2009 March Minicamp Press Conferences: Mike Singletary

I've received some press conference transcripts for Mike Singletary, Shaun Hill and Alex Smith.  Given the QB competition I'll post those two together in a separate post in a little bit.  For now, here's Mike Singletary's first thoughts of the "new season."  Given the length, I've moved some of it after the jump.

RE: Opening Statement:
“It’s great to see you guys and it’s great to be out here in front of the team. Looking at the guys that are out here, I’m excited about talking about all of the guys that are willing to come into this voluntary minicamp and we set it in place, set the schedule and we are excited about the things we are seeing and we are excited about talking with the guys that are here and under contract.”

RE: Is everybody that you expected to be here, here?
“Yes.”

RE: So are there only the three veterans that aren’t here?
“Yes, so far.”

RE: What about injuries? Who is being held back because of either offseason surgeries or lingering injuries from 2008?
“Well, there are a number of guys that are being held back, but really it’s one of those things that first and foremost, the immediate guys, it’s up to the trainer, to say, ‘You’re out. You really can’t get any work done.’ Other than that, I leave it up to the guys to just use common sense and decide if it still hurts, don’t do it. Push through it, that’s fine, so that’s kind of the way we evaluate that.”

RE: Did Ray McDonald have surgery in the offseason?
“Yes he did.”

RE: Was it on that knee that was a concern coming out of college?
“I think so.”

RE: What’s his prognosis?
“We are just going to take it a day at a time and we will wait and see as training camp approaches and we will see how it goes.”

RE: Mike, have you heard from Isaac Bruce?
“I’ve talked to Isaac.”

RE: And has he made a decision?
“He has not made a decision. When you’ve done the things that he’s done, you just kind of sit back and weigh your options and try to figure it out. He’s still working out, he’s doing the things that he normally does, but he’s just going to wait a little bit and make sure he’s fully committed when he comes back.”

RE: And to clarify your position, you want him back?
“Oh, yes.”

RE: And when would you like a resolution on that?
“Probably, by the first of April.”

RE: Mike, how much of what you see this week, will help or even influence your draft decisions?
“I guess if we look at the draft, it’s just one of those things where you are going to take the best player available. Scot McCloughan does a great job with Trent [Baalke] and the rest of the personnel staff, but as we look at it, it’s just one of those things. We know we have needs out here, but it’s awfully tough to pass up a good football player and at the end of the day, you want impact players on your team.”

RE: With this two day session here, what do you hope to get out of this initial session with your guys?
“I think the biggest thing was giving Coach [Jimmy] Raye an opportunity to really get a feel for what’s here, get a feel for what he has to work with. See the offensive guys and as a team, let the guys know what the expectations are going forward and set the tone for the offseason program.”

RE: Mike you’ve run practices before, but this is the first time that you’ve ran a minicamp from start to finish. Have you made many changes and what will be different about this minicamp from the previous administration?
“Well, for me, it’s different than the normal minicamp that we’ve had the last three years, simply because I’m a new head coach and so we get an extra minicamp which is great for us. I think it will allow us to come together earlier and put some things in place and really start thinking down the road sooner than some of the other teams around the league.  But really, once again, for me and the coaching staff, I just wanted to give them the opportunity to see first hand what we have and the mindset of the guys and get a feel for them, particularly on the offensive side of the ball and I think after that it’s just a matter of monitoring day-to-day and starting the process of evaluating the players and the competition.”

RE: How much actual installation will take place with Jimmy Raye in this minicamp? What are you going to do? What is he going to do with the offense here?
“I think he’s…more than the installation, the installation really isn’t going to be the most difficult part. Even though it’s really one of those things where you take a step back and look at what you have and based upon what you have, you look back at your installation, you try and figure it out, but I think once again it’s just looking at the talent that he has, looking at his installation, playbooks are done. It’s just a matter of coming out here and installing a couple things and making sure they have a good feeling about the two or three plays that they can execute that’s a part of the core and come out of that feeling good about everything else.”

After the jump, Coach Singletary talks about Alex Smith, the green dot and an assortment of rumors regarding Jay Cutler, the report of staff dissension and plenty more....

RE: Will Alex [Smith] be full-go with that shoulder?
“Yes he is.”

RE: How much did you expect for him to be here? Did you always think he was going to be here again?
“In my gut I did. Yes I did. When I talked to him after the season was over, I felt really good about his body language, I felt really good about what I saw in his eyes and the fire in his gut and he’s ready to compete.”

RE: Does this offense, Jimmy Raye’s offense, serve him better?
“We are going to find out.”

RE: Coach, what have you seen from Dashon Goldson that made you make that move with him?
“I think he’s one of those players where it’s obvious…his talent. I think it was just an opportunity for him to really take ownership and we’ve seen him make plays time and time again whether it’s in practice or it’s in the offseason. So we said, ‘You know what, here it is. Let’s see what you can do with it. We are going to put it on you, we feel that you can do it,’ and we are going to give him that opportunity.’”

RE: Would he be the green dot guy?
“Well, probably not at the beginning, but we will see how the progression goes. I think it’s just a matter of Pat [Willis], when you look at Pat. Pat had the green dot a little bit last year and after awhile decided to give it up but he may start out with it again. I mean he has another year under his belt, he knows what to expect with the green dot and it’s just a matter of does he want it or not.”

RE: About the quarterback competition, how much do you factor in what Shaun Hill did last season? Did he start that process by the last half of the season and what he did on the field?
“I factor in everything. When you look at both guys, I just feel very fortunate to have both of them on this team and under contract. They both have qualities that can help us win football games. It’s just a matter of us as coaches getting it right and making sure that we pick the right one at the right time.”

RE: Did you talk to both of them or any of them about the Kurt Warner visit?
“Did not.”

RE: Do you feel that’s important at all?
“The Kurt Warner thing, it’s just one of those decisions that you have an opportunity and so it’s a risk that you can’t afford not to take. We had no idea what was going to become of it but when you have a situation like that you play it out. My job as the head coach of this football team is to do the things that give us the best chance to win. If you find a guy that’s a possible fit, the chemistry is right, the talent is certainly there, then you let it run its course.”

RE: What didn’t make sense with the thing with Kurt Warner was you had dropped the guy who had coached him for a long time in St. Louis and it was that type of offense and then you go after a quarterback who you don’t seem to like that type of throw-it-deep offense. Am I wrong there?
“You look at a quarterback and you can say the guy’s more of a passer. Will he hand the ball off? Kurt Warner certainly understands play-action and he certainly understands the running game as well. But that’s something that’s behind us now, whether it made sense or not. It’s behind us and we’ll just move forward to what we have here.”

RE: Another quarterback much discussed around the league who may be available in a trade is Jay Cutler in Denver. Any interest on the part of the 49ers in him?
“Right now, the only thing I’ll say about that is he’s a player under contract and I’m going to stay away from that right now because of what the league rules are. I’m going to stay away.”

RE: There was a report that you and Scot McCloughan made decisions in free agency but you don’t include the position coaches. I’ll just mention the decisions on Brandon Jones and Damon Huard was cited as well. Have you talked to the position coaches about involving them more? How does that work?
“We have talked to the position coaches and I think the most important thing is this: position coaches are like everybody else – they’re going to have opinions but at the end of the day it’s something that we’ll make sure on our side that we’re all on one page. The most important thing is when it’s all said and done, we’re all on one page. And I’m very confident that every coach here knows, you ask one guy what you need in the draft, you ask another, you ask another guy what we need in the draft, everybody’s going to have their opinion. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is we’re all on the same page. We want to win. And that’s the bottom line. That’s something we’ll handle in house and we’ve got a good house. We’re going to keep that going.”

RE: As you put your stamp on what the team looks like in OTA’s and looking forward to training camp, what is the identity that you’re trying to instill?
“First and foremost, as far as the identity and all of those things I’ve tried to lay out to the players where we’re going and who we are. The first thing is we definitely have to have a physicality about us. The next thing is we have to have a toughness about us. We have to be smart about what we’re doing. We have to be disciplined. Those are two of the top things right off the top of my head in terms of what we have to do going forward. We want to put a team on that field that, not just the fans can get excited about, but the players can get excited about because of what we’re doing and the way we do things. I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the process. I’m excited about today. I’m excited about this weekend and as we go forward that excitement will grow.”

RE: I’m just curious about the book that you’re holding. Is that something new?
“No. I carried this book all last year. But too many things are said and too many things happen and I want to be in the moment, so when things happen I don’t want to forget about them because they’re too  important. And so I just want to make sure that I’m just keeping it written.”

RE: You guys had Marvel Smith in here a few days ago. Where do things stand there? Is that something you guys are going to pursue?
“Certainly it’s a great opportunity for us if all things work out. But I think we just have a waiting process and see how things work out.”

RE: Who is the starter right now at right tackle?
“Right tackle: Barry Sims and [Adam] Snyder. They’re competing right now. And we’ll just continue to weigh it as we go forward.”

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