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Singletary's Notebook: Nov. 22



Opening Statement:**"Injuries: [WR] Josh Morgan, shoulder sprain; tight end Vernon Davis, ankle sprain; [S] Dashon Goldson, ankle sprain, leg contusion. Existing injuries, I think you already know about; [T/G] Joe Staley. I think [CB] Will James will be coming back this week; [K] Joe Nedney, don't know yet.

"The thing that I want to say to you is I am very thankful to be the 49ers head coach. We're working to get where we need to be. Obviously, we are not there yet. My job is to lead, to motivate, and prepare. Win football games. Did I lead yesterday? I think so. Did I motivate through the week? I think so. Did I prepare? Did we prepare our players? Obviously not as well as we should have because they didn't execute as well as they could have, and that's on us and that's on me, as the head coach. As you look at our team, in particular as we talk about the game yesterday, why we lost the game? That would be on me. That would be on me when our receivers don't run the right route, that's on me. When we have a turnover, that's on me. Anything that happened in the game is on me because it all ultimately comes back to me. I understand that. When I make a decision in the game, in terms of having to call a timeout because I decided against punting the ball after telling our coordinator at a third-and-five, and our quarterback ended up scrambling and it's fourth-and-three or something like that, I told him if it's fourth-and-one, we're going to go for it. It ends up being fourth-and-three, and I still decide to go for it. 'Do you have a call for fourth-and-three, can we do this?' 'Yes.' That's on me. That's on me. Fourth-and-three, I figured it was a critical time in the game. I wanted to make sure that we had the right call. The call that we had was for fourth-and-one. Fourth-and-three is a bit different. Had a pretty good call, did not execute. The other situation in the game where we have a fourth down situation and the question was why did I not kick a field goal. There are a number of reasons I would not kick a field goal without [K] Joe Nedney being on the field in that situation. Number one, because of the weather. Number two, because it's a 51-yard field goal. I did not want to put us in the situation where the punter – where the field goal kicker that I don't know a lot about – put us in a situation where we could possibly get it blocked, or miss it and have them be in good field position. I did not want to do that. So I elected to punt the ball, and trust our punter, because we have an All-Pro punter. Trust our defense, because our defense plays pretty well, and try and force them to make errors. So on those two, fourth-and-three and fourth-and-whatever, that was the situation for those. Any other questions that you might have from the game, just understand in terms of whose fault was it for this, whose fault was it for that, it is all on me. If you have any questions about that, just before you even ask the question, just put 'the head coach' and that will be acceptable. Now, any other questions that you might have?"

On his comment in the locker room that he would look at which players were and were not playing, and whether there are examples of which players were not playing:"Did I say that to you yesterday? I didn't say that to you? Okay, then I don't want to address that then. I'm going to address it with the players."

On whether he has made a decision on who will be the quarterback against Arizona:"Yes. Troy Smith is going to be the quarterback."

On why he brought up being accountable after this particular loss and not other losses:"Because the question came up yesterday. For no other reason. If you had asked me in any other loss that we had, I would say I'm accountable for that. But yesterday the question was asked, whose fault was it? And I said it was me."

On whether he is accountable for the 3-7 record and whether he is doing a good job:"I will put it this way. You have to go through every game and you're going to say am I doing a good job? Obviously, at 3-7, no. I wouldn't say – I wouldn't even dare to say I'm doing a good job. But it's not over yet. I think the most important thing for me is that we have a game coming up Monday night. And a few more after that. But particularly, the one that I'm excited about is the one on Monday night. Ask me after that game if I do a good job. And that's what I'm excited about."

On his thoughts on the NFC West division:"The only thing I'm going to say about that is I feel very fortunate to be in a situation where we play Monday night in Arizona, and I want to do everything that we can. I want to focus only on that game. Everything that we're talking about, everything that is possible, is dependent upon that game. So that's what my focus is going to be."

On whether this is a playoff team:"Is this a playoff team? If we win. If we win."

On whether the team is playoff-worthy:"If we win."

On whether he went back and saw that it was a better game than the stats showed with regard to QB Troy Smith and why he decided that Smith will start against Arizona:"I just think that Tampa Bay had a couple of games of film on him and game planned some and just really took away some of the things that he had done well. There were still opportunities to make plays in the game, but fewer of them, and we just did not execute properly. And that's really the bottom line."

On whether Smith needs to do a better job of getting the ball out so he is not taking sacks:"I think we have to do a better job with him, and just doing a better job at making sure that we keep him out of situations that can be tough. I think we have to get back to the focus of doing what he does well, and making sure that we keep it that way."

On whether there is a concern that Smith struggles when he has to operate inside the pocket:"I think there were plays that he had – when he was in the box, there were opportunities to make plays as well, and he has made plays in the box. So there's not a concern – we're not overly concerned about that, no."

On his thoughts on the right side of the offensive line with G Chilo Rachal and T Anthony Davis and whether they can play at a winning level:"I think Davis continues to make strides and every now and then he does what a rookie will do, as an offensive lineman, has a breakdown here or there. I think Chilo, for the most part, is playing pretty decent football, but every now and then will have a breakdown. So it's just something that we have to continue to work at. I think week-in and week-out, there are offensive lines that – you know, very good offensive lines – that have breakdowns. We just have to continue to work at it."

On whether Rachal is a better choice at right guard than T/G Adam Snyder:"I think, as the coaching staff, when we look at it, we have to make the final decision from week to week. This is the business where you're trying to win football games. Chilo is not playing just because we like him; just because he's the only guy we can put there. He's playing because we feel he gives us the best chance to win. Does he have breakdowns? Yes. You just have to continue to get better."

On whether the amount of the time the defense was on the field took a toll late in the game:"Absolutely."

On whether the defense was tired:"Yes."

On whether T Barry Sims earned another start with his performance on Sunday:"I think it's something that we have to look at and evaluate more closely this week, and overall, I thought he did a pretty decent job."

On whether he currently has the staff to prepare for the future and whether he will look for outside help:"No, I don't think looking for outside help is really necessary. We'll work with the people we have and we just have to get better."

On whether opposing defenses have known what's coming at the line of scrimmage from the 49ers:"I'm not sure; that's the first time that I've heard that. You know, if they were getting tipped, well, good. Like I said before; sometimes when you have young guys, that can happen from time to time. But I think overall it's just a matter of our guys continuing to get better down the stretch here."

On whether he will be more hands-on in his preparation and what he will change moving forward:"I don't want to start sounding like I feel that I felt going into the game we were not prepared. You know, every week, you have a preparation time for a team and you prepare for them. You really don't know what they're going to do game day; that's something that as you look at it you have to make adjustments as you go. Sometimes with a young quarterback, you just want to make sure that you're giving him every opportunity to step in and win football games. If they're doing something a little bit different; if the other team's trying to work on something to take away something that you've done, then you just have to continue to play that chess match during the game. I'm not going to say that I felt that we were just really not prepared, no. We were prepared for what we felt they were going to do, and once they did some things a little bit differently, then we tried as best we could to counter those things. So this week I would just make sure that we continue to look at the things that work in our favor. On the offensive side of the ball they've been working their tails off to get the best plan possible. You know Troy is working his tail off to try and make sure that everything we're talking about; everything he needs, you know he's here day and night. So I'm, I'm confident that we will get where we need to go."

On the team's performance with in-game adjustments on both sides of the ball:"I just think that some games a team just has your number, or things just don't work the way you want them to work. There are going to be some games that you have. I don't care who is supposed to be the best team in the league right now, they're going to have a game where somebody just has you're number, and yesterday was ours."

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