RE: You had mentioned after the first week, you wanted to get things in line for national television Monday Night Football. Is that a big deal for you how this team comes off? How it looks to the nation? **
"It is important how they look to the nation but really even more so important is how it looks to them. How it feels to them. I think from this point on it's not a matter of one week is going to be more special than the other. In my mind, we're fighting for a place, a spot somewhere toward the end to be playing for something and that's what my thinking is."
RE: What kind of strategic things have you been able to do with all this time off? Can you change your schemes? Can you do anything [with a] big picture like that?
"Changing schemes, the players have been doing that since training camp and OTA's all those things are not really [to] change the scheme. Maybe a little personnel change here or there, but not the scheme so much. Other than that it's making sure that the guys understand what we're striving to do going forward [with] attitude, the way we practice and just doing the things that we do better."
RE: I guess a more different emphasis?
RE: You've talked about smashmouth [football]. Is that the main one, the physicalness that you're trying to implement on the team?
"The physicality is definitely something that we want to have more of going forward. I think whether it's on offense or defense, and it starts with the offensive and defensive line, and to me that's what football is anyways. That's what football is all about. I think that the guys are excited about that. I'm excited to see how they respond but when I look at it, as well as the staff, I think that's what it's going to take in the second half of the season going forward."
RE: Do you feel that was something that was clearly lacking in the first eight games?
"I'm not going to say that it was lacking. Maybe not an emphasis, maybe trying to get other things right, I really don't know. I just know that going forward that's really an emphasis as a staff that we stress."
RE: Who's going to be your right tackle?
"As of right now, we get Jonas [Jennings] back and we'll see what Jonas can do today. [Adam] Snyder – we're going to continue to look at him. He had a great experience against Seattle. Coming back, I'm really excited about him, just really looking at a spot to play and just concentrating on that spot. He and Jonas will kind of nail that down. I think Chilo [Rachal] will work there a little bit but mostly at guard. So that's what we're looking [at] there."
RE: So Snyder wouldn't be moving around?
"No. I think right now we really want to find him a home. We know he can do it. He knows he can do it. It's just a matter of 'let me concentrate on being the best I can be right here. Let me find a home somewhere.' So that's where the focus is right now."
RE: Martz's offense certainly isn't known for physicality. Does this have to be tinkered around with to fit what you would like it to be?
"I know Mike Martz and I have talked in depth about this and I think when I looked at Mike Martz's offense and ideally what he would like it to be when he and [Dick] Vermeil were together doing great things together. They had a physicality about their offense. They could run the ball. Marshall Faulk could run the ball. Their offensive lines could come downhill. They could run between the tackles. So I think that's something that Mike Martz would welcome. It's just a matter of making sure that the focus is there overall and the intention is there, and that this is how we're going to do it."
RE: How much are you going to be involved in those game plan sessions during the week?
"I just spend as much time as I can with Mike to really make sure that we're all on the same page. Really understand what his thoughts are and just kind of inject thoughts here or there. But it's… He is the coordinator and I'm going to let him do what he does best, but at the same time, we have to work together on this thing and make sure that we're on the same page. We just continue to meet and continue to talk, and it just gets better each time."
RE: Can you imagine ever putting a headset on during a game and saying 'We're going to do this play?'
"To me, I don't ever really want to do that. It could happen. Coach Martz and I have talked about that. Greg [Manusky] and I have talked about that. It's not something as the head coach that I want to impose my will so strongly: 'Hey, we're going to do it this way.' Those guys are looking at so much film and they're working their tails off, and I'm in meetings with them in and out. Really just trying to make sure, 'Okay, Greg, make sure you remember this part. Mike, remember that we want to do this.' It could happen in a game. I really don't want it to happen because everything we do I want it to be out of respect. But it could happen."
RE: Back to the offensive line is Barry Sims out of the picture at right tackle?
"For this week, yes."
RE: Just for this week? Going beyond that?
"This week and we'll see how he feels going forward. But for right now, this Monday night, he will not be there."
RE: We've talked about the 3-4, 4-3. Is it still both?
"It's still there. Once again it just depends on what offense comes out. I think Arizona they are running 10 personnel, 11 personnel, 21, 22, so they are all over the place, and I think for us they come out and try and figure out what we are doing. It's just a cat and mouse situation. We'll play the 34, we'll play over and under and we'll see what fits."
RE: Is it wrong to say that in the past, this defense has played best when it has played strictly 34, or mostly 34?
"Well, it really kind of is a mixture of some of what San Diego did in basically, a 34 or a little bit under and what Baltimore has done prior to that. So you just bring it together. I know that Greg, he likes some of the overs and unders in combination with the 34, and we have the personnel to kind of go back and forth and not get locked up into one thing. So I think it works to our advantage with our personnel."
RE: Does it ever get confusing?
"No, no, not at all. As long as it's not confusing to the players it's not going to be confusing to us. I think they have a good grasp of what's happening on each and every defense, and they're playing fast and as long as they are playing fast and they are on the same page, then we know what they are doing is going in the right direction."
RE: In the Baltimore thing, is Justin [Smith] a Terrell Suggs? Is that his role?
"Not really Terrell Suggs. I think as far as that's concerned, it's one of those situations where Manny Lawson sometimes will be a Terrell Suggs or Manny Lawson will be Adalius Thomas when he was there. Justin, we are just trying to get him because he's such a good player, we are trying to get him in mismatches, as much as we can at different spots and figure out which is the best ones and go from there."
RE: Which is his best spot now?
"Well, from week to week it depends on the team. He could be a pure defensive end at a five technique. He could stand over the guard. It just depends on what they are trying to do with the different defenses that we have and the different fronts. We are just trying to find the best matchup for him where we can get the most out of him."
RE: I don't think anyone doubts that Vernon [Davis] has a lot of potential, but through eight games, he's been kept in to block a lot, hasn't seen a lot of passes come his way. Is it a priority for you to try and get the ball in his hands more than the team has been able to do through the first eight games?
"More so than anything else with Vernon it's just a continuation of really learning the flexibility that the tight end has in this offense. I think going forward Vernon will be used more as he gains more confidence in running his routes and the things that he needs to do. The quarterback gains trust in Vernon being where he needs to be, and I think Vernon shows a lot of promise going forward for the duration of the season. And I'm excited to see what he does in the second half."
RE: After that game, someone asked, 'Is he still your starter?' Is he still your starter?
"Oh, yeah. Heck yeah. We do want to win."
RE: I understand you had a conversation with Mike Ditka recently:
RE: Beyond the interview portion of it, did you ask him questions or get any advice from him?
"Strangely enough, all of my former coaches, whether it be Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan, Coach [Grant] Taft [at Baylor], they all run from me now. I constantly ask them questions. I ask them questions a lot more. So it was just great to see him. But I talk to them constantly about even before I was coaching, 'What do you do? What do you do in this situation? Remember you made that decision? Why did you do that?' So, trust me – they're all running from me. We talk a lot."