If 0-2, Singletary won’t like the next question

A day after Who’s Yahoo! and the Rat Alert, I stuck with on-the-field issues in covering the 49ers Friday.

But Mike Singletary’s media meltdown – a fascinating give-and-take Thursday with host Dennis O’Donnell during the taping of his weekly KPIX pregame show – shouldn’t be ignored.

For those still unfamiliar with the interview (click here), O’Donnell opened with a reasonable line of questioning. O’Donnell said he respected Jimmy Raye, but the details in the Yahoo! story painted the Niners offensive coordinator in an unflattering light.

What’s the truth, O’Donnell asked. Singletary didn’t tell O’Donnell he
couldn’t handle the truth, but he did offer a verbal code red.

After saying O’Donnell’s initial question didn’t “make sense,” he said
of the Yahoo! story “it really pisses me off.” At Singletary’s
insistence, O’Donnell shifted the interview to a more traditional line
of questioning, but the “Coach’s Corner” segment continued to resemble “Coach Backed in a Corner and Really Mad About It.”

Asked about trying to stop Drew Brees, he said, “We will not try to stop Drew Brees. We will stop Drew Brees. Next question.”

As reported by Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News,
the KPIX interview has been pulled from the station’s Web site. A 49ers
spokesman told Brown on Friday he didn’t know if the team requested
that the interview be yanked.

Regardless, it’s too late. The national media has taken notice.
Who knows if the Niners truly are spinning out of control, but
Singletary has helped fuel that perception. His team meeting in Santa
Clara on Sunday night was apparently called because he lost it in the
postgame locker room and some players were left scratching their heads.
Then he sprawled out in the sun during Jimmy Raye’s press conference
Thursday. No big deal, I’d say. But a little odd. Then came the
O’Donnell interview in which he was responding to a story detailing his
team’s inability to get play calls relayed to its quarterback.

Singletary, of course, has been in this same spot before. After his
pants-dropping, Vernon-banishing interim debut in 2008, he was viewed as
an in-over-his-head coach without a firm handle on his emotions. (That
game was also against the Seahawks. Final score: Seattle 34, 49ers 13).

But he went from national laughingstock to an inspirational leader after the 2-6
Niners rallied to finish with five wins in their final eight games under
his watch and Vernon Davis responded positively to his coach’s
no-nonsense approach.

The same is true now. If the Niners beat the defending Super Bowl
champions Monday night, Singletary will revert back, in many circles,
into a tightly wound master motivator who got his team to run through a
brick wall. But if they lose, particularly if they lose, say, 31-6,
Singletary — and his team — will be seen as unraveling.

In other words, if they don’t stop Drew Brees, the next questions Singletary gets could really, um, tick him off.

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