Morning Links:

Steve O Speak

49ers Hand Singletary A Pink Slip: Now I understand the 49ers have been a huge disappointment this season and Singletary was going to be fired in a week anyways, but why fire him now? What does firing him one week early do for this team? This isn’t even a situation like Dallas or Minnesota where the interim coach might have a chance of becoming the next head coach, to allow him to get his feet wet. The 49ers are expected to pursue a number of big coaching names this offseason. I do understand that Singletary has had some issues with this team and he got into a verbal disagreement with Troy Smith on the sideline, but did he really cause enough embarrassment to be fired a week early?

Rodgers Returns Healthy, In a Rout Over The Giants: Two weeks ago Aaron Rodgers left the game after sustaining a concussion, which caused him to miss last week’s game and a good bit of practice. Obviously the concussion or time off didn’t negatively affect Rodgers as he went out and had perhaps the best game of his career. The Giants secondary didn’t have an answer for Rodgers as he torched them for 400+ yards and 4 touchdowns. The win moved the Packers into a Wild Card spot, and left the Giants on the outside looking in. After the heartbreaking loss in New England last week, this was the type of game the Packers needed to get back into postseason form after back-to-back losses without Rodgers.

Panthers Have Their Best Week Of The Season, Lock Up The Top Pick: With their loss on Thursday night, and the Broncos and the Bengals winning yesterday the Panthers are guaranteed the number 1 pick in next April’s draft. Unfortunately it also means the Patriots are guaranteed the 33rd selection since they own the Panthers 2nd round pick. Carolina could have a tough decision next year if Andrew Luck declares for the draft since they just drafted Jimmy Clausen this past season to be the quarterback of their future. While Luck very well could be an elite Franchise quarterback, they would be passing on more glaring needs in a year where they don’t even have a 2nd round pick. The could try to move Clausen for a pick or two, or even trade back from the number 1 slot (which they should do if they really believe in Clausen) and stockpile premium picks. The one thing I don’t see them doing is taking another player (Bowers, Green, Dareus etc.) over Luck with that top pick. Now if Andrew Luck doesn’t declare for the draft it will completely change the dynamic of Carolina’s thinking, and hurt their ability to trade out of that pick. One thing is certain Andrew Luck now knows who holds his future in his hands, and if he has ‘Carolina on his mind’.

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