There is "no doubt" in coach Mike Singletary's mind the 49ers can make the playoffs this season.
"No doubt in my mind, none," he told reporters on Tuesday, the last day of off-season spring practices. "I don't even blink at that. No doubt in my mind."
But just because Coach is convinced that his team is going to make it to the playoffs doesn't mean he thinks that they are ready just yet.
"What makes us behind is that we've had so many offensive coordinators over the last several years," said Singletary. "Not having established who our quarterback is, who the number one receivers are, so yes, that puts us a little bit behind. And you've got a new coach. That puts us a little bit behind."
He's certain, however, that the 49ers will be able to overcome all this.
If the team improves, his vision not unrealistic. They were one goal line TD against the Cardinals and one properly picked-up Joey Porter blitz away from possibly qualifying for the playoffs last year.
Singletary gave no indication that the quarterback situation has changed. Many observers claim Alex Smith is playing more crisply, but Coach insisted, "Shaun (Hill) is the guy until proved different."
That just sounds like an O'Sullivanless rerun of the uninspiring quarterback derby we had this time last season. But Hill ended last season on that nice little 5-2 run, and reports indicate that Smith is really improving.
Both quarterbacks may just be better than they were a year ago this time.
It will be very interesting to see if the 49ers' performance lives up to Singletary's playoff expectations. And it will also be interesting to see if the phrase "No doubt in my mind! No doubt in my mind!" gets used in David Letterman fake-Singletary sketches.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who still hasn't put last season's Arizona and Miami games behind him.