Question: Any guesses about whom the 49ers might be wanting for the OC? It would be GREAT to have Shanahan back but I see him as a HC somewhere. How about Turner? Any up and comers worth mentioning?
Answer: Yes, but they're just guesses. Scott Linehan might not get the fan base too jazzed up, but he seems to fit all the parameters Mike Singletary is looking for. Ironically, he is from the Dennis Erickson coaching tree. Tom Rathman also catches my eye. His lack of experience as an OC is the big caveat, but I get the feeling that Singletary will use his instinct - which, btw, has been spot on thus far - to make this pick. The face-to-face that Singletary has with these candidates will be paramount.
Question: It seems like Singletary is not sold on Shaun Hill. How do you think Singletary will address the QB situation? Trade the 10th pick for a QB - Matt Cassel or moonwalking McNabb? Are there any big free agent QBs available?
Answer: Singletary definitely seems to be keeping his options open at quarterback, which is a bit puzzling because he and Hill seemed to be joined at the hip. That is, they owe each other their success this season. With the type of run-based offense the 49ers plan to have next season, I think they'd be perfectly fine with Hill as their quarterback. Still, I thought it was worth noting that Singletary said that his ideal offense is similar to the one that Bill Walsh used to run. Who runs Walsh's West Coast offense? Donovan McNabb. Coincidence? We shall find out ...
Question: Would it be wise to let the playoffs shake out for another two weeks before choosing an OC? There's usually at least 1-2 firings every offseason after playoff losses.
Ryan, La Mirada
Answer: Yes, especially since all these playoff teams appear to be running the type of offense Singletary covets. There might be a young assistant who emerges just as Steve Spagnuolo did last year for the Giants.
Question: If the 49ers retained Alex Smith in 2009 do you think he would he be given a chance to compete for the starting job against Shaun Hill if no other QB is brought in besides drafting one?
Patrick, Montclair, N.J.
Answer: Yes. For the last few weeks, I thought the scenario would go like this: The 49ers retain Smith in early March and draft a QB in, say, the third round of the draft. Then they go into training camp with Hill as the starter, Smith as the No. 2 and, say, Nate Davis as their project. But listening to Singletary yesterday, it sure sounded like they might bring in a QB through free agency.
Question: Matt -- I was not in favor of hiring Martz (liked Cameron better), but must admit he did a good job. In some ways, once they reached an understanding, Martz and Singletary appeared strangely good for one another...and in the process, made the offense better. Question: Do you let Martz go so early on unless you already have his successor pretty well locked up? Does this mean we can expect a new OC named quickly?
Mike, Montclair, N.J.
Answer: You make a good point: If you're getting rid of a legitimate OC, you must have someone on the line, right? I think the 49ers feel they have a sure thing (or two) but that they want to see how the rest of the NFL firings pan out before they pounce. ... I also agree with your premise that Martz and Singletary were good for each other. Singletary took care of the big-picture issues while Martz handled the details. In the end, though, the feeling was that Martz never could/would fully convert to what Singletary saw as the vision for the team.
Question: I know that Singletary did a good job down the stretch, but do you think there is any second guessing now that Mike Shanahan is available? He is from the Bill Walsh coaching tree, has a brilliant offensive mind, and has roots to the 49ers and ties to the prior success of the 49ers.
Answer: I think it would have been near impossible NOT to hire Singletary. He did everything his bosses asked of him when he took over as interim coach. Hiring someone else would have been viewed as a betrayal, I think. ... Still, hiring Shanahan would have been brilliant in two ways: 1.) It would have given the 49ers the offensive consistency they've lacked over the last six seasons and 2.) It would have been a wonderful bridge to the team's glory days.
Question: In regard to becoming a run first team, all five of the top running teams feature two good running backs (and in the case of the Giants three). I'm thinking if the 49ers want to be a top rushing team this means they're going to have to get another good running back to compliment Gore. Who's out there? Is he going to come as a free agent or through the draft?
Answer: Great point, John. I think the 49ers recognize this also. Look for them to go after a running back in the draft and to get Thomas Clayton more involved next season.
Question: Matt, love the blog. ('bout time the question segment was back. I was having such bad withdrawals that I was forced to turn to Miacco!) I was looking at the 49ers schedule for next season and got a perplexed one part. I understand that we play the NFC North and AFC South, thus Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Houston are supposed to be on the schedule, but why I cannot fathoms as to why Philly and Atlanta are on the schedule?
Answer: Every year the 49ers play one entire NFC division outside their own. In 2009 it's the NFC North. For the two remaining divisions, they face the team that finished in the same spot as they did in their own division. In other words, the 49ers finished second in the NFC West so they will face the second-place team in the South (Atlanta) and East (Philadelphia). Let's see Miacco explain it more clearly than that!