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Scot McCloughan is the Story, not Nolan
January 2, 2008, 4:49 pm
Filed under: 2008 Offseason, Editorial | Tags: , ,

Late Tuesday, the decision was finally made:  Mike Nolan will stay on as Head Coach.  I have suggested that the services of Nolan should not be retained, and when you title a blog post “The Lies Mike Nolan Tells,” it can be rather incindiary, you think?  Regardless, Nolan is staying, and I am prepared to give him a chance to redeem himself.  Reports are he fessed up to his mistakes to the Yorks, and this supposedly pleased them enough to keep him.  Suggestions from Mercury News people are that Nolan kissed the ring well enough, but the Mercury News has hated Nolan since his flap with Ann Killion, so we know what they’re about, whether they are right or not.

More important to me is not the retention of Nolan, but rather the promotion of Scot McCloughan.  Some of the frustration around this process has been a) The Yorks made no official statement for two days, and b) They did not hire the General Manager first and let that football man make the decision regarding Nolan’s fate.  Neither of these put the Yorks in a position of strength, it seems, or Mike Nolan.  However, Scot McCloughan has been involved in these meetings, and he is the man they hired as GM.  One must assume that his input has been heard in these meetings, so I think a joint decision between him and the Yorks is a sensible approach.

The point is that keeping Scot McCloughan as GM was the smartest move the Yorks could make right now.  He gives the Yorks their best chance at fixing the football side of things.  McCloughan is probably the most respected man league-wide that the 49ers have, and is obviously on the radar for other teams.  The Yorks want, and need, to be in a position of some strength here, and I believe that McCloughan had an inkling of what the Yorks wanted to do before the Nolan meetings were commenced.

This should all be very encouraging news for 49er fans.  I think most of us liked Nolan last year, and obviously we expected bigger and better things.  However, there was a lot that happened that was beyond Nolan’s control.  From Norv Turner’s departure to Alex Smith’s injury, to Frank Gore’s mother, to Nolan’s own father, to his offensive coaches just plain sucking acorns.  You can’t really fault Nolan for trying to keep his nose out of the offense, because at least he understands that he’s not good in that department.  The “gatekeeper,” our affectionate name for Wide Receivers coach Jerry Sullivan has shown himself to be biased and overly rigid.  According to Mark Purdy the sentiment in the locker room toward Jim Hostler was that he created a distance between offensive and defensive players.  I think this was the beginning of the problem for the 2007 team.

Whoever this team brings in for Offensive Coordinator will more likely be working for Scot McCloughan, and not Mike Nolan.  This alone should be enough to reduce Nolan’s “lame duck” status in the eyes of another coach.  It also will reduce the chance that Nolan’s conservative influence would hold back the offensive coordinator. 

Because of the McCloughan promotion, players should no longer fear being hung out to dry by Nolan.  I think Nolan had a lot to deal with, personally, and let his emotions get the best of him when it came to Alex Smith.  I think he tried too hard to keep fires from brewing, and tried too hard to protect his rookie Offensive Coordinator.  McCloughan is now the guy who can ensure that the coaches get along, that the team hired good offensive coaches, and that Nolan treats his players fairly and more respectfully.

Ultimately Nolan knows now that the Yorks, inexperienced in all things football, are no longer the people responsible for his future.  Now, Scot McCloughan, once employed by a certain Mike Holmgren, is the man looking over Nolan’s shoulder, and this is Nolan’s chance to get it together.

If not, Holmgren is in the last year of his contract in Seattle.  And he very much would like to return home.

To come:
Later I will present my final take on the 2007 49ers, as well as blog posts with my final take on the notable players on the team.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I agree with you that certain players , especially from NE , Philly and other winning coaches will not put up with Nlans nonsense anymore but how certain is everyone Mcloughlan is nothing more than a bootlicking yes man to Nolan? It worked for nOlan with York ( its not his fault, out of his control …right)and since Nolan surrounds himself with yes man type players and coaches, for all we know Mcclouhglan will be Nolans puppy dog and nothing changes.

Comment by Niner

I really can’t say I see it that way. I believe the Yorks were exceedingly unhappy with the way this season has played out, and they know Nolan’s troubles are where it began. I think the way McCloughan will play it is by hiring a strong Offensive Coordinator to come in and revamp the offense, a guy who will be both respectful to Nolan, but also a guy who can come in and turn the offense around. I think once that guy is successful, and the players like him, McCloughan can fire Nolan and replace him with the OC. That way, they have continuity with Nolan at the head for a season, then they have continuity on offense by keeping this new guy. At least it seems to be the safest bet. But it also portends that the Niners would be doing all to get the greatest benefit out of their 2005 #1 pick. Or else they trade Alex to Tampa Bay.

Comment by indianajim

[…] Scot McCloughan is the Story, not Nolan […]

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