Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports says Mike Singletary might need to finish 11-5 and win playoff games to keep his job next season. Cole: "When Singletary took over as head coach of San Francisco in the midst of the 2008 season, much was made of his disciplined, take-no-prisoners attitude. People loved it, but there was one problem behind it all: Singletary doesn’t understand the X’s and O’s that go with the game of football. As several coaches have said over the weeks, when a coach doesn’t know the functional part of the game, he walks a dangerous line with players." And the 49ers did not know this? What did they expect? Everyone knew Singletary's limitations. Jed York, the 49ers' president, explicitly said he hired Singletary to ramp up the 49ers' intensity. Of course, head coaches lose credibility if players know they do not know how to fix problems that arise over the course of a season. And there are too many times when Singletary reverts into linebacker mode, becoming too emotional. Singletary's struggles were predictable if Singletary did not hire the right offensive coordinator in particular. He wasn't going to be in position to help on the offensive side of the ball.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is on a short leash. Maiocco, in reviewing all 53 players' performances against Philadelphia: "When he had a clean pocket, he made some good throws. But when he was under pressure, unable to adjust in the pocket or slow to pull the trigger, disaster happened." Also, Maiocco thought guard Chilo Rachal played his best game of the season.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides a chat transcript with thoughts on the 49ers' prospects following an 0-5 start. Barrows: "I think the 49ers can turn it around. I think it's possible. Patrick Willis yesterday was citing the Titans team from a year ago that started the season 0-6 and which nearly made the playoffs. I think there are eight decidedly winnable games still on the schedule, beginning with Sunday's against Oakland. However, that scenario means that the other NFC West teams have to cooperate and lose a lot of their games. on Sunday, the Cardinals did not cooperate."
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers have run Frank Gore (usually up the middle) on the first offensive play of every game this season. Gore also carried the ball on the 49ers' first eight first-down plays against the Eagles. Branch: "OK, this is not to suggest the Niners are 0-5 because they begin every game with a run to Gore. But it does hint at a larger problem. That is, the offense, even under the stewardship of Mike Johnson, still has Mike Singletary's circa-1985 fingerprints on it. On the day Jimmy Raye was fired, Singletary said he anticipated working "hand-in-hand" with Johnson on the offense. And based on what he said Monday, it's clear that it's still a collaborative effort. When asked about the eight straight first-down runs, Singletary said Johnson was carrying out their -- yes, 'their' sounds appropriate -- game plan." The 49ers also operated from fewer personnel groupings than most teams. They are more predictable than most teams.
Monte Poole of Bay Area News Group says David Carr is not the answer for the 49ers.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith's nine interceptions are an NFL high.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team will leave for Chicago on Friday, a day earlier than the team has traveled to previous road games this season. Pete Carroll's appreciation for the challenges of 10 a.m. PT kickoffs will only grow. Fortunately for Seattle, the team will not have another early game until Week 16. Previous Seattle coaches have tried leaving Friday to better acclimate to the time difference. They've tried leaving Saturday as if reluctant to acknowledge any additional challenges. There's just no way around the fact that a 10 a.m. PT kickoff means waking up for a game at 5 in the morning.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says during a chat that he expects the Seahawks' offense to become productive in December. O'Neil: "It's going to start to improve. I just don't know if it's going to start to improve this month. Things have stabilized up front, but you're subtracting a productive receiver from the mix and adding a better running back. I think it's going to be a productive offense in December. Just not sure how much of a struggle this next stretch will be as Seattle plays four of its next six games on the road."
Also from O'Neil: "For a team with Seattle's baggage of road losses, this amounts to a two-month gauntlet as Seattle plays only two homes in the 61 days following their Week 3 victory over San Diego. Seattle is 2-2 because of a potent combination of defense and decibels. The Seahawks have forced seven turnovers in two home victories."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune checks in with Seattle receiver Mike Williams, who would like to ramp up his production.
John Morgan of Field Gulls tries to define new Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Morgan: "I don't know that Seattle needed a three-down back, but they have one now. I don't know that Lynch is necessarily built for a zone blocking scheme, whatever he executed in college. I don't know that a player like Lynch has much value above and beyond a committee of complementary backs, but there is no limit to his potential like there is for Justin Forsett. Marshawn Lynch can be great, and finding out if he is will be a hell of a ride."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' bye week comes as the team prepares to welcome back players from injury-induced layoffs. Steve Breaston, Early Doucet and Gerald Hayes could return against Seattle in Week 7. Somers: "A four-year starter, Hayes plays the strong inside linebacker position and is a key figure in stopping the run, something the Cardinals have had trouble doing. Hayes was ready to start practicing a few weeks ago, but rules made him wait six weeks. He appears to be in good condition, although it's going to take him some time to reacquaint himself to the speed and violence of the game. The club is likely to work him in slow, perhaps as a rotational player. Eventually, he could assume his old role, with Paris Lenon moving to the weak inside spot, replacing rookie Daryl Washington."
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals snapper Mike Leach, who relays a story about the nickname a former teammate bestowed upon him. Leach: "Well, during my years in Denver, I was known as 'Snaps'. Shannon Sharpe started calling me that. Either he didn't know my name or maybe didn't care to learn it or maybe he knew it and just didn't want to call me by it so he just called me 'Snapper'. After a few weeks, 'Snapper' became 'Snaps' and probably a third of the people on the team didn't even know my name. They just called me 'Snaps'."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says during a chat that he's not sure what to expect from Arizona the rest of the season. Urban: "No idea how this season will turn out. Hall could still run off the rails and this team could sputter to a losing record. But if Hall progresses as expected and the defense plays the way it is capable, I expect the Cards to be in the middle of the division title chase. As for the offensive line, it's difficult to get praise when there have been a handful of sacks and some issues running the ball of late. That unit doesn't get a lot of praise when things are good though, and they know that. It kind of comes with the territory."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are trying to convert high television ratings into better attendance at games. The TV viewing experience has improved exponentially over the years. NFL ticket prices have become prohibitive for some. Hard economic times force people to tighten budgets. In the Rams' case, the team hasn't won much, either. Thomas: "Group sales have picked up following the home victories against Washington and Seattle. But the needle isn't moving on single-game sales. During the preseason, when both Rams home games were blacked out, the team experienced a decent walkup crowd on game day. But that hasn't been the case during the regular season, probably because the three home games so far have been on local television."
Also from Thomas: The Rams signed Danario Alexander and Brit Miller from their practice squad after putting Mark Clayton and Darcy Johnson on injured reserve.
More from Thomas: a chat transcript in which he says a more prominent role for Steven Jackson in the red zone could help the Rams' offense.