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Don't expect big changes on 49ers in 2010

  • San Francisco 49ers' Alex Smith (11) dives for a first down in the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 27-13. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

It is customary in the NFL when a team does not live up to expectations that changes are made. In the NFL, it seems changes must be made.

Ordinarily, the parties held directly responsible are head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, general manager and starting quarterback ? not necessarily in that order.

Did the 49ers fail to live up to expectations in 2009?

Team president Jed York delivered the message at the conclusion of last season that he believed the 49ers would never again be sitting at home when the playoffs begin. And coach Mike Singletary said he thought the club had the pieces in place for a run deep into the playoffs and be a ?special team.?

With the 49ers? 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the 49ers were officially eliminated from playoff contention. If they finish with wins over lowly Detroit and St. Louis, the 49ers? 8-8 record will be their most victories since 2002.

But in expressing his frustration that the 49ers? season will end with the regular-season finale Jan. 3 in St. Louis, Singletary also provided evidence for why his club was not ready to end the organization?s playoff drought.

?This is a team that is good enough ? they?re good enough,? Singletary said during his news conference Monday. ?They got to play perfect every week. The margin for error is very, very small. But this a team that is very, very close to being that playoff team.?

Playoff teams do not have to play ?perfect? every week. There is not a team in the league that plays anywhere near ?perfect? more than half of the games in a season. But playoff teams are able to win even when every phase of their game is not clicking.

Playoff teams have a built-in margin for error through talent, coaching and teamwork. And it?s nearly impossible for teams in constant states of flux at important positions to get there.

Since the 49ers last finished with a winning record and made it to the playoffs after the 2002 season, the club has undergone dramatic yearly alterations.

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