Source: Singletary will not return as head coach

December 26, 2010, 11:16 pm
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Dec. 26, 2010MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comST. LOUIS -- The drama and dysfunction reached new depths Sunday for the 49ers. And coach Mike Singletary will not return as head coach next season.The only question is whether Singletary will be fired before or after the team's season finale, according to a source close to the situation. The 49ers are 5-10 with one game to play.Owner John York, team president Jed York and executives Trent Baalke and Paraag Marathe were in discussions Sunday afternoon whether to fire Singletary immediately or wait until after the team's final game of the season, the source told Comcast SportsNet.For the first time all season, Jed York declined to give Singletary a public vote of confidence after the 49ers' 25-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday knocked the team from playoff contention.NEWS: Rams end 49ers' playoff hopes with 25-17 win"We want to take our time before we make any decisions like that," Jed York said when asked if Singletary would coach the 49ers in the final game of the season. "You don't want to make an emotional decision right now, right after the game."Regardless, York said there would be major changes coming to the organization, including the addition of a general manager. While the 49ers are expected to fire Singletary before naming a general manager, York said he and the new GM will "discuss together" the future of the 49ers' coaching staff.Baalke, the 49ers vice president of player personnel, is expected to be one of the candidates for the position. The 49ers will conduct a search to fill the position, York said.Singletary has two years, 10 million left on his contract, but Jed York said the organization will do anything to get into Super Bowl contention. The 49ers have not made the playoffs since the 2002 season under coach Steve Mariucci."Money is no object," York said. "Our object is to win the Super Bowl. We're going to make this right. What bothers me is this is a playoff-caliber game and we didn't get it done."York said the most disturbing thing about the 49ers' season was that there was a consistent lack of focus. To wit, the 49ers committed eight penalties (one was declined) in the first 17 minutes of the game Sunday against the Rams.York said he believes the 49ers had enough talent on the team to win the NFC West and compete among the top teams in the NFC."We aren't where we need to be," York said. "I'm not taking anything away from the Rams and Seahawks. I wish those teams the best of luck going forward. Someone has to win the the NFC West, which is strange enough that somebody is going to in it at 8-8. There is no reason we aren't that team to win it this year."Singletary said he takes "full responsibility" for the 49ers' disappointing season. The 49ers close out their season next Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park."I'm the head coach of this team and, obviously, wanted us to do better and felt we could do better," Singletary said. "But there are some obvious question marks that I hoped would be answered as the season went on. And I'm not going to go into that right now. But, obviously, they were not answered. When that happens, you end up out of the playoffs."When asked if he expected to be back as head coach, Singletary answered, "That is not my decision."The 49ers have progressively gotten worse under Singletary's direction. The club went 5-4 under his direction after he took over for fired Mike Nolan in the middle of the 2008 season.The 49ers finished 8-8 last season. As consensus preseason favorites to win the NFC West, the 49ers fell out of contention in the downtrodden division.Singletary's handling of the 49ers' offense has fueled a great deal of the skepticism about his ability to succeed as a head coach. And, certainly, his handling of the team's quarterback situation in recent weeks has been clumsy.Singletary made quarterback changes after each of the 49ers' previous two defeats. He made the change from Troy Smith to Alex Smith two weeks ago because he said Troy Smith did not have enough grasp of the offensive system.RELATED: 49ers Notebook: 49ers notebook: In need of a QB, too
Alex Smith responded with the best game of his career, leading the 49ers to a 40-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. But when the team got blown out Dec. 16 against the San Diego Chargers, Singletary decided Troy Smith provided the 49ers with their best hope.Another bizarre scene unfolded on the 49ers' sideline early in the third quarter after Troy Smith badly overthrew intended receiver Ted Ginn. Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe intercepted the pass to help set up the Rams for a field goal that gave them a 15-14.After the interception, Singletary was prepared to make another quarterback change. Alex Smith began warming up, and Troy Smith then engaged in a heated shouting match with Singletary.In the past, Singletary has used the threat of a benching in hopes the quarterback would stand up for himself and insist on staying in the game. And that's what Troy Smith did. So he remained in the game."It was definitely about the quarterback switch," Troy Smith said of the argument. "I felt at the time I wasn't ready to come out. . . . It's ultimately his decision."Late in the third quarter, Troy Smith completed passes of 29 and 24 yards to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, respectively. But kicker Jeff Reed missed for the first time with the 49ers, sailing a 34-yard attempt wide left that would've given the 49ers the lead.Singletary finally removed Troy Smith for good after the Rams took a 22-14 lead with 9:36 remaining. Alex Smith tossed a 33-yard pass to Josh Morgan to help the 49ers get in range for Jeff Reed's 47-yard field goal with 5:41 left. Alex Smith entered the game without getting any practice snaps with the 49ers' first-team offense last week, he said.The Rams' Danny Amendola tore off an 84-yard return to the 49ers' 12-yard line. Josh Brown kicked a 28-yard field goal with 3:51 remaining to bump the Rams' lead back to eight points.Troy Smith completed 7 of 19 passes for 153 yards with a touchdown -- a 60-yarder to Michael Crabtree -- and an interception. Alex Smith completed 10 of 15 passes for 120 yards. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford torched the 49ers for 292 yards on 28-of-37 passing with one touchdown.The 49ers looked ill-prepared and lethargic in the first quarter. They committed seven penalties (one of which was declined), and had problems executing a simple shotgun snap.First, starting center David Baas misfired on a third-down situation to end the 49ers' first drive. After Baas left the game briefly with a ribs injury, quarterback Troy Smith could not handle Tony Wragge's snap and he fell on it in the end zone for a safety.That play gave the Rams a 9-0 lead. The Rams scored a touchdown on their first drive, after the 49ers won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. Cornerback Nate Clements was called for a 39-yard pass interference penalty that negated Reggie Smith's interception.The Rams scored on the next play when Steven Jackson took it into the end zone from 1 yard out for a 7-0 lead.The 49ers, who have played a lot of bad quarters of football this season, were at their worst when it mattered the most.When asked if the 49ers' problem was coaching, York said, "I think it's a combination of a lot of things. We haven't put it all together, yet."