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DblBogey 09-13-2010 11:20 AM

Trouble in Singletary's Paradise
Alex Smith shoots straight: 49er coaches unprepared

Published: Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 7:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 7:57 p.m.
( page all of 3 )


More Information:
Cohn Zohn sports blog
Sure, the Seahawks blew out the 49ers. But get this, what the Seahawks did to the Niners had nothing on what Alex Smith did to the 49ers coaching staff after the game — blew them out of the water, kaboom!!!!

He just about called Mike Singletary a liar — although he probably didn’t realize it — and he certainly questioned the competence of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye.

Early in the game, the 49ers moved the ball well. They intercepted Matt Hasselbeck’s very first pass and got great field position but came away with only three points.

They went for it on fourth-and-one from Seattle’s 6-yard line early in the second quarter and failed and got nothing on that one. And they got the ball to the Seattle one-yard line later in the second quarter and settled for a field goal. So they scored six points when they should have scored 21, when they should have put their cleats on the Seahawks’ collective throat, when they should have put the game away. And they wasted their timeouts in the process.

They didn’t only fail. It was worse than that. Each failure was marked by confusion and bad coaching and bad communicating. And this is where the story gets interesting and scary.

Let me recap. On the 49ers’ first series, when they scored their initial field goal, Smith called timeout when everyone on the offense seemed confused and lost. Just before the play that failed at fourth-and-one — a bad pass to fullback Moran Norris — Smith called a timeout. Confusion reigned again. On the drive that led to the final field goal — and a 6-0 Niner lead — Smith called his third and final timeout of the half and he also endured a delay-of-game penalty. The delay was a beaut. The Niners tried to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-one but couldn’t get their stuff together, were called for delay, got pushed back five yards and had to take the field goal. These are not the marks of a team that is game-ready, not marks of a team with state-of-art coaching.

The media asked Singletary about all those wasted timeouts and that weird delay of game.

“There were some problems with Alex’s helmet,” Singletary declared. “We had a similar situation last year. When the communication can’t come in and it’s spotty on the headset and you already can’t hear, it makes it very difficult. It’s not that the plays weren’t coming in. It’s that he wasn’t getting the plays because of technical issues. It happened a few times. We had to take timeouts because of the headset. It’s very frustrating. I guess it just happens to us.”

Wow. Singletary made it seem like a conspiracy — he claimed there was a similar situation last year; and he said, “I guess it just happens to us.” In this version, the mondo confusion on the field was an act of God, or an act of electricity or an act of betrayal by the Seahawks and none of it had anything to do with Raye or the other coaches.

OK, that was the official version for about 10 minutes. Then Smith spoke — please look for inconsistencies with the Singletary version:

“Management issues like that we’ve got to figure out,” he said. “They hurt us. We called three timeouts in the first half, took a delay-of-game as well — we’ve got to get that sorted out obviously, definitely had our issues today. I’m trying not to use (timeouts) in the first quarter especially, but we had a couple of situations there — third-and-short, field position — and I wasn’t willing to take five yards. I thought I’d preserve it, take time out, collect ourselves and try to take advantage.”

How many times did his headset go out? (Hint to reader: this is a key question.)

“The only time it was the headset issue, the clock rolled, they were late to spot the ball and I asked (referee) Mike (Carey) to bump the clock and he bumped it. Once the play clock runs down past 15 (seconds) your headset turns off and it never turns back on. He bumped it up to 25 and the headset never kicked back on and that was the one time, really the only time we had a headset problem.

“For whatever reason most of (the timeouts) occurred on third-and one, fourth-and-one, so yeah, whatever it is, deciding on what personnel would go in, deciding on if we would go for it, that decision has to be made. The refs aren’t waiting around to spot the ball based on what we’re going to decide to do. That clock’s rolling. You’ve got to make that decision if you’re going to go for it, then the play’s got to get called. You’ve got to have a call ready. That happens fast. It was all in key situations like that today when we had most of the problems. It’s frustrating, absolutely.”

Excuse me for being blunt, but Smith verbally ruined the coaching staff, just about called the coaches clueless — Raye most of all. Raye sits in the coaches’ box and relays his play call to quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson, who in turn tells Smith.

Smith said the calls came late. But he said more than that. He said the most confusion occurred on the short-yardage plays in the red zone when the Niners could have gorged on touchdown points but got field goals or got nothing. Smith said it was the fault of Raye/Johnson, who seemed unprepared and dithering, and he most definitely contradicted the Singletary malfunction/conspiracy theory.

Sure, Smith could have been laying off the blame on others. I don’t think so. He sounded sincere. He is growing into a leader and part of that is daring to speak his mind, especially about stuff that needs to get fixed. He let us peek behind the curtain and we saw an organization that had all preseason to prepare and never got it together. This team was so ill-prepared it couldn’t get its story straight before meeting the press.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at

Alex Smith shoots straight: 49er coaches unprepared |

QBREES9 09-13-2010 04:55 PM


homerj07 09-13-2010 06:18 PM

That was an interesting read!!

strato 09-13-2010 07:36 PM

"Can not play with them..Can not win them...Can not coach with them....Can not do it"

st thomas 09-13-2010 07:50 PM

maybe we let them go up 6-0. there gonna be pissed

saintfan 09-13-2010 10:39 PM

It won't be a gimmie I do not believe. SF has some talent, and now they're pretty hacked off. They could very well come out clicking on all cylinders.

I'm sure Sean will have us ready, but one bad game doesn't make a season. We would be wise to not take them lightly.

LBCutta 09-14-2010 01:21 AM

Interesting. I didnt know the headsets went off at 15 seconds.....

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