With the San Francisco 49ers firing Mike Nolan on Monday I thought we should lead today's Morning Links off with what's happening in the Bay Area.
Particularly interesting to Seahawks fans is the speculation that current Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren may be headed to San Francisco as the general manager or head coach once his tenure is completed in Seattle.
Holmgren has repeatedly said he has promised his wife Kathy to take a year off at the end of this season. However, Holmgren's roots are in the Bay Area, and he may be tempted to return to the team where he got his start in the NFL.
Here are some excerpts from reports in the Bay Area.
San Francisco 49ers
From Mark Purdy, columnist with the San Jose Mercury News.
Even so, I did not believe Nolan would be dismissed in midseason unless the 49ers were blown out in a home game, with the seats half full of angry customers. I guess the Yorks figured there were good odds of that occurring this Sunday, even against a weak Seattle Seahawks team.
Which brings up another popular subject: The Seahawks are coached by Mike Holmgren, who served as a 49ers assistant under the late Bill Walsh. Holmgren has announced that this will be his final season in Seattle. So the rumor mill is abuzz with the prospect he might land here.
The catch: Holmgren has promised his wife that after his last Seahawks game, he will take a year away from football before deciding when and how to return. I know Holmgren a little bit. He used to be a high school coach in San Jose. I know how much he values his family and how he keeps promises. It's hard to believe he will break this one.
Still, even after Holmgren left the 49ers, he kept his place in Santa Cruz and is fond of the Bay Area. It would be no stretch to think of him taking a 49ers front-office job in 2010. But what about 2009? Heck, what about next week? Nolan wasn't the only reason the 49ers flopped. The roster has flaws, with no proven quarterback. The drafts have not been wildly impressive. The franchise culture is a mess.
From Ann Killion, also a columnist with the San Jose Mercury News.
Here's what I'd like to see the Yorks do: Hire Mike Holmgren as the general manager.
Holmgren is clearly burnt out as a coach and his lame-duck status has been a disaster in Seattle. In my perfect world, I'd like to see Jim Mora take over the Seahawks right now so Holmgren can spend some recharging time with his wife, Kathy.
Then he can come home and take over the franchise. Let Holmgren make the decisions. Let him hire a coach out of the Walsh tradition. It doesn't have to be a guy with head-coaching experience: Tom Rathman is quietly putting together an excellent career as an NFL assistant. There are still plenty of people in the league with ties to Walsh who understand the team's lost identity.
And from Cam Inman of Berryessa Sun newspaper group.
In an ideal scenario, the 49ers play this season out under Singletary, show progress and gain momentum for a fresh start in 2009 under different leadership. Ideally, they bring in Mike Holmgren to either coach or oversee the football operations (a la Bill Parcells' role with the Miami Dolphins).
General manager Scot McCloughan worked with Holmgren in Seattle, so presumably there's an amicable relationship that could help them ferret out a new coach if Holmgren doesn't want that exact job.
Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle believes Nolan should have been fired after the by week, giving new head coach Mike Singletary more time to prepare his team.
Ailene Voison of the Sacramento Bee says Nolan should have been fired in January.
ESPN's John Clayton offers his take on Singletary as a head coach.
And here's a good nuts and bolts story on the Nolan firing, provided by Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Holmgren continues to be frustrated by Seattle's woeful passing game, now last in the league.
How bad is it for Seattle? Holmgren said the last time he remembers going through something like this was in his high school coaching days at Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco.
KJR's Hugh Millen and Ian Furness break down last week's loss to Tampa Bay in this audio link.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports that Anquan Boldin is practicing with the team and hopes to play this week.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com reports that Boldin thought he might have problems putting his helmet on after his face had essentially been shattered by the hit from NY Jets safety Eric Smith. But the helmet fit and Boldin made it through his first practice fine.
St. Louis Rams
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an MRI done on Jackson showed he had a slight strain in his quad and that he could be ready to go against New England.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says despite the Rooney Rule requiring NFL owners to interview qualified minority coaches, the Rams should hire Jim Haslett as the team's head coach.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Haslett's impassioned speech to his team before the Dallas game served as motivation to defeat the Cowboys.