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Singletary's Notebook: November 13

Posted Nov 13, 2009



Opening statements:
“Good morning. I’ll talk about the injuries first. [SS] Michael Lewis just has a stinger. [WR] Arnaz Battle, quad. [S Mark] Roman, knee contusion. [RT Adam] Snyder, AC sprain. [LB Takeo] Spikes, hamstring strain, and that’s day-to-day. None are so serious that they won’t play next week. Spikes, we just have to really watch from day-to-day and see how that goes. [WR] Isaac Bruce, his ankle, I’m sure, will be fine. I think when he is healthy, [WR] Josh Morgan will be the starter.

It was a good game to win last night for many different reasons. The biggest reason is you have a four-game losing streak, and it’s just great that it came last night. So, I’m very thankful for that. I think, as I look at the special teams, the biggest thing is we’ve got to make those kicks. [K Joe] Nedney has to make that kick, and he knows that, and we’re trying to get late in the game that pooch kick from our punter. We’ve got to get that one. Those are things that we have to do going forward. Normally, they’re good about those things. I don’t know what it was. I know Nedney hooked that kick, don’t know why. The only thing I saw, the snap was kind of a poor snap. It was on the ground. He had to pick it up and set it up, and I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. We’ll find out later today when I talk with them. I thought overall, our special teams, our coverage team did a good job getting down field and getting good field position. I thought we did a pretty decent job overall.

Defensively, I thought out defense, it did what we focused on. They did what we talked about all week, and that was creating turnovers. And, we have to continue to do that, getting our offense the ball. We’ve got to continue to work on our tackling. A lot more of that was on the perimeter where our DBs were tackling. We just have to do a better job at tackling. We’ll continue to work on that.

[NT] Aubrayo Franklin, I thought, had another great game. He’s been, probably, the most consistent player that we’ve had this year thus far. Aubrayo has that low center of gravity. He is always working at just trying to get his body in the right position to make plays. The best thing about him is he’s very unselfish, as with [DT Isaac] Sopoaga and [DT] Justin Smith as well. That’s really how you’re effective against the run. You have unselfish players who are willing to do their job, get in the gap and hold those guys so the linebackers can get where they need to go, and then the linebackers have to be very disciplined going downhill to make sure that they’re fitting in those areas as well.

[LB] Matt Wilhelm stepped in and did a nice job for Takeo, and the reason we wanted to go with Matt – not that [LB] Scott [McKillop] is a bad player or anything – Matt has experience. And, that helps tremendously. I think Scott was doing a great job on special teams, and really contributing there. Matt Wilhelm just stepped in and has a really good understanding of this defense. Some of the same things that we do here are some of the concepts anyways that he was familiar with in San Diego. It just made it very natural for him to step in and understand what we’re trying to do right away and get it done.

I think our rush was effective. Even though we didn’t record a sack, I think that had a lot to do with [QB Jay] Cutler being off balance and not quite seeing what he was hoping to see or trying to see. That, sometimes, can be just as effective depending on the quarterback. So, defensively, overall we did a good job. We’ve got to continue to do a better job on tight ends. I think the tight end had a few plays. He’s a good tight end. He’s got great speed and creates matchups; bad matchups for us. For the most part, I think our guys just have to be more consistent in terms of when we have a tight end that’s a special guy with good speed, you have to figure out a way to handle that. I think [TE] Vernon [Davis] creates a lot of the same mismatches for defenses when he’s going, when he’s playing.

The offense, I thought [QB] Alex [Smith] did a good job. I thought our offense did what they needed to do in order for us to win the game. Yes, we would have like to have gotten more points, and I think that will come. The fourth-down play, the fourth-and-one, we were in the red zone. I felt, let’s go for it. It was fourth and less than a one, less than one yard to go. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t. Maybe it was too early in the game, or maybe I was too greedy early on. But, the thing that I want my offensive line to know, and I talked to them after that play, is I want them to know that I believe in them and I believe that any time that we go for a fourth down, the only reason that I’m going for that is because I believe they can get it. That was my thought process, and letting them know that.

I thought we did a good job running the ball. We felt that we could be effective running the ball, and it showed later on. And, because I felt our defense would do a good job against their offense, it’s the reason that later on in the game we decided to run the ball more and not take a risk in throwing the ball and run some time off the clock and put the game away. And, that’s pretty much it.”

On whether he would thinks not scoring more points off of turnovers is troubling:
“I wouldn’t say troubling. It’s something we have to get better at. Whether you can complete the first down that we had the opportunity to get and continue to go, even though that wasn’t on a turnover, I just think we have to do a better job overall in our offense. When we get on the field after a turnover, we have to have the thought process of converting. We’ve got to convert something, field goals, touchdowns – something. We just have to do a better job of that.”

On whether QB Alex Smith’s interception in the second quarter prompted him to be more cautious in the second half:
“I don’t like any time there’s a turnover or an interception. If you’re going to get one, hopefully it’s like a punt. But, on that particular play, I can certainly understand it. I just think Alex threw it more outside, and it should have been more inside, just a little bit inside. But, when the safety was coming over like he was, I just think it was a tough throw to make. You had to be right on the money to make that throw. Maybe his body position wasn’t just right to do that.”

On the reason for the penalties:
“I don’t know. That bothered me a bit, and I will address that today. From a standpoint of, to me, you’re going to have some offsides, and, to be honest with you, going into the game, because of some of the things Vernon said during the week, I think he had a penalty or two jumping offsides. Plus, getting ready to go in after pregame, and the guy coming over talking to him, I think he got in his head a little bit early on, and he wanted to make sure that he got the best of the guy. And, so that’s the kind of stuff you don’t want to get into because it makes it about you. Vernon and I talked about that before and after the game. I just think some of the other things are just inexcusable. The penalty on [CB] Tarell Brown, I talked to him just a bit after that and we’re going to talk about that today. To me, they’re what you call selfish penalties. That was a selfish penalty, when it becomes more about me and how tough I am and I’m going to show you I’m not going to take that. You put the team at risk. You put the team in a very difficult situation, particularly, that was a key situation. That just can’t happen. It won’t happen. So, we will deal with that today but we will not have those kinds of penalties in the game. It happened last night, but that’s the last time this year that you will see us have those many penalties because that’s one of the things we can’t do. We’re not the kind of team that – we are a disciplined team and we’ve got to do a much better job of that. And, we will.”

On what Smith did well:
“I think he managed the game. I think he did a good job managing the game. I think he did a good job buying time, trying to make and getting outside of the pocket and trying to keep it going. I think there were times when guys were breathing down his neck and he found a way to make a play. I thought he did a good job there.”

On the player’s weekend schedule:
“We met about that this morning, talked about it. Tomorrow they will have off. Sunday they will have off. Then we’ll come back next week and we are starting on Monday and we will work some on Monday. Then we will work the rest of the week and we will get ready to go.”

On whether other teams think they can bait Davis before the game to throw him off:
“I just think what Vernon has done up to this point is really fantastic. I think going forward, he just has to remember that the Vernon that got him to this point is the Vernon that just goes out there and gets it done. If anyone comes up and talks to him or whatever, you just keep going. After the game you can stand there and talk, and maybe that’s a good time. I think Vernon has grown up, and I don’t think he really understands or he really knows how important he is to this team and how the team responds to him. He is just a gut who has a lot of energy, that is really what it boils down to. He has so much energy and is a very emotional guy. You want guys like that because you have to have guys like that to win championships, and he possesses that. The more we talked about it yesterday, he knows as we are going forward that he has to do a better job of being one of the leaders of this team. And he will do a better job.”

On why he didn’t call a timeout late in the second quarter to get his team into a two-minute situation:
“That’s why I didn’t do it, because the fact that they did convert it. That would have just given them that much more time to work with and I didn’t want to do that. I felt that if we got the ball back, we will take a shot or do whatever. But I just didn’t want to take that risk. That’s all.”

On WR Isaac Bruce’s role the rest of the season:
“He is still going to play. He is still going to play. We just think that the time has come with Josh Morgan where we want to see what he can do as the starter and let him take that lead and let’s see what he can do with it. Isaac Bruce is still going to mentor. Isaac Bruce is still going to play. He is still going to make plays, but he is just not going to start. His time will be a little bit limited there. That’s all.”

On having a successful defensive game plan despite the short week:
“First of all, it is huge for [defensive coordinator] Greg Manusky and his staff to just really work their tails off and try and figure out, not just yesterday but week-in and week-out, try to put in a game plan. Some games you have a feel for what the offense is going to do, what the quarterback is trying to do and some tendencies he might have. When that happens, and it happened a few times this year, when that happens, it really makes it nice for our defense because now you go into a game and it takes a lot of the guessing out of it and you can anticipate more. I think as you go into a game defensively and you can begin to anticipate early ina game, and some of those things you are anticipating are being called, that makes you play that much faster. There are other times you go into a game and they kind of change those tendencies. When teams change those tendencies, it makes it more difficult to have a bead on them. I think overall defensively, week-in and week-out, Greg and his staff do a great job of trying to put the guys in position to win.”

On S Mark Roman’s long interception drought before last night’s game:
“I was aware of the drought and very happy to see him get a turnover, get an interception and be able to run with it a little. That was great to see.”

On whether having multiple guys step up can become a staple of the defense:
“I would like to think so. Going forward, I think we just have to continue working and we just have to continue to study and the coaches will continue to do a good job getting our guys in a position to win. I think for us as a team, getting into that second half of the season and knowing that sense of urgency that we have and where we are trying to go and the things we are trying to do, it is very important that we continue to play fast, continue to do all the little things that help us win football games. Going forward, hopefully we can do that.”

On whether Nedney’s early miss played a role in his decision to punt late in the game:
“Yeah, it played a role. But not only that, but it was really windy at that time and I felt if you try to kick a field goal you could get one of those where the ball is held in the air and they have a chance to return it. You don’t want to be in that situation. I just felt it was a great opportunity to get a punt and pin them inside the five, or something like that. It just didn’t work out.”

On whether Bears CB Nathan Vasher’s long touchdown return from several years ago was on his mind:
“Yes. Yes. Absolutely.”

On whether this game could boost S Michael Lewis for the rest of the year:
“Yeah, Michael Lewis can be a big-play guy. He is a big hitter and I am just glad we have him. He is just a steady guy back there trying to make plays and his leadership – he is the guy who leads by example. So that was really good to see.”

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