Blog Entry

Smashmouth!? Be Careful What You Wish For...

Posted on: November 12, 2008 12:55 am
Edited on: November 13, 2008 12:19 am

Coach Singletary, you asked for smashmouth football...and you got it.

After watching 8 games with Mike Martz at the helm of the offense, you had enough. You had the guts to bench J.T. O'Sullivan halfway through the Seattle game. Your first executive decision as a head coach. And then, you did the unthinkable Coach Sing. You told Martz that you wanted to run a more traditional smashmouth offense. An offense that settles around a power running attack and a short passing game...HUH!? least from Coach Martz's perspective.

OK, I'm stretching a bit. After all, I just want the 49ers to start winning some football games. I like that you manned up and told Martz to run an offense that was a better fit for the personnel on offense. Let's see...the 49ers have an Pro Bowl caliber RB in Frank Gore. The offensive line is loaded with run blocking linemen. Your new(old) QB, Shaun Hill, is a conservative passer who won't make the big plays, but will emphasize ball security and manage the game better. Coach Sing, you've started the transformation that Nolan should've implemented at the beginning of the season. I applaude you for that, really I do! I can find excitement in the power running game. I can also find excitement in the short 5 yard pass that go for first down on a 3rd and 4. This is an offense that sustains drives to rest the defense.

Now it's game time! On the first field goal attempt, you were met by some resistance from Coach Martz. I like how you stood your ground and elected to kick the field goal. Your call Coach Sing. You also made some gutsy challenges that were not successful. That's OK. Those weren't the bone-headed Nolan-esqe challenges we Niner fans are accustomed to seeing.

Fast forward to the final 40 seconds. I commend Mike Martz for calling plays to get the offense to the 1 yard line. But this is where it gets a little fuzzy. It took a good 20 seconds to get lined up to spike the ball. Who's call was it to shift personnel at this most inopportune time? History would indicate that this was a Martz Mixup, but who knows? Then there was the final 2 run plays with 20 seconds left. This is how it went down...

2-1-goal - Frank Gore to the left tackle for no gain. Play was reviewed for runner down by contact. After review, the officials spotted the ball back at the 2 yard line for a 1 yard loss and reset the clock to 4 seconds.

3-1-goal - Michael Robinson up the middle for 1 yard. Game over.

Interesting set of play calls. I would have thought that with 20 seconds left that we would attempt some kind of pass play as not to run the clock down. Call it a hunch, but if Martz was still Martz, I believe he would've called pass plays on both plays regardless of success or failure. It's the Martz style. I am under the belief that because Martz was told to play "smashmouth" football, he was more conservative. Coach Sing, you called Martz out on this. You basically threw him under the bus. You said the decision to run was Martz's...and you didn't back him up on it. I'm going against the grain because most critics are calling Martz out on that call. But was it really Martz's call? He was just running smashmouth plays that you demanded and the offense didn't "finish".

I like that the team showed more physicality than in the past. I like the smashmouth approach. But Coach Sing, I must say that if this is what you want out of your offensive coordinator, then this is what you get. At any time during the game, you could've superceded Coach Martz's playcalling. That is your right as a head coach. You admitted that the team didn't finish. The bottom line is that if the play suceeded, then the coaching staff would be heroes. But it failed and you are just as accountable as Martz.

I like you Coach Sing. You showed a lot of promise on Monday. You changed many elements on this team to take advantage of the strengths and limit the weaknesses. You are growing into this role Coach Sing, and I applaude you for that. There is still a long way to go, but progress was made. Let's not fall into the same trap as Nolan. Players need to "finish", but coaches need to "finish" too. It's time to be accountable for the coaching as well.


Category: NFL

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2008 1:08 pm

Smashmouth!? Be Careful What You Wish For...

I don't think that's necessarily the case. I think Martz had a set list of plays that he would run in certain situations. The original situation called for a 1 yard gain. After the review, the ball was moved back to the 2. Secondly, the refs ran off the clock down to 4 seconds. That's 2 major changes to the previous play. The FB Dive play with Robinson is designed for the 1 yard gain in mind. Martz explained what happened and I actually believe him. Had he known that it would be from 2 yards out with 12 seconds left instead of 4, I believe the playcall would've been different. Martz admitted that he botched the spike play with 40 seconds left by trying to change personnel. This would've prevented the aforementioned situation as well.

What I was trying to say in the blog is that Singletary wanted a smashmouth gameplan and Martz prepared one. What Singletary wasn't prepared to deal with is to overrule Martz and change the call. If there was 12 seconds left and the ball was on the 2, do we think that Singletary would've called the play instead of Martz? Probably not. Singletary doesn't have enough experience...yet. I'm confident that Singletary will learn from his mistakes. He's made significant progress over Nolan (at least it showed in the Cards game). Singletary is a very young head coach and there will be mistakes like these. The best thing to prevent them is for the 49ers to not put themselves in this situation (i.e. 2 turnovers in the Cards red zone and being more efficient at spiking the ball to stop the clock).

Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2008 10:16 am

Smashmouth!? Be Careful What You Wish For...

I just hope that Martz wouldn't call a play to try to stick it to Singletary.  That's a dick move if he did.

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2008 10:55 am

Smashmouth!? Be Careful What You Wish For...

Yes Thrash the coaching staff did make some blunders at the end of the game.  Overall though, the team did play better then expected.  I agree with you that the coaches should take the blame together and the fact that there is some finger pointing between the two does not bode well for their relationship.  I also realize that this is still a new situation for Mike Martz and Mike Singletary.  Martz started the season without any restraint from the previous coach Mike Nolan and now he has a new boss that is interjecting his will upon the offensive play calling.  I hope that these two can find some common ground and work things out between them.  That would be best for the team, but I have my doubts that this will happen.  Mike needs to take the bad with the good and just go back and practice those end of game situations better.  Hopefully this will happen and the Niners can move on with the Rams this weekend.  But after seeing all of Martz's interviews throwing blame on the referees for the loss and ball placement I fear that this event will negatively polarize the coaches and may severely impact team cohesiveness.  Good blog, you hit the nail right on the head.

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