American Football Wiki
2009 San Francisco 49ers season
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Home Field Candlestick Park
Record 8–8
Place 2nd NFC West
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers 5
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The 2009 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 64th season, and the first full year with Mike Singletary as head coach after being named interim head coach in 2008.[1] It is the seventh year in which the 49ers have their seventh offensive coordinator.[2] They were looking to improve upon their 7–9 record from 2008 with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft,[3]

The 49ers started the 2009 season hot by winning three of the first four games. Their only loss in that span was against the Minnesota Vikings on a last-second, 32-yard touchdown from QB Brett Favre to WR Greg Lewis. With that, and a week-5 blowout loss against the Atlanta Falcons, the team got a bad omen for the remainder of the year. The 49ers' defense, led by linebacker Patrick Willis, kept the 49ers in games, while their offense was inconsistent. Most of the blame was due to their weak offensive line, namely, the injury of left tackle Joe Staley in a week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The 49ers won a week 12 home game over the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20–3. The win helped keep the 49ers' season alive. Going into week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers were heavily favored to win the game; however, critical mistakes in the game cost them the win and gave the team a huge blow of any chances of making the playoffs. The following week on Monday Night Football, the 49ers played the Arizona Cardinals, who were trying to clinch the NFC West. The 49ers' defense came out and exploded on the Cardinals top-ranked offense, causing them to turn over the ball 7 times. This was the first time San Francisco caused 7 or more turnovers in a game since forcing eight against the New Orleans Saints on September 14, 1997. The 49ers won the game 24–9, keeping their very slim playoff hopes alive. The next week they were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles. The loss officially wiped out the 49ers from playoff contention.

Despite being benched for 5 and a half games, Alex Smith came in and threw for a career-best 2,350 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Frank Gore rushed for 1,120 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was awarded his second Pro Bowl appearance. Tight end Vernon Davis turned his career around by leading the team with 965 yards and 13 touchdowns – which tied the single-season record for most touchdowns by a tight end. Rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who held out the first four games of the season, was able to put up solid numbers, with 625 receiving yards, 48 receptions, and 2 touchdowns. On defense, Patrick Willis, for the second time in his first three seasons in the league, led the NFL with 152 tackles and helped the 49ers become one of the best defensive units in the NFL. He was awarded his third straight Pro Bowl appearance.


Coaching changes

The 49ers released Mike Martz on December 30, 2008. One day following the firing of Martz, the 49ers released quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner and running backs coach Tony Nathan. "To get where we needed to go, I felt those decisions needed to be made at this time," said Mike Singletary.[4] Tony Nathan's replacement came on January 7, 2009 when former 49ers' fullback Tom Rathman agreed to become the new running backs coach.[5]

Before the 49ers found a new quarterbacks coach, they introduced two new coaching positions on January 12, 2009. Mike Singletary's nephew Vantz Singletary became the 49ers' inside linebackers coach, while Al Harris was signed as the 49ers' pass rush specialist coach.[6]

One month after the firing of Martz, Jimmy Raye was finally hired as offensive coordinator, making him the seventh offensive coordinator in seven years for the 49ers. Along with the hiring of Raye, Ted Tollner's replacement Mike Johnson was signed as the 49ers' quarterback coach.[7]

The 49ers' next coaching addition would be Jason Michael as an offensive assistant on March 6, 2009.[8]

Offensive coordinator search

Template:Quote box Two days after Mike Singletary was hired as San Francisco's head coach, Singletary fired offensive coordinator Mike Martz. "I am not what he is looking for offensively. I understand that," said Martz in a statement released by the club.[2] With the firing of Martz, the 49ers guaranteed themselves their seventh offensive coordinator in seven years. Possible replacement candidates included Colts wide receivers coach Clyde Christensen,[9] former Rams head coach Scott Linehan,[9] Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.[9] After a second interview with the 49ers, Linehan was offered the position; however, he declined the position stating that it was not right for his family.[10] Soon after, Linehan accepted the offensive coordinator position for the Detroit Lions.[11] Following, the 49ers interviews Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison,[12] former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski,[13] and Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson.[14] In the same day as the interview with Jackson, the 49ers flew in former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves for an interview for the position.[14] Following the Reeves interview, the 49ers interviewed Hue Jackson a second time.[15]

One day after Jackson was interviewed, former New York Jets' running back coach Jimmy Raye was interviewed, making him the eighth offensive coordinator candidate to be interviewed by the 49ers.[16] After interviewing with the 49ers, Raye was named the new offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers; coincidentally, Raye’s first NFL job was the wide receivers coach for the 49ers under Ken Meyer in 1977.[7] Raye stated that he and Mike Singletary shared a belief on how football should be played, that being a ground-based, physical football team. Raye has had successful years as a run-based offensive coordinator, namely with the 1984 Los Angeles Rams, when Eric Dickerson rushed for a league-record 2,105 yards.[17] However, his recent success has been questionable. While being the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator from 2004 to 2005, the Raiders were 32nd and 29th in rushing offense, respectively.[18] Nonetheless, while Raye was running backs coach for the New York Jets over the past two years, Jets' running back Thomas Jones has finished each season with over 1,000 yards rushing. In the 2008 season, Jones finished the season with the 5th most rushing yards, behind only Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, and Clinton Portis.[19][20]

Uniform change

In 1996 the 49ers changed their uniforms to a darker cardinal red, with the most recent change being updating their pants back to gold in 1998. Eleven years later, the 49ers decided to once again modify their uniform.[21] The uniform change rumors were confirmed by Andy Dolich at the 49ers' State of the Franchise. When asked when they were going to change their uniforms "back to normal", Dolich replied, stating, "Stay tuned. Don’t be surprised if you see championship colors back". The uniforms were revealed on April 25, 2009 during the first day of the draft. 49ers players Patrick Willis, Josh Morgan, Dashon Goldson, Joe Staley, and Moran Norris displayed the new jerseys and pants at the 49ers draft party. The new jerseys are very similar to the classic design, with minor changes to the sleeve stripes, the moving of secondary numerals to the top of the shoulders, and the inclusion of a "49ers" ligature below the neck.[21] The shade of red is also arguably slightly darker than the scarlet of classic jerseys, but significantly lighter than the cardinal red used in the 1996–2008 designs.

Roster changes


The following are players signed by the 49ers in the 2009 off-season:

Date Signed Position Player 2008 Team Contract
01-22 DB Jimmy Williams [22] Did not play Released
01-23 WR Micheal Spurlock [23] Tampa Bay TBA
01-29 WR Maurice Price [24] New England TBA
02-28 WR Brandon Jones [25] Tennessee 5 yrs / $16.5 mil
03-02 FB Moran Norris [26] Detroit 3 yrs / $5 mil
03-04 QB Damon Huard [27] Kansas City TBA
03-10 DE Demetric Evans [28] Washington 2 yrs / $3.8 mil
03-16 S Lewis Baker [29] Did not play Released
03-16 LB Mark Washington [29] Did not play TBA
03-27 OT Marvel Smith [30] Pittsburgh TBA
04-30 OT Alex Boone [31] Ohio St TBA
04-30 LB Diyral Biggs [31] Bowling Green TBA
04-30 WR Dobson Collins [31] Gardner-Webb released
04-30 DE Pannel Egboh [31] Stanford released
04-30 QB Kirby Freeman [31] Baylor Released
04-30 G Kyle Howard [31] Wyoming TBA
04-30 G/C Matthew Huners [31] South Florida Released
04-30 CB Terrail Lambert [31] Notre Dame TBA
04-30 DE Khalif Mitchell [31] East Carolina TBA
04-30 RB Kory Sheets [31] Purdue Released
04-30 CB Carlos Thomas [31] South Carolina TBA
04-30 CB Jahi Word-Daniels [31] Georgia Tech TBA
04-30 LB Marques Harris [32] San Diego 1yr
05-01 K Alex Romero [33] New Orleans VooDoo TBA
05-21 CB Dré Bly [34] Denver 1 yr
07-07 FB Brit Miller [35] Illinois TBA
07-30 DL Babatunde Oshinowo [36] Philadelphia Released
07-31 G/C Matt Spanos [37] Miami 1 yr
08-07 WR Chris Francies [38] New Orleans TBA
08-16 FB Bill Rentmeester [39] Wisconsin
08-19 CB Eric Green [40] Arizona 1 yr

† College football team
‡ Arena Football League team


The following are players who were released by the 49ers in the 2009 off-season:[41]

Date Released Position Player Contract left 2009 Team
02-10 LB Tully Banta-Cain 1yr / $1.275 mil New England[42]
02-10 S Keith Lewis 1yr / $0.85 mil Arizona[43]
03-27 OT Jonas Jennings[44] 3yrs
05-13 QB Kirby Freeman[45]
05-18 S Jimmy Williams
07-24 S Lewis Baker[46]
07-31 C/G Matthew Huners[47]
08-07 DL Babatunde Oshinowo[38]
08-16 RB Thomas Clayton[39]

Free agents

The following are players whose contracts expired at the end of the 2008 season:[48]

Position Player Free agency
2009 Team Date Signed Contract
TE Billy Bajema UFA St. Louis[49] March 30, 2009 TBA
T Damane Duckett UFA New England[50] March 24, 2009 TBA
DL Ronald Fields UFA Denver[51] March 3, 2009 2yrs / $5 mil
RB DeShaun Foster UFA TBA
LB Roderick Green UFA TBA
WR Bryant Johnson UFA Detroit[52] February 28, 2009 3yrs / $9 mil
QB Jamie Martin UFA TBA
QB J.T. O'Sullivan UFA Cincinnati[53] March 6, 2009 2yrs
RS Allen Rossum UFA 49ers[28] March 10, 2009 TBA
TE Sean Ryan UFA Kansas City[54] April 21, 2009 TBA
LB Takeo Spikes UFA 49ers[27] March 4, 2009 2 yrs
CB Donald Strickland UFA New York Jets[55] March 25, 2009 3yrs
FB Zak Keasey ERFA TBA

*RFA: Restricted free agent, UFA: Unrestricted free agent, ERFA: Exclusive rights free agent

2009 NFL Draft

After finishing the 2008 season with a 7–9 record, the 49ers held the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.[3]

San Francisco 49ers' 2009 NFL Draft selections[56]
Draft order Player name Position Height Weight College Contract Notes
Round Choice Overall
1 10 10 Michael Crabtree WR 6' 2" 214 lb Texas Tech 6 yrs
2 11 43 Traded Traded to Carolina
3 10 74 Glen Coffee RB 6' 0" 209 lb Alabama 4 yrs
4 11 111 Traded Traded to Carolina
5 10 146 Scott McKillop ILB 6' 1" 244 lb Pitt 4 yrs
35 171 Nate Davis QB 6' 1" 226 lb Ball St 4 yrs Compensatory Pick
6 11 184 Bear Pascoe TE 6' 5" 261 lb Fresno St 4 yrs
7 10 219 Curtis Taylor S 6' 3" 204 lb LSU 4 yrs / $1.8 mil
35 244 Ricky Jean-Francois DT 6' 3" 281 lb LSU 4 yrs Compensatory Pick

Surprisingly, the Oakland Raiders opted to choose WR Darrius Heyward-Bey at the 7th pick instead of WR Michael Crabtree, who was considered the top wide receiver in the draft. Because of this, the 49ers were able to pick Crabtree at the 10th selection. "Once we got to 10 and Crabtree was there, it was over," said general manager Scot McCloughan, "... this is great, this is outstanding." Additionally, the 49ers traded their 2009 2nd- and 4th-round picks to the Carolina Panthers for their 2010 1st-round pick.[57]

Starting quarterback search

At the start of the 2008 season, J.T. O'Sullivan was named the starting quarterback of the 49ers, beating out the injured Alex Smith and third-string Shaun Hill. However, after a performing poorly for the fist half of the season, O'Sullivan was benched and Hill became the starting quarterback.[58] By the season's end, Hill's numbers were solid; however, even with a career passer rating of 91.6 going into 2009, Mike Singletary has stated that Hill will not be named the starting quarterback for the 49ers.[59] "There’s going to be competition for that spot," said Singletary the 49ers' State of the Franchise Meeting, "If Alex is back, there will be competition for that spot."[60]

Just hours after Kurt Warner decided to sign with the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers signed a one-year deal with quarterback Damon Huard. The signing of Huard brings veteran experience to the 49ers' quarterback corp. On March 10, Smith accepted a pay cut to stay with the 49ers. On top of the release of J.T. O'Sullivan, last year's starting quarterback, to the Cincinnati Bengals, Hill, Smith, Huard, and draft pick Nate Davis will be competing for the starting quarterback position.

Chasing Kurt Warner

Heading into the 2005 season, Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Kurt Warner became a free agent. After being offered a two-year, $20 million contract by the Cardinals, Warner declined. Following, Warner decided to take a visit to the 49ers on March 2, 2009.[61] The 49ers sent a private jet for Warner and his wife Brenda; a limousine brought the couple to Silicon Valley, where the 49ers' training complex is located.[62] However, on March 4, Warner resigned to the Cardinals for a two-year, $23 million deal. Many believe that the visit to California was a way to gain leverage on the Cardinals in order to raise the contract deal; although Warner and his agent insists that was not the case.[63]

Restructuring Smith's contract

Template:Quote box Alex Smith, the number one overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft by the 49ers, was scheduled to make $9.625 million going into the 2009 season. However, with one-and-a-half seasons on the Injured reserve list, the 49ers asked Smith to renegotiate his contract.[64] After returning from his honeymoon in the Maldives, Smith agreed to a pay cut at an undisclosed amount. With the cut, Smith says that he is ready to compete for the starting quarterback spot, primarily against Shaun Hill. "I’m glad it’s against Shaun," Smith said, "He’s a great guy. I can’t think of a better guy to compete against."[65]


On September 11, 2009, head coach Mike Singletary announced the 2009 season captains for the 49ers. They were center Eric Heitmann and tight end Vernon Davis for the offense; linebacker Patrick Willis, linebacker Takeo Spikes and defensive end Justin Smith for the defense, and running back Michael Robinson for special teams. The captains were chosen by Singletary himself.[66]

Davis' selection as captain represented a turnaround after he was benched during Singletary's first game as head coach in 2008.



Date Opponent Results NFL Recap
Result Score Record
August 14 Denver W 17–16 1–0 Recap
August 22 Oakland W 21–20 2–0 Recap
August 29 at Dallas W 20–13 3–0 Recap
September 4 at San Diego L 26-7 3–1 Recap

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Results NFL Recap
Result Score Record
1 September 13 at Arizona W 20–16 1–0 Recap
2 September 20 Seattle W 23–10 2–0 Recap
3 September 27 at Minnesota L 27-24 2–1 Recap
4 October 4 St. Louis W 35–0 3–1 Recap
5 October 11 Atlanta L 45-10 3–2 Recap
6 Bye Week
7 October 25 at Houston L 24-21 3–3 Recap
8 November 1 at Indianapolis L 18-14 3–4 Recap
9 November 8 Titans L 34-27 3–5 Recap
10 Nov. 12 (Thu) Chicago W 10–6 4–5 Recap
11 November 22 at Green Bay L 30-24 4–6 Recap
12 November 29 Jaguars W 20–3 5–6 Recap
13 December 6 at Seattle L 20-17 5–7 Recap
14 Dec. 14 (Mon) Arizona W 24–9 6–7 Recap
15 December 20 at Philadelphia L 27-13 6–8 Recap
16 December 27 Detroit W 20–6 7–8 Recap
17 January 3 at St. Louis W 28–6 8–8 Recap
NOTE: Division games are in bold text.


Template:2009 NFC West standings

Final roster


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  5. Rathman to coach Niners running backs. ESPN (2009-01-07). Retrieved on 2009-01-08.
  6. 49ers Add New Coaching Positions. Retrieved on 2009-12-09.
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External links