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Monday, September 13, 2010
Around the NFC West: 49ers have issues

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers quarterback Alex Smith called out coach Mike Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye when he said the team wasn't quick enough in making critical decisions or getting plays into the huddle at Seattle in Week 1. Singletary blamed headset issues, but Smith put it this way: "The only time it was the headset issue, the clock rolled, they were late to spot the ball and I asked [referee] Mike [Carey] to bump the clock and he bumped it. Once the play clock runs down past 15 [seconds] your headset turns off and it never turns back on. He bumped it up to 25 and the headset never kicked back on and that was the one time, really the only time we had a headset problem. For whatever reason most of [the timeouts] occurred on third-and-1, fourth-and-1, so yeah, whatever it is, deciding on what personnel would go in, deciding on if we would go for it, that decision has to be made. The refs aren’t waiting around to spot the ball based on what we’re going to decide to do. That clock’s rolling. You’ve got to make that decision if you’re going to go for it, then the play’s got to get called. You’ve got to have a call ready. That happens fast. It was all in key situations like that today when we had most of the problems. It’s frustrating, absolutely." I'll be interested in what Singletary has to say about these comments. The team has indeed had similar issues previously, including during the exhibition game at Oakland. It can't be the helmets exclusively.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com looks at the team's red zone problems on offense.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers got a wakeup call in Week 1. Singletary: "You're a young football team, you win four preseason games, and you start to feel pretty good about yourself. Maybe you begin to read your press clippings and think, 'Hey, we've got the division won.' Obviously, we don't."

Also from White: Michael Crabtree had a rough day.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says Singletary thanks Seattle for blowing out the 49ers. If only it were that simple.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers became rattled quickly against Seattle. Barrows: "All offseason, coaches and players raved about how confident Smith had become after a second offseason in coordinator Jimmy Raye's offense. This was the season that Smith, outfitted with an arsenal of offensive weapons, would assert himself as a leader and the 49ers would win the NFC West. But Smith unraveled with the rest of the team. He missed open receivers, threw the ball out of bounds and was otherwise ineffective during a second half in which the Seahawks made the 49ers, the prohibitive favorites to win the division, look like a laughingstock."

Also from Barrows: Communication issues hurt the 49ers.

More from Barrows: a look at play-calling problems.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Singletary called out Smith, Crabtree and the offensive line.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat quotes 49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes as saying he never saw such a lopsided loss coming.

Also from Branch: Ted Ginn Jr., Manny Lawson and Chilo Rachal suffered injuries.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Smith's pass for Moran Norris summed up the 49ers' day on offense. Smith lofted a ball for Norris to run under. Norris stopped and turned around.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary faces a big test after this blowout defeat.

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' performance renews questions about Smith. It's particularly damning when an offense converts only once in 15 chances on third down. The 49ers have converted twice in 28 third-down tries over their last two games at Qwest Field.