for the reason of a little continuity from one year to the next, I would not mind seeing him return. Although, if someone better becomes available, I would not be against showing him the door. If Norv Turner became available, the 49ers should jump at the chance to bring him back. Alex Smith progressed well with Turner and already knows his offense. Shaun Hill would most likely flourish in his offense as well. It may be a moot point though as the Chargers are currently rolling past the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football and will most likely make the postseason. Norv may stay in San Diego after all.

Here is to a strong presence in free agency, a strong draft, and a solid showing in 2009. Go Niners!

What moves do you think the 49ers should make during the offseason? Leave your comments below.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


6 Comments

  • jamesy1044
    Superbowl? SUPERBOWL??? he said, doing his best Jim Mora imitation... Our beloved team is faaaar from that precious land. One of the few things we had going was Martz and now he's gone. Anyone seriously believe we'd have won more than 4 games without him? We all want Mike to do great things, you know like Rocky and all that but I fear the Exec staff has jumped the gun in this case. Had they waited a damn minute they might have had Shanahan back. Not that Singletary isnt a wonderful and motivational guy, but unless he is surrounded by superior and PROVEN X and O guys, this team will be condemned to mediocrity for years to come. And so help me God I hate that thought!
    Jan 15, 2009 at 6:04 PM
    0
  • chris
    If they really want to have a power running game in 2009 I thnk they should draft Chris Wells.He will make an impact right away.Try to sign T.J. or trade for Boldin to sure up the wide recievers.
    Jan 11, 2009 at 6:31 AM
    0
  • kimberlt turk
    So far all of the coach changes are great! I never cared for Nolan or O'sullivan. Singletary and Hill were always my choice! I think bringing a veteran QB back to the 49ers(say Jeff Garcia) would be awesome! Also Vance Singletary would be a great addition to the coaching staff! He was excellent here in Hawaii!
    Jan 2, 2009 at 11:23 AM
    0
  • gary phillips
    they should work on protecting smih or hill maybe mike will draft some line men. i believe the niners will have a super bowl year in 09. i hope alex smith will be healthy enough to lead 9ers back to the super bowl & win mvp. if mr. smith goes some were else i wish him luck & mr hill will lead the 9ers to the super bowl. go 9ers
    Jan 1, 2009 at 7:21 PM
    0
  • Monte
    1. Identify a quality OC to replace Martz; otherwise, keep Martz one year and keep looking; Martz' ego is his downfall; the debacle against Arizona on Monday night was proof he's overrated as a coach; Vermeil won the SuperBowl in StL, Martz lost the SuperBowl with Vermeil's team 2. Draft or sign a good pass rusher - SF still doesn't get enough heat on the opposing QB 3. Dump Jonas "Ouch" Jennings and his wasted salary 4. Draft or sign a quality offensive right tackle; Sims is not the answer 5. Draft or sign a quality offensive guard and a quality center; the interior of the offensive line has not played well at all this year 6. Draft, sign or trade for a good safety; Mark Roman should follow Mike Nolan out the door 7. Draft a good young QB, and leave Hill as the starter while the young guy is groomed to take his place 8. See if you can trade Vernon Davis for a player of intelligence and character or a good draft pick; try Mike Shanahan or Jon Gruden, they're ego-driven enough to take a run at "handling" Davis 9. More depth everywhere! Niners are at least two years away, although the playoffs are a possibility next year, but an early exit is likely
    Dec 29, 2008 at 11:07 AM
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  • Peter
    Singletary was a great move. Jed continueing to seek advice from Eddie is a better one. McClaughan, I am not too sure about. Our draft from last year appears to be fairly weak at this point. Balmer obviously needs some work. Rachal will be a an Pro Bowler within three years, Wallace is horrible at this point, Smith did nothing, Josh Morgan turn out to be another T.O. type receiver before it is all said and done and Larry Grant is now on the Rams. 2 for 6 is not going to cut it in the NFL. If we have another sub par draft McClaughan will be looking for work elsewhere. BTW: Don't be surprised if the 49ers take either Beanie Wells or Knowshon Moreno with their top pick. Singletary wants to run and having two stud backs in the NFL seems to be the prerequisite for success in the NFL today. Only way they do not is if either one of the top O linemen, or Aaron Curry are avialable OR if they think they can get a back in the second or third round and take Travis Mays (FS) out of USC.
    Dec 29, 2008 at 9:49 AM
    0

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