Singletary's Notebook: Sept. 28



Opening statements:**

"Good afternoon. I'll go over the injury report. [RB] Frank Gore had a strained ankle yesterday. It's not the same as the sprained ankle that he had before, last week. He's going to have an MRI later on today, and we'll know the significance of that. It's not believed to be serious. [S] Reggie Smith has a groin pull. [LT Joe] Staley has a knee contusion and will be getting an MRI later on in the day as well. [LB Jeff] Ulbrich has a right quad contusion. [CB] Dre' Bly, toe – right toe contusion. [LG David] Baas, left ankle sprain. [RT Adam] Snyder, left thumb sprain. [LB] Takeo Spikes, left leg contusion. Ulbrich – I already talked about Ulbrich. And that's it."

On whether the ankle strain involves the plantar fascia:
"I don't know. You're talking about terms I have no idea about. All I know is that he's going to have an MRI later on today, and we will know at that time. I just know that it's believed not to be a serious thing."

On whether it's related to his previous ankle injury:
"No. Unrelated."

On whether he was tackled awkwardly:
"I don't know. I looked at the film, but for me to look at it and for him to tell you what it was are two different things."

On whether it's the same ankle he sprained against Seattle:
"Is it the same ankle? OK." (It was confirmed that it is the same ankle)

On whether he's inclined to sit Gore out for two consecutive games going into the bye week, so that he gets three weeks to heal:
"I'm going to do what's best for him first, and then I'm going to do what's best for the team after."

On whether he's planning to make any roster moves:
"At this point, we want to see what the MRIs are, what they look like and what they say, and we'll get the information from there and we'll act accordingly."

On whether any of the other injuries are serious:
"Not at this point. Once again, Staley's going to have an MRI later on, and we'll see how that looks. It looked good this morning, but we're just going to take extra precautions and go from there."

On whether there was any thought of putting QB Nate Davis in on the last play of the game to reach the end zone on a Hail Mary given his arm strength:

On why that didn't happen:
"Because Shaun Hill is the quarterback, and we're not going to do that."

On whether Hill should get more opportunities to pass given his effectiveness in the fourth quarter:
"The thing that I want to say about the third-down play, the thing I want to say about the last play of the game and when you've got two seconds - it is very easy to sit here or sit there yesterday and look at the game and say, 'Why don't you do this? Why don't you do that?' You've got 12 seconds left in the game, and it's amazing the difference 12 seconds brings, many questions. The bottom line is, he called the thing that he called yesterday because it made sense. Obviously, every decision that you call when it doesn't work, then all of a sudden it doesn't make sense. Why would you do that? And I know that's your job, but the thing is, just understand that you call plays because you believe they'll work, and when they don't, it just means that you have to go back, you learn from it and you go from there. I said this yesterday and I'll say it again, I'm not going to go into, 'Well maybe he should have done this. Maybe you put Nate Davis in. Maybe you put this guy in. Maybe you run the loop-de-loop.' No. We're not going to do all that. We did it. It did not work. Guys, we've got to go back to the board and do something else."

On whether he learned from yesterday:
"Absolutely. Absolutely you learn from it, but at the same time, just understand this: It's the same as when the quarterback throws the ball and that ball is intercepted. It's easy to sit there and say, 'Why did you throw that ball? Why did you throw that ball?' He wasn't having success. He threw the ball. It got intercepted. But, the bottom line is, maybe it's the receiver. It could be the quarterback, but maybe it's the receiver. Maybe the DB made a great move, made a great play. But, don't always assume because he did something that it's the wrong thing. It's just that it didn't work. And the fact that it didn't work, there are number of factors in there, but you go back and try and analyze it."

On what he learned from yesterday:
"What I learned from yesterday is you have to play 60 minutes. And that's really the bottom line. What I learned from yesterday is, when you're on the road, there are certain things that you cannot do. There are certain calls that you're not going to get. And, I guess that I shouldn't say I learned that. I already knew that, but it confirms it. You have to make sure that you execute better on the road. I don't care how much noise there is. You have to find a way to deal with it. That's what I learned. Is there anything I learned about our guys? No, absolutely nothing. You just continue to go forward and you strive to get better. The things that you come up short on, you've got to work on, and, hopefully, you get better next time."

On whether he expected to get more than two yards per carry in the fourth quarter:
"I will say this: When you get towards the fourth quarter, yes, you would like to say that, 'Man, hopefully we get more than two yards a carry.' There was a point in the game where I felt we were beginning to get what we were looking for in the running game, and something happened where the guy takes the ball on the kickoff and takes it back for a touchdown and breaks the momentum. And you've got to go back to the drawing board. When you look at yesterday, it was just a situation where on the offensive side of the ball, we were fortunate to make some plays at times, but you don't – the quarterback has success throwing the ball a couple of plays here to [TE] Vernon [Davis] or [WR] Josh [Morgan] or whatever it may be. You want to try to get back to a rhythm, and we just did not get back into a rhythm. And that's the bottom line in the game."

On whether he thought the taunting call on CB Shawntae Spencer was accurate:
"One of the things that I don't want to do, I don't want to get into the referees because, obviously, there were some plays that I disagreed with. There were a number of plays that I disagreed with. But, I don't want to go there. I don't want to get into it. I just basically disagree with what I saw."

On whether he supported Spencer on that call:
"Oh absolutely. Absolutely."

On whether yesterday was a breakout game for TE Vernon Davis:
"I hope there will be games that we can call a breakout. I will just say that yesterday was an improvement for him. I think what Vernon is capable of is a lot better than yesterday. But, it was certainly a good game for him. It was taking another step, but I think if you ask Vernon, Vernon wants the ball. And Vernon is going to make plays. So, I just think I'm thankful that he and Shaun were able to hook up as much as they were, but hopefully we see more of that in the future."

On whether the prevent defense does not work against a two-minute, hurry-up offense:
"I just think it's a situation – you're talking about the last play?"

On the prevent defense during the last drive and for other teams around the league:
"I don't know. I think it's a combination of things. I think sometimes when you get in a prevent defense, sometimes on the defensive side of the ball, you tend to be a little more cautious, maybe not as free-flowing. Maybe the quarterback has more time. There could be a number of reasons. I just think the most important thing is, you've got to get to the quarterback. When you don't, they have a chance to make a play."

On whether the team was in a prevent defense on the last drive:

On how he defines prevent defense:
"He said prevent defense. I don't want to get into a football back-and-forth. The fact that he said prevent, I just went there. The bottom line is no, we were not in a prevent defense. We were in a defense where we were going after the quarterback. We did not get the quarterback down, he threw the ball [and] they made a play. [It's as] simple as that."

On whether he faults S Mark Roman on that play:
"Fault him? No."

On whether Roman was in good position:
"If he had been in position, he would have made a play. So, no he was not in great position, but the thing is, they just made a football play. There are some times the quarterback throws the ball and the guy is in position to make a play. So, that's what happened."

On whether there was a reason the team didn't get to the quarterback on that drive:
"Was there a reason we didn't get to the quarterback? We just didn't get to him. If you're trying to get to the quarterback and you're asking me, is there a reason you didn't get to the quarterback – no, what reason would there be for a guy not getting there? He's trying to get to the quarterback."

On whether his tone this week will be similar to the tone last year following the Monday Night Football loss to Arizona:
"I can't really remember what my tone was last year. All I know is right now, when I look at the situation we had yesterday, we go on the road, we play a team, we lose, you come back, you've got a choice to make, do you dwell on that - 'Wow, I wish we would have won the game. Man, I wish we would have done this differently. Man, I wish we would have done that differently.' No. I think you take it. You're man enough take it. You chew it. You spit it out. You learn from it and you get ready for the next game. You get ready for the next opportunity. I think winners let it go. Winners move forward. I think losers sit there and just wallow in it and talk about it all week. And, it screws you up for the next opportunity going forward. So, I think our focus has to be on the opportunity at hand. I'm very excited about the opportunity that we have this week in the team coming in. [We've] just got to get our guys healthy, get ready to go, get focused and get ready for St. Louis."

On whether the team got better yesterday:
"In some areas, yes, I do think we got better yesterday."

On the areas the team got better in:
"I don't want to get specific in the areas. If you look at the film and you look at the game, you can see there are certain areas that we got better in, and there are certain areas that we did not. The No. 1 area I would say – just to say No. 1 – is the guys believe. The guys fought. We left here. We got on a bus. We got on a plane. We went there to win a football game. We did not – came up short for a number of reasons. But we did not quit, which I – that's something really cheap for me to say. I knew we would not quit, ever. We got better in terms of knowing that it's a game that you cold have won, you should have won, but you didn't. The most important thing is we just have to get back on track."

On whether QB Shaun Hill's success in the fourth quarter would give him thoughts of letting him dictate the offense the next time the team is in this situation:
"I don't think it's a matter of relying on Shaun when we are behind. I just think that it doesn't make sense to run the ball when you are behind as much and I think if you look around the league, everybody does the same thing. You try to have your game plan, you know you want to run, you want to balance it out, but when you get behind, you aren't going to run the ball. So that's why he's throwing more. When you are behind, you've got to do something to try and catch up. So that's kind of what I think it is."

On what kind of pressure it puts on the defense when the offense can't convert on third downs:
"I think of it like this. When you are playing defense, that's your job. Obviously, you get frustrated at times, as a player, but I know our defensive guys know and understand that our offense is going to come through. They are going to get better. They are going to get in a rhythm, But, the last thing that I want to hear is our guys getting down and can they get the first down, because you know they are trying. So we are a team here and that's the thing that we talk about at all times and hopefully that is something that we never have come up. Sometimes, our defense is going to come through and sometimes our offense is going to come through. It certainly helps when our offense can put together a drive and take seven, eight minutes off the clock. So it works both ways."

On whether the decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 made as a player rather than as a coach:
"I think sometimes you are in a situation and you just try to make a decision based upon what you feel and it's just a gut feeling, but I felt we would make it. I had just talked to our guys on the bench. As an offensive team, that's something that times that are coming here, we've got to be able to make 3rd-and-1, 4th-and-1, whatever it might be. In particular it depends on where we are on the field as well and if we have a chance, let's try and make it."

On what was happening when he challenged the illegal forward pass and whether he wasn't able to get the referee's attention:
"No, what was happening was, they were saying upstairs, 'Mike, we think you should throw the flag.' I'm trying to get the attention of the referee on the field and I'm trying to get some clarity in terms of, 'Did you see him? You know where the line of scrimmage is, did you see him pass the line of scrimmage?' So there was a little bit chaos out there on the field and when [defensive line coach] Jim Tomsula came up to me [he was saying], 'Mike, they are saying throw the flag." So I go ahead and throw the flag, based upon, 'Okay, if they are saying it upstairs, then I want to throw the flag.' But, I couldn't believe that I've got a guy standing there looking at it and I'm trying to ask him, 'Did you see the guy pass the line of scrimmage,' and he says, 'Well, they are looking at it,' and I said, 'But what did you see? You see where the guy is,' – see now you are getting me revved up again, but it's one of those things where there's a situation where I couldn't believe you can't see it and just call it instead of going through all this other stuff, so that's all that was."

On whether they will know what RB Frank Gore's injury status by today:
"You know what, if you want it today, John [Crumpacker], I'll figure out a way to get it to you. OK?"

On how he will get the team ready in a potential letdown game against a winless team:
"I think for us, one of the big things is we are always talking about respect. We are not good enough yet to look at St. Louis or look at any other team and say, 'Wow, we are going to have a tough time getting ready for these guys.' We have a goal, we have a destination that we are trying to get to and we're not looking at the team because it's about us. It's not about them and we have to stay focused on the goal at hand and if we don't stay focused, then we're not who we say we are."

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