RE: Another opportunity against a playoff caliber team, what do you see when you look at the [Buffalo]Bills?**
"I see a very big team, particularly offensively. They're offensive line is very big and [their] running back is really a good running back. [They've] got good receivers, the quarterback is playing pretty well, so it's a tremendous opportunity. It's going to be a physical game, a black and blue game. It's going to be cold. Weather's not going to be great so it sounds perfect."
RE: Can practicing in conditions like this prepare you for bad conditions in Buffalo?
"Yes, it can certainly help us set the environment weather-wise for what it's going to be like."
RE: Do you think that your team is set up for this type of cold weather black and blue game with the power running attack?
RE: Shouldn't teams that are a power running team be able to run no matter what?
"No, I think you have to really look at if a team has nine [or] eight people in the box then yeah, you can run it all day but particularly if you get behind in a game, no. You've got to do something else and I think that we will find that blend of what we need and I think we've been doing a pretty decent job. So we just have to make sure that going into this game we want to be able to run the ball some. We want to be able to have more of a balanced… It just depends on what they're thinking about and it also depends on the conditions of the game."
RE: Do you have the offensive line to power run?
"You said do I?"
"I think that when you look at our offensive line they get excited about being a power running team. I think they can do that, absolutely."
RE: Are you not having a walk-thru this morning because of the rain?
"I don't see why not. Yes. I think yes. I don't see why we wouldn't have it."
RE: That will be the same time as always?
"Yes. I don't see why we wouldn't."
RE: What kind of mindset does a team have to have to go into an environment like you might be facing in Buffalo and not let that get you out of your game?
"We're opportunists. You've got to have a great mindset, and it's one that we just have to get more and more in that frame of mind each day that we have to prepare. When we get there, we'll be ready."
RE: In that cold NFC Championship game where it was Chicago Bears weather. The 49ers, the finesse West Coast team, comes in there and puts a pretty good licking on you guys. What happened in that game? Looking back on that, how did the mindset of the cold weather Bears get defeated in that environment?
"We had the mindset, but we didn't have enough players healthy enough to carry out the mindset. If you remember in that game, now that you mention it, we had a best pass-rusher out: Richard Dent. We had Dan Hampton out, the nose guard. So there were a lot of things that lead up to that game, not to say that they couldn't have won anyways. They were hot that year and they did a great job that day. But I remember very specifically thinking in the middle of that game, 'If I only had those guys out here with me, it would certainly help.' So yes, I remember that day very well. When it comes down to games, weather can be a factor if you let it be. But if you see past the weather and look at the victory, the possibilities, the opportunity, it'll take you past the weather. It just depends on how much you want it."
RE: How do you think the 49ers formula for success is coming along in the couple of weeks since you've unveiled it?
"I think we are making progress. Obviously when we do those things, we will. We will win. That is our formula. So as I look at it, and I reiterated that this morning, 'Guys, when we do this, we will win.' It really comes down to doing those things. It comes down to knowing in your heart that that really is the key to our victory each and every week."
RE: Does having the formula sign posted every day at practice, does that reinforce it to the players or do they start to take it for granted?
"For the most part, it reinforces. It's like anything else, you can say something and don't say it anymore. Just put it up on the wall. A lot of companies have a mission statement that means absolutely nothing, but I think that everything that we do is geared towards those things. Everything that we talk about as a football team, as an offense, as a defense, there's not a day, there's not a practice, there's not a session that goes by that those things aren't mentioned. The majority of the team understands it and expects it, and really have come to know that, 'You know what? This is it. This is what we have to do.' So yes, I don't think it's something that they take for granted. It's something that they listen to and they understand."
RE: I know that guys are fighting for their jobs every week in this business. How much have you talked to the players about this last month of the season being an evaluation process for what happens in the offseason. Have talked about that at all to them, and what are your thoughts on that?
"In terms of evaluation?"
RE: In terms of what moves are going to be made in the offseason:
"No, we don't talk about that at all. Right now, we're still in a fight to try and finish the season on a great note. And I don't want to talk about what's going to happen after the season. I don't want to talk about… Because the only thing I really want to focus on is Buffalo. That's all I want to talk about. That's all I want to think about. All of the energy that I have, all the energy that the staff has, I don't want to talk about next week. I don't want to talk about the week after that. I just want to talk about Buffalo. Because we're going to need every thought, every heartbeat, to be in that game to win it."
RE: How much are people auditioning for next year?
"The mindset is you don't really audition. You just do your job every day. I've said that before. I'm not auditioning. I'm just doing my job. Everything else will take care of itself. Either it's good enough or it's not. But I don't put a cloud over anybody's head. I certainly don't put one over my own. I'm very humbled by the opportunity but at the same time, it's going out every day and doing the best that I can to prepare this team to win. Both players and staff. And that's it."
RE: Back to your formula, how do those things differ from what other teams need to do? Isn't that every teams' formula? What makes those things unique to your team?
"They're unique to us because it's our lifeblood. When you talk about total ball control, our room for error is very, very small. There are other teams that can throw a few interceptions and overcome it. There are other teams that they don't have to execute flawlessly to win the game. They've got enough talent to overcome it. There are other teams that they don't have to win in the trenches. They don't have to do that. We do. Everything that's on that board is what we have to do game by game to win. It's as simple as that. I think you're right in saying that every team wants to do that but there's not one thing on that board that I don't reinforce. And if it's not on that board, then I'm probably not talking about it. If it's on that board, they're probably tired of hearing me talk about it. But they need to understand it's not going to go away."
RE: You've said a few times that your margin of error is very small. Are you worried that that might result in the team playing tight and trying not to make errors instead of trying to make plays?
"It's all in the way you present it. They know that they have every opportunity to play as hard and as physical and as loose as they possibly can. Just do your job. We don't need any heroes. We don't need any, 'I thought this was going to happen so I did…' We don't need that. We just need you to do your job. That's where we are. We've got enough talent that if everyone does their job, we'll be just fine."
RE: With that in mind, do you want to simplify things a bit?
"They're simple enough right now. They're pretty simple right now. There's nothing that we're doing right now that they don't understand or know. It's just a matter of staying focused and just doing your job. So we're pretty simple right now."
RE: In the past Paul Lamont has talked about the CEO Head Coach; the overseer, he administrator. Is that you? Or do you get in and game plan and talk to Greg [Manusky] and Mike [Martz] and set the tone? Or do you give those guys complete autonomy?
"What I do on Mondays, Tuesdays, my focus is mainly on the players and the staff. Where are they? Because I want to make sure that Greg and Mike aren't coming in here thinking, 'Man, we're just not very good. We don't have a chance.' So the game plan is going to reflect that. The way they going about doing the game plan is going to reflect that. The way they respond to their coaches is going to reflect that. I don't want that. My job is to make sure that our coaches, every one of them, how attentive are they? How focused are they? My job is to make sure that as I look at those players that they're on one accord. That they're not separating and going into their own little corners and cliques and whatever, and making sure I keep them together. Just keep bringing everybody back together and then overall let Greg and the staff, I'm in the room when they're talking about doing this and doing that, I just sit back and think, 'We need to think about this. We need to think about that.' Mike Martz is a little bit different, but I'm in that room listening to the things that they're thinking about doing or think that they can do. But I have more one on one with Mike Martz so that I can talk about, 'Let's talk about what you're thinking about.' Because Mike Martz is the guy that he's been doing it for so long and he pretty much knows exactly what he needs to do and what he wants to do so that's more of a one on one. Greg, it's more of the staff, more of the defensive staff because that's the way we've always done it. So my job, as I said before, CEO or however you look at it, my job is to make sure that the environment is right. To make sure that the mindset is right. And as I look at the game plan and talk to Mike Martz about, 'This is what I think. Tell me what you think.' And we kind of go through that. And as I look at the defensive staff, that's a little bit different because we have more input from everyone. So I just make sure that, 'We need to think about this. We need to think about that.'"
RE: With that, we talked about the meshing of offense and defense. Do you talk to those coordinators like, 'This is what we're doing offensively, so defensively let's try this'?
"Absolutely. At the beginning, I don't really do it early on. Defensively, guys know what my mindset is going into each game. And maybe on Thursday, Thursday afternoon you begin to talk about that. But I want to have them go ahead and set their game plan in place and what they think they can do to win. And as we head toward the end of the week, now we need to think team here. This is what… 'You're thinking this on this side. You're thinking that on that side. Let's make sure that that fits. Now we've got it all together. Now we can go.'"
RE: Do you expect Buffalo to try to do some of the things that Dallas did last Sunday, specifically in the passing game? Are they that kind of team that can do those things?
"Every team tries to do what the last team did if the last team was victorious. I think that Buffalo is going to try and look at how they can win, best win the game, just like we're going to look at some of their weaknesses and try to exploit those. The biggest thing for us is we just have to make sure that what happened in the Dallas game, knowing that not only Buffalo, but the next five teams will try and do that, that we just try and do the best job that we can to ensure it doesn't happen."