Before I get to bed, I just wanted to give you some of my thoughts on what happened today.
–First, you’re going to probably read and hear a bunch of thoughts about Mike Nolan losing the locker room. Sure, there were some players who were not happy with their roles, as there are on every team. But I don’t believe there was anything resembling a mutiny in the 49ers’ locker room. Surprisingly, he held the team together during some really bad stretches.
–Nolan got fired today for one reason: Eighteen-and-thirty-seven.
The Yorks and GM Scot McCloughan were forced to make this decision because of Nolan’s 18-37 record. You can talk about a lot of other stuff, but that’s what it boils down to.
–There are rumors floating around the league that the 49ers are in danger of a blackout this weekend against the Seahawks. The public discontent has reached an all-time high. I thought the move would happen at the bye week. Perhaps it would have. But after ESPN’s Michael Smith’s report that the 49ers had decided to fire Nolan in the next few days, perhaps it forced the Yorks and Scot McCloughan to expedite those plans.
–Nolan signed a five-year contract worth approximately $1.6 million annually. He will receive all of that money through next season.
–McCloughan and the Yorks had gone through best-case and worst-case scenarios since before the season. All along the thought was that if it got to this point, they’d probably promote defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. But they made the right call to elevate Mike Singletary, 50. He is the first African-American coach in 49ers history.
–One of the knocks on Singletary is that he’s not an X’s and O’s guy. That’s OK. He does not have to be. He will take on the role of the CEO, while dictating to Mike Martz and Manusky what he wants from those sides of the ball.
–Singletary is a popular choice among the players. Singletary will definitely want the 49ers to get rid of their “passive” style of defense. It’ll be very interesting to see how much autonomy he gives offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
–Martz can’t be happy with this development. He wants to be a head coach again. The fact that he got passed over for the interim job does not bode well for a long stay with the 49ers.
–It’s also very interesting — but not at all surprising — that the 49ers decided to fire offensive line coach George Warhop at this time. Warhop was told at the end of last season that he’d be fired, only to be told the next day that he still had his job. When the club hired former Ravens offensive line coach (and Dolphins offensive coordinator) Chris Foerster, it was pretty obvious that Warhop was on the outs. The fact the 49ers have surrendered a league-high 29 sacks in seven games did not help his cause.
–Does Singletary have a chance to get the full-time gig? The odds seem to be against him. After the 49ers’ problems in finding continuity on offense, it would make sense for the club to want an offensive-minded head coach.
–Singletary interviewed for four NFL head-coaching jobs, but was not prepared well enough at that point to get a job. It wasn’t until after his final interview (Chargers) that he hired agent Bob LaMonte and compiled a list — and keeps it updated — of assistant coaches he would have on his staff.
–What does this mean for Alex Smith’s future? As you know, he is out for the season with a fractured bone in his throwing shoulder. (He is on injured reserve.) The injury is healing and he probably won’t have surgery. However, he might undergo a procedure to remove the wire sutures from his surgery of a year ago.
Although Nolan had the final say on that No. 1 overall pick of 2005, let’s remember that Smith was McCloughan’s pick, too. Would McCloughan want to keep around Smith, as a reminder of a pick that he greatly influenced? Or would McCloughan rather start anew.
Either way, the 49ers will be looking for a long-term starting quarterback in the offseason. The only person in the organization convinced that J.T. O’Sullivan is that man is Martz.
–Nolan was pretty much doomed from the moment he hired Martz. Even if the team had been successful, Nolan probably would not have been back next season. Any success would’ve been because of the team’s offense. And in that were the case, it would’ve been more important for the organization to retain Martz over Nolan.
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OK, by looking at the comments, there were a lot of questions about my whereabouts when all this was happening. As chance would have it, I drove up to Bristol, Conn., last night after the game to shoot a live segment on ESPN’s “First Take” on Monday morning. I spoke about Nolan being on the hot seat. I flew out of Hartford on a 2:45 p.m. flight and arrived at SFO at 8:30 p.m. I spent two hours at SFO making phone calls.
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