After only one regular season game, there are some very ominous signs hovering around the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers came out of the preseason with hope, optimism, and positive spirit, but then came the horrendous loss to the Seattle Seahawks, a team they figured to beat. What made matters worse was how poorly they played, especially in the second half en route to a 31-6 defeat.
All of the positive vibe from the preseason was gone and it was replaced by insecurity and uncertainty. Numerous instances cropped up this week that could spell trouble in terms of team unity and focus.
Immediately following the Seattle game, head coach Mike Singletary was very harsh in his postgame review of his players. Quite honestly, they deserved it, in my opinion.
Then, upon landing in San Francisco, Singletary called a team meeting to smooth the waters. He apparently felt that he may have overreacted. Once Singletary went public with his displeasure about the 49ers' performance, there was no need to backpedal on that.
The players and coaches should all know they did not perform up to their capabilities and I have no problem with Singletary letting them hear it. By easing up on his statement, it shows some uncertainty on his part, which is not what the Niners need at this point.
As the game slipped away in the fourth quarter, it actually appeared as though some players gave up and were just going through the motions. I never thought I would see this from a Mike Singletary-coached team.
Another issue happened in practice on Thursday. The 49ers were going through a simple drill at about half speed when Ahmad Brooks was trotting through a line of players. Shawntae Spencer drilled Brooks, knocking him to the ground hard.
Ahmad Brooks is just coming back after suffering a lacerated kidney, so I'm not sure why Spencer chose to blast him. None of the other players in the drill were hit like that.
Brooks jumped to his feet and immediately went after Spencer. He grabbed his face mask and seemed like he was trying to unscrew his head from his body. A lot of pushing and shoving ensued, along with some loud shouting, as other players broke the two combatants apart.
Tensions seem to be running very high among the players.
Finally we have the Yahoo Sports story. Apparently, someone on the 49ers spoke to Yahoo Sports and said that offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was not getting the play calls in properly.
The informant alluded to Raye being slow to make the call and having it come through in a garbled manner. The person who made these statements was not identified, although some insiders believe it came from another member of the coaching staff.
Mike Singletary addressed the issue with the media and stated that a man doesn't go around back-stabbing people. A man needs to speak directly to the people involved and not hide behind the media. Then Singletary went on to call the unnamed informant a "rat" and a "coward," several times.
While the terms "rat" and "coward" are somewhat applicable in this case, for Singletary to use those words will burn a bridge between he and the person that made the comments to Yahoo Sports.
A coaching staff cannot function in an optimal manner when they don't trust one another. If this was indeed an assistant coach that said those things, he will likely not be back in 2011.
Then there's the issue of whether Jimmy Raye remains in the press box, where he wants to be, or down on the field so he can make play calls directly to Alex Smith. This situation also occurred last season, the 49ers should have corrected it by now.
Taken individually, all of these instances are not a major concern. However, when you add these issues together, then you can see an undercurrent of dissension creeping in.
If the 49ers do not play well and get beaten decisively again, the heat will be on Mike Singletary to keep this team together. Right now, the cohesiveness of the 49ers appears to be on very thin ice.
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