Mike Singletary's been on the job for nearly a month now and one thing we can safely say about the 49ers' interim head coach is that he's about as subtle as a baseball bat across the forehead. Singletary's already changed quarterbacks, reshuffled the offensive line, ejected Vernon Davis and used an especially vivid halftime prop to illustrate that his team was getting its fanny kicked.
He's also unveiled a new five-point team mantra, and he's not hoping it gradually sinks in. Like Mike Nolan's famous "Win the West!" banner, Singletary's slogan, unveiled before the Cardinals game, is located on the wall right outside the locker room. Players can't help but see it every time they go out for practice. The new slogan is called, "49ers Formula for Success'' and has five tenets: 1. Total Ball Security 2. Execute 3. Dominate the Trenches 4. Create Great Field Position 5. Finish.
Singletary also is hanging the T.E.D.C.F. banners around the building. And just before the end of practice, a team employee hauls a large signboard with the five rules onto the field. One big difference between Nolan and Singletary is the amount of time Singletary spends talking to the team each day following practice. It's hard to hear what he's saying, but his voice is definitely impassioned, and he's definitely using T.E.D.C.F. to hammer home his point. (Better that than his other prop, right?)
So, How did the team do with T.E.D.C.F on Monday night? Eh, it was a mixed bag:
Total Ball Security - The 49ers turned the ball over three times in the second half, and were it not for a couple of Cardinals penalties, the number would have been five. Arizona had zero turnovers. D
Execute - I'm not exactly sure what this means, and to be honest, it sounds like one of those vague excuses Nolan used - "We didn't execute" - over the past few years. The 49ers finished with 336 yards of offense and returned a kickoff for a TD. But they also allowed 374 yards and had 10 penalties. C
Dominate the Trenches - Other than the final play of the game, put a check mark next to this one. The 49ers had 119 rushing yards to the Cardinals' 46. They also did not allow a sack for the first time in nearly two years (though Kurt Warner wasn't sacked, either). B+
Create Great Field Position - After Allen Rossum's kickoff return for a touchdown, the Cardinals seemed scared to kick to him, and the 49ers benefited with three returns at their 40 or beyond. Mission accomplished. A-
Finish - They lost 23 crucial seconds while trying to spike the ball and called a one-yard dive from 2 ½ yards away. But they also were in a position to win the game at the end. D+
-- Matt Barrows