Wednesday, December 31, 2008 Updated: January 1, 9:57 AM ET
49ers fire two more assistants
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Mike Singletary knows what he wants
to see from the San Francisco 49ers' offense, and thinks he'll need
mostly new coaches to create it on that side of the ball.
The no-longer-interim head coach announced two more adjustments
to his coaching staff Wednesday, firing quarterbacks coach Ted
Tollner and running backs coach Tony Nathan.
Singletary dismissed offensive coordinator Mike Martz on Tuesday
after one season with the 49ers. Nathan also was in his first year
with the team, while Tollner had two stints with the club during
the past decade.
While Singletary's defensive staff apparently will stay in tact
under coordinator Greg Manusky, the moves are all part of
Singletary's plan to build the 49ers' offensive approach behind a
relentless running game. He also wants San Francisco's seventh
offensive coordinator in seven seasons to stick around for longer
than one year.
"My offensive philosophy is more of a traditional one, more of
a run-to-pass," Singletary said at his season-ending wrap-up news
conference. "Hopefully you have a balance, 50-50, but the most
important thing is you have to be able to run the football. I'm not
trying to be a magician."
Singletary is still compiling a list of candidates for the job,
and the new offensive coordinator will be allowed to hire his own
quarterbacks coach. But now that Singletary is firmly running the
club, he feels free to build the 49ers in his preferred image - and
that hopefully includes a running game that can't be stopped, even
if defenses know it's coming.
Since the players will have to learn yet another offense in the
offseason, Singletary knows he can't wait long to get started. He
plans to be in the office on New Year's Day, winnowing his
candidates at coordinator.
"We've got to go fast this offseason," he said. "I don't want
a Band-Aid. I don't want a patch. I don't want a compromise. That
person is out there, and we'll find him."
But Singletary doesn't want fans to think he's just "a
3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust guy," he said. Instead, he favors the
fundamental soundness of the offense originally developed in San
Francisco in the early 1980s by coach Bill Walsh, before it morphed
into the various pass-happy versions that became known as the West
"Those are the teams that have been successful year in and year
out, and are not going to go out of style," Singletary said.
Singletary also said quarterback Shaun Hill would have to
compete again for the starting job in training camp, despite the
coach's midseason promotion and very public backing of Hill as the
veteran won five of the 49ers' final seven games. Hill, 7-3 as an
NFL starter, won't be the presumptive first-stringer in camp, and
Singletary said San Francisco also must find another quarterback in
"I think competition is the greatest thing in the world,"
Singletary said. "I really appreciate what (Hill) did. He did not
surprise me in terms of what he did. That's why I wanted to go with
him. ... I just don't want to get into making promises just because
somebody says I should."
Singletary also had a short shopping list for the offseason,
topped by a strong pass-rusher for a team that had just 30 sacks
this season - 25 fewer than its opponents. He said the 49ers also
need that new quarterback, more help on the offensive line and a
safety, which could mean trouble for the oft-criticized Mark Roman.
Although San Francisco fans are energized by the team's strong
finish and Singletary's inspirational leadership, the coach
cautions against too much optimism. After six straight losing
seasons and with another offseason of turmoil coming up, the 49ers
are still a long way from the finished product he hopes to see.
"I think some teams may have overlooked us [this season],"
Singletary said. "They won't next year. ... It's the offseason for
everyone else, but we're on."