Is Seahawks game a must-win for Nolan?

When looking at the schedule prior to the season, it was easy to predict a four-game losing streak at this point.

 

After all, the 49ers stood little chance at Saints, home against the Patriots and Eagles, and then back on the road against the Giants. Right?

But you could not have predicted what happened leading up to those games. The Saints were playing without their top two targets in the passing game; the Patriots lost Tom Brady and started a quarterback who had seen precious little action since high school; and the Eagles were without four offensive starters, including running back Brian Westbrook.

 

Then, the 49ers go to New Jersey and face a flat Giants team.

 

The door was wide open for the 49ers. An average team wins a game. A good team would’ve gotten a couple victories during this stretch.

 

What’s clear at this point is that the 49ers are not a good team.

 

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Now, we’re at a point where the 49ers come back home to some angry fans – and some more tickets to sell — to face the Seahawks. If the 49ers lose this game, where do the Yorks and GM Scot McCloughan go?

 

Coach Mike Nolan’s career win percentage (18-37) has dipped below .333. He knows the deal. He said yesterday that the talk about his job security is justified because of his record.

 

One 49ers source told me yesterday that generally nothing good comes from midseason coaching changes. In fact, no team in the Super Bowl era has ever made the playoffs after a midseason coaching change. But it’s gone beyond making the playoffs. The 49ers have to give their fans reason for hope. Ownership has to prove to the team’s fans that they’re serious about winning.

 

The Rams are Exhibit A for making a change. Jim Haslett has the Rams playing great football after they dumped the ineffectual Scott Linehan.

 

Can Mike Singletary, Mike Martz or Greg Manusky produce similar results for the 49ers?

That is the question the Yorks and McCloughan will answer behind closed doors in Santa Clara.

 

I don’t believe Nolan has lost the locker room, but you can sense the growing frustration of some of the veteran players. Sometimes a change is needed when the current course just is not working. And you can be sure those conversations are already happening, as the 49ers decision-makers mull their options.

 

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When asked if J.T. O’Sullivan will continue to be the starter after another game in which he did not take care of the football, Nolan said the staff would watch the film, etc. It’s the standard answer, but it was one week after Nolan declared decisively that O’Sullivan was the starter, period.

 

Martz was not available to the media after the game, but he has been effusive in his praise of O’Sullivan, saying he’s going to be a “great” quarterback. It’s doubtful Martz feels the same way about Shaun Hill, who has very little contact with the offensive coordinator. Almost all of Martz’s attention has been on O’Sullivan once the regular season began.

 

That’s why I would be surprised if the 49ers seriously contemplate a change at quarterback.

 

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Today is a long travel day back to the Bay Area. Click on the below sentences to read my articles in today’s paper:

 

The 49ers put together an extremely sloppy performance in losing their fourth consecutive game, a 29-17 defeat to the Giants.

 

Also, the 49ers special teams does something that’s never been done before. And Nolan’s tries to explain why he did not use one of his three timeouts instead of allowing 18 valuable seconds to tick off the clock late in the first half.

 

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