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Singletary's Notebook: Dec. 23



On whether QB Troy Smith will be the starter for Sunday:**"Yes."

On why he made the decision to go back to Troy Smith after talking about the need to have the full playbook with QB Alex Smith:"You know what, it's kind of the same thing I've talked about all year. I feel that Troy has certain strengths, as well as Alex, and I think the way it works out, it is – you know, we could possibly use them both. So that's kind of the way it is right now, but he is the starter."

On whether he can say which situations he will use either quarterback for:"No, not really. I mean, the game will dictate it."

On whether he can say which kind of plays he will use each quarterback for:"No. We could just possibly use both."

On what he means by saying the game will dictate who plays:"The game will dictate it. You know what, I want you to understand this. I'm not trying to be snobbish, I'm not trying to be – I'm just telling you what I can tell you. It's - the game will dictate it. Depending on the situation in the game, depending on what they're trying to do, if we can take advantage of what they're doing, that kind of situation."

On whether the situation that would cause him to switch quarterbacks is not the score:"Right, yes."

On when he arrived at the decision of who would start at quarterback and when the coaches knew about his decision:"I arrived at the decision earlier this week, and the coaches knew earlier this week. But the thing that I want you to understand is this. The coaches knew that the thing that I wanted to do is make sure, and I talked to [offensive coordinator] Mike Johnson, make sure that the game plan is conducive to both their strengths. So even though Troy is going to be the starter, just make sure that the game plan is such that we can possibly use both their strengths in this game."

On the challenges of having quarterbacks with different skill sets, and whether it is possible to mesh the two styles of play into a single game plan:"I don't really think it's a matter of meshing the two, I just think it's a matter of when you have a game plan, just making sure that within that game plan that you know both the quarterbacks strengths, and that's why Troy is taking most of the snaps this week because Alex knows just about all of the things that we could possibly do. So that's the way it works out that way."

On whether having three extra days to prepare for this game helps with creating a more versatile game plan with the potential for using two quarterbacks:"Yes, absolutely. We can have more walk-thrus and things like that."

On how much the opponent factors into the decision to start Troy:"Well, in all honesty, I think it had very little to do with the opponent. It was just making a decision that I felt was appropriate for the rest of the season." 

On whether he is concerned that the news of Troy starting was broken before he revealed it:"No, you know what, I know that now, that that's kind of the way it is, whether it's around the League. When you have twitter, when you have all of the other things, it's not necessarily – and I don't want to be, and I don't want to have this organization be like the firm you know, 'I don't want you to say anything,' 'Well, I don't want to hold off on this information.' I knew it was a matter of time before it would get out. And there are things that I absolutely do not want to get out, that won't. But you just have to limit who you're telling. So I knew it was a matter of time before it would get out."

On how Alex took the news of losing the starting job for the second time this season:"Well you know what, I put it this way. The first time he was hurt, and it just kind of worked out the way it did. And really, this time around, I just really felt like it was time to go there, and needed to do that for these last two games, but I've always been honest and straight forward with both of them, so I think he was OK."

On whether Troy will definitely start both of the last two games:"It is definitely Troy for this game. That's all I'm thinking about, this game. So, we'll see what happens."

On whether he had a conversation with Troy on not playing tentatively because of the possibility of using two quarterbacks and a potential fear of being benched:"Troy is the kind of guy that I don't care what I told him about being tentative, he's a guy that can't play tentative. He just can't, it's not in him. There are some guys that you put them on the field, they're going to do what they're going to do, and you have to know what that is and work around it. But I have no reservations or no thoughts in my mind that he's going to do anything but what he has done."

On whether he is disappointed in the way that the quarterback situation has changed throughout the season:"It happens. I mean, the most important thing for me coming into the season is to make sure I gave Alex every opportunity that I possibly could to succeed. I did not impede that in any way. And it's worked out the way it's worked out, and you know, you can say yes, you're disappointed, and you can say a lot of different things, but the bottom line is, it is what it is right now, and you move forward. But I know the information that I need to know."

On the chances of RB Anthony Dixon being 100 percent for the game:"I don't know if any of our guys will be 100 percent, or if any other guys around the League at this point in the season will be 100 percent, but I just know he'll be ready to go."

On whether is it safe to say that Johnson knew who the starter was and didn't want to share the information on Wednesday:"It's safe to say this. Mike Johnson and I talked earlier this week, and the thing that I told not only Mike Johnson, but all of the coaches, is, 'guys, we're going to prepare for both guys. So there is no definite, Troy is the guy, that's it. We're going to prepare for both guys. I'll let you know at some point in time, when it's a definite, this is the guy and it's unequivocally, that's it.' But in all of our coaches, as well as our players, I communicated with all of them early on."

On his indication that he told the quarterbacks his decision on Tuesday and whether Johnson also knew at that point who would start:"What did you not understand about what I just said, honestly? You know what, it doesn't matter about all of the other, 'did he know, did he-' I'm just telling you that earlier in the week that I communicated with everybody. Everybody. But the quarterbacks knew it first. The quarterbacks knew it first because I'm always up front with them first, and then everybody else after that. But I want to make sure that no one was to go out and say, well Troy is the guy because if you really did not know if he was going to be the guy, you just knew that I wanted him to start, but the game plan had to be with both of them, both their strengths."

On the timeline of when everyone knew about the decision being scattered:"I know it, but in all honesty, it's difficult for me to go back and say now, let's see now, when did I tell him? I told you earlier in the week what I did, and now I'm just telling you – does that clear it up, what I just said?"

On whether he understands why he is being asked about the timeline:"I do. I'm just trying to explain it as best I can."  

On whether he is concerned that with the potential for two quarterbacks that Troy may not have a chance to excel in the fourth quarter, when the team has typically done well against the Rams with both quarterbacks:"You know what, I just really want our guys at this particular point in the year to really be able to seize the moment. And that's really it. I'm not thinking about, if Troy can't do this - it's not really that. I'm going with Troy, and you go throughout the week and you know, for whatever reason, if they're doing some things that I think we can take advantage of, that Mike and I have already talked about by Alex being in, then we'll do that. But right now, I'm thinking, Troy is the guy, and we're going to go with that."

On whether Troy Smith has a better grasp now of the offense, playbook and ability to adjust than when he last started:"You know I think these past two weeks, I think Troy has continued to get a grasp of the offense, a better grasp of the things, and it's always better when you have a chance to step back and look at somebody else do it. And get a chance to look at, 'Oh, I would do this differently, or maybe I would do that sooner, or I wouldn't make that call.' So I'm sure he'll be better on Sunday."

On whether he can draw from how the team responded to the situation against Seattle in terms of motivation when they could have mathematically been knocked out of the playoff run with a loss:"I just think that, really, week-in and week-out in the past few weeks, unfortunately, we did not respond in San Diego the way I'd hoped, but I'm confident that our guys will step up and do the things that they need to do, and get on track and be ready to play."

On what he learned from the first matchup against Rams QB Sam Bradford and taking advantage of his rookie status from a defensive perspective, and whether they did enough to do that:"I will say this. I think the thing that I learned about him the first time that we played him is that he is poised, it's not too big for him, and we're going to have to do a good job of confusing the quarterback as much as we can to try and make sure that we disguise on the back end as much as we can, and not make it as difficult for him as we can mentally and physically, really take every opportunity that we can to get after him."

On how he felt his strategy against Bradford worked earlier in the year:"It was OK. I would just say it was OK. I mean, thankfully we won the game, but it was OK."

On whether he feels that they can do a better job:"Hopefully."  

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