The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Becoming Clear Nolan Won't Revive 49ers

By Ann Killion, Mercury News Staff

Sunday was Alumni Day at the 49ers game, and they should have passed out blindfolds for the veterans in attendance. The product that befouled Bill Walsh Field was an embarrassment. Again. The 49ers lost 13-9 to the Rams, a team that was winless a week ago. Now the 49ers are tied with the Rams for the worst record in the NFC. After their eighth loss in a row, 11 consecutive quarters without a touchdown, another session of "I have no clue what's wrong" from the head coach, the 49ers have no answers. No ideas. No direction. And it seems more and more apparent that Mike Nolan will have to be fired at the end of the season. Harsh? Perhaps, and we understand Nolan has had a tough week. But losing teams fire their coaches; that's what happens in this league. With a loss next week in Arizona - and who wouldn't expect that? - Nolan would become the first 49ers coach to lose nine consecutive games. That would match the 49ers record for futility from 1978 (a feat that was accomplished under two coaches). I am not one of those critics who think that Nolan should be stripped of his decision-making responsibilities and be left only to coach - an idea that has been floated in recent weeks. While I do believe that Nolan was awarded too much power and control for a guy with no résumé to back up the responsibility, stripping him down to become just the coach is nonsensical. It would leave Nolan doing something he hasn't proved he can do. With his sole job being arguably his weakest link.

For his entire tenure, the rap on Nolan has been that he's a good Monday through Saturday head coach, but not on Sunday. But that reputation is taking a beating this season. Nolan is proving he's a bad coach every day of the week. Nothing proves that more than his terrible mishandling of the Alex Smith situation, which boiled over this week. The most important relationship on any football team is the one between coach and quarterback, and Nolan has bungled this badly. Everything is bungled with the 49ers. They are a poorly coached team, as they prove every time they take the field. And Nolan is not a good game coach. He has shown that week in and week out, even in the rare games the 49ers have won. He showed it again Sunday with his predictable and uninteresting offense. With his odd decision to kick a field goal rather than attempt to tie the score in the waning minutes - a decision that his tight end Vernon Davis disagreed with. "You have to take the chance," Davis said.

Not Nolan. He doesn't take chances. Whenever he's criticized as being conservative, he usually points to his willingness to try onside kicks as an example of his crazy derring-do. In fact we saw another onside kick Sunday. It didn't work, but, hey, the 49ers tried it. But an onside kick is a gimmick, not a philosophy. Once upon a time the 49ers had a philosophy. They had a system, one that was revered around the league. They stood for something. And, on Alumni Day, with photos of Bill Walsh and Bobb McKittrick gazing out from the locker-room wall over the depressed 49ers, it's kind of sad to remember that. One alum who wasn't at the game Sunday (along with most of the luminaries from the Walsh dynasty, who remain estranged from the team) also thinks that lost legacy is too bad. Steve Young was talking to me the other day about when he was in Pittsburgh for their Alumni Night, with the great players from the 1970s. That night, Franco Harris told him how proud he was that the Steelers had remained consistent in the mindset, their defensive prowess.

"The Steelers stand for something," Young said. "How unfortunate it is that the 49ers had this legacy on offense that there's no attachment to. It's hard for people to draw on it. The fans remember it, but no one inside the building is linked to it." The 49ers have betrayed their once great offensive legacy. It's time to try to reclaim it.

I don't think Nolan is the man to do it.

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