Glen Coffee

49ers re-draft 2009: Crab and Coffee, a stomach-turning combo

The results of last week’s re-draft results are in. It was the largest voter turn out yet, so thank you for that. This week’s re-draft might be especially interesting, given that it will be McCloughan’s first solo performance, as McNolan would acrimoniously separate mid-season.

The 2008 Season

It is Mike Singletary’s second game as a head coach, and there are 44 seconds remaining on the game clock. The 49ers trail the rival Arizona Cardinals by 6. Quarterback Shaun Hill has just completed three consecutive passes to receiver Jason Hill, who would take the last pass down to the Cardinal 1-yard-line. In 14 seconds, Hill and the 49ers managed to gain 41 yards. Now, they have 44 seconds to gain just one. But first, the 49ers, who have no timeouts remaining, need to spike the ball to stop the clock.

But they don’t. Well, at least not for another 20 seconds.

Between the point when Jason Hill is whistled down and when Shaun Hill spikes the ball, twenty-two seconds elapse, a player subs in, another realigns, all the others throw their hands up in confusion, and a million viewers scream in unison, “What the (expletive) are you doing?”

Three weeks prior, the 49ers would jettison Mike Nolan. Scot McCloughan, the man responsible for the Nolan firing, decided to promote the woefully underqualified Mike Singletary to head coach. Why not Mike Martz, who had experienced success as an NFL head coach? “I am confident that Mike Singletary’s leadership ability gives him the ability to turn our season around,” McCloughan said.

With 44 seconds left and the ball on the 1-yard line, Singletary had his opportunity to display the leadership for which he was hired. Instead, he watched with the rest of the world, as the game slowly ticked away. He watched as the 49ers spent the final twenty seconds running two dive plays.

Postgame, Singletary would note that the 49ers just have to “live with the result.” The following day, Martz and Singletary wouldn’t, opting instead to dodge accountability.

“It cost us the game,” Martz said of the spotting of the ball by the officials. “We go to the 1 — or the half-yard line — then spike the ball when, all of a sudden, officials tell us they’re going to look at the replay. While they’re looking at it, the ball stays at the 1. So we send in a play. Then, when they make their decision, they move the ball back to the 2½ and tell us they’re going to start the clock on the official’s wind.”

“We couldn’t change the play. We had to go with what we called,” Martz continued. “If it would’ve been at the 1, we would’ve made it. But they moved it and didn’t give us any time. So what are we going to do?”

Singletary too pleaded ignorance, explaining, “No one came to [the 49ers] sideline to say the ball was going to be moved.”

“Someone should do that,'” Singletary said. “Because we have no idea. We have no clue what’s going on.”

No idea, indeed, Mike. This blunder exemplifies the 49ers of the 2000s: clueless and leaderless.

Prior to the season, Mike Nolan had hired Mike Martz in hopes of making the offense more “creative.” Of course, the hiring of Martz would signal a complete divorce from the power-running scheme that Nolan had been working to implement. Whether or not the 49ers had the players to run Martz’s system was apparently not Nolan’s concern. Perhaps it was above his pay grade.

In training camp, Nolan would defer to Martz when selecting the starting quarterback. Even though Shaun Hill had led the 49ers to two victories the previous season, the 49ers would start J.T. O’Sullivan at quarterback. Later, Nolan would admit that it was a mistake not to start Hill. Ultimately, this mistake would cost Nolan his job.

Singletary would of course take over for Nolan. During Singletary’s introductory press conference, CEO Jed York blamed the team’s struggles on a lack of passion and intensity, a deficiency cured by Singletary’s promotion.

Singletary would not disappoint. In his first game as head coach, he would give his team, reporters, and fans a taste of passion and intensity. At halftime, the 49ers trailed by 17 points. Singletary attempted to rally his team by dropping his pants. This, strangely, didn’t work. So, a frustrated Singletary benched O’Sullivan and put Vernon Davis in time out. All of this would culminate in Singletary’s infamous post game rant, in which he would bark about his desire for winners.

“I want winners,” Singletary woofed. “I want people that want to win.”

The Cardinal game was the perfect opportunity for Singletary to put his winning stamp on the team. But, he failed. Not because he didn’t have winners, but because he didn’t know how to coach winners.

The Off-season

Singletary would coax the team to win five of their last seven contests, and in so doing, he would secure his job for the following the season.

When addressing the media, McCloughan again pointed to Singletary’s leadership as reason for removing the “interim” tag. “Mike Singletary’s leadership ability has galvanized the players and coaching staff to deliver improved results on the field,” McCloughan said. “I look forward to working with Mike to continue to build on the momentum he has created as we prepare for the 2009 season.”

Singletary wouldn’t build on the momentum, however. As the day after he was named the full-time head coach, he would fire his offensive coordinator.

“After an evaluation period,” Singletary said of the firing, “I felt it was best to go in a different direction.” That Singletary’s “evaluation period” was less than 48 hours was of no consequence to 49er fans and or players. But that would change when Singletary hired Martz’s replacement: Jimmy Raye II.

Singletary chose Raye over Hue Jackson (Scott Linehan had already turned the position down). Raye’s hiring was not without its merit. A spritely 62 at the time of the hire, Raye had 32 years of coaching experience, and as your very own BASG pointed out, he “helped Stephen Davis run for 1,432 yards and in Oakland he somehow coaxed 1,025 yards out of [Lamont] Jordan in 2005.”

When commenting on his style of offense, Raye didn’t get into specifics. He did, however, note, “The teams that I’ve been the leader of as a coordinator have been tough, physical football teams that run the ball and have a physicality about them.”

“The overriding factor is that we want to be tough-minded physically and emotionally,” Raye continued.

Tough-minded physically, Jimmy? Is that possible?

The 49ers wouldn’t make a significant splash in free agency as they had the previous season. What they would do is restructure Alex Smith’s contract, much to the chagrin of fans.

As the Chronicle’s John Crumpacker pointed out, Smith would only “remain with the team only if he [agreed] to a drastically restructured contract. He [was] due to make a base salary of $9.625 million in 2009, with a cap number of $12,291,666.” And restructure Smith would: down to the $2 million to $3 million range.

Smith would cite his to “prove everybody wrong” as reason for accepting the pay-cut.  In fact, Smith was so determined to prove himself “to the organization, to my teammates, [and] to the fans,” he stated, that he turned down larger paychecks from other teams.

Later, while thumbing Jimmy Raye’s playbook, Alex would lament, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

The 2009 Draft

 

Remember when I said the 2008 draft was one of the worst drafts ever? Well, 2009 might give it a run for its money. Only two players from this class remain on the team (I’ll give you four guesses as to whom they are). The rest are either out of football, or there are scoring touchdowns against the 49ers in NFC championship games, which is very difficult to bear.

Crabtree might not be the worst pick, but when you consider that Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Mike Wallace, Austin Collie, and Johnny Knox were all picked after him, its clear that he’s not the best. Also, if you’re going to draft a running back in the third round, why not take Mike Goodson or Bernard Scott or—I don’t know, maybe—Arian Foster?

Anyway, I suppose the question is: which wide receiver would you rather have? Vote HERE.

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