Well this is certainly an interesting week to run the Mike Singletary approval rating. Last week Singletary rocked a 99% approval with only 9 our of 1,122 votes being in the negative. Given the 35-0 whuppin of the Rams it was not even remotely shocking. Then Sunday happened. ESPN's current coach's rating has seen Singletary drop from 96% in week 4 to 86% in week 5. After Sunday's debacle it's not exactly shocking.
We've obviously heard plenty about Coach Singletary's handling of the Dre Bly situation yesterday. For those that missed it, Dre Bly basically came out and publicly apologized for his actions in Sunday's loss. Initially I was going to use this spot to discuss Singletary's handling of these sorts of situations. It's an interesting angle, but something that, frankly, has been beaten to death.
Thankfully, after looking through Singletary's Monday press conference transcript, some interesting comments jumped out at me, and I wanted to get everybody's thoughts on them. In his opening statement, Singletary said:
The biggest thing for us is as a team, we learned that preparation is everything and yesterday was one of those situations where on the defensive side of the ball, it felt like they had a great game plan and we had a difficult time getting on track and after awhile, the points, 14 points, I think some of our guys were like, ‘Wait a minute, they are not supposed to have 14 points. Now I’ve got to make my own play. I’ve got to make a play,’ and I think we got out of character early on. We just continued to try and settle guys down to just do your job, but once again, the preparation as a coaching staff, starting with me, was not great and we just did not do a good job overall. When that happens it makes it difficult."
Coach Singletary closed his comments as well saying:
As a staff, we did not do a good job preparing for a team [coming off of] a bye week, but going forward, we will come back and we will get better and we will be a team for our fans to be proud of, but I thank you very much."
Can somebody explain that to me? The extent of my coaching career was assisting a friend in coaching a little league baseball team for four or five games. So, Vince Lombardi, I am not. We know about the offensive struggles. We will not dwell too much on that for the purposes of this discussion. In looking at the defensive struggles, would increased preparation (whatever that might actually be) have made a difference? How difficult is it to know you need to cover Roddy White and you need to keep an eye on Michael Turner? Can someone help clarify this whole situation?
Press Conference – October 12, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
"Obviously, this is a busy day of just trying to get the game yesterday figured out. Figuring out some of the issues that we had yesterday and the reason why we lost the game, how we lost the game, those sorts of things. The biggest thing for us is as a team, we learned that preparation is everything and yesterday was one of those situations where on the defensive side of the ball, it felt like they had a great game plan and we had a difficult time getting on track and after awhile, the points, 14 points, I think some of our guys were like, ‘Wait a minute, they are not supposed to have 14 points. Now I’ve got to make my own play. I’ve got to make a play,’ and I think we got out of character early on. We just continued to try and settle guys down to just do your job, but once again, the preparation as a coaching staff, starting with me, was not great and we just did not do a good job overall. When that happens it makes it difficult."
On CB Dre’ Bly:
"Let me elaborate a bit on that. When Dre’ came in, it’s one of those things I didn’t really expect. I thought that I was going to have to go to him because I didn’t even notice all the other stuff, the hand behind the head and all of that. I didn’t even notice that yesterday. I just knew he caught the ball, and the next thing I knew, there was a fumble. But, when I saw him holding the ball the way he was holding it, I knew there was a good chance that it would come out. By him coming to me and saying the things that he said, it really took off a lot of the thought process, in terms of where I was going to go with it because we are – we’re not trying to – we are building something here, something that will be special, and it is going to be a process. But, yesterday, that was just something that, as a 49er, that’s just something that we won’t do. I think now he understands that, and, like I said, I didn’t see it yesterday, but for him to go forward and acknowledge that without me having to ask him to do that, I appreciate that from him. That’s who I was hoping he was when he came here. It was good to hear."
On whether he has disciplined Bly:
"I have not."
On whether he will discipline him:
On throwing TE Vernon Davis off the field last year for what might be a lesser incident:
"In a lesser incident?"
On Davis not losing the football:
"Let me put it this way: He didn’t have the football either. As the coach I have to make a decision to make sure that I make the right decision in certain situations. What Dre’ Bly did yesterday, as I said before, I didn’t see all of the other stuff. The timing of it and everything else, if I would have acknowledged that there was any Deion [Sanders] whatever, I probably would have handled differently. No, I wouldn’t probably, I would have handled it differently. But, I didn’t see that, and that’s just like Vernon. If I didn’t see what was happening, but I was interacting with Vernon, at the time yesterday I was dealing with something else and just kind of was looking at the ball. I saw the ball go down. I didn’t see all of the other stuff, but I’m not going to come back today and say, ‘Hey, you know what? You did this yesterday, and this is what I’m going to…’ No, I don’t think that’s right. In my eyes, I don’t think that’s right. To me, I’m going to do it when it happens. I think the most effective way to deal with something is when it happens. Yes, I can come back and take some money. OK, what is that? I’m not going to do that? So, anyway."
On how he learned about it:
"All you have to do is sit down and look at the television for a little bit or talk to some of the coaches."
On whether Bly has apologized to his teammates:
"Dre’ is going to apologize to practically everybody in the building."
On whether Bly is being unfairly depicted as a scapegoat:
"Do I think what now?"
On Bly being unfairly scapegoated:
"Dre’? How is he unfairly scapegoated?"
On the Bly’s fumble coming when the game was 35-10:
"But where would the word scapegoat come from? That has nothing to do with anything happening."
On whether the blame for the loss is being put on Bly:
"Not in my mind. If we’re talking about a scapegoat, I’m going to bring him up here and I’m going to say, ‘You know what? That was awful. That was bad what you did. And I’m going to do this, this, this and this.’ That’s scapegoating. OK? But to say, ‘You know what? You apologize, that’s something you want to do. That’s something you need to do. You go ahead and deal with that.’ That’s why I let him come up here and talk about it as a man – as I try to treat all of our players and let him deal with it so that you didn’t have to ask me something that he addressed. To me, it’s done. But to use the word scapegoat, I don’t understand that because scapegoat to me means that that’s who you put it on. And, I don’t think anybody is doing that. OK? That’s what I’m trying to say."
On Bly’s comments after the game and whether he wants his players to express themselves:
"I’ll put it this way: I don’t think that’s fun. OK? It was not fun. It was not fun. It’s not fun at 35-10. Fun is when you’re ahead and you may get an interception, and hey, that’s great. That’s fun. But, you’re not having fun when you’re behind 35-10, and that’s a little something that he and I have to clean up because that’s not fun."
On when Bly came to him:
On whether Bly said he wanted to address the media:
"What I told him was, ‘If what you’re saying is what you really mean, then this is what I want you to do. I would like for you, instead of me trying to explain something, I want you to go up there and express your opinions. You can do it for the media. You can do it for the team. You can do it for the team. You can the defense. You can do it for the offense. You can do it for everybody in the office.’ But, to me, it says a lot about him. Even though he did what he did yesterday, it says a lot about him to say, ‘You know what Coach? You are right. I was way out of line. I was wrong, and I’m willing to do that because that’s not me. I want to make this right because I do believe there’s something special here and I want to be a part of that going forward.’ And, that’s basically where we went with it."
On S Michael Lewis’ status:
"A third concussion. Once again, it was a situation in which he did have the concussion, and afterwards, he cleared right away, meaning that he was coherent. He understood everything that was happening, which is a very good sign. So, now it’s one of those things we have to really look at and watch day-to-day and see where it goes."
On whether it makes sense for Lewis to continue to play football:
"I’m not a doctor. I can’t make that assessment."
On Lewis leading with his head on the play he was injured:
"Anytime you have your head down, they try to teach you in Pop Warner football, you never have your head down because it is at its weakest point. So yes, that’s not good."
On the status of LB Jeff Ulbrich:
"The biggest thing about Jeff, as in Mike, we are continuing to evaluate there and we want to do all the testing we can just to make sure everything is right because everything is about them. When it comes to injuries, I want to make sure that there’s not a player on the field – practice field or playing field – that has some type of injury that could harm them going forward."
On whether QB Shaun Hill missed some throws against Atlanta:
"You know, there was maybe one or two throws that if you take a step back, if he throws it just right, he could make that throw. But I think sometimes quarterbacks get in a situation where, you become trained where, ‘I’m not having enough time and if I see this blitz here, if I am confident and I feel everything is going well here and we are picking things up, I can wait an extra step and get rid of that thing.’ But it wasn’t happening like that. I just felt like overall, the inconsistency in terms of the blitz pickups that were occurring caused him to get rid of the ball prematurely sometimes."
On whether Atlanta put extra emphasis on defending the short routes:
"It was more a case of some of the offensive line breakdown in terms of the pass protection. It was more of that, and we will address that this week, next week. We might have to make some changes there going forward. It was more that than them. It was more some of the things we were doing on our side, just making sure we understood the proper protection."
On why Hill and TE Vernon Davis did not appear to be on the same page:
"I think it is a combination of both. There are a couple of things we added this week. Vernon had to turn right now, but it was one of those things where the blitz was there and it didn’t get picked up and Shaun either got picked up, but Vernon didn’t have his head turned around. Or it didn’t get picked up and he had to let the ball go."
On when Davis is supposed to look for the ball:
"It depends on the type of protection it is, or which blitz pickup it is. Sometimes when he is going out of there, it is right now – it is hot right now. There are other times when you take a couple of steps and see if that safety is going to come down, then you have a chance to turn out or turn in. It just didn’t work."
On whether the right guard position is his biggest concern:
"Quite possible. Quite possible."
On whether RB Frank Gore will return to practice this week:
"Yes. I expect him to be back this week. How much? I don’t know."
On the biggest issue that needs to be addressed during the bye week:
"To make sure we look at the 53 guys on this football team and to make sure the 53 we have, whatever changes we need to make, that we make them now. Whatever things we need to clean up, we clean up then begin to go forward with that. I think that is the most important thing, to make sure we have the 53 guys that are going to be with us these next 11-plus games going forward."
On when he will evaluate the 53-man roster:
"Sometime this week. Sometime this week."
On whether CB Allen Rossum was a healthy scratch and what he is looking for in the return game:
"He was a healthy scratch this past week. As far as [TE] Delanie [Walker] on the kickoff, Delanie has done a good job on the kickoff. I thought he did a good job yesterday. Unfortunately he had the ball come out, down by contact, however it is. As far as Allen Rossum is concerned, we had [WR] Arnaz [Battle] do that. We also have a couple of other guys that can do that, so we just have to look at that position going forward accordingly."
On whether he might add player to the team that are not on the practice squad:
"Right now, a number of things are possible, but all I can tell you right now is that we are going to look at the 53 that we have and make sure that, with the roster changes, if there are any roster changes going forward, that we just have to make sure that we solidify, at every position, with everybody that’s on this 53 in particular the 45 on Sunday, those guys give us the best chance of winning."
On whether WR Michael Crabtree will remain at the facility during the bye week:
"Yes, he’s already had his bye week. He’s had a long bye week."
On whether he’s expecting the 49ers to be active before the trading deadline:
"I don’t know. I haven’t gotten quite that far."
On his former University of Baylor coaches being at the facility:
"This is my defensive coordinator when I was in college, his name is Corky Nelson. He taught me everything that I know about linebacking. As a matter of fact, he about killed me in college and I hated him in college because he hurt me. He’s the best coach that I know to teach the fundamentals of linebacking. I can honestly say that everything that I know about linebacking, I learned from him. He wanted to come out and I’m very thankful, I’m very blessed by him, his wife, and some other friends from Baylor. I wanted to allow him to come in and listen to this. He said he wanted to it, I don’t know why, but he said he wanted to listen to it."
"The last thing that I want to say is this – I’m not going to apologize to the fans again, but the one thing that I want you to know after a game like yesterday it’s a situation in where you kind of sit back and go ‘Wow, I didn’t really know that could happen again.’ And the thing I will say is this, this team will be a special team, this year will be a special year. It’s unfortunate as to what happened yesterday. As a staff, we did not do a good job preparing for a team [coming off of] a bye week, but going forward, we will come back and we will get better and we will be a team for our fans to be proud of, but I thank you very much."