After watching today's Mike Singletary press conference, it really has become fascinating how obsessed we (you, me, the media) are with the Alex Smith saga. I say that because in watching the press conference, virtually every question was in someway related to Alex Smith. The only question I can recall not specifically about Alex Smith was the question about Frank Gore. Even the Mike Johnson question was about opening the playbook up for Alex Smith.
I've posted the transcript from Mike Singletary's press conference after the jump and it really is amazing that there was not a single question about the defense's performance. Justin Smith made some plays but there were too many breakdowns on defense that really hurt the 49ers. I suppose we'll get some of those questions at Coach Singletary's midweek press conference and for DC Greg Manusky later this week. However, it's really a sight to see everybody focusing in on one single issue so intently.
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Monday Press Conference - October 11, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
On whether has decided what he will do with his quarterback situation this week:
"It will be [QB] Alex Smith."
On what convinced him to give Smith another shot:
"By the way he responded in the game."
On whether he made that decision when he met with Smith after the game:
On whether he was bothered by the fumble or whether there were other things that Smith did that led him to consider taking him out of the game:
"I think it was just the consistency level. I mean, think he really is, he plays well, most of the game. He plays well as I look at him, and then maybe two or three times there's inconsistency and there's no reason for it. I think when he's pressing, and when he starts pressing a little bit too much, then that's when, that's when bad things happen. And that's something that he has to obviously get better at."
On whether Singletary made the decision to keep Smith in the game or Smith decided to go in on his own:
"I made that move."
On why QB David Carr still went onto the field:
"Because I had not talked to David Carr yet. I had not talked to him after I told him he was going in."
On his confidence level with QBs David Carr and Troy Smith:
"Right now to me, as far as confidence level, when I look at David Carr, I think he could obviously go in and do a good job. But I believe Alex [Smith] is the best quarterback on this team."
On whether last night's game was a step forward or a step backward for Smith:
"We'll see next week."
On whether Smith was meeting with him after the game:
"Yes he was."
On whether the meeting was to repair their relationship after words were exchanged on the sidelines:
"No, no, no. There was no repairing to be done. What we talked about on the sidelines, that was done. He understood it. As far as coming into the office, there were just some things that we needed to talk about. In terms of his role on this team, and doing the things that he has to do in order for us to come out of this slump that we're in."
On whether he wants to see more of an attitude from Smith on the field:
"No. I just want to see, I want to see Alex give himself a chance to be a good quarterback. And I just think that he does, he does a good job, and then he starts pressing and as I said before, when that happens, bad things happen. We just have to find a way to alleviate some of the other things and then I think he gives himself a chance to be a good quarterback."
On whether the threat of being benched would make Smith press more:
"Well, he has the opportunity to go in the game. When you go back in the game you have the opportunity, to me, to really show what you're made of. I think when he went back in the game, I don't think he pressed. I think he really played more true to who he is. I think he threw the ball clean, I think he was - I think after the conversation that we had on the sideline, he forgot about all the other stuff and just went out and played quarterback, just went out and played football."
On whether that was a ‘nothing to lose' attitude:
On whether he will consider making a change at quarterback based on Smith's performance each week:
"I think from this point on you have to do what's best for the football team. I think that as I continue to watch him, as the staff continues to watch him, I think he knows where we are. It's just a matter of, we're all being evaluated right now at 0-5, and it's just a matter of - he knows what he has to do, and we just have to get there."
On whether QB David Carr will get more snaps in practice:
"No. I think just as Alex did last year when he came in for Shaun Hill, Alex was not getting any reps. That's the thing with the next quarterback, he has to be ready. I just feel that the most important thing for us is continue to help Alex be the best quarterback that he can be, and in order to do that, he needs to get the snaps."
On whether QBs Troy Smith or Nate Davis could possibly be the number two quarterback:
"You know what, right now, in all honesty, I don't really want to get into who might be the next quarterback. I think I want to exhaust everything with Alex Smith. And the other guys continue to compete in practice whenever they have a chance to get in on the show team, or whatever it might be. As coaches, as best we can, we have to look at them as we have the opportunity."
On making a quarterback switch twice in his career (JT O'Sullivan to Shaun Hill and Shaun Hill to Alex Smith) and that decision lasting throughout the rest of the season, and whether that would be the case if he were to make a quarterback switch this season:
"I think the biggest thing yesterday is, is really, when I make a decision, I just want to make sure it's the right decision. And that's why I needed to make sure I knew exactly where Alex was, before I made that decision. I told David Carr, go ahead and warm up, get ready to go, and as I began to have words with Alex, decided that it would be better to stay with him."
On whether any of the players expressed support for Smith to Singletary:
"There were a number of players that really support Alex, that really stand behind him. They feel that he has the stuff that it takes to be a good quarterback. I guess for them, they do believe in him, they do support him, they do stand behind him."
On whether he believes that Smith has ‘the stuff:'
"Well, I sent him back out there."
On whether he is wavering or he is convinced that Smith has ‘the stuff:'
"I'll put it this way. I think when I look at Alex, obviously to me I am convinced that there is something there, that I feel that he could be a good quarterback. But it's up to him, at some point in time you always a work in progress, but at some point in time you have to grab hold of it, and really come to that point where you - you know and everybody else around you, that this guy has arrived. This guy can play at the NFL position quarterback, and do a good job, and lead a team to the playoffs, help a team win a division. I do believe that Alex Smith has all of the tools, all of the things that he needs to be that guy. I just need to see all of it."
On Team Owner Jed York's to comments to ESPN that the 49ers would win the NFC West:
"I think it's great. I think that's what we're doing. That's why we do what we do. We started the season, that was our goal. That was our first goal, to win the division, to get in the playoffs, and have a chance to play for the big one. That is still our goal. Unfortunately, we're having to deal with these things very early on that could kill most teams, but it will not kill our team. It will only make us stronger. We just have to continue to work at it. I think I said this before, we're not - we're not in any shape or form, we're not standing back trying to wonder about this or that or whatever. It's just a matter of knowing that we have what we need. It's just a matter of not continuing to kill ourselves to get there."
On whether he is saying that the starting quarterback position will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis:
"What I'm saying is that, not only the quarterback, all of us. You know, we're at a place right now and this is the NFL. We're all men; we know what this game is about. There is a standard that we're fighting to play at. And we're not at that standard. We have to continue to press, we have to continue to push, kick, scratch, everything else, to get there. So, on a week-to-week basis, we have to continue to do everything that we can to make sure that the best players are on the field."
On whether RB Frank Gore will see less playing time after two fumbles in the game:
"You know what, it's unfortunate for someone who has the heart of [RB] Frank Gore to fumble last night. That's something that Frank has really prided himself on since last year; the Seattle game. No, I don't think it will affect his playing time. You know, maybe, maybe he was tired, maybe, I don't know. But we just have to continue to work at it. We have to continue to work on ball control. You know, unfortunately that showed up last night and very uncharacteristic of Frank."
On whether any players specifically voiced their support to Singletary for Smith during the game, after the game or today:
"During the conversation that I had with him there [on the sidelines] were several players that came over. You know, ‘Coach he's going to be okay, he's ready, he's good.' So yes, during the game, you know, after the game. I just think that the guys do believe in him. To me that's really the bottom line. The guys do believe in him."
On whether he is worried about QB Alex Smith's confidence after being booed, turnovers, and almost being taken out of the game:
"No, not after the conversation we had last night. I think if anything, during the game, it was something that needed to happen. I think it was something that his teammates needed to see. I think it's something that had to happen at some point in time. I think he responded positively. I think, you know, his teammates on the sideline were very excited for what he was able to do after that conversation on the sideline."
On whether he feels that he put ‘all his eggs in one basket' with Smith:
"I think this; I think sometimes in life you have to make choices. I'm not afraid to make choices and I'm not afraid of the consequences that come along with those choices. But one thing that you have in a [QB] David Carr or in a [QB] Troy Smith, you have guys that can do it. It's just that the guy I felt was best for the job was Alex Smith. I'm not about jumping on a wagon and jumping off a wagon; I'm not like that. I feel that I'm going to support him until it comes to that place where he shows me that he is not that guy, that he can't do it. And he has not shown me that yet."
On whether he wishes he had issued his challenge and conversation with Smith prior to the fifth game of the season:
"Not really. I think that's the inconsistency part. You know, I think in the New Orleans game I thought he played the best game I've seen him play since he's been here. Obviously, we've had a couple of games since then, but I felt that's where the inconsistency comes in. I know that I've seen him play well, I've seen him respond to challenges. And it just so happens that tonight was a different one."
On whether Smith throwing up-field was a play-calling change or Smith gaining the confidence to not hesitate to throw up-field:
"I think it's a combination. I think it was the timing in the game, you know, you had to go downfield more. We're trying to win the game, we're trying to make things happen, we're trying to hit guys up-field. So I think it was a combination of the two things."
On Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson's scheme:
"I think [offensive coordinator] Mike [Johnson] was trying to follow through with what we had talked about during the week. This is not a game that we wanted to go in and just throw the ball all over the place. We wanted to try and formulate a balance, and as the game got going, you know, there were a couple of things that were there, as we thought they would be, but for one reason or another it did not happen. But I think as we go forward, Mike is still getting situated and still getting his feet underneath him as well. So I'm sure that he's learning too. So hopefully going forward there will be a better mix."
On whether he is referring to the run game as being one of those things that were there:
On how he evaluates the team away from the quarterback position:
"I just think that, you know, you're right. There are a number of things when you're 0-5. It's kind of like the hitting yardage or whatever else. I just think that we have to do everything better. We have to finish. All of those things, you talk about detail. Staying on our blocks. Making sure that even on the defensive side of the ball, that we're executing the way that we need to. I just think that the one thing that these guys continue to do, that's impressive to me, is they continue to fight and they continue to go out and do everything that they can to win football games. Sometimes a little too hard, and you overdo it in certain places, but I am convinced that we're going to get where we need to go. We just have to keep working at it."