A Response to Fooch's Singletary Approval Rating Poll

I am responding to the poll in this manner because I have more than just a few "comments".

Before retiring, I spent the last 20 years of my career as the CFO of several publicly-traded technology companies.  I'd like to think that I know a thing of two about managing people, managing public perception, and managing communication with the financial press.  I believe that I can relate to what Singletary is going through right now.  Sorry, don't mean to pound my chest, but wanted to establish some credibility concerning facing some of the team's issues.

While I don't particularly like the yes/no, black/white poll format (NOTHING is ever all black or all white -- rather, EVERYTHING is some shade of grey), I voted "NO", I don't approve of Mike's handling of his job RIGHT NOW.  There are a number of positions that he has taken that I definitely agree with; however, there are a number that I strongly disagree with.  On balance, FOR RIGHT NOW, I believe that the later are dominating the situation.  It would take a complete essay to discuss all of these, so, in the interest of sparing you that pain, let me comment on just a few.

 On the plus side:

1.  Most importantly, I believe that Mike is highly motivated to do the right thing.  Believe it or not, not everybody is so motivated, so this is important.  He may not know HOW best to execute on that at all times, but then who among all of us does?  Needless to say Mike's learning, or not, under fire.

2.  While I do believe that Jimmy Raye means well, I also believe that the game has passed him by -- he just doesn't seem to be able to adjust to the more modern, sophisticated form that the game has become.  IMO seeing what the opponent is doing to you and adjusting QUICKLY is what the modern OC and DC jobs are all about; Jimmy just doesn't seem to be able to do that -- he only knows the brute force approach.  So how in the hell is this a "plus" for Mike?  Well, whether he likes it or not (in all probability NOT), Mike is in bed with Jimmy -- for the sake of continuity (a topic that we have beat to death) Mike has chosen to not make a change.  Never forget that Jimmy was far from Mike's first choice.  It's hard to fault Mike here -- he was in a Catch-22.  Being a "defensive guy" he needed an experienced OC to formulate and direct the offense AND, to avoid the continuing OC turnover problem, he needed someone who would not jump at the first HC position that became available.  That combination limits your choices to ... pretty much Jimmy Raye.  Not his fault, Mike must make do with what he has -- for now.

3.  I don't fault Mike at all for adopting a "go for it" strategy in the Seattle game.  The first game of the year, in a loud hostile environment, against an expected weaker opponent -- why not try to "win the game" early and, IF successful, give your young team the confidence that they so desparately need?

Now, the real issues that caused me to vote NO, for RIGHT NOW:

1.  The "play communication issue."  My God, how can this be a problem at all?  Worse, it's been a significant problem game after game after game.  This is NOT 1960!  We have modern technologies!  The mechanics of the communication (i.e., "headset problem") CANNOT BE THE REAL PROBLEM.  I suspect that the real issue is that Jimmy doesn't get the call to Mike Johnson fast enough -- then the headset is turned off (at X-15 seconds) before Mike can relay the call to Alex.  Which begs the questions -- why the hell do we need a middleman?  Why can't Alex get the call directly from Jimmy?  Other teams do it, why can't we?  If in fact Jimmy's delays are the real problem, then Mike should have his own call ready to give Alex if he hasn't gotten a timely call from Jimmy -- "if you want to call the plays, Jimmy, get them to me ON TIME".  Or, find some other system for God's sake.  (IMO it is difficult to ask Alex to call a play directly because he doesn't control the personnel groupings that go with the play.)  Letting this BASIC problem linger is just not forgivable.

2.  The impact of the "play communication issue" on player performance.  I believe that not having solved this issue A LONG TIME AGO directly bares on Alex Smith's performance.  Why?  Because we all know that the guy survives or dies on the basis of two things: (1) finding and maintaining a rhythm, and (2) gaining a sense of self-confidence from his own competence, or lack thereof.  To gain these he needs: (a) not being jerked around by an inconsistency in play-calling from the coaches, (b) adequate -- not necessarily great -- pass protection, and (c) receivers who can catch the catchable ball.  Duh!!!  When he gets these (e.g., the first drive against the Vikings in pre-season and EARLY in the Seattle game) he is a competent QB (dare I say, maybe even an above-average QB); when he does not (e.g., the coaching mismanagement in Seattle that required needless time-outs, delay-of-game penalties, and the failure to adjust play-calling to the changes that Seattle was making), he ends up worrying more about running for his life rather than executing plays.  Poor coaching and poor communication -- resulting in poor player execution -- is the responsibility of the HC.

3.  Crabtree.  Mike's continuing gross error in babying this kid.  Any of you that has ever had a sprained neck (in football, I had more than my fair share) knows that it does NOT take four weeks to recover.  Not only did Mike let Crabtree get away with not practicing but he also allowed him to avoid all pre-season games -- for the second year in a row.  What I found shocking about the Vernon/Crabtree confrontation was not that it happened, but that (1) it took so long for ANYBODY to say something, and (2) that it wasn't Singletary calling Crabs out LONG BEFORE Vernon did.  Does Mike really believe that having an obvious "holier-than-thou" deadbeat standing on the sidelines at practice and avoiding pre-season games doesn't have an effect on all the other players who are busting their butts?  It pissed me off and I'm not even on the team.  This special treatment started last year when Mike wrongly decided to start Crabtree as soon as he signed.  Bad TEAM decision!  Far worse, Mike choose to start Crabtree in the Seattle game!  Crabtree was obviously wholly ill-prepared to play.  I would have started Ziegler and told Crabtree to sit until he has practiced with the team and was really ready to play.  Some HCs have a straight forward rule that I fully agree with:  If you don't practice, you don't play!  Are you listening Allen ... and Crabs?  Any of you who have ever experienced this situation at work know exactly what I'm talking about.

4.  The inability to adjust -- both offensively and defensively -- to actions being taken by an opponent is absolutely the responsibility of ... the HC.

5.  I realize that Mike is trying to protect his coaches and players, but providing 2-faced fibs to the public is not a good policy:  don't tell us that the most important thing is keeping the team together, then allow the Crabtree behavior and/or blame others for problems not solved.  Sorry Mike, as Truman once said, "the buck stops here!"  You better get on it ... and fast!

Well, I could go on ... but that is enough for now.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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