The NFL playoffs begin this weekend without the 49ers. To hear them, they should be the ones hosting the Saints on Saturday, and not the Seahawks, 7-9 conquerors of the NFC West.
“We really deserved that,” tight end Vernon Davis said in one last spoken act of defiance Monday. “We had the better team. We were better than anybody – anybody we played. We were just as good, if not better. But we just couldn’t pull it off.
“We struggled early on and it cost us.”
Players such as Davis couldn’t believe the Seattle team they waxed 40-21 on Dec. 12 won the division, forgetting that this same Seahawks team took it to them 31-6 in the season opener.
“It’s stupid and sucks,” left tackle Joe Staley said.
Unfazed by it all, everyone from Davis to inside linebacker Patrick Willis boasted what a great team the next head coach was going to inherit. Yes, the same team that started 0-5 and finished 6-10, two games off the 2009 pace.
Even 49ers President Jed York thinks the 49ers would be in the playoffs if he’d promoted interim head coach Jim Tomsula earlier.
“Should’ve done it sooner,” York said. “We’d be playing in the playoffs right now.”
Not playing loose: Davis praised former head coach Mike Singletary for turning around his career, but said guys played scared before the coach was fired.
“They were more worried about coach Singletary getting on them instead of playing football,” Davis said. “If you don’t understand him, then you are not going to relate to him. I think that’s what the problem was with most guys.
“They were scared, worried about dropping passes and missing tackles instead of just being themselves.”
Briefly: Staley said he could have returned from a broken leg and played Sunday but chose not to push it. … Free-agent kicker Joe Nedney plans to re-sign with the 49ers.