Should people criticize you? Singletary responds

“You talk about being critical of the team. Should people be critical be of (you)?”

The question was lobbed to Mike Singletary during his press conference Monday.

And the subtext was obvious.


Before
taking questions, Singletary had delivered an opening statement in
which he explained the purpose of the team meeting he called Sunday
night back in Santa Clara. Singletary had made some “hard comments” in
the locker room after the 31-6 loss to the Seahawks, which can probably
be safely interpreted as meaning he kind of went ballistic. In fact, his
comments were so “hard” that he felt it was necessary to hold a
clear-the-air meeting a few hours later.

OK, so back to the question. Singletary was clearly not happy with his team’s performance. But what about him?

Given
an entire training camp to prepare, the Niners had lost – no, been
blown out — by a team that went 5-11 last year and might have still
been signing offensive linemen during the second quarter.

Worse,
the loss could be blamed, in part, on a consistent inability to get
play calls delivered to the quarterback in time, a problem that doesn’t
seem to plague other NFL teams. In the first half, the Niners were
seemingly using the two-soup-cans-and-string approach to let Alex Smith
know what play to run on fourth-and-1.

Finally, Singletary, who
said Monday he listens to the offensive calls, apparently wasn’t aware
of the reason behind the play-calling problems. After the game, he said
they burned their timeouts and had a delay-of-game penalty called
because of malfunctioning headsets.

So, given the circumstances, the question was fair. Should people tee off on Singletary?

“Should
people be critical?” he said. “How I view myself, anytime we lose, and
even sometimes when we win, I’m critical of myself, because I always
feel that I can do something better. Very rarely is anybody going to be
more critical of me than me. I continue to be a student of the game. I
don’t ever say when we lose the game, ‘Man, you guys are awful.’ No, I
have work to do. And if there’s something that didn’t happen out there
that needed to happen and I failed to see it, I failed to make the right
decision, yeah, then I’m going to say, hey you know what guys, that’s
on me. And I find myself saying that very often.”

There is a lot to admire in how Singletary responded.

He certainly understood what the question implied: Hey, buddy, your players weren’t good, but you weren’t so hot either.

Still,
he didn’t snap. He didn’t give a pat response. Instead, he delivered a
thoughtful answer which displayed humility. He’s still learning, he
said. He has work to do. He makes mistakes.

So, Singletary handled the question well.

But
how he handles his team’s play-calling problems, and how he handles the
aftermath of a brutal defeat, will help further answer the question
that so many are asking.

Is Mike Singletary a good NFL coach?

For a team whose outlook has changed dramatically in the past three days, the answer, you could say, is critical.