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Singletary's Notebook: Dec. 21



On who will start at quarterback:**"I'm going to announce it sometime later this week."

On whether he has made a decision regarding the quarterback but doesn't want to announce it yet:"Yes."

On whether he implied that both quarterbacks could see action on Sunday:"It's possible."

On whether that would be based on the game plan or based on the feel of the game:"It depends on how the game goes."

On whether not announcing the quarterback is to keep the Rams guessing:"You know, in all honesty, in terms of an advantage or whatever, I just think the only real advantage that we could have is to go there and play well. All the other stuff is the cat-and-mouse stuff, but I just think that it's important for us to prepare well this week and get ready to go."

On why he chose not to announce the quarterback now:"Because it's something that I don't really want to announce right now."

On whether he has talked to QBs Troy Smith and Alex Smith and told them who will start:"Yes."

On whether he had that conversation with them today:"No."

On whether he had that conversation with them yesterday:"No, not yesterday. Sometime before today."

On whether he is comfortable with not deciding on who will start at this point in the season:"You know what, if it bothered the offense, or if it bothered the coordinator, you know, then it would be a situation we'd have to deal with, but it doesn't, so we're OK."

On whether the offense translates to either quarterback:"Yes."

On whether he feels that the team had an advantage in London when Troy Smith was an unknown:"I don't know, I think the unknown is always something that maybe it takes you a couple of series to figure out, but as the defense, or as a team, whether it's a wide-out, whether it's a quarterback, whatever it might be, I think after the first couple of series, whatever it is, it's out of the bag, and you have a read on what they're doing and you go from there."

On whether he will manage this upcoming game differently in being quicker to make a call to get a player in:"I don't think so. I think that it's just important that we make that whoever it is, is really well prepared this week, and I don't expect him to go into the game and be perfect. So there has to be some patience there. Otherwise, if you have a plan and you can't fully work on it this week because you're not sure if you're going to stay with it or not. So I just think that whoever it is we'll work with him."     

On whether he has to guard against his players putting too much pressure on themselves for this game, or whether he likes them to know that this game is for everything right now:"I think without saying anything to the players, they know what this game is about. I don't think it's a matter of me adding any more pressure, or the coaches adding any more pressure. You know if you're a team that you're ready to play, pressure is not an issue. Preparation is the key."

On whether he watched the Seattle and St. Louis games this past weekend:"I watched some of it. I didn't watch much of either one. I was kind of watching film, so I didn't really watch much of either one."

On whether it is a priority to get Troy Smith reps this week to make sure he is prepared:"He'll definitely have to get some reps."

On how difficult it will be to prepare both quarterbacks while they are splitting reps:"I'm not really going to split the reps. I'm just going to make sure that each guy has the appropriate reps."

On whether it helps to play Rams QB Sam Bradford for the second time as opposed to just watching film:"Well it certainly helps that we've seen him play and seen him progress. He's doing a good job, and I think they've done a good job preparing him.  He can get the ball out pretty quickly, he's pretty elusive, and he makes good decisions."

On whether there are any other injury concerns this week:"No sir."

On whether the team will be healthy for Sunday:"I think right now everybody is day-to-day, but you know, so far so good."

On whether he will use a three-linebacker rotation with Manny Lawson, Parys Haralson and Ahmad Brooks since Travis LaBoy was placed on injured reserve, or whether he will rotate in Thaddeus Gibson:"You know, we've gone with a three rotation before, so I think that's kind of what we're looking at this time around."

On what he saw LaBoy accomplish this year before he got hurt:"I thought he got to the quarterback a few times. I think that was the thing that we were hoping; that he would be able to find a way to help us put pressure on the quarterback, and I think he did that."  

On using DT Isaac Sopoaga in the backfield for short-yardage situations earlier in the season and why he hasn't done that again:"Well I think it's a continuity thing. You know, when you have [FB] Moran Norris or you have [TE Nate] Byham up to this point, there are some things that you would like to do, and in order to really use Isaac and fully utilize him, you'd have to do some other things during training camp or whatever, and when you put him in, it kind of tells your hand. So if you can't do more things with him, and you don't have time to do that because there's so many other people that we have to work with, [RB Anthony] Dixon, and they need that time. So it kind of limits you."

On whether there is thought to give Gibson playing time against the Rams:"We're looking at that this week. And probably, play on a limited basis."

On whether the identity of the offense has been defined or whether it is a work in progress:"I think it is, in terms of the identity, I think it has been a work in progress, but for the most part we know who the playmakers are, and we try to get the ball to them as much as we can. But it is, it can be a bit of a strain sometimes when you come into the season and you lose [RB] Frank Gore at some point in time, and your quarterback gets hurt, kind of hard to get the rhythm, but we do know at the end of the day who the playmakers are, and it makes sense to try and get them the ball as much as we can."

On whether it is disappointing that they haven't been able to be the identity that he wanted:"Sometimes, it's been frustrating at times, but you know, the best thing about this offense is even though it's been a work in progress, be it the offensive line, be it the receivers, be it the quarterback, the running back, they continue to work and stay focused, and continue to go forward."

On whether he feels fortunate that they have a chance at the playoffs at 5-9:"Feeling fortunate is really not the word to truly describe what we feel as a team for the opportunity that we're in right now. It is truly a blessing to be in this situation."

*On whether the team feels the same way:     *"Absolutely."

On continuing to lose some games but still remain in the hunt for a playoff run:"Yes, we've continued to lose some games, and we win some. But you're exactly right, its – it can be frustrating, but at the same time, it is 'now.' And we have to seize the opportunity."

On whether playing on turf will limit their ability to use RB Brian Westbrook:"Playing on turf, I would think that he might be a little faster. Most skilled people are faster on turf, so hopefully that's the case."

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