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SmashMouth 09-15-2010 05:20 PM

Not too early for some teams to push NFL panic button
This is the time of season when every NFL head coach whose team started 0-1 publicly channels the spirit of Alfred E. Neuman.

What, me worry?

In many cases, these coaches aren’t, ahem, mad. They’re telling the truth.

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Cincinnati and Arizona rebounded from opening losses last season to win their divisions. Clubs like Indianapolis, Dallas and San Diego have the talent to do likewise in 2010.

And then there are those teams that really do have reason to press the panic button even with 15 contests to go.

Here are five franchises that need to address some significant issues or risk the rest of the season unfolding as roughly as it began.


Problems: All the preseason optimism surrounding the 49ers has quickly dissipated — and Mike Singletary and his staff largely have themselves to blame. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye couldn’t relay his play calls to quarterback Alex Smith quickly enough in Sunday’s 31-6 loss at Seattle. Combined with poor execution, this helped contribute to an offensive implosion. The 49ers got inside the Seattle 6-yard line on their first three series and came away with only six points.


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Favre looks his age in the Vikings' loss in New Orleans.

“We took one on the chin,” 49ers cornerback Nate Clements told me and Damien Woody during a Tuesday night Sirius NFL Radio interview. “When you have a chance to put teams away, you have to take advantage of that.”

The debacle continued after the game. Smith spilled the beans about the coaching chaos that was transpiring; Singletary tried blaming a faulty helmet headset. And to further show how discombobulated the 49ers are, Singletary threw a second team meeting Sunday night after returning to San Francisco because he thought his post-game message came across as muddled.

Solutions: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Raye could be moved from the press box to the sideline. This would eliminate the middle man relaying the signals (quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson) and theoretically allow Smith to receive the calls more quickly. Smith may also start wearing a wrist band that has numbered plays to accelerate the process. Regardless of what system the 49ers use — carrier pigeon, Twitter, etc. — San Francisco’s offense needs a cohesive effort for any shot at keeping up with New Orleans in Monday night’s home matchup.

As for the second team meeting, Clements described Singletary’s message as “Hey, don’t get down. Don’t lose your confidence, your (swagger) at all.”

That’s easier said than done when your franchise hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2002.

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Not too early to push NFL panic button - NFL News - FOX Sports on MSN

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