Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Year Coaches - Singletary

by: Chris Sullivan

Michael Lombardi over at the National Football Post has a nice write-up on first year coaches, focusing his aim on Mike Singletary. Now, if you've been reading for awhile you know that I love Singletary; I think his pants-dropping Vernon-kick-off-fielding hijinx are exactly what the undisciplined 49ers needed last year. Singletary was an incredible player with an incredible sense of what football is and should be, play in and play out. At one point, I advocated for the firing of Nolan and his replacement with... Mike Martz. Then I was hoping Singletary would be pissed and take our Defensive Coordinator job. Well, that didn't happen, and I'm happy with Gus Bradley, but it does shed some light on my thoughts about Singletary.

Lombardi discusses one of the problems with Superstar athletes: they make crappy coaches. In general, most superstars are intrinsically blessed, he argues, and the amazing things they do don't come through hard work -- though they do work hard of course. They come from talent. And when another player doesn't have that talent, they can get impatient with them, 'Why can't you catch the flippin' ball!?" So what about Singletary? Lombardi:

Mike had a superstar career, but his drive and his work habits were that of a plodder. Singletary made himself a great player through his preparation, his work habits and his determination -- the same qualities that are needed to make a successful head coach.

The bulk of the article continues discussing the surprises that come and the adjustments that are needed, and so forth. It's actually a very interesting article, and continues to go back to Singletary to show the examples. Gotta love literary devices! Here's some more to take you into the sunset:
Since Singletary does not call plays on either side of the ball, he must understand both sides of the ball in terms of game planning. He must know the personnel on each side of the ball, its strengths and weaknesses, without having to glance down at the depth chart. (This is a pet peeve of mine. When I watched pregame warm ups, I would always look to see if the opposing GM or personnel director had a flip card for the game in his hands. If he did, I knew he hadn’t watched much tape on our team; if he had, there would be no need for him to carry a depth chart. The numbers on the backs of players’ jerseys would have been all he needed.)

What do you guys think Mora's biggest challenge will be this year?