Singletary still has a lot to prove

All Mike Singletary wanted was a chance. Once he got his chance, Singletary fully took advantage of the opportunity once he took over as San Francisco 49ers head coach from fired Mike Nolan on Oct. 20.

The 49ers finished the season with a 5-4 record under Singletary, but he was able to create a lot of optimistic and positive feelings throughout the organization.

Moments after the 49ers' 27-14 victory over the Washington Redskins in the season-finale, the 49ers named Singletary as the permanent head coach for 2009. Still, he has a lot to prove. Two of his victories came against the St. Louis Rams, who won just two games the entire season. They needed a long, last-minute touchdown pass to pull out one of those victories.

Singletary's first big priority in the offseason is to find an offensive coordinator. He fired pass-happy coordinator Mike Martz because he wants the 49ers to be more reliant on the running game.

Among the candidates for the offensive coordinator job are former St. Louis coach Scott Linehan, former Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, former Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and Indianapolis receivers coach Clyde Christensen.

Each of those men has interviewed for the job, with Linehan receiving a second interview with Singletary and 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan on Thursday.

"We will find the right person that is the right fit going forward and that person will understand the philosophy and hopefully we can have them awhile and get the continuity that we need," Singletary said.

"We have to go fast this offseason and the learning and everything else, and we'll do the things that we need to do to get our players up to speed and ready to go, but I just think, I don't want a band-aid, I don't want a patch, I don't want a compromise. I want to find that person. You've got to find that person and we will find them. He's out there."

Sources are indicating that the 49ers have offered Linehan the job, but no decision had been made by Friday morning. This will be one of the major decisions Singletary will make during his first year at the helm.

Singletary, who has never served as a coordinator, will also place a lot of trust in his defensive staff. He gave defensive coordinator Greg Manusky complete autonomy in the second half of the season after Nolan was fired.

Manusky decided to abandon Nolan's hybrid 3-4 defense in favor of a standard 3-4 defense in base situations. As a result, the 49ers' defense flourished with its new identity. The 49ers' defense rose to No. 13 in the final NFL rankings in total yards allowed.
Singletary will detail his overall philosophies to his assistant coaches, who will then carry out his vision. Singletary will have a lot of say over the 49ers' final roster, too.

Singletary said he has the contractual power to determine the team's 53-man roster.

Meanwhile, McCloughan has the final say over the team's draft process. However, Singletary guaranteed that he and McCloughan will be on the same page when it comes to making the big decisions.

"Compromise, compromise -- I think it's all about compromise," Singletary said. "Hopefully, you don't get into the situation where, 'Well, it's my draft choice vs. this,' and all this other kind of stuff."

Singletary said if it ever gets to the point where he and McCloughan are taking sides and butting heads without any compromise, the 49ers will not be successful.

"So, I'm very confident in the fact that Scot and I will be able to come together and work together, and compromise and respect each other enough to agree, and agree to disagree and move on," he said. "To me, that's what it's all about."


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