Question: Looks like the end of the Nolan era. With all the possible head coach candidates, how do you feel about our own Mike Singletary? I would hate to lose him as a coach, as there is a good chance he will be head coach somewhere next season.
Webster, Atlantic City, NJ.
Question: Let me preface this by saying that there's still a good chance that Mike Nolan will be back next year. If he's not, however, Singletary would be an intriguing choice for the following reason. The Yorks are worried about starting from scratch for the third time in five years. Singletary would allow the team to keep a lot of the coaching structure - defense and special teams, maybe a few offensive coaches - so that there's a bit of continuity heading into 2008. It also would give the 49ers a jump-start on the rest of the league as far as hiring new assistants. That is, all of the teams that go through coaching changes are picking from the same pool of candidates. The 49ers could dive into that pool earlier.
Question: Hi Matthew. Enjoy your insights in the Bee and on KNBR and have a quick question...The Niners are on NFLN (today) and roughly 70 percent of us don't have that channel so will a local station be picking up the game? I know channel 11 (NBC) in the Bay Area will have it.
- Matt, Rocklin
Answer: As far as I know, you're out of luck in Sacto if you don't have NFL Network. The league considers you local enough to be blacked out if there's no sellout, but not local enough to have a local TV channel broadcast the game. Greedy, ain't they?
Question: Great article... but... I'm actually not sick of hearing about the Smith / Nolan situation.. I'm just getting the feel for how Nolan treats his players.. Is he still in the stone ages?!!!! How can the Yorks keep this guy around?.. His own decisions (during game conditions) is enough to fire him, but now to pressure his people like this only adds to why he should not be around.. There must be a coach available to take his place (Shottenheimer, D. Green, Norm Chow...) do you think any of these guys would make a good replacement?
Answer: If the 49ers were to replace Nolan with someone other than Singletary (see above), I think they'd have to go with an offensive mind. Chow is intriguing. I truly don't know enough about him to say whether he's head-coaching material (Would he be another Norv?) but at the very least he'd be good for Alex Smith.
Question: Matt - I agree w/ you 100 percent - I'm sick and tired of reading about this big mess of Nolan's. The Yorks should base their decision this offseason (whether to keep this idiot) on not only a bounty of ugly evidence of his incompetence - but on how high they think the ceiling is for the team under him. That ceiling belongs in a house for little people. What is your best educated guess of how the team would look & perform if we kept the defensive staff intact, and brought in a Josh McDaniel or Jason Garrett as head coach?
Answer: Well, that's sort of what I was getting at in the first question. I'm not sure a new head coach - Garrett, for example - would agree to come in and not have a staff that is entirely of his choosing. Singletary would allow the 49ers that luxury. He would merely have to find the next Jason Garrett to run the offense.
Question: With Alex's recent "counterattack" against Nolan, do you think he had it coming? Nolan seems to do nothing other than throw everyone under the bus - everyone is accountable other than Nolan himself and his assistants. Do you think other players will start to speak out now that Alex has thrown the gauntlet? Who will the team stand behind, Alex or Nolan? VD has seemed less than pleased with Nolan all season.
Jeff, Fairfax, Va.
Answer: Hey, Jeff. I grew up in Vienna, just a few miles north of you. ... I think the real question is who will the Yorks stand behind, Smith or Nolan? I expect this issue will be one of the things the Yorks study intently at the end of the season before making any decisions.
Question: Do you think the oft-injured, doghouse resident Jonas Jennings will be back next year? If Staley takes the left tackle position next year, where does that leave Jennings?
Gordon, Rancho Murieta
Answer: First off, it's plain to everyone that Jennings is not a "Nolan guy" because of his long, long, long list of injuries. But he might be un-cuttable for two reasons. 1.) He makes a lot of money. 2.) The 49ers will suddenly be short of offensive linemen following free agency. I see Jennings at right tackle next season. If Nolan is still around, I think he'll have Jennings compete for the spot.
Question: Are the 49ers actively trying to resign Sopoaga? Although he may not be the ideal NT, he flashes the potential to dominate and I can't identify a better prospect in free agency or the draft. Like you mentioned, Sopoaga might be best at LDE, but I'm really concerned about the '9ers depth a NT. Aubrayo Franklin is adequate, but adequate is not a flattering description for a 3-4 nose tackle. Do you have any insight as to how the 49ers plan to upgrade the position? Is there a player on the roster who can develop into a true NT?
Answer: Yes, the 49ers recently initiated talks with Sopoaga's people. He seems to be the one free agent the 49ers are intent on bringing back. As far as possible NT's ... Sopoaga certainly could play there. Atiyyah Ellison seems to be the best bet for developing into a good NT - the guy is massive - but he didn't exactly set the world on fire in Baltimore. Joe Cohen is another option, though I would put him well behind Ellison at this point.
Question: Not a question, just a comment. The nickname "Bam Bam" is IT. He hits everything...brilliant! Look no further. The 52nd Commandment: Thou shalt use no other nickname but Bam Bam.
Bill, La Canada
Answer: First, I apologize for not following up better on this nickname endeavor that I started. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by the response. I'm planning on listing what I feel are the Top 10 suggestions and then winnowing the list from there until there is just one standing. I assure you that "Bam Bam" will be in the top 10. It's excellent. But is it perfect? After all, Willis only had the club for three games. Then again, I'm not sure the "perfect" name exists. More on this later ...
Question: Sorry, I just missed your posting of draft questions. But what are the odds the Niners trade up before the draft to grab a little better spot? Maybe...cough...to grab...cough...Colt Brennan...?
Answer: You think they'll have to trade up for Brennan? Not so sure. The guy has a bit of baggage and played in an oddball system. I think if the 49ers wanted him, they'd be able to get him.
Question: Any possibility we can play Arizona a couple more times before the year is over??? Just curious.
Answer: Careful what you wish for, Ray. Old man Warner threw for nearly 500 yards the last time they played. Do you want the defense to finish down there next to the offense?