Article Title: Putting God First.
If there is something you’re looking for that is rather distinct about head coach Mike Singletary it is his faith in God that personifies his character and the way he conducts himself within his daily routines. From his wife Kim to his seven children, Mike is a man that exudes his presence in multiple facets such as husband, father and spiritual head coach to those that know him.
Shortly after our last home game victory against the Washington Redskins at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Jed York acting on behalf of his mom and dad as the new San Francisco 49ers President announced Mike’s official title as the new head coach of this new and invigorated team.
His interim label now gone, Mike can concentrate and focus on what he needs to attend to in resurrecting one of the most storied franchises in NFL history. With six straight losing seasons of agony, confusion and frustration among former coaches, staff and players the need to repair the bridge that was lost to its fans must be completed.
Mike Singletary is that person that can get that started and done. The critics are already circling the wagon and laying doubt on what he will be able to accomplish. As if he hasn’t already proven through nine games that he can stick through adversity and learn something from it. His dedication to Mike Nolan was evident but his passionate observations for change shined when he was allowed the reins.
Looking back on his days with Mike Nolan I can say that he wanted to be more involved in the decision process but respectfully stepped aside on more than one occasion so that Mike Nolan always had the limelight. Nolan was a man that yearned for authority and power to the point even within his darkest hours in proclaiming himself to be the “face and voice of the San Francisco 49ers.”
Many instances after then Vice President of Personnel Scot McCloughan was promoted to General Manager he referred to their relationship as being so mutual and understanding that the decision process was always done with each other coming to terms, but Scot had the final trigger so to say.
Nolan’s focus on power was his undoing. From his early purges of the players roster to his head to head clash with quarterback Alex Smith. Nolan’s self confidence twisted fact and fiction to where even sports writers scratched their collective heads in trying to find the resolution of his verbal jousts in defending his character and decisions.
Mike Singletary is about what is in the best interests of the team. Not about himself or power. His personal power hangs around his neck in a cross honoring the Son of God. He believes that he is being given an opportunity to lead men in a direction that is yet to be determined. His goal is the absolute heights of the Super Bowl and beyond. His stamp on these players has already resonated throughout the walls of the locker rooms to the actual seats that surround Bill Walsh Field. Players want to play for him and want to stay for him.
Looking back on the victory against the Washington Redskins that cemented Mike’s endorsement as head coach the brilliant play of quarterback Shaun Hill must be duly noted. Completing 21-of-30 passes for 245 total yards with one sack and one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 91.7. All but an interception Hill made the case that he is ready to be an NFL quarterback.
Mike’s smash mouth style of football which starts with an aggressive offensive line that dominates the line of scrimmage proved successful against a worthy Redskin defense that features Andre Carter and London Fletcher. The line achieved 121 total yards in rushing for 4.7 yards per carry between Frank Gore and DeShaun Foster.
Frank Gore achieved franchise history with three consecutive seasons of 1,000 total yards rushing or more, and wide receiver Jason Hill continues to make a case as the next great 49er wide receiver with another touchdown and four receptions. Kicker Joe Nedney’s clutch 39-yard field goal won the game for us following a spirited effort by Washington Redskin quarterback Jason Campbell to tie the game.
The crowd at Candlestick was absolutely electric following the victory that closed the door on the 2008 NFL season for the San Francisco 49ers. It is our undeniable right to finally have hope again. In the form of Mike Singletary that has challenged the era of negativity and mediocrity to its very core. His post game news conference lifted my spirit when he talked about what is philosophy is about on offense and football in general.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz being let go was a sign of that difference in football physics that each coach has. Martz is an absolute wizard in offensive philosophy there is no question; he has pelts on the wall to prove that he has been and still is a brilliant offensive mind. Going from being ranked No. 32 in passing yards to No. 18 is definitely a noted improvement.
On top of all that Mike Martz is a risk taker. He never flinches when it comes to being creative on offense and is a believer in trickery and wildcat type formations from time to time that keep the enemy guessing. Our scoring intensity increased by more than 100-points, as we went from last place in scoring to 22nd. I have to commend him for all of that and his ability to settle down and adjust to Shaun Hill’s strengths following the overdue benching of J.T. O’Sullivan.
Mike Martz joins a crowded graveyard of former offensive coordinators in the likes of Greg Knapp my personal favorite, Ted Tollner, Mike McCarthy, Norv Turner and Jim Hostler. The San Francisco 49er offense has been a disappointment from the waning post-season of 2002 up and until now. The toll it has exacted on the 49er faithful has been exhausting as we shutter to think what the next coordinator will provide.
With Mike Singletary emphasizing we need to get back to the offense that made this franchise rich in glory, and that is “imposing our will on the enemy with the running game.” Welcome back to the West Coast Offense under Bill Walsh my friends! It is high time that we recognize the need to bring back the weathered principles and philosophies that made us the greatest in the first place.
We need to be able to run the ball. Rather there are eight defenders in the box to try and stop it or not. Mike Singletary’s conviction is to run the ball right down the throats of his enemies. Running the ball to help set-up the passing attack has always been the Bill Walsh mindset. Getting back to basics in the way of football fundamentals is essential to reestablish our true identity for what it was.
The fact that Jed York is now an active facilitator between his parents and the team will signal enhancements for the San Francisco 49ers. Some critics contend that Jed is far too young to assume the mantle of power and that his parents should have hired a more experienced individual. Mike Singletary was asked about this and his response was inspiring to say the least.
He referred to the energy that is in the clubhouse and the front office right now. Even the most experienced general managers and front office personnel can not always spell success. The evidence is all around the league when you really analyze it. It is a positive to have this energy and vigor to get things done, let’s make no mistaking of that.
Six years waiting. Six years too long. As I get older I realize the importance of savoring every moment I have in observing this storied franchise of ours. 2009 needs to be the starting point for us as we look at taking this division away from Arizona. The 49ers have given me many a gray hair and I know I’m not alone. Let’s hope the youth of the New York will speed our true destiny.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.