Just two days after Mike Singletary was handed a new contract to stay on as the 49ers' head coach, he has already cut ties with offensive coordinator Mike Martz, firing him after just one season in San Francisco. The initial reports following Singletary's hiring were that he would have the power to choose his assistant coaches. Despite this, a report from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports seemed to indicate that he was urged to go in another direction in regards to the offensive coordinator position, which seems to contradict his ability to pick and choose coaches.
Bottom line: Martz is no longer with the 49ers. During his one year with the team, the offense improved from the absolute worst in the league in 2007, to somewhat mediocre in 2008. His biggest failing was probably his loyalty to journeyman backup quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, and, allegedly, creating ways to keep him on the field. Once O'Sullivan played his way out of the starting job, Shaun Hill proved he was the best option on the roster.
As for Martz, here's what he had to say on the move, from Matt Maiocco of the Press Democrat:
"He wants to run the ball," Martz said in a phone interview from his office. "I'm not what he's looking for on offense. That's his business."
And that seems to be what it always comes down to with Martz: his reluctance to run the ball. The 49ers ranked 27th in the NFL in terms of rushing attempts with 397, which is actually 40 more attempts than they had in 2007 when they finished 31st in the league. The only team to run the ball fewer times in '07? Mike Martz and the Detroit Lions.
Singletary issued the following statement on Martz:
"After an evaluation period I felt it was best to go in a different direction. This was not an easy decision because I appreciate Mike Martz, and I enjoyed working with him. He is a true professional, and I wish him the best in the future. I do recognize the need for a long term solution on the offensive side of the ball."
The 49ers showed plenty of improvement down the stretch, and they already have a rock-solid running back in place with fourth-year veteran Frank Gore to carry Singletary's run-first style.