The 49ers finished 7-9 – their sixth consecutive losing season with their sixth offensive coordinator in six seasons.
Mike Singletary should be very thankful Mike Nolan hired Mike Martz to run the offense. All in all, the work Martz did with the 49ers’ offense was exceptional. It showed what a good offensive coordinator can do for a team.
With Martz calling the shots, the 49ers this season improved in almost every offensive areas:
–They scored 219 points in ’07; 339 points this season under Martz.
–They averaged 237.3 yards per game last season; 311.1 yards with Martz.
–The team passer rating was 64.3 a year ago; it was 81.3 under Martz.
–The 49ers held the ball 26:51 per game in ’07; their time of possession this season was 29:22.
Was it all perfect for Martz? Of course, not. There were some late-game problems in losses to Arizona and Miami. Some will point to his devotion to J.T. O’Sullivan, but I cut him a lot of slack there. I watched those practices in training camp, and there was no question they started the season with the quarterback who earned the starting job.
Statistically, the only places where the 49ers did not improve were turnovers and sacks. The 49ers committed 34 turnovers in ’07; and 35 this season (though they also ran 36 more offensive plays). The 49ers were sacked 55 times both seasons.
Has Singletary already fired Martz? Well, Singletary said after Sunday’s game – as the newly crowned head coach for 2009 and beyond – that he had not yet made up his mind, 100 percent. By not making up his mind, it sure does not seem to bode well for Martz. What kind of signal does that send to Martz that he was retained only after a lot of thought and discussion?
In essence, Singletary has already fired Martz because he did not seize the opportunity to fully support his offensive coordinator. He is showing that this union is extremely tenuous.
Singletary has the contractual power to hire and fire coaches. General manager Scot McCloughan said Singletary wants to consult with him about the assistant coaches, but Singletary is ultimately responsible for choosing his staff.
You can’t blame Singletary for wanting to find his “own” offensive coordinator – someone who more closely reflects his offensive philosophy. Also, Martz has made it known he has a great desire to be a head coach again. If Martz returned in 2009, how much longer could the organization expect to keep him?
But Singletary and Martz worked exceptionally well together over the second half of the season. I’m not sure what else Martz could have done to prove his worth.
If, indeed, Singletary goes ahead and fires his offensive coordinator, Martz leaves after making a positive impact in his only season with the 49ers. His stock as an NFL coach has not been this high in a long, long time.
Meanwhile, all the momentum the 49ers’ offense could have carried into next season is rendered meaningless. If the 49ers have their seventh offensive coordinator in seven seasons, they will once again be starting over.
Will the seventh losing season follow?
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From the pages of today’s Press Democrat:
And columnist Lowell Cohn asks 49ers fans, after the developments of yesterday, “Are you satisfied?”
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