What we didn't know about Singletary's 49ers tenure


What we didn't know about Singletary's 49ers tenure

Editor's note: The video above is of Mike Singletary's successor, Jim Harbaugh, now with the Michigan Wolverines

Mike Singletary's tenure as 49ers head coach was short-lived, but it can be argued that there were some positive lasting effects.

The curtain on his stint in San Francisco, however, had not been fully pulled back until now.

The Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker and pro coach had his 'A Football Life' air Thursday on NFL Network, and it revealed new details about his arrival in San Francisco, inevitable exit, and everything in between.

His most indelible moment, arguably, was the mid-game dismissal of tight end Vernon Davis after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in 2008.

"He was like, 'What's wrong, son? What are you doing?" Davis said, recalling his conversation with Singletary. "I was like, 'Sorry, coach.' He circled around, came back and told me to go take a shower.

"I was extremely surprised that he sent me to the locker room...After that day, I knew I had to change."

[RELATED: Davis: Crabtree complained about QB throws in 49ers huddle]

Today, both Davis and Singletary view the tense moment as an instance of growth—the catalyst that got the 49ers first-round pick over the maturation hump. 

"It was the beginning of something for him," Singletary commented. "He really began to develop into a guy that could truly be a great player."

"He would see everything," Davis added. "He would see whenever I would make a good play in practice or if I made a good play in the game. I know that everything Singletary did for me, it all helped."

How Singletary came into a position to make those types of coaching decisions was something else altogether.

Former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, who was dismissed midway through 2008 and later replaced by Singletary, had a 1-on-1 with his replacement and even pushed him to accept the 49ers vacancy.

"I want you to be the head coach," Nolan said, recalling a private conversation with Singletary. "He said, 'I'm not going to do it.' I said, 'That's why I brought you here.' He says, 'Not to take your job.' I said, 'Look over at that desk.' Mike does, he looks back. I said, 'Do you see anyone sitting at it?' He said, 'No.' I said, 'That's because they don't have a head coach.'"

[MAIOCCO: Midseason review: Best and worst of 49ers after nine games]

Singletary would inherit the 49ers, who were 2-5 through seven games in 2008. They won five of their last nine, and Singletary earned a full-time position as head coach.

He led the team to an 8-8 record in 2009. In 2010, the 49ers began with an 0-5 start. At 5-10 and out of postseason contention, Singletary was fired with one game left in the season and replaced by position coach Jim Tomsula, who returned to defensive line duties in 2011. 

Former colleague and Super Bowl winning head coach Brian Billick pointed to Singletary's intensity as a theme during his tenure, and noted it as the reason the 49ers both hired and fired him.

"At that time I thought I knew everything," Singletary said. "I really thought my leadership abilities was all that was necessary. I really thought that as a leader I could take any team anywhere."

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action


How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

The 49ers got to Russell Wilson in Monday night's 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson was sacked a season-high five times at Levi's Stadium, posting his second-worst passer rating of 2019 (86.9) and a season-low 43.6 QBR. He also threw his second interception of the season and fumbled for the first time since Week 4. 

Yet Wilson did just enough to remain effective in spite of that pressure, showing why he is an MVP frontrunner when he led the Seahawks to their game-winning field-goal drive in overtime. Wilson also employed plenty of misdirection to keep the 49ers' dominant pass rush at bay, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. 

On the season, the 49ers have pressured QBs on 29.7 percent of dropbacks. That 17 percent pressure rate on play-action plays would be 30th-best in the NFL if extended over a full season, just behind the Cincinnati Bengals (17.1 percent) and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders (15.9 percent). 

For reference, those two teams have combined for five fewer sacks (30) than the 49ers have all season. 

Wilson's play-action success could give opposing teams something of a blueprint, and that could trip up the 49ers in their own division down the stretch. In addition to playing the Seahawks once more, the 49ers also will play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 at Levi's. Rams coach Sean McVay loves using play-action, and the Rams were far more efficient last season on play-action passes than traditional ones. The Rams have taken a step back this season and the 49ers kept LA's offense in check in Week 6, but play-action remains a big part of the Rams' offense and the 49ers will have to be ready for it.

[RELATED: 49ers ready to focus on Cardinals after tough Seahawks loss]

It doesn't stop with the Seahawks and Rams. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is known for his play-action abilities, too, while Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers also have been better in play-action this season. The 49ers play Green Bay and Arizona in each of the next two weeks. 

San Francisco has a difficult slate of QBs remaining on its schedule, including ones who succeed where Wilson did Monday night. That's one additional area the 49ers will have to shore up down the stretch. 

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

Despite the 49ers not suffering their first loss until Week 10, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his play in 2019.

He has done enough to lead his team to victories in all but one game this season, but the 49ers haven’t had to ask much of their signal-caller thanks to a dominant defense and a highly-potent running game.

His first chance to make a statement against a great team in prime time didn’t go as expected, as Garoppolo was just above a 50 percent completion percentage and had his worst QB rating (66.2) of the year in Monday night’s 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

"At one point, I remember looking up at the TV, and I said, 'I cannot remember Jimmy Garoppolo playing with happy feet like this,'" King told Mike Florio and Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk. "Look, this is whatever, like his 18th NFL start, so we don't really know him yet, but that was a bad night for Jimmy Garoppolo and for 49ers fans who want to love him, who want to have faith in him."

The 49ers might have fallen in the team’s first true test of 2019, but there are plenty of worthy opponents on the horizon for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why 49ers fans should be optimistic after loss to Seahawks]

After hosting the Cardinals in Week 11, San Francisco will take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a recently flexed matchup on "Sunday Night Football," followed up by trips to Baltimore and New Orleans in consecutive weeks.

So there will be ample opportunity for Jimmy G and his squad to rebound in front of a prime-time audience.