Nolan making strong first impression

Originally Published: April 6, 2005
By Chris Mortensen | ESPN Insider
It's difficult to comprehend how hard the mighty fall, but there's no more tangible evidence than the NFL draft to measure one's current status. When you have the first pick, it's official: You stink.

The San Francisco 49ers' stench is especially repulsive to their faithful and, perhaps more painful, to the great coaches and players who contributed to five Super Bowl championships, the fifth ring now 10 years old.

Almost all blame has been placed at the front porch of ownership, which now belongs to John and Denise (DeBartolo) York.

I think hiring Mike Nolan was a step toward reconciliation, rehabilitation, reconstitution (pick a card, any card) of this once-great organization.

Nolan has given (me, at least) a glimpse that he is well equipped for his first head-coaching job after 17 years as an NFL assistant. He has the "attention to detail" scent, as opposed to the stench of the 49ers he has inherited. There are many signs, none greater than the men he hired to be on his coaching staff and the level of accountability he has already instilled within the organization.

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