September 18, 2010
San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary is one of the NFL's best alpha-dog personalities. He was that way as a Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears, and he's that way now. He's also generally good for an awesome soundbite or two, especially after playing the Seattle Seahawks. You'll remember that Singletary kicked tight end Vernon Davis off the field in his October, 2008 debut as the team's head coach, after which he delivered his epic "Cannot play with ‘em ... cannot win with ‘em ... cannot coach with ‘em ... can't do it!" speech to the assembled media.
Now, Singletary has done it again. He was asked by Dennis O'Donnell of San Francisco's CBS 5 about a recent article by Yahoo! Sports' own Jason Cole which said that tension between offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and certain players was mounting because Raye was, according to sources who spoke with Cole, having trouble getting the right plays to quarterback Alex Smith in time.
This was consistent with what I read off the post-game quote sheets from the press box at Seattle's Qwest Field, which is where I watched the Seahawks beat the 49ers, 31-6, to open the 2010 season for both teams. Cole's report spoke to more glaring and wide-ranging problems - the kinds that would be embarrassing to a coach like Singletary, who is more a motivator than a strategist, and therefore benefits far more from a "we're all rowing in the right direction" impression. So, when O'Donnell asked him about Cole's report, Singletary went off to a degree.
There are several gems in this video - "Don't base a man's entire career on a dad-gum 'Yahoo!' commercial" is a personal favorite, and "I don't even want to talk about the 'Yahoo!' deal ... it really pisses me off now that I sit here and think about it ... I don't want to talk about the 'Yahoo!' thing anymore" was a nice namecheck.
Singletary then made like a Sith Lord, speaking only in absolutes when asked about the undeniable challenge the 49ers face against the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in their home opener on Monday Night Football.
"Alex will be fine Monday night. Watch the game and you will see that Alex will be fine."
"We will not try to move the ball against New Orleans' defense. We will move the ball and we will score."
"There's no sense of frustration," Singletary concluded, sounding quite frustrated. "I'm just being honest. I had a conversation about this earlier today and I came in here ready to talk about New Orleans and we get all on this other -- I'm just tired of talking about that.
I asked Jason about Singletary's response, and he simply told me that he stands behind his story. Raye, the offensive coordinator in question, may have had the best line about the whole thing. According to O'Donnell, Raye said that "maybe this 'Yahoo!' (meaning Cole) ought to run the offense."
I'm not sure how experienced Jason is at calling offensive plays - I know he's a great football writer, but I don't know how conversant he is with "Trips Right 62 Comet Pass Sink". I do know that if these offensive issues continue, somebody else will be calling these plays -- either from the box, from the sideline, or under center.
As Singletary himself once said: "Can't do it!"
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