The worst among York, Smith and Singletary
Published: Monday, October 11, 2010 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 at 10:39 p.m.
I won't bore you with the details of Mike Singletary's Monday presser. He likes his team. His goals haven't changed — to win the division. He's sticking with Alex Smith because when Singletary was going to take him out of the Eagles game, Smith said something that impressed Singletary and showed the coach the quarterback's true grit, or something. Singletary is big on character tests, although we don't know what Smith actually said. It must have been a beaut.
Enough of that. Today's exercise involves an essay question. Feel free to e-mail me your essays. In the 49ers' Triangle of Failure — Jed York, Smith and Singletary — who is doing the worst job? I stole that phrase Triangle of Failure from my kid, Iggy, who used it on his Comcast blog because it's so appropriate for the Niners. I believe all answers are correct because all three are so bad. Here is my answer.
The Least Worst Award goes to Singletary. I shudder to write that because he is the most horrible coach in the NFL — Tom Cable is Vince Lombardi compared to him. Singletary is a hobbyist and the 49ers need a professional. He can't manage the clock and he can't teach and he knows no offense and he's always talking about how he likes his team. Someone has to like it.
I am most lenient with Singletary because the 49ers stuck him into a job he was not prepared for — never was and never will be. Sure, Singletary took the job in the fullness of his pride — lots of pride with this man — and has seemed delusional about his abilities. And he didn't have the smarts to get a good backup quarterback. He got David Carr, whom he doesn't believe in. But Singletary tries hard and means well and he gets a few points for that, although he's a joke coach.
The Second Worst Award goes to Smith. He is very bad, even though Singletary thinks he may have “the stuff” a quarterback needs. “I am convinced there is something there,” Singletary said. He didn't say what that something is.
Well, check this out. Smith has prepared his entire life to be a starting quarterback in the NFL and he is not good enough. People say he's young but he's been in the league six years. He is a coach killer. He does enough good things to trick you, to tantalize you. Just when you think he's passed a threshold into the Land of the Good, he does that crazy fumble thing he did Sunday night and the other team gets the ball and runs it in for a TD. Or he's driving the team and then he throws the pick at the exact moment to break your heart.
Because Singletary knows nothing, he thinks Smith will grow out of this and become who he really is. “He does a good job,” Singletary said. “And then he starts pressing and when that happens, bad things happen. We just have to find a way to alleviate some of the other things and then I think he gives himself a chance to be a good quarterback.”
Wrong. Smith always will have the jitters and he always will make the wretched play under pressure that kills the drive and loses the game. The coach killer is who Smith really is.
The 49ers should bench Smith and play Nate Davis. I used to be against playing Davis. Count me in now. If the Niners start him, they will be planning for the future, seeing what he can do, actually building toward something. With Smith or Carr or Troy Smith they are simply marking time until Singletary gets fired and Smith gets cut.
The Absolute Worst Award goes to Jed York, goes to him hands down and with a trumpet fanfare.
Let's start with a small detail — his text message. On Monday morning, he texted ESPN, said the 49ers will win the NFC West this season. Win the division? How about winning one game? Start from there.
It is unseemly and immature for a team president to be
texting writers and bragging. It is also unwise. Jed is letting everyone know he texts national writers. That also lets us suspect he's done it before — i.e., he is a leak in his own organization. Is he The Rat?
Jed's texting is in bad taste because he comes out of hiding for a national guy but never shows his face to the local media. When he wanted votes for his stadium, we couldn't get rid of him.
Jed gets the Worst Award because he's the one who hired Singletary without doing due diligence. He set back the organization for years. In my Monday column, I advised Jed to fire Singletary right now. I was hasty. I've slept on that. Jed should not fire him now. He should fire him at the end of the season.
The best candidates become available at season's end. Jed fired Mike Nolan in midseason and then gave Singletary a chance as interim and then got charmed by Singletary's voice and made him permanent. He can't fire Singletary now and hire an interim guy in midseason and fall in love with him and make him permanent. He can't do that all over again.
At the end of this season, Jed needs to tear down his whole organization and start over. That includes getting a real general manager who will bring in real football people who know what they're doing as opposed to the present amateur-hour arrangement. Even if the 49ers win their bad division, Jed still must start over. Jed, do you understand that?
I'll give one more reason Jed gets the Worst Award — and I admit I'm mixing my sports here. Jed, Prince of York, was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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