Q&A: Why should we care about Coach’s pants?

Thanks for all the questions. There were a lot of overlapping questions, but I tried to hit on as many as I could.

I know many of you asked questions about Mike Singletary and his closed-door, halftime locker room session. Some of you wondered why it was newsworthy. Obviously, there are a lot of layers to this one incident, especially after all of Singletary’s other actions on Sunday.

But the main thing is the fact somebody in that locker room — most likely, a player or assistant coach — leaked the information. It shows that there might already be some dissenters in the organization.

Anyway, let’s get on to the Q&A:

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agniner:  My question is if Coach Sing stays for next year, who do you think will be his coaching staff? I read somewhere he had a list of coaches that he would want on his staff if he ever got hired as a head coach, any idea who might be on that list.

Maiocco: Singletary was ill-prepared on his four interviews for head-coaching positions because he did not have a list of coaches ready to join him. After his interview with the Chargers in 2007, he hired an agent and started making calls to assemble a list of assistants who would be willing to join him. Shockingly, Singletary has not told me who’s on his list, but I’d assume he might have talked to a couple players-turned-coaches.

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jagniner81: Is Singletary going to make any changes to the Offensive line?

Maiocco: He already has. In the first game, David Baas replaced Adam Snyder at left guard. When Jonas Jennings is healthy, he’s expected to take over for Barry Sims at right tackle. Also, there is a chance rookie Chilo Rachal could start working in at right guard.

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louie: With so many draft and free agent personnel mistakes, why isn’t McCloughan under more criticism from the press and the fans?
Maiocco: Since 2005, Mike Nolan was the front man of the organization. He had the final say on all personnel matters, so he was going to get the credit or the blame, depending on how things ended up. Now, with Nolan out of the picture, everybody will be placing more scrutiny on McCloughan’s work as general manager.

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Chip in Fresno: I was wondering, do you know if the players are showing any difference in attitude or work ethic under Mike Singletary?

Maiocco: I have not seen any noticeable difference. The only thing I’ve noticed is that Singletary speaks to the team after practices more often and for longer periods of time.

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GW in Santa Rosa: With all the intensity that Singletary is calling for at practice, is he still giving the “older” veterans a practice day off? I’m thinking of Walt Harris as one who got Wednesdays off. Has the changed?

Maiocco: There has been only one true Wednesday practice since Singletary took over and, yes, Harris was rested.

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AL: If they’re looking to get Brooks on the field at one of the end positions, who’s playing time is that most likely to cut into?

Maiocco: They’re looking at Brooks as a third-down pass rusher. So it would likely be cutting into the play time of Roderick Green (or Tully Banta-Cain).

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MarkW:  based on your years of covering QBs and coaches, was (O’Sullilvan) being asked to do something (in a desperate-for-a-win situation) that was unreasonable in view of his experience, the high risk nature of the Martz-style offense, and the degree of pass protection available?

Maiocco: What O’Sullivan was asked to do is typical of what Mike Martz expects out of his quarterbacks. Therefore, I’d say the answer is no – he was not asked to do anything unreasonable.

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sup3r: What are the chances Chilo Rachal and Reggie Smith get more playing time?

Maiocco: Rachal is expected to get some playing time as the season progresses. But there are still too many people ahead of Smith for him to see much action in the near future.

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roaddog: So knowing Spikes contract is up in one year, I am wondering if it is a safe assumption he will have proved himself valuable enough to get a contract with a more competitive team next season, leaving us with a spot for Brooks or a newcomer?

Maiocco: I think that’s a reasonable assumption. With how this season has gone, and all the uncertainty heading into next season, I’d think a veteran such as Spikes would be hard-pressed to stick around if the money is competitive elsewhere.

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norm in the bay: Over the years, which player was the most incisive, most compellng interview?

Other than football, which sport would you love cover? As a youth, did you aspire to become a writer, or is it something you just stumbled upon? If you weren’t a sports writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Maiocco: Tim McDonald and Steve Young were about as good as it gets, as far as interview subjects. The sport I wanted to cover when I first got into this business was baseball. I was single then, so it would have been fun to be on the road for six weeks of spring training and nearly 100 days during the summer months. Football is the best sport to cover for a family guy because it involves the least amount of travel. This occupation combined my passions for sports, writing and reporting. If I weren’t doing this, I’d probably be a teacher.

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49ersfor6: What is it that the 49ers do on their respective Road Trips that make them play like garbage? I realize their home record this year is garbage at 1-4, but has Singletary evaluated what they do on road trips from start to finish to see if there is something that they could do differently to help make for a more positive outcome on Sunday? Your thoughts?

Maiocco: Frankly, teams that fare well on the road are good teams. If you’re a bad team – and the 49ers have been bad for several seasons – then it only goes to figure that they’re going to get lit up in opposing stadiums. People can always point to those 49ers teams of the ’80s and say how they were good road teams. But, first and foremost, they were great teams, period.

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Razoreater: I’m curious to know if you have since changed your mind about Condaleeza Rice joining the franchise as a distinct possibility? Is McCloughan to be evaluated at the end of the year on job performance?

Maiocco: I don’t have a say in the matter. I was citing what Jed York and the 49ers have said on the matter. The 49ers say they are not interested in adding a team president. But Jed York said if Condoleeza Rice called to pitch her services, he would give her the courtesy of listening to her case.

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Marco from Stockton: PLEASE no politics! I have sick and tired of the last two years.

What I want to know is when do the 49ers fly out for away games? Bill Walsh always left on Friday for Sundays games. Is that still the rule.

Maiocco: Don’t worry, Marco. When I write about the political leanings of the 49ers, it will be clearly labeled. And I promise there will be no other football news in that post, so you will not be tricked into reading something you don’t want to see. If it’s a subject that does not interest you, please just skip it.


The 49ers always fly on Fridays for games at the Mississippi River or East. For the other games, they generally leave on Saturdays.

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Marc-NJ49er: Now that Nolan has been relieved and Scot is left to carry on the duties, do you see the attitude of Best Player Available taking any new direction? Is this roster stocked well enough in depth to perhaps allow more focused position of NEED selections?

Is there really a plan to build a 3-4 vs 4-3 and if so, who’s plan was it?

Maiocco: I don’t think the philosophy if best-player available for the first two or three rounds of the draft should ever change. In other words, if a team has a need on defense, but the highest-rated player on their board by a large margin is an offensive player, that’s the player they should take. Only on the second day of the draft, should teams try to grab specific needs.


It appears defensive coordinator Greg Manusky is more comfortable running a 3-4 defense. The 49ers used a 3-4 scheme almost entirely on Sunday against the Seahawks. That allowed Manny Lawson to see his most playing time of the season.

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PatBU: What’s your midseason record prediction for the end of the season? Tied in with that who do the niners take with their top 5 pick?

Maiocco: Things really look as if they’re falling apart. In the 49ers’ final eight games, Las Vegas will probably favor them to win just once. A fair guess is a total of four or five victories for the season. That’s a long way from my preseason prediction of 7-9.

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Craig: What are your thoughts on this: With the team giving up 30 points per game why is Manusky not on the chopping block?!

Maiocco: I think every coach on the staff has an uncertain future with this club.

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Danny: Seeing as you have concluded the ’08 season already a washout and I completely agree, I have two quick questions for you. (1) Who do you see as hot candidates for the head coaching position? (Browns are having a subpar year so do you consider Chudzinski a contender). (2) With the college QB class the weakest in maybe decades and Matt Stafford (if he comes out) probably getting snapped up by the Lions in the top 3, what plans do you think the 49ers would have for getting a signal caller?

Maiocco: Right now, the biggest contender in my mind is Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. He has head-coaching experience, and he’s doing wonders with Falcons’ rookie quarterback Matt Ryan. I’ve heard good things about Rob Chudzinski. I’m sure the 49ers have him on their list, but he is clearly nowhere near as hot as he was when the season began.


No matter what happens the rest of the season, the 49ers would be wise to draft a quarterback within the first four rounds.

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Norcalbomber: Any word on Singletary making changes to the defensive secondary?

Maiocco: Nothing yet. That unit is banged up right now. I know you’re probably referring to the possibility of Dashon Goldson moving into the lineup. But Goldson might miss another game or two with a knee injury. And even when Goldson has played this season, he hasn’t exactly lit it up.

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Darrel B: Matt, Is the team required to give the players so many days off during the bye week? It seems to me that considering their recent play, they could use a lot more practice days. Even “light” practices and extra coaching at various positions would seem to be helpful.

Maiocco: Teams are required to give players at least one day off a week. The bye week is often used to let players recharge their batteries. This was a light week for the team. That’s typical for bye weeks. It is generally seen as counter-productive to hold hard practices during the down week.


The 49ers have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. They’ll return for meetings on Monday and a Tuesday practice. With a Monday night game, they’ll take off Wednesday and then get back to work Thursday to prepare for the Cardinals on Monday.

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Marco from Stockton: What is the SF future at QB? Personally I don’t see any solution other than drafting another QB which translates into 3 years of losing.

Maiocco: Whatever happens the rest of the season, the 49ers will definitely be in the market for at least one quarterback in 2009. Shaun Hill is the only QB on the roster who figures to be assured of returning next season.


O’Sullivan is a free agent, and he probably won’t be back if Martz isn’t back. The same goes, of course, for Jamie Martin.


McCloughan said in early September that Alex Smith would not return if he did not establish himself as the starter this season. He is out for the season. If the 49ers want him back (we’re not sure they do), and Smith is willing to play for the lowest contract the league will allow (we’re not sure he will), he could compete for a job.

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midwest9er: I know it’s just been one game but what are the chances you think singletary will be coach next year?

Maiocco: Based on his first week on the job, his chances are zero. Luckily for him, he has two more months to settle in, calm down, and make amends for his rough beginning.

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dreamyip: I know Martz prefer the vertical pass plays but 49ers clear don’t have the players to do it. Shouldn’t Martz adjust his play calls based on the personal if he is a great OC?

Maiocco: He appeared to adjust the play-calling in the second half of last week’s game with Shaun Hill at QB. I’d expect him to do the same on Nov. 10. Hill is more adept at the short-passing game. Still, he’ll have to mix in a seven-step drop and deep pattern from time-to-time just to keep the defense honest.

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Amazingaaron: I was curious is this song about you?

If it isn’t I think it should be your theme song or something. I swear she is saying “Matt Maiocco”.

Maiocco: OK, how the heck would somebody stumble upon that? It’s absolutely hysterical. Back in my previous life, people used to think “My Sherona” sounded like my name. But this one takes the cake. Good work.

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