Is Mike Singletary Turning the San Francisco 49ers Around?

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Is Mike Singletary Turning the San Francisco 49ers Around?
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

On Oct. 20, 2008, Mike Singletary, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, made a statement.

That statement was that he wasn't going to lose.

In his first game as a head coach, he sent rookie TE Vernon Davis to the locker room early after a slapping an opposing player's helmet.

Singletary gave an emotional and angry press conference, calling the tight end "uncoachable" and stating that he'd "rather have 10 players on the field than have Davis on the field."

 

Background

Singletary spent his entire career as a Chicago Bears linebacker and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. While on the team, he was regarded as the "Heart of the Defense" due to his fiery, aggressive playing style.

After coaching at Baylor for a period of time, he became the linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2003, where he played a key role in developing the future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis.

In 2004, he left the Ravens to join the San Francisco 49ers as the assistant head coach, as well as the linebackers coach.

After a three-and-a-half year tenure at that position, head coach Mike Nolan was fired. This is when the 49ers went from a given win for any opposing team to a team with an intense defense and a young yet experienced offense.

 

Alex Smith

Before Singletary came to town, Alex Smith was considered to be just another top draft pick bust.

Since Singletary has taken the reins, allowing Smith to start over Shaun Hill, the 49ers are a different team.

 

Offense

Frank Gore is definitely one of the most dominating, explosive halfbacks in the NFL and is a threat to any defense he encounters. Coming out of "The U," Singletary and Gore share the same mindset of winning at all costs.

Since Singletary called out Vernon Davis last season, he has played as well as any elite tight end in the National Football League, amassing over 800 receiving yards and receiving 11 touchdowns, which leads the NFL in both wide receiver and tight end production.

Rookie Michael Crabtree was a nuisance at the beginning of the year but has recently proved that he was worth the wait, catching his second touchdown of the season and passing 500 yards receiving through only seven complete games.

 

Defense

Middle linebacker Patrick Willis is a protege and a favorite of Singletary. Singletary has been quoted as saying, "I've coached two of the greatest linebackers—one that has already proved to be one of the greatest (Ray Lewis) and one who will prove to be better, barring health issues (Patrick Willis)."

While only in his third NFL season, Willis is constantly soaking up information from Coach Singletary, who played the position, and quickly developing himself into one of the most dominating linebackers in the NFL.

 

Overview

Since Singletary has taken over the play-calling duties for the 49ers, they have looked like a different team. Singletary's win-first, aggressive attitude has rubbed off on his players and has increased production in every player.

Pending injuries, I expect the 49ers to overcome the Arizona Cardinals by next year in the NFC West, as they did this past Monday in a dominating performance on both sides of the ball.

Mike Singletary is a Hall of Famer and should be respected by his players as one. He has gotten the job done in his career and knows what it takes to win championships. The benefit he will have on not only the defensive side, but his love for the game and his intensity on the sidelines as well, will quickly become a part of each player on the squad's psyche.

What do you think? Is Singletary the one to bring San Francisco back to its glory days?

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