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!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

When Do The 49ers Fire Nolan?

Matt Maiocco, The Press Democrat

It's inevitable, isn't it? Mike Nolan said it himself at his weekly press conference. My colleague, Lowell Cohn, tackles the subject in his latest column, headlined, "When do the 49ers fire Nolan?" Nolan is exactly halfway through his five-year contract with the 49ers that pays him just under $2 million annually. After 2 1/2 seasons, Nolan has compiled a 13-27 record. Things have gotten so bad that Nolan has addressed his feelings about job security to the media at least three times in the past eight days. On Monday, he brought up the subject when asked if seeing his father, Dick Nolan, go through struggles as a head coach helped prepare him for difficult times, such as these.

"I got into this profession fully aware of that because of what I saw my dad do," Nolan said Monday. "I think it has given me the ability to focus on what the job is and not chase those other things. "Some things are inevitable. You don't worry about those things. At some point, you
won't be the coach any more. At some point, you die. But you don't think about dying every day. If you do, you're not living. If you think about getting fired every day, you sure aren't coaching your football team because they aren't going to follow a guy who thinks he's on his deathbed."

Nolan inherited a team that went 2-14 in 2004. The 49ers are much better defensively than that team, but they're worse offensively. Is Nolan cut out for the job as head coach? That remains to be seen. The biggest negative has been the team's offense. It has been historically bad since Nolan became head coach. And there has been no indication he knows how to fix it.
When the 49ers had problems on defense, Nolan took matters into his own hands. He assumed the play-calling responsibilities from defensive coordinator Billy Davis and fired him after last season. However, Nolan hasn't had the luxury of taking proactive steps on offense. He lost veteran offensive coordinators (Mike McCarthy and Norv Turner) after each of the past two seasons. When Turner left to coach the Chargers in February, Nolan was declined permission to speak to some candidates from other teams. Nolan ultimately promoted QBs coach Jim Hostler to offensive coordinator after also giving consideration to offensive assistants Jerry Sullivan, Pete Hoener and George Warhop.

It's impossible to say Hostler is doing a good job as coordinator because his success is measured by how his offense performs. Right now, the 49ers are 32nd (last) in total yards per game,
passing yards, first downs, third-down efficiency, and they're 31st in points. I'm not going to close the book on Hostler, just like I'm not going to close the book on Nolan or quarterback Alex Smith. I believe the quickest way for the 49ers to get back to being a competitive team is with continuity. And that includes the wild concept of having the same offensive coordinator in back-to-back seasons. But . . . when a team goes through the kind of struggles the 49ers have experienced through the first half of the season, you can expect some changes. Unless things change dramatically, owner John York needs to demand major changes.

I don't believe York will fire Nolan. I think York will want to be patient. I think he wants to give Nolan a chance to see this thing all the way through. The organization needs some continuity. I haven't spoken to York on this subject, but I believe Nolan did enough good things in his first two seasons, ushering the 49ers through a rough transition from the previous regime, that York is compelled to stick with him for at least another year. Of course, I thought the same thing a couple years back with Dennis Erickson. But the organization and football team was in such turmoil that a change clearly had to be made. (It also didn't help that Erickson interviewed for a job at Ole Miss during the season).

As long as Nolan hangs onto the locker room - and there's no widespread mutiny - I believe he'll be back. But, if this continues, changes must be made. Maybe, as Cohn suggests in his column, the 49ers will strip Nolan of some of his power. Maybe Nolan will be ordered to make some staff changes.

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