Is Martz really on board with Singletary?

Mike Martz says he didn't come to San Francisco to be the 49ers' head coach. But one thing is certain: He didn't come to San Francisco to be Mike Singletary's offensive coordinator, either. So what becomes of Martz now that he was passed over in this week's coaching change and is now working for a head coach with whom he admittedly has had little interaction since he joined the team?

Martz isn't letting on about it, but he couldn't have been too happy with the team's snap decision Monday to replace Mike Nolan with Singletary as the team's new head coach, apparently giving Martz little consideration for the position, since general manager Scot McCloughan said, "Mike Singletary was the front-runner" when asked about Martz during Singletary's introductory news conference.

When he came to San Francisco in January, Martz admitted that he still was interested in being a NFL head coach again someday. Some insiders felt he came to San Francisco because of that, knowing that Nolan was on the hot seat and had a tenuous hold on his job, meaning their could be an early opportunity for Martz to once again get a shot at running the show, like he did for six years in St. Louis.

At the very least, this certainly is not the way Martz expected it to be after seven games of his first season with the 49ers – Nolan gone and Singletary in charge with Martz now the subordinate of a man he has not had much experience working with.

It was different for Martz with Nolan, who he had worked with in the past and had developed a close relationship. Martz talked Thursday for the first time since Nolan was fired, but he did not want to touch any questions regarding his feelings about Nolan getting the axe.

"Those are all things that for me are off limits," Martz said. "For me, this is strictly about Seattle and getting ready for them."

But Martz couldn't avoid the issue that Singletary now is the team's head coach and he's not, so Martz took that one head on, and read what you will between the lines of his response.

"I'll address this because it was kind of a question that I kind of expected, really," Martz said. "I didn't come here to do that. Let's understand that immediately. I came here because of Mike Nolan, and I think that Mike Singletary deserves this opportunity. We're all thrilled for him to have this opportunity, although the circumstances really diminished that part to some extent because Mike (Nolan) was such a good friend, and is such a good friend. But at this point, we're all trying to help Mike (Singletary) in every way we can and help this football team move on to win. We were hired on to do a job and we're going to do it."

Martz continued: "I didn't come here with any kind of thought (about being the head coach), nor did it pass my mind to be honest with you. I love what I'm doing, and that's why I'm here, and this is what I continue doing well. I've kind of had my moments in that respect, and it's time for all of us to get behind Mike and help him any way we can."

But you kind of wonder if when Martz gets behind Singletary, it will be to stab him in the ... Well, that's not really fair to suggest about Martz at this point. He has done nothing but been a good, hard-working offensive coordinator since he arrived in San Francisco.

But the dynamics have certainly changed for him. Nobody knows what the future holds for the 49ers beyond this season, as far as their coaching structure is concerned, and can Martz envision himself being Singletary's offensive coordinator in 2009? That is, if he's even back with the team?

Martz said he has had "very little" interaction with Singletary – who has worked mostly with the defense – up to this point. That, of course, will change now.

"I think just as any coordinator-head coach relationship would demand," Martz said. "That's pretty normal. Any head coach-coordinator situation."

Doesn't sound like he's too thrilled about it.

But Martz, obviously, will be a man Singletary will have to rely upon heavily to right the 49ers ship over the final nine games of the season.

Like the man who held the job before him, offense is not exactly Singletary's thing.

When asked how much he'll be involved with the team's offense now as head coach, this is how Singletary responded:

"I'll put it this way," he said. "Mike Martz is very proud of his offense and I went in to talk to him and we we're going to talk about a couple things and he said, ‘Well, what do you want to talk about, why do you want to talk about that?' But we had fun going through that and I'm enjoying him and it's just a matter of he and I continuing to get to know each other, but more so than anything else, he knows that I trust him to do the things that he has to do, and the bottom line is I have full confidence in Mike Martz and the staff going forward to do whatever they have to do to get it done."

But, as head coach, what if he feels he needs to step in and tell Martz what to do?

"I think the bottom line is, if I feel that something needs to be a little changed or adjusted, then I will meet with Mike and we will talk about it, we'll go from there," Singletary said. "But other than that, I think he's a great coach and I feel very fortunate to have him and I'm going to stay the heck out of the way and let Mike do his job."

The thing is, inside, perhaps Martz really would rather be doing Singletary's job at this point. That's a dynamic that could hover over their working relationship for the remainder of the season.

What kind of effect could that have on the team's progress? Singletary said he did broach the subject of Nolan's dismissal with Martz and what it meant for Martz.

"We talked about that a little bit," Singletary said. "I think the most important thing for him is that we continue going forward together. I think whether it was, it could have been any number of coaches, but I think for him, it's just a matter of saying, ‘Mike, you know what? You're there, you're the guy, I'm going to support you 150 percent, let's go get it.' That's what I needed to hear, that's what I needed to see and just a little while ago he came in with some information and said, ‘Mike you need to think about this,' and I said, ‘Hey, I appreciate it. I thank you and anything you can give me to help, I appreciate that.' So he's not the only one, but I'm very thankful to have him on the staff and they are on board and ready to go."

Let's hope so. But several observers will spend the rest of the season wondering if that's the way Martz really feels inside.


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