FanPost

How Singletary can save the season and his job

Let me first say that I do not support firing head coaches/managers in mid-season unless they have been insubordinate or have completely lost their team after entering the season knowing they were on a short leash (think Nolan). I am a firm believer that you have to allow a full season to play out, in terms of injuries, scheduling and even lucky breaks, before you can make a fair evaluation. It is far more disruptive to a team to have them go through OTAs, training camp, pre-season, then make drastic changes to leadership after a few games. Remember those 3-1 Niners of a year ago? You have to let the whole story play out.

With that in mind, I do not want Singletary fired at any point during the season, certainly not now at 0-3. With him in place this is still his team thus he has the opportunity and responsibility to take the lead in correcting the season. To not do so may lead to his deservedly looking for employment come January. What can he do in a season that is not yet one quarter old?

Singletary gives his coordinators a great deal of autonomy in game planning and play calling. I know the media narrative is that "he's not an X & O guy" but I find that weak. He played professional football for twelve years and is in his eight year as a pro coach. He understands game planning, execution and attacking the weakness of an opponent. I think Singletary needs to become more involved with what Raye is doing, as I don't imagine he'll reduce Raye's role unless he receives pressure from players. I do not want Singletary calling plays, but I do want him to increase his role in instructing Raye on what he wants done. How is it that our offense never attacked two rookie safeties down the field? Why is it that Raye calls plays as though he's fearful for Alex Smith, even after Alex just had his best game as a pro six days earlier? All trick plays coming on third down. Rarely ever throwing on a run down or running on a pass down. Raye seems afraid to call consecutive pass plays unless we trail by multiple scores and are in the 3-WR formation. It's all predictable, and I suspect that a former defensive player like Singletary understands how easy that is to prepare for and attack. It's time for Singletary to fill the vision void, if he can, and be the person who is thinking two or three plays ahead. If he his not capable of this, he must elevate someone on staff who does have this skill (perhaps Mike Johnson).

He must understand (and we fans and media) that the loss in KC, 0-3 record and anger at Raye have nothing to do with garbled plays, late play calls or wasted timeouts, just as today's game has nothing to do with 10:00 AM starts or loud stadiums.  It's unfortunate that the Yahoo! article came out as that became a side issue that distracted from the real issues with Raye. Every team I've watched today has wasted TOs and/or had delay of games (4 times for Rivers & Norv, once for KC, AZ, Oakland, Denver, Atlanta and the Saints last Monday night). Singletary was right to defend Raye on this issue because there is no issue when compared to other teams. The issue deserving of critique is predictability in play calling based on score, down & distance, and formation.

Lastly, Singletary must take the lead on keeping his team focused and patient in a way that outside pressures will not make easy. The first five games of this season were never going to be an simple road to success, not with three road games, defending champs plus a reigning NFC playoff team. When you've got the second youngest offense in the league, two rookie OL, a special teams filled with rookies and brand new team-wide expectations of success there was a great likelihood things could appear to fall apart early. This is not about motivation, I mean getting this team of young players to focus on one game at a time instead of the concept of being NFC West champs. The latter will work itself out one way or the other, but the former is how this team can begin to develop a positive consistency instead of the thought that they're more talented than everyone else and should win, even while they don't.

It's time to be humble, not panic and remain patient with the long season. It's also time to treat Alex Smith, for better or worse, as a team captain and put him in control of the offense. Going forward, I think Sing needs to entrust his QB with the success of this offense, and thus, this season.

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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