Looks like Troy Smith will start Sunday’s game for the 49ers, not David Carr. Sounds good to me. We haven’t seen Smith play yet, but we saw Carr last week. More importantly, so did the Denver Broncos.
Smith may not be a better passer than Carr, which would mean he’s pretty crappy at the old heave-ho, but he supposedly has some juice in his feet that should serve him well when the O-line protection breaks down. Maybe he’ll surprise us. Maybe we’ll run a single wing. At least there will be something to be curious about at kick off time.
The Yorks stated yesterday that Mike Singletary would be the coach till the end of the season. Of course, they could change their minds next week, but maybe they learned a lesson from two years ago that the time to fire a coach is after the season, not during it. Especially when it probably doesn’t matter a whole bunch who coaches the team the rest of the way. When you ain’t going 10-6, and you ain’t going 9-7, anything else is just draft bait anyway.
It’s popular to say that Singletary inherited a good team from Mike Nolan and made it worse. Heck, I’ve probably even said it myself. Or at least thought it. But is that really the case?
Nolan’s team was less than average, at many critical positions. The secondary had two safeties who were junk. Both of them have been replaced by Singletary with very young players. To Singletary’s credit, IMO, he has always pushed young players onto the field, rather than keep less talented veterans in the lineup who didn’t make made fewer mistakes, but never made any plays, either.
The offensive line also is starting two rookies, plus a young guard in Chilo Rachal who rode the bench under Nolan. There is an entirely new WR group from Nolan’s team. The only area of the team that remains unchanged is the LB group, the three D-linemen, Nate Clements, and Frank Gore. Even the QB is different from Nolan’s last two years. There’s also a new offensive system in place, which is noteworthy only in that the system has lasted two years, if not the OC calling that system’s plays.
The expectations for this 49er team were sky high when the season began, but should they have been, given all these key new young players Singletary has inserted into the starting lineup? Nobody expected much from Nolan’s first two years of rebuilding the team, but Singletary did not have that luxury. For some reason, 49er fans went from hating Nolan to thinking he had developed a pretty good team that just needed a change in attitude, not talent.
What is more difficult, though? Rebuilding a useless bag of crap 2-14 team and in 3.5 years getting it to 7-9? Or rebuilding this less than average team from 7-9 and getting it over the hump to become an elite team? The league is full of coaches who can develop and maintain 7-9 teams. There are few coaches who consistently produce 10 win teams, and those coaches all seem to have a HOF type QB at their disposal. Do we? Ahem.
Yesteday’s Foto section was a telling reminder of why young teams play so erratically and unpredictably. One ordinary little play in the game, and two simultaneous busted rookie efforts, got our QB broken and gave the team little chance to do anything offensively in the second half of the game — the half of the game that this team and its QB normally perform at their best. It was probably the play that cost us the game. And a reminder of why this team is not going to be very good this year. And probably no better or even worse than last year’s team.
One thing everyone can agree on is that David Carr coming off the bench was about as inspiring as Trent Dilfer picking out the slivers, and it would have been a lot better having Shaun Hill trot out there last Sunday than either one of those two. It isn’t known for sure who made the decision to dump Hill and bring in Carr, but it was Scot McCloughan’s last deed as the 49ers GM, so one must assume it was his decision, not Singletary’s. Especially given Singletary’s open disdain for Carr’s summer performances, the signing of Troy Smith, and his elevation over Carr for this Sunday’s game.
In case it seems like I’m defending old Iron Mike here, that’s not the intent. He deserves all the scorn he’s getting. If he hadn’t shot off his mouth about the team making the playoffs and being so tough, there wouldn’t be so many angry fans. He pushed the expectations of the franchise sky high and now he’s paying the price of that foolishness. If he was smart, he would have said the team isn’t that good and there’s a lot of work to do. Fans might very well have agreed — however reluctantly. Now he’s stuck with a braggart’s pie in the face. And the only choice he has is to eat it.