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Dead Coach Walking, One Step Closer

Oct 26, 2010 at 9:22 AM27

It didn't stop. Even now, it didn't stop.

His team was one-and-six. Easily the league's most poorly coached. And now, after giving the Panthers their first win, pretty clearly the league's worst.

And still, the insanity just didn't stop.

"There's no doubt in my mind that somehow, some way ... we will regroup," Mike Singletary declared. "We're going to make a season of it. And I still believe we can go to the playoffs."

Playoffs?! Don't talk about--playoffs?! You kiddin' me? PLAYOFFS?!

Oh, what I'd give for some honest talk.

Not that Singletary's fooling anyone, of course. Indeed, to us, it's clear as day. His team is dead, and no one's deader than the coach himself.

Sunday's clincher was more of the same. As against Atlanta, our O scored a touchdown on its opening drive, and never again. As against New Orleans, our D went soft and gave up the crucial drive at the end. As against Philadelphia, we made a new starting quarterback look better than ours. And as against Oakland, we committed 11 penalties in the process.

But hey, at least we won the turnover battle! Way to go, guys!

This one, though, was so much worse, because of the lowly opposition. The Panthers were last in the league in yards, yet they nailed us for 379. They were last in the league in PASSING yards, yet Matt Moore threw for 308. They hadn't scored in the fourth quarter of ANY single game this year, yet in the last two minutes they got us for 10, and the win.

Needless to say, something's seriously wrong with our D. No pass-rush, without the occasional corner blitz, and a secondary that let two rookie receivers catch 14 balls for 216 yards and 2 scores. Add Greg Manusky's disturbing tendency to go mushy late, and, well, you see the result. Ray McDonald's pick-six was nice, but the D gives up way more than it scores.

And naturally, it gives up more than our OFFENSE scores.

It's not rocket science, okay? Our first play was a deep pass; incomplete, but deep. So the D loosened up a bit, and Frank Gore ripped off a 20-yard run. The D moved up, and Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis for a 53-yard bomb, and the score a play later. THAT'S an offense--Mike Johnson's, I suspect--and it works. Touchdown.

Our NEXT drive, though, opened like this: Gore up the middle for two. Gore right tackle for six. Gore up the middle for three. And Gore up the middle for minus-two. You KNOW whose offense THAT is. And our O didn't put up a touchdown again.

As they did last year, the receivers noticed the correlation. "I think we could have pushed it a little more," said Davis, shut out between the first drive and the last. "I don't feel like we should have shut the passing game down," added Michael Crabtree, shut out in the second half. "With all the weapons we've got, we need to use whatever we've got."

Patience, guys. A new coach is on the way.

And almost certainly, a new quarterback, at last.

Outside the first drive, Smith was 7 of 16 for 75 yards. And just when you were starting to grumble, Charles Johnson went by human turnstile Anthony Davis--a first and a fourth, remember--and sent Smith out of the game. In came David Carr, and though those chants were really just anti-Smith, you perked up to see any spark he could add. After all, who could forget Smith's relief work in Houston?

No dice, this time. Carr was wildly inaccurate, and his coaches didn't trust him a bit. We ran the ball on play after play--including on second-and-14 and third-and-18--as we desperately struggled to sit on the lead. Our D took care of THAT, of course--Moore was 7 of 8 on the 63-yard drive to tie--and when at last we needed Carr to actually do his job, he threw the predictable pick, and done.

As further evidence of our coaching genius, Carr was unprepared. So much so that Singletary wouldn't commit to starting him if Smith can't go. Think about that. By definition, a backup's ready to play when the starter can't. But on THIS team, we wait until the starter can't, and then we find out we've got no backup. Only on THIS team.

If Singletary's got any sanity left--and that's a big if--his starter's Nate Davis. You remember Nate, don't you? Last year's preseason hero, with all those tantalizing physical tools? He had a rougher preseason THIS time around--though no rougher than, say, Smith's--and Singletary responded by publicly humiliating him, bashing his work-ethic and doubting his commitment. (Of course, Singletary's had nothing but pats on the back for the guys who've screwed up the REGULAR season.) Fully deflated, Nate cleared waivers and was stashed on the practice squad, where he's languished ever since.

Naturally, Nate would make some mistakes, though whether he'd make more than Carr (or even Smith) is highly debatable. But think about the spark he'd provide. He wouldn't save the season, or even the coach's job. But he'd stretch the field, make big plays, just inject some LIFE.

Singletary won't do it, though. As long as he's stuck in his fantasy world--yesterday, he actually called us "a team of destiny"--he'll go by the book. He'll start Carr, whom he doesn't trust, and his team will stay as it always is, and will always be, until the day this coach is gone.

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.


  • Voncile
    This forum needed shaking up and you've done just that. Great post!
    Jun 4, 2011 at 6:14 PM
  • ben martorella
    Who is available that wants to coach? Saw Gruden for 7 years in Tampa and I do not believe he is the answer. Vulgar language all the time. Cowher lost his wife to cancer this past Summer and I do not believe he would want the job. Besides he is a defensive coach. Tony Dungy is very involved with the Tampa community and I do not believe he would want it. You need players. QB. offensive line, we have 3 first rounders and 2 second and still Smith gets sacked like a rag doll. We need defenders that can sack the qb, a secondary that can cover and intercept. We do not have the players.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 1:29 PM
  • john ross
    I like what the advertisement says, Great deal on 49er tickets. If there is not a change quick they will be paying people to come and watch. In fact even though we won the Raider game it was so poor they should have refunded everyone's money.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM
  • Realistic Niner
    Carr was only the backup because he had been here longer... Let's use some common sense here... Carr had been here since day 1, Troy had been here for a month... Do you really want to start a player who has studied the playbook for one week (around the time the "we want Carr" chants began)... I would sure as hell hope not. Being a defensive player... I am still on coach Sing's side. Let's be honest... Most coaches only give you technical training. It's up to you to play the game. Great coaches... have usually been great motivational coaches. I will admit it helps when you have a sound technical/complex game plan... but Sing is not calling the plays. Any good OC should always have a Pass/Run play call on hand for any situation (except when you don't trust your backup QB, then you're screwed). So i'll take my chances with the 06 heisman winner who can actually run the ball himself if his 20 or so pass plays he has break down... Granted he may get hurt... but hell... Either way, next year, Sing or no Sing (which i truly don't care if he's there or not, i just want to win games), the fans demand a good QB. You can't pay for a new stadium when you piss off this many fans.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 11:08 AM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Well this move at quarterback isn't a total shocker. First, Sing's QB appoach is a QB that is not going to win a game for you but will not make a mistake to lose a game. Sing's vision has always been to make this team a "Baltimore Ravens west" and where did Troy Smith come from? You guessed it, Baltimore, what a surprise. This move is a combination of Sing's ego and a fascination with his new toy Troy Smith whom he handpicked for this team. Never mind the fact that Troy does not know the system and that Nate has the most potential. I'm just fed up with the Niners, go SF Giants!!!!! That's who I am watching.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 10:05 AM
  • Jeromy
    Jeff, I hope you have an opinion on the way about Sing's decision to start....who is this guy....Troy Smith as starting QB? Really?? Why does Carr even stand on the sideline?
    Oct 27, 2010 at 8:56 AM
    Response: I'm stunned, Jeromy. I didn't think to even MENTION Troy in this article. I figured that Singletary was committed to Carr as his backup (in terms of reps, if not in terms of trust), so he'd stick with him, and if he didn't, it'd be because he'd thrown in the towel on this season and started looking at the future (which God willing he won't be around for), with Nate. Like I said to Frank below, I never dreamed that he'd keep Carr around, give him those reps, and then, when we needed a backup, hand the job to Troy, who lacks both Carr's reps and Nate's potential. Absolutely senseless. I'm proud (though sad) to say that I've done a pretty good job of predicting what Singletary would do, but I confess that on THIS one I missed by a mile.
  • Dan
    Terry, you're welcome. I would've thought since you're such an expert about me, you would've already known I'm not going to hold on to an idea that has obviously been blown to bits as the season goes on. I'm in fact not sad about it. I'm disappointed that the season didn't go the way we wanted but not sad. I see a lot of talent on the field still and I agree with the general public that a change of quarterback and the right coach could easily turn this team into champions.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 8:13 AM
  • Ron
    Jeff, I've often disagreed with you regarding Singletary. Perhaps I was in denial. But the fact of the matter is that our team is so unprepared it's ridiculous. Week after week the things you've criticized Singletary for increasingly become more glaring. I'm not so sure he's ruined the 49er legacy as you've alluded to before, however he has certainly ruined this once-promising team. I still believe we have some solid pieces that a good coach can put in a position to succeed.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 7:27 AM
  • Frank
    Jeff...I think you echo the sentiments of the vast majority of Niner fans. When is enough going to be enough...I do understand the "ethical" opportunity to make a change in leadership is during the off-season. That is, to bring in an outside, experienced head coach. But, I'm advocating for a packaged deal...beginning with Parcells. Annoint him team president or whatever the appropriate title would be...then give him full authority to bring in a top GM and head coach. Big Bill is extremely well-connected in NFL circles and would bring in the right people to turn this team around. At least Troy Smith is starting Sunday, so that's something hopefully positive. Once Alex returns to action, then they need to cut Carr loose and promote Nate to the active squad. I want to see what Troy and Nate can least that way we'll know if they're contenders or pretenders.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 6:12 AM
    Response: Of course I wouldn't object to Parcells, but if the Yorks were gonna go the HOFO route, they certainly should've done it with Holmgren, a West Coast version of Parcells. I think we'll have to be satisfied with the coach-first structure, which again is fine as long as the coach is right. And as for Troy Smith, well, I guess I was wrong in predicting that Singletary would stick with Carr. But all this does is raise further questions. If Singletary was never comfortable with Carr as his backup, why didn't he just make TROY his backup? Why did Singletary waste all those first-team reps on Carr, only to turn around and give this start to Troy? And in light of that waste, can we expect Troy to be any more prepared than Carr was? I just don't think I'll ever understand how Singletary thinks.
  • Scappman
    Jeff this is another great article. Sadly there is not much fans can do when the Yorks lack the desire to hire a Head Coach with the ability to put a winning team on the field. One would have to be delusional to back an inept HC like Singletary, who has followed in the footsteps of his friend, former inept HC Mike Nolan. The similarities are striking, the results are the same. Fire, Brimstone, Faith, and running up a hill, just aren't enough in the NFL. I posed the question at the start of the season, "What's the excuse gonna be when the team finishes 8-8 or worse?" Now after 54 yrs. as a 49ers fan I go into my local Sports Bar, wearing my SF cap, and root for the opposition to add to the growing list of humiliating defeats. It's the only way to keep my sanity. I hope with each loss a miracle will arrive in the form of a bright, innovative head coach who will coach to win and lead the team to the Superbowl. But, as fans, can anyone truly believe the Yorks want to achieve success with the 49ers? What if we are all suffering because of a jealous sister and her family wanting to very slowly bring down an organization that her brother once brought to the top of the NFL?
    Oct 27, 2010 at 5:18 AM
  • Terry B.
    Dan writes: "What do the 49ers have to do with my happiness on any day of the week?" Ummm, Dan? Anyone who has read your stuff over the past year would have to answer "quite a lot." But thank you for finally admitting how wrong you've been about everything.
    Oct 27, 2010 at 5:14 AM
  • louie
    Jeff, I find it hard to believe you really think a top coach would take a job working for the Yorks. The 49ers are like the Raiders as far as a destination for top coaches. The only coaches that would work for the Yorks are either washed up or unproven and need the chance to show themselves. And even if the Yorks could sign a top coaching candidate how could he function without a GM and/or other top level NFL front office people to handle the draft and wheel and deal with other teams and the league? I would like to add that the 49ers' talent level is well below what many fans, including on this blog, think it is. Aside from running back, tight end and kicking there are MAJOR holes in the roster. There are still a bunch of bad/weak McCloughan/Singletary picks/choices starting/playing on this team. I'm thinking about Lawson, Haralson, Clements, Rachal, Baas, Hill and Morgan. And other starters Staley, Franklin, Spencer, Goldson, and A. Davis don't look as good as we all thought/hoped for. Gruden, or someone else as attractive, would be crazy to take the job unless there was a total change in the front office.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 9:33 PM
    Response: Great points as always, Louie. Naturally, I share your concerns. Obviously, the Yorks' reputation is awful, and a top head coach would need to be given an awful lot of money and power to even think about it, and the Yorks haven't been known for giving up an awful lot of money and power. But I've just gotta believe that they'll reach a point where they understand that if they truly want to maximize the value of their property (such as by building that fancy stadium), they MUST invest in it, by doing whatever it takes to land a top coach. (Needless to say, they're about to prove whether they'll reach that point, and their votes of confidence for Singletary aren't particularly encouraging.) And as far as the front office goes, I know that's your thing Louie, and again I don't disagree. Of course a successful franchise needs both front office and coach. But as you know, sometimes the front office brings in the coach, and sometimes the coach brings in the front office. The latter model's been proven to work, as long as the coach is smart enough (Walsh, Belichick, but not Nolan). If the Yorks go for the top coach first--and that's another HUGE if--the top front office should follow. But we'll see, Louie. You might well be proven right, and then, as fans, we'll all face a very difficult choice.
  • Sunny Chong
    Those cheap owners - the Yorks are not about to fork over the premium for a quality coach. They will hang on to their $$$ and if they can, take it to their graves. Playoffs - Sing's immediate goal is a 2-6 record. Finally, after every loss, Sing's oft-repeated refrain was he had to review the game film. I know f#*k'd up when I see f#*k'd up, and every week is f#*k'd up. Man up - the 49er coaches are incompetent.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 5:34 PM
  • Butch
    Dan, You are a beautiful human being. A warm, fresh beautiful piece of turd. I wish I could put you in a bottle and take a long deep breath of Dan every morning.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 5:26 PM
  • 49ers always
    Offseason signing of Harbaugh, who selects, in the first round of the draft, Luck. And in 3 years, the niners will know what they have, maybe a new era of success, maybe not... That's the NFL with the rough combination of overpaid rookies and free agents with guaranteed money in a salary cap world where one mistake can cripple a franchise for years to come, but taking no risks guarantees mediocrity or worse...
    Oct 26, 2010 at 4:18 PM
  • charles
    fire all the coaches, management get players that have "heart" and want to play...this is really pathetic!!!!!!
    Oct 26, 2010 at 4:07 PM
  • Paul
    Jeff, I have been following this team for, my gosh, for 55 years! There have been some bleak years during that time, the Joe Thomas years come to mind, but there was always hope that ownership would at least try to put a good product on the field. What is so demoralizing with the Yorks is their apparent inability or lack of awareness/competence to address the issue of this abysmal team. We have talked about this before, Singletary is not the issue, it is ownership of this team. Really, until something happens with these guys, the Yorks, we are screwed...
    Oct 26, 2010 at 3:54 PM
  • Dan
    Terry, yes I'm happy. The Giants are in the World Series, my life is great, I'm healthy, the 49ers are still a crappy team. What do the 49ers have to do with my happiness on any day of the week? Very little. I just don't go to the games. Am I proud? You betcha, I'm proud of who I am and who I am not (you, so glad I'm not you). So have a nice life Terry B. Someday you may find something better to do than begrudge me on a weekly basis. Anyway, I was wrong about the 49ers' chances of success this year. Big deal, I wasn't the only one. I'm not ashamed of myself for being wrong. I'm not ashamed of myself for saying what I thought about Jeff's articles. I still think you guys are a bunch of angry old men, who can't stop wishing for the good old days (which are obviously not coming back any time soon). I don't like it, but I'm not going to let it ruin even one day of my life. Life's too short.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 3:24 PM
  • Marco
    The fish stinks from the head down. Jed "Lucky Sperm" York and Daddy Clueless York are the cancer that has to be removed or else the patient will continue to be terminal! 49er fans have to organize, BOYCOTT the stadium, DO NOT renew season tickets, and force the Yorks' hand. If 49er fans think this is going too far, ask yourselves this: once they fire the reverend Mike, who has confidence that they will hire a top GM and coach? Anyone who believes they will is more delusional than Singletary!
    Oct 26, 2010 at 2:35 PM
  • bmoneyt
    It doesn't matter if we can get a new coach, or a different quarterback. Inevitably, the Dorks will pick the wrong coach, as all of the available ones with half a brain won't ever come to work for them. And we've seen what great mentoring lies in store for our next #1 draft pick at Q.B. They and the terrible coaches that they hired (and will continue to hire) ruined Smith, or he was the wrong pick to begin with, take your pick. Either way, they'll do it again. So, terrible owners lead to terrible coaching, as they have for the greater part of the last decade, which will inevitably continue to lead towards having a mediocre team. Our only chance is to find a way to force the Dorks into selling the team. Boycotts in game attendance, picketing at H.Q., whatever it takes. Until that happens, just like the Traitors across the bay with Al Davis, we are inevitably doomed so long as they live and draw breath as team ownership.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 2:17 PM
  • STL Niner Fan I'm back to numbing myself up to guard against any future letdowns (although at this point my expectations are we will lose every game). At the beginning of this season, if someone would have told me we'd begin the season 1-6 I would have bet my house against it. I cannot imagine a worse start to a season with such high expectations. What a waste. Not only was the NFC West up for grabs this year but the entire NFC is there for the taking! With the talent on this team we could so easily be in a position to challenge for home field advantage. And yet the reality is October is not even over and our season is done. DONE! At least we will finally turn the page on Smith and kick Sing's ass out the door. However, the question remains, who will we hire? What competent HC will accept an offer to lead this team? I sure hope we get it right this time. If you think about it we should be a relatively attractive team for a new HC. We have a lot of the pieces in place in a weak division. We need a QB, CB's and some DL that can push an offensive line backwards. Plus we will have a VERY high draft pick next year to build on. Please, Yorks, I beg you, bring in a quality HC.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 2:04 PM
    Response: Indeed, STL, this will be the Yorks' last chance to get it right. If they don't do whatever it takes ($$$) to land a proven HC (preferably offensive, preferably WCO, preferably Gruden or Harbaugh), there truly is no hope. And if the Browns end up with both Holmgren as HOFO and Gruden as HC, I seriously think I'll cry.
  • B Williams
    Jeff, I apologize for dissing you earlier in the season. You obviously see the light. Sing should be fired and left in London with everyone but Mike Johnson, Tomsula, and Jerry Sullivan. Our receivers are awesome, the passing game has great ideas. We really are in trouble with Carr. This bum couldn't hit the side of a barn with no rush. What do you think the Donkeys are going to do? After giving up 59 to the Raiders, you better believe they are coming for blood. Sing's song is old and I truly believe that he is the one deciding to not be aggressive in these games. Manusky, stop blitzing, don't want to take any chances. Our 1-5 season depends on it. Johnson, you scored too fast, we should go to Frank now. We really only need 1 touchdown right? Good Lord!!!!!!!!!! This is the worst season we've had. When we were stinking it up the last 7 years, we had very little talent. This team is loaded with talent, but cannot play. This coach must go. Sure Anthony Davis is shaky, but he looked pretty good on the first drive, then we started dumbing down our playcalling, which in turn dumbed down the defense. We suck and I'm ashamed to be a fan. We need to boycott for a week.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM
  • Terry B.
    Dan, you established your 49er fan bona fides before the start of the season by insisting that you would be "happy and proud no matter what happens." Just wondering, are you currently feeling happy and proud?
    Oct 26, 2010 at 12:28 PM
  • Shane
    BTW great article Jeff, hit several nails right on the head, and if we don't start Davis next week, ...... i don't even know what to say. we are worse off than i even thought, which i didn't think was possible.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 10:26 AM
  • Dan
    No, Singletary isn't being replaced. No, Nate Davis isn't starting. Sorry Jeff, I think you have really pissed off both Jed and coach. I can't imagine what you did to those guys, but because of you they have taken a perfectly good squad of NFL players and turned them into cheerleaders. You must've run over Jed's dog and brought Singletary's daughter home late with messy hair. I blame this all on you. Seriously though, there is no answer I can think of to this mess. Next season may or may not happen, but there is no way to salvage this one unless David Carr turns out to be some kind of phenomenon no one could've ever seen coming. I suggest you give your tickets to any Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams, and Buccaneers fans you can find, and go write about the Cowboys.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 10:25 AM
  • Shane
    This is the lowest point I have ever been as a 49er fan (20 years). After that embarrassment I turned to my friend and described my frustration as such. The 49ers are like having a Lexus sitting in the garage. A fully loaded, all the bells and whistles vehicle to take you where you want to go. And every Sunday I go out to my garage and I desire to take a ride. My destination: the playoffs. However every Sunday I am painfully reminded that as I get in my shiny car with all the toys i am missing two vital things, an engine and the key. And i sit in my car and sulk while the rest of the league takes their drive to the playoffs. My friends, we have all the features: inhuman TE, top 10 WR, physical WRs, fast WRs, Pro bowl RB, dynamic backup TE, versatile backup RB, 1st and 2nd RD O line, top 2 MLB, speed on the edges, and so on. Hell we have a world class PUNTER (the foot mats if you will). But no key (coach) to start the car, and no engine (QB) to make the car run. Leaving us with nothing more than all the right accessories, and nowhere to go. My exact words, "i wish i could be in the room when they fire Sing, cuz he SUCKS!!!!!!" as i nearly flipped over my fries... every Sunday.
    Oct 26, 2010 at 10:25 AM
  • BrodieWins
    Nice Article. The only problem starting Nate Davis is one of expectations. He has not had any chance to learn and adjust to NFL game speed. Zip, None, Zero. His last exhibition outing does not count. But this organization has to take that step with a healthy Smith or not...if we are locked out next year, and Davis hasn't gotten adjusted to the game speed, then we will be in a worse spot in 2012. Alex and Carr should be gone. Troy? hmm...
    Oct 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

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