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Singletary's Notebook: Dec. 10



Opening statements:**

"Good morning. I'll talk about injuries here, try to get that clear. Of course you know, [DT] Kentwan Balmer had surgery yesterday – just basically repaired a torn labrum. [CB Marcus] Hudson, back is a little sore. That will be day-to-day. [CB Nate] Clements, shoulder, is out. [LT Joe] Staley will practice today only in the individual period – just kind of bring him back slowly and see how it goes from day-to-day, and we'll go from there. The other day, just in case anybody asks a question about the officials and all that other stuff, in my mind, Seattle's done. I'm done with them. I'm done with the officials. I'm done with all that stuff. I've said what I said. I stand by what I said, but I move forward, on to Arizona, and that's what I'm going to talk about for the rest of the time.

When I look at our defense, the thing that we have to do this week in order to be successful is we have to be able to put pressure on [QB Kurt] Warner. We have to be able to make him move. He can't sit back there and just throw the ball to his receivers. On the other side of that, our DBs have to make sure that we're physical with their wide outs. We have to get our hands on those receivers to allow our guys time to get there. When they have great success, the quarterback is just able to drop back in 7-on-7, as we do out here, and just throw the ball to receivers. It's all timing, and Kurt Warner is a really bright guy, really smart. He knows where those receivers are going to be. He has the confidence in them. They have a good rapport, and those receivers do a good job of getting open, and he does a great job of throwing to them open. So, for us, we just really have to focus on making sure that we do those two things.

On the other side of it, some of the changes that I've seen in their offense since the last time we played them, they're really trying to focus more on a balanced attack. They're not there yet, but they're trying to focus more on a balanced attack. Both of those running backs are running hard. They're running downhill and they're doing a good job being physical, finishing their runs. I think that's where they are right now as an offense.

For us offensively, we continue to run the offense that we've been running the last couple of weeks and try to include [RB] Frank [Gore] going forward to create balance for us. Maybe that balance doesn't mean 50-50. Maybe it's 35-65, whatever it might be. 70-30 or whatever. But, we're going to go forward with it and continue to have [QB] Alex Smith do the things that he's been doing, trying to continue to get the timing of the receivers down, getting a rhythm for our offense, finding out what is the right balance, finding out – and we really won't know what that is until we get into the game and find out how Arizona plans to attack what we're doing. The first time we played them, their front really put a lot of pressure on our guys, particularly the three-technique, No. 90 [Darnell Dockett]. He got off the ball and really applied a lot of pressure. I think the rapport between [RG] Chilo [Rachal] and [RT Adam] Snyder is better. Hopefully, this time around we do a better job. I just think it's important for us across the board on the offensive line of scrimmage to really communicate well, and we're at home, so the noise will not be a factor. Let's get out there and do a better job and do the best we can to control their front."

On who has the role of stopping WR Larry Fitzgerald this week:
"It may be [CB] Dre' Bly. It may be [CB] Shawntae Spencer. We'll figure it out before game time, and, you're right, [CB] Nate [Clements] has done a great job anytime we've played Arizona. But, I think it's important to see our guys step up, whoever is on him, whether it's Fitzgerald, whether it's [WR Anquan] Boldin, and get our hands on them, do a good job and let's see if we can control what they do."

On whether he thinks the 49ers cornerbacks have the ability to play the press coverage and be physical:
"I think the last couple of weeks we've done more man coverage. I think we've done more in challenging the receivers since the Green Bay game. I don't think they've played off as much. Do you mean the last couple of weeks as well?"

On the press coverage in the Green Bay game:
"OK. I think our guys are better at pressing than they are at playing off. I think the last couple of weeks, I think have shown that. We'll continue to do the things that I think will help us be successful in the game, and really, we have to mix it up. You can't get up there and put your hands on them all the time. We just have to make sure that in the game, at those times we feel we can do it, we've got to get up there when we're up there and do a good job."

On whether Bly or Spencer can play that type of coverage:
"They have to. It's not a matter of can they do it. They have to because if we don't, we'll get run out of the stadium. We have to get up there. Any team that does not play physical on their receivers and not get their hands on the receivers will not be successful winning the football game. So, we have to."

On what he saw on film from Arizona last week disrupting Minnesota QB Brett Favre:
"I think for Arizona, I think they really did a good job scheming and blitzing Brett Favre. I think they did a good job at times of just really mixing up the coverage, being disciplined in their coverage and making Brett Favre work a little bit more, realizing he is a veteran-type guy. They just got after him. I think the other thing is they really controlled the running game pretty early and made Brett Favre a little more predictable."

On whether he has to redefine the goals for the team for the final quarter of the season:
"I think the goal that I had for our team at the very beginning of the season was to be the best team, at this time of year, that we could possibly be. I think, in terms of redefining the goal, in my mind it's not over until it's over. So, we're going to go out Monday night, and as far as the playoff hopes, yes, it's very frustrating where that is. It's nobody's fault but ours. For our guys, it's just a matter of going out there Monday night and let's just play the best game that we can play. We're not going to sit back and, 'If we win, if we lose.' No. We're going to go out, and we're going to play. So, for me this time of year, the most important thing is we're playing our best football, and that's really what I want to strive to do before the season is over."

On whether he's close to doing that:
"I think we're better. I think the closest we came to it was the Jacksonville game, and I think last week we took a step backwards simply because of the penalties, simply because of the turnovers. That's something that we have to do a better job at. This time of year, really any time of the year, the thing that I really want to strive for our team to be, is a smart football team and a team that does not turn the ball over, and we didn't accomplish that last week. Hopefully, the next four games, starting this Monday night, we can reestablish that, what we came out of Jacksonville with, and go forward with that."

On how many of the drops from last week he holds the receivers responsible for:
"Because this is the professional level, I think any time that a ball is in the area of a receiver, he needs to catch it. Hopefully that answered your question."

On whether the Seahawks going away from CB Shawntae Spencer's side was a sign of respect:
"I don't really know. If it's respect, it's great. If they felt they could go at Dre' Bly more because of [WR T.J.] Houshmandzadeh, that matchup – if they felt they could get more over there. I thought Dre' held his own pretty well. I think Shawntae has done a pretty decent job all year, and, hopefully we can finish that way."

On whether the best defense against Arizona's offense is to keep them on the sidelines:
"I think the biggest thing for our offense is to go out and execute. I think if we just execute, whether we're passing the ball, whether we're running the ball, I think we'll be fine in this game. Certainly, we want to continue to move the chains. Certainly, we would like to keep their offense on the sideline. But, I just think the biggest word this week for us is execution, on both sides of the ball."

On whether the fact that Arizona can clinch the division with a win is a part of the talking points this week:
"No, the only thing I'm talking to our team about is winning. It's not about all the other stuff. They can clinch, they can – no. We're just going to go out and do the very best job we can of winning the football game.

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