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!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

49ers shouldn't rush to make Singletary permanent coach

By LOWELL COHN, The Press Democrat

You can make this assumption. The 49ers did not expect Mike Singletary to do this well — and he’s been brilliant, so brilliant it’s being reported the team will offer him the real, full-time head-coaching job after Sunday's season finale.

When they appointed him, Niner management was looking for a mop-up coach, someone to see this season through and then, goodbye, Mike. After that, the team could get on with the serious business of finding a full-time head coach, feeling it generously had given Singletary a chance to experience coaching, a chance to showcase himself around the league. All in all a fair quid pro quo. Singletary was wrong for the job in every way. He had no head-coaching experience. He didn’t know enough technical football — that X’s and O’s stuff. He was a novice when it came to offense, and he was coaching the 49ers, a team known for offensive innovation — well, the Niners used to be known for that. After they kissed off Singletary, Niner leadership would launch a search for a young, eager offensive whiz, an energetic guy who would make the offense zing. And this new coach never would be dependent on whether the offensive coordinator left for a better gig. In other words, the 49ers were thinking about long-term stability and Singletary was not part of that thinking.

And now he’s had the bad manners to win four of eight games when it seemed no one could do that. He’s had the effrontery to louse up the 49ers’ careful plans. Last Sunday, he had the flat-out nerve to win when it seemed the team was ready for a fall in St. Louis. A loss might have done him in. But he won and it had something to do with looking into Shaun Hill’s eyes, one of those deep looks Singletary gives you — it feels like he’s peering into your soul. Which leads to an important question: Is it smart for the Niners to appoint Singletary coach — if they in fact do that?

The answer is, no, absolutely not.

No disrespect to Singletary. He’s given the 49ers players and fans a feeling of pride and competence they haven’t experienced in years. But Singletary’s eligibility for the real job — not the mop-up job — depends on more than four or five wins. He disagrees with this point of view and apparently management disagrees, but they are wrong. All along Singletary needed to show management he had a plan going forward. He allegedly did this last Monday and knocked everyone’s socks off. Really? Who in the 49ers’ chain of command is competent to evaluate a plan, including the intimate details of offense and defense and the ability of new assistant coaches? This goes double for an offensive coordinator because the team surely will dump Mike Martz. Certainly John and Jed York can’t do that kind of evaluating. We’ve seen John York’s football acumen in the past. Jed York is too inexperienced. In fact, the Niners are short on football guys making important football decisions with repercussions for years to come.

General manager Scot McCloughan is probably the leader in the hiring of Singletary and he may or may not be up to this serious task. It’s unclear. It’s pretty clear eight games changed his mind because I don’t believe he was a Singletary supporter when Mike Nolan got the heave-ho. The 49ers should take their time, take a deep breath before taking this leap. They have made so many mistakes hiring coaches in the past. Does this mean hiring Singletary is a mistake? Not necessarily. But it is one thing for him to salvage this season, sort of. It’s quite another to be in charge for the long haul. A head coach is part administrator, part teacher, part visionary. Singletary needs to prove he has this combination, and he has to prove it under fire. What’s does under fire mean? It means the 49ers should interview him along with other impressive candidates. Sure, they should identify Singletary as the leading candidate — he’s earned that — but they need to interview several men and Singletary needs to demonstrate his clear superiority in the tension of competitive interviews.

If this does not seem fair to you, think about this. Fans of the 49ers have ripped management for not being professional, for not being big-league. If the Niners latch onto Singletary, hold on for dear life, that would be another symptom of not being professional, of not doing the necessary work. Of course, there’s the issue of being fair to Singletary. But there’s the much greater issue of being fair to the franchise. It’s troubling this news about Singletary is coming out before the 49ers play their final game, against Washington on Sunday. What if Washington absolutely destroys the 49ers at Candlestick? That would look bad for the perhaps soon-to-be coach. His team will have played poorly two games in a row — and the Niners did play poorly against the Rams until they played well at the very end. Two bad performances should go down as a demerit.

Look, I don’t expect the Niners to play poorly. They may even win. I’m merely making a case for caution and I’m asking a reasonable question: What’s the big hurry?

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