49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 3, 2008
Belichick Scoops Willis

Bill Belichick, who was part of a cheating scandal early in the year and who later ran up the score on one of the classiest coaches ever, Joe Gibbs, was named coach of the year today. To me, that’s like naming Dick Cheney “Firearm Safety Coordinator.” As it turns out, Belichick also nudged aside another good guy, Patrick Willis.
Willis was expected to be named the defensive rookie of the year today. The coach of the year announcement originally was scheduled for tomorrow. But some eager beaver in Boston leaked the news about Belichick early (after all, good sports news is hard to come by in the Northeast). So the official announcement was made today and the Willis announcement will be made tomorrow.

After refusing to divulge any names on his list of potential offensive coordinators yesterday, Mike Nolan seemed to have no problem blurting out three this morning on KNBR radio: Cam Cameron, Mike Martz and Brian Billick. Martz, it seems to me, would be a very odd fit in San Francisco considering the offensive weapons at his disposal and huge philosophical differences between him and Nolan. He’d also start gunning for Nolan’s job as soon as he saw an opening. A team official on Sunday told me that Martz wasn’t being seriously considered. Billick is a better fit, but I can’t imagine the Faithful would be too jazzed about him considering what his Baltimore offenses have done (Answer: nothing) over the past few years. Which leaves Cameron, who was fired today in Miami. Continuing the Goldilocks theme, Cameron seems to fit just right. He’s a guy with a thick NFL resume who has a history of squeezing production out of young QBs and who is familiar with the system the 49ers run. It would be as if Norv never left.

Anyone who regularly watches Nolan’s press conferences probably has picked up on the coach’s favorite joke. Every time he refuses to answer a question, he turns to me and asks if I want to ask the same question, only worded differently. It’s a real knee slapper, and he’s been using it for, oh, about three years now. The only thing is, neither I nor anyone else for that matter, can recollect me ever doing that. No matter, he’s schticking with it in 2008 as yesterday’s press conference plainly and painfully showed … Ugh.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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