There's a pretty interesting article about Mike Nolan in the Mercury News today. Basically, it's saying what we all know - something good needs to happen in 2008 or Nolan is done.
What's interesting is it has Nolan taking the blame on himself for poor coaching decisions -
Nolan was more candid than expected about what exactly created the train wreck of 2007. He mentioned the unusual situation of 10 players or coaches (including Nolan) being emotionally hit by the deaths of parents during the season. It had a collective downer effect, Nolan said. But without prompting, he quickly shifted gears.
"Some things we can control, some we can't," Nolan said. "The things we could have controlled, in my opinion, would have made a difference. Had we had better depth, for example at quarterback . . . and had we made a better decision at offensive coordinator, all those things . . . they tie together. Because in some other areas, we did extremely well."
Then at the end of the article, Nolan is asked about problems last season with Alex Smith -
What about any lingering friction between Smith and Nolan, who are still here? Both say the issue - which burst into the open when the quarterback said he thought the coach was undermining him with the team - is now a non-issue. Nothing to see here. Move along. But is that so?
"If you look back . . . I didn't like what happened," Nolan said. "But again . . . there are things I can say and things I can't. As much as I was communicating with him, somehow, we weren't communicating enough."
And this year? Nolan and Smith will tell you they are back on the same page. But the coach, speaking about what he expects to see from whichever 49ers quarterback wins the starting job, did not mince words.
"Every player faces stress in their job," Nolan said. "People are built differently. Some respond differently than others expect them to respond, especially in certain positions. If you're the head coach, you're expected to act in a way that's more responsible than, say, the equipment manager. Well, if you're the quarterback, then you're responsible to react in a way that's more responsible than, say, the kicker. I'm just saying, there's a rule about that."
What do you guys think? I think we should be able to avoid bringing the problems of last year into this one. At least Nolan and Smith have got to know what's at stake.