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Singletary's Notebook: Dec. 13



On how he would evaluate QB Alex Smith after watching the film:**"You know, I thought he did a decent job. I mean, he had a good week, came out, and thought he did a decent job."

On whether he would agree that the practices leading up to Sunday's game were very good and high energy, and whether he can predict how the team will play based on the week's practice:"First of all, they did have a good week last week. Sometimes I would say, most of the time, when they practice well, they're going to play well. Sometimes it backfires, but for the most part, when they practice well, they do a good job."

On what he attributes a good practice week to last week:"I just think guys being excited about the opportunity to play another division game, and just taking them one at a time. So, I think the guys were excited about the opportunity."

On whether the team was able to capitalize on Smith's knowledge of the playbook and ability to make adjustments:"I think as far as adjustments, I don't think Alex had to make a lot of adjustments. I think the biggest thing was just during the week, being able to do some of the things that we worked on in training camp and some of the things that Alex has been familiar with, because since the start of the season, and just being able to go back to those things, it had some of the changes built into the play. So that's kind of what we gain in having Alex."

On how he approaches practice this week with the game on Thursday:"I think at the end of the day today, just really seeing how many guys come in, how many guys are banged up, the type of injuries, to what degree, and visiting with our trainers and strength and conditioning coach and coming up with the best solution for practice."

On whether there is an update on G Mike Iupati:"You know, it's just going to be a day-to-day thing. Thankfully, day-to-day."

On whether he can attribute having a better record inside the division versus outside the division to anything specific:"Not really."

On why he seems subdued today:"My mind is still in the- you know what, my mind is still looking at San Diego plays, and trying to get on track with that and different things come up, but it's just that."

On whether it is a lot for a coach to only have two days to prepare for a game:"You're just trying to make sure that you have everything where it needs to be, making sure that your players are at that mental state of mind, and trying to figure out practice, trying to look at some of the injuries, even though they are day-to-day, trying to figure out how to manage those things, and at the same time, putting a game plan together. So that's where my mind is."

On whether being more calm on game days is a conscious choice:"I think more than anything else, it's just probably just a progression. I mean, you get to a point where you realize that the referees are going to call what they are going to call, and there's only so much of that you can control. My big thing is body language of the players, making sure that the coaches are on time in getting things in, making sure the quarterback has time to get the call and really deal with the offense. So it's just really kind of honing in on those things."

On whether he gives advice to his old teammate, Leslie Frazier, about Frazier's position as Minnesota Vikings interim head coach, since he was in a similar situation two years ago:"As far as advice is concerned, I don't give a lot of advice unless someone really presses it. But Leslie is one of my best friends, and we talk from time to time, and only when he asks."

On whether Frazier has asked for his advice:"Yeah. Yes."

On whether he was proud of the team yesterday and whether it was the kind of performance he thought he would see from this group more consistently:"In all honesty, I just really felt, you know when you look at what the expectations were, and looking at where we are right now, it's just a matter of working towards that point and getting towards that point. What we saw yesterday, it was just a good indication of the growing pains of this team, and getting to a place where you understand that you go out, you play the game, you do what you're coached to do, you don't press things, and let the things, let the game come to you, and just be true and honest to the game and things will work out on both sides of the ball."

On whether this team can still meet the expectations set before the season:"You know what, it's – for me, it's just from week-to-week. They met them yesterday."

On whether he looks back at the Thursday game last season as a template for approaching the coming Thursday game against San Diego:"No, last year, that game – it was different. Circumstances were different, I think it was a little earlier in the season, if I'm not mistaken, but [second week of November, home game] it was just different. I think from week-to-week the games are different, but in terms of what we did last year during that week, you have to go back and look at it, and adjust accordingly."

On whether this season has been fun for him:"Fun – I would say this – It's been gratifying. I would put it that way, not fun. Certainly fun at times, but I think for the team, for the staff, for myself, it's really been a lot of things learned in this season about myself, about the team, about the progression of trying to build something. So more than anything, it's gratifying to see where we were at the beginning of the season, to see how green we were, to see how much we had to learn, how much we had to work through. The most gratifying thing is to see this team continue to fight week-in and week-out. That's the thing that really excites me about this team. They always look ahead, they're willing to work their tails off, and so that's the thing I look at."

On what he has learned about himself throughout the season:"Well, I think the biggest thing is, when you look at how this season has gone, looking at all of the stuff that evolves in a season like this, just being able to really help the team stay focused. And at the same time, make sure that the coaching staff and the team are on the same page. So the leadership point, from my behalf, you know, managing all of that stuff and making sure that everybody is staying focused in terms of what we need to do, what their goal is. Sometimes we have the vision at the beginning of the season and it hasn't changed, but circumstances sometimes change. And just making sure that the coaching staff understands that, 'this is still the vision and it's not going to change.' Making sure the players understand, 'this is the vision and it's not going to change and continue to stay on course.' That's the thing, and because you have a good coaching staff, because you have a team with a lot of character, we're able to do that. So, that's kind of where I fit into that."

On whether he feels like he has become a better coach this year:"We'll see at the end of the season."

On whether he will consider this season a progress if the 49ers go 7-9 and win the division, versus going 8-8 last year and missing the playoffs:"I consider this; we had a win yesterday, we move forward from that. We're going to try and get a win on Thursday. So, that's all I consider right now."

On what his vision is for the team and the season:"What is the vision? The vision is having a successful season; the vision is being good enough to take this team to, to winning the division. That's the vision."

On the secondary's performance against Seattle:"Well, I mean, they did a nice job. They read their keys, they tackled better, they, as a defense, they did a nice job. They were just patient. Everybody did their job, everybody was on the same page, communicated well and it worked out well."

On whether he had any conversations with Smith leading up to the Seahawks game regarding staying focused:"No. I mean, we have a lot of conversations but not, you know, not trying to tell him something that he didn't already know. I think sometimes, it'll be interesting to see how we play on Thursday. We just have to work our tails off, stay focused, work through some of the injuries, work through some of the other stuff and be ready to play a heck of a game on Thursday and, for me, that's the most important thing right now."

On whether CB Will James' concussion was severe:"Yes."

On whether James will be able to play Thursday:"It's possible. We'll see when everything is all said and done in terms of the testing. We think he's coming to the end of it, but we'll see."

On whether there has been a defining game for the 49ers this season, or whether the team is still searching for that game:"Still searching; still searching."

On whether he sees Thursday night's game against the Chargers as a last opportunity to prove to a national audience that the 49ers are better than their record might indicate:"One of the things that I don't ever want to do is talk to our team about proving things to anybody outside of this team. I just think it's very important for us to focus on the things that we need to focus on and that's this game coming up on Thursday. Practice as hard as we possibly can, which won't be much this week, but make sure that the mental part of our game and our preparation is in place and everything else will take care of itself. So, that's it."

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