According to Matt Maiocco of csnbayarea.com, Vernon Davis would be the first to tell you that fired 49ers coach Mike Singletary had a positive effect on his career. “He made me understand it’s not about me,” Davis said Monday. “It’s about the team.”
Davis blossomed into one of the game’s top tight ends while Singletary was 49ers head coach. Davis and Singletary appeared to develop a good bond after Singletary ordered Davis off the field in his first game as coach in the middle of the 2008 season. Singletary then launched into his “I want winners!” rant, which appeared to be directed at Davis.
Davis will also tell you that Singletary’s coaching style did not have a positive effect on many of his teammates. Davis said. “Guys were a little scared. They were more worried about coach Singletary getting on them than playing football.” Fans and television viewers everywhere saw Singletary in action in angry verbal exchanges on the sidelines with QBs Alex Smith and Troy Smith. With Singletary in charge, the 6-10 49ers played tight and looked more worried about making mistakes than playing football.
In contrast interim coach Jim Tomsula made it his mission last week to get the 49ers to have fun. The 49ers responded with a 38-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Apparently Singletary never learned communication skills capable of motivating mere mortals. It also calls into question whether great players can make great or even good head coaches.