Skip to main content

Singletary's Notebook: Oct. 21



RE: Opening statements:**

"Good afternoon. First of all, I would just like to say that the last couple of days has certainly had its drama. For me, I'm very honored to be considered for the position that I am in, currently as the head coach, but getting there was a little difficult. For me, when I was offered the job, it was just a matter of needing to talk to Coach [Mike] Nolan. Of course, when I saw him, he was emotional and so was I. I felt that I came here for one reason, and that was to help Coach Nolan produce a winning organization. Upon looking back at it, I don't think Mike nor myself realized the task at hand. When I sat down yesterday and, basically, just kind of looked at him and he looked at me, it was just one of those situations where, before I could say a word, he said: "I want you to understand something. I want you to take this job. I don't even want you to blink. I want you to take this job. Because I know that you have the heart of the players at hand, and I know that they are important to you. I know that you will be fair to the coaching staff, and I know that you can bring them together. What we have built together has come to an end, but I want you to take it to the next level. If you do not take the job, I will be very disappointed in you as my friend.' Needless to say, at that point, it was very clear that I was going to take the job – with no hesistation. That was his blessing. What I think about when I look at this organization, I know that what is here, there is a lot of talent, a lot of good coaches. I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm excited about taking it to the next level. I'm excited about the people I work with. Scot [McCloughan], being one of them, and Jed [York] met with the players this morning, talked with them briefly, and just let them know that I'm excited and very proud to be their head coach and that the expectation will be high. I expect to go to the next level, and so will they. We will work together as a staff, as a team, and we will get to where we need to go. And I am, once again, excited about that. Any questions?"

RE: How can you turn this team around where Mike Nolan was not able to?
"I'll put it this way. I think that sometimes things happen that you can't quite explain. I don't really know if, when you say, 'Well, how could you when Mike Nolan could not?' I'll just say this, sometimes timing is everything. I think right now, the guys understand and they realize that we do have something. We do have something here. To what degree, I don't know, but we do have something special here. It's a matter of stepping in and being able to bring it together. That's something I've done all of my life, bringing things together. Before I got back in football, I was a motivational speaker, I was a trainer, I was a teacher, I was a lot of things. I think all of those things have prepared me for right now."

RE: How will things be different? What will change?
"You know what, I will say this, there's not a whole lot of things that I'm going to come in and change. First of all, the most important thing is this week. The most important thing is the next few days, which is why, again, I don't have a whole lot of time here because I have got to get back upstairs and make sure we get ready for the team this weekend. But, I'm not looking at making all these changes, and I'm not looking at creating something new, or re-inventing the wheel. What I am interested in, is making sure that when we go out to practice that the very things we see in practice we believe and understand and know that that's what we're going to see in the game. I am very excited about the game coming up this weekend, and that's the only thing I'm thinking about right now. And when that's over, I'll think about the next one after the bye. But I just think that we have something here, and I am very thankful for the opportunity and, at the same time, very humble. They could have chosen anybody to do this and they chose me. I am honored, thankful, and I will take it and do whatever. The only thing I can say is this: When you say, 'How do you change this? How can you think that this can happen?' But, the question is difficult because I don't really know what to go in and what button to press here and what button to press there. I just know this: I just know what is in my heart. I know that there is a fire that burns in my heart for this team to be successful. And that fire is unconquerable, and it will not die until it comes to pass. So, that's where I'm at. That's who I am, and going forward, I would just – what is your name ma'am?"

RE: Ann Killion:
"OK. I will just ask you to keep your eyes open and your ears, and maybe after a while you tell me."

RE: What is the culture of this franchise and this organization as a football operation as you see it right now? What do you see needs to be done and how would you characterize the culture of this organization?
"First of all, what Mike has done, and what I'm very thankful for, and what I don't think many people understand, I don't think they really, truly understand what Mike had to do when he came here and what he's built. To me, the next step is not as hard as the first. What he had to do was very difficult. He set the foundation. All I'm going to do is build upon that foundation. I'm not going to come in and make a lot of changes and do a lot of this and do a lot of that. I'm just going to be myself. I'm going to honest. I'm going to be straightforward. I'm going to be very, very diligent in terms of whatever it is, finding whatever it is, I will find it. And somehow, some way it, will show itself. I don't think you can be around me for very long and not be true to yourself and not find out what it is that you need to do in order to get there. I'm not a sugar-coater. I don't scratch my head when it doesn't itch, and I don't blink when there's nothing in my eye. I just know this, whatever it is, we will find it together. Whatever it is, we will find it."

RE: You're known for your aggressive and passionate style. A lot of people have talked about the passive nature of this defense. Do you think that the defense has been passive and will that change?
"I will say this, I think that [defensive coordinator] Greg Manusky and the defensive staff has done a good job up to this point. Once again, I will just ask you to continue watching. Watch the next few weeks and see if we continue to be passive. I don't think so. We're going to play. We're not going to play with fear. We're going to play and we're going to be bold. Play within our system. We're not going to become crazy and lose our minds and begin to blitz all the time. We're going to do whatever it takes to win within the system. I think as a team, that's what we'll do on both sides of the ball, as well as on special teams."

RE: Mike, your quarterback loses the ball in the fourth quarter, quite a bit. How are you going to address that?
"I think first and foremost, the quarterbacking situation, Mike Martz … Mike and I had a conversation this morning and he's aware of that. The guy is trying to make plays, he's trying to win and things like that happen. I just think going forward we just have to be more careful with the ball. It's as simple as that. But, I would also like to say on the defensive side of the ball, you asked me about the quarterback, I just want to make sure that it's fair. On the defensive side of the ball, there are some things that we have to do a better job of as well. We have a lead, we got to keep it, but we'll just continue to move forward and those things that we have to fix and fine tune or whatever, we will do that and we'll go from there."

RE: Mike, you talked about setting a foundation, that Mike Nolan had done that, but everyone in this building was gifted something that a lot of teams don't have which is a legacy and it was an offensive legacy and that seems to have just disappeared in the last four years. There's no philosophy, there's no … there's just been fits and starts. What is your vision for the offensive? I know you knew Bill [Walsh] and you counseled with him. What is your vision for offensive football?
"You know what, I would just tell you what my vision is for football period. To me I'm a historian when it comes to this game. I go back to the very beginning of why football was created. It was created for people to compete and I think if you're not going to compete at the highest level, as fair as you can and as hard as you can, then you shouldn't be playing the game. As far as the culture and the vision and all of those things, it is only one thing. To me it is about the team. Everything is about the team. If you are on defense, it is about the team. If you are on offense, it's about the team. If you are on special teams, it's about the team. As long as we keep the focus on the team and the things that we have to do every day, the routines, the little things that we have to do every day, day in and day out, we're going to get where we need to go because we are not going to stop until we get there. So, for me the vision of this team is to win, but getting there, those small steps that it takes to get there, doing those little things, the details, all of those things, those are things that we have to do and those are the things that we will do."

RE: What do you think you have to do to keep this job? Do you have to have a winning record? Do you have any set goals in your mind?
"In all honesty, what I have to do, to do my job is be true to myself. That's all. Just be true to myself."

RE: Are you sure that you are going to keep this job?
"I don't really think about that. If I didn't think that I was going to keep the job, I wouldn't of taken it."

RE: Would you have taken it if Mike did not give you his blessing?
"I would have had to think about it – the reasons why not. It's not very often that you have an opportunity to be a head coach in this league, as I have learned. This is a great organization with a tremendous amount of character and history and tradition, and I am very honored to be a part of that. I thought many times, what would it be? How do you come to San Francisco, a place like this and Scot and Mike have drafted the guys that they have drafted and great guys, great group of guys. Yes, I want to be a head coach in this league, but where? I love these players. You coach a guy like Joe Staley, you're coaching somebody like Takeo [Spikes] You have guys on the offensive and defensive side of the ball that you absolutely love. You take a step back and go, 'Wow.' I'm going to continue to help Mike build this, and wherever God leads, that's where I'm going to go and everything that I have learned I will take with me and it's so ironic that it happens to be here for right now and I'm the kind of person that I don't really worry or think about, 'Well, what if I can't do this,' or 'What if I mess up,' or 'What if I screw up.' I've never done anything like that in my life. I believe that with God I can do anything. That's where my strength is, I believe I can do anything and with the guys on this team, the players, the staff, management, I believe we can get it done."

RE: Will you make any personnel changes?
"No, sir I will not."

RE: How many times do you think you have addressed the team in the past three and a half years and do you have to have a different approach now that you are in a different role?
"I'm sorry would you say that again."

RE: How many times do you think you have addressed the team in the past three and a half years and do you have to take a different approach now that you are in a different role?
"Well, I think, one thing I've always done and I've told Mike this. There are times that Mike has asked me to speak or address the team or whatever and I would say, 'You know what Mike, I'm not feeling it,' or 'Mike, I really have something to say this week.' Once again, it gets back to being true to myself. I don't really talk a whole lot to begin with, but what I do say I mean and before I ever get up in front of the team there is something in my heart that I have to say and it's going to come out. It may be wrong, but it's going to come out. So being true to myself, every time I talk to those guys they know that it's from my heart and that is the thing to me that has been consistent the whole time that I've been here."

RE: What was the player's reaction, do you feel, when you talked to them this morning?
"Well, I think first of all, when you are a new head coach you know everybody is excited. Going forward after a couple days, we'll see how excited they are, but I warned them and told them be ready for the challenge ahead because I will challenge you to your very core. So, initially it was good."

RE: Mike, one more thing, can you talk about after … you said you wanted to be a head coach and after Baylor and Atlanta, from a historical standpoint, you're the first African-American head coach in this organization. Can you talk about the journey to get here to that podium?
"When I think about that, once again, when I first came into the league, I was very naïve in terms of what it would take to get here. I felt that because I had played, because I had done some things in this league that people will see my passion and will see that I should be a head coach, that I can be and I can do a good job, but I learned that it's bigger than that. It's much, much bigger than that and I'm so thankful that it did not happen before now and you do have to be careful for what you pray for, but I am more than ready at this point. Very excited and ready to execute whatever it is in me to take it forward."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.