When the 49ers first hired Mike Singletary, I was not sure how I felt immediately. My gut said anyone was better than Nolan at that point, so it was positive.
Singletary brings experience with the front office and team since it was a promotion instead of an outside hire. He also bring instant integrity to the position of head coach, something that was questionable since Mariucci held the position.
He also brings an intensity of a Super Bowl winning , Pro-Bowl caliber player. Something that will lend respect and authority in the locker room.
But there are issues.
Due to his relative inexperience, his game management continues to lose games for the 49ers going back to last season. Players are going to notice this, just as any other company employee sees when management does not have a handle on things. When constantly exposed to this sort of incompetence, employees lose faith. They start to tune their managers and supervisors out because they no longer believe they know how to direct them.
After Sunday's debacle in Seattle, Singletary blew up on the team and called everyone out. According to some, it was so derogatory and inflammable, that a second meeting at the training facility was called to discuss the first meeting.
This could motivate and straighten out those on the team who might not have been as focused as needed to play at their optimum. But these types of meetings have a short shelf life if not followed up by some tangible positive gains.
With the reigning NFL champs coming in for a national televised game, is this the week you want to grind on your team after they got blasted? Especially after your coaching staff was a big part of the issue. I personally believe it is better to get everything out in the open and call out who needs to get called out, but in a positive supportive way to motivate, not to degrade (unless that is the only way they respond).
My feeling is that unless Singletary and Jimmy Raye quickly find the answer to resolve the play calling and game management, this team will tune them out and the 49ers won't even sniff the playoffs until they replace the coaching staff.
Which leads me to my next point. Do the 49ers have the type of owner that would be able to make a coaching change mid-season if he thought Singletary was not able to perform? Does he have the moxy to fire someone as dynamic as Singletary without the 49ers going 4-12?
Eddie Debartolo took a chance on a GM long ago that had a firey personality, that would get in player's faces to tell them when they were not performing. Taking a hard disciplinarian line that put people in their places.
His name was Joe Thomas. He led the 49ers into disastrous years because he spent more time wielding his power than focusing on what would make his team better. When Debartolo saw his antics and the dismal result, he put a plan in place to replace him with someone who he thought would be the best fit, he found Bill Walsh.
Bill Walsh, to his credit, demanded full control or the front office and team to remake in his image. He also went on to win three Super Bowls and set the foundation for 15 years of continued success.
Fast Forward to 2010.
Does Jed York have the confidence and moxy to fire someone like Mike Singletary? Does he have the front office personnel to identify a head coach to replace him? Can Jed York find his Bill Walsh?
Without serious football people giving guidance, it is hard to see Jed being able to eat his mistake in hiring Singletary without ample cause. My guess is that the 49ers will be just good enough for him to not get fired this season.
Hard decisions must be made if teams are to be consistently successful in the NFL. Sometimes that means admitting mistakes and moving on.
Of course, this could all go away with a win against the Saints...