Coach Singletary had his morning after press conference and I realized about two hours after the fact that I forgot to post an open thread for it. I've posted the transcript after the jump, and it includes a link to watch the video or listen to the audio.
Singletary spoke about a whole host of topics, but keyed in towards the end on the emotions with which he coaches. Since day one of the Coach Singletary era emotion his interactions have generally happened with his emotions right on his sleeve. I like the fact that he doesn't want to change who he is or be politically correct in the way he operates. However, the one area where he seems to struggle is in game management. Obviously some of that falls on his assistants, and particularly the coordinators, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with Mike Singletary.
We've discussed Alex Smith's maturation ad nauseum, but it seems like we don't spend nearly as much time discussing Coach Singletary's development as a head coach. This is his second full season, and third overall, as 49ers head coach. He's shown some level of flexibility at times, but other times it seems like it's going to be his way or the highway.
As the team moves forward, can Mike Singletary be a good or even elite head coach? There are times where he's an excellent head coach and there are times when nobody knows what's going on. The idea was that he would bring in a certain level of discipline, and yet we see moments where discipline is precisely what is lacking. Are we destined for a roller coaster ride with Coach Singletary?
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Tuesday Press Conference - September 21, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
"First of all, I was, and not only myself, but our team as well, we were very excited about the fans. It was great to see the fans get excited about the game, and you know, they were very effective in the loud noise that they made and that was very helpful and it was great to see. It gave our guys a lot of energy to feed off of so that was great. The other thing, I thought the coordinators did a good job. [Defensive coordinator] Greg [Manusky] and [offensive coordinator] Jimmy [Raye] did a nice job in the game, creating a flow that we wanted to have, that we needed to have against a very good football team. So that was very positive. I thought that [QB] Alex [Smith] played his best game since he's been here, and that was nice to see. I think our O-line gave him time, I think our running game got started. I really was proud of the O-line, that's the best I've seen them play since I've been here. [RB] Frank Gore did an excellent job overall running and catching the ball, so that was effective. Overall I was proud of the way our guys played; I was proud of the way they continued to fight back from the beginning of the game to the end of the game. One of the things that we said we wanted to do was we wanted to start fast and finish strong. We didn't finish strong enough, but they tried to do that. So, any questions?"
"I think right now, as far as [T/G] Chilo [Rachal] is concerned, when Chilo comes back he will be the starter. As far as [C Eric] Heitmann, I think we have to sit down and evaluate because he's been out a while and talk about the chemistry when he comes back."
On whether T/G Chilo Rachal will return to action this week:
"It's a day-to-day process, we'll see."
On the bad snap by C/G David Baas early on in the Saints game:
"You know what, I still don't know; just a communication issue. I'll talk about it when I see [C/G David] Baas later on today, but no more than a communication issue."
On his evaluation of C/G David Baas:
"He's done a good job. I mean he's taken ownership of that position and really continued to work with [QB] Alex [Smith] and, I mean, he's done well."
On whether his perception of QB Alex Smith is elevated after his performance in the Saints game:
"No. When I say a ‘game manager,' the thing that I've said all along, or I've tried to say, is, ‘I believe [QB] Alex [Smith] is a good quarterback.' As he continues to gain confidence in the system, as he continues to grow in the system, I think he's just going to continue to get better and better. So as far as the manager part, I think the most important thing he needs to do is just continue to get better, and that's really, that's all I see there."
On the pace of the play-calling versus the Seattle game:
"We just created a tempo in practice with the clock in practice, and that helped a lot."
On whether they used 40 seconds on the clock in practice instead of 45:
On whether he would like to see QB Alex Smith run the ball himself more:
"I would just, as I said before, as he continues to feel more comfortable in what he's doing - I think there are a number of things that [QB] Alex [Smith] has not shown yet that he will as he continues to progress. The comfort level that he's going to feel going forward. I think that he's only going to get better."
On whether he meant the offensive line had played the best he has seen since he has been on staff with the 49ers:
On whether QB Alex Smith stepped up at the right time during the Saints game:
On whether he was pleased with the breakdown of passes distributed between the wide receivers and running backs:
"Not exactly. Once again, that has to do with a continuation of the comfort level that [QB] Alex [Smith] has with the receivers and just a continued growth and relationship and trust. When you look at [TE] Vernon Davis, you know, he's thrown to Vernon a lot. He and Vernon have a great rapport. [RB] Frank Gore, same situation there. When you look at [WR] Josh Morgan, there's a trust level there, there's a relationship. I think [WR] Michael Crabtree that's continuing to get better, so it's just a matter of trust and consistency. I just think that they're going to continue to get more and more on the same page and continue to get better."
On whether he would like to get more balls to the wide receivers:
"The mission is to continue to get the ball to the right guy, to the open guy. I'm not trying to get it - if the guy's open, throw him the ball. That's really what it was."
On WR Michael Crabtree:
"He's a work in-progress. He's continuing to get better. He's a special talent. He's young; he missed both training camps, one for the holdout, one because of injury, but he's working hard to get on the same page. He's working his tail off and you know, at some point in time, he's going to be a tremendous weapon for us."
On offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye's performance in the Saints game:
"I thought it was good; I thought he did an outstanding job."
On why the two-point conversion play to TE Vernon Davis was the right call:
On TE Nate Byham's role:
"I think the thing is, when you look at a young man like him, he continues to work really hard and, you know, he's learning the system on the run and he's going to gain more playing time, simply because he's the guy that allows you more flexibility. He can play tight end, he can line up in the backfield. I mean there are a number of things that he can do, so when you have that kind of flexibility in a player it'll allow him more playing time."
On whether Byham is the best blocking tight end and his potential to become a fullback:
"I can't say that he's a better lead-blocker. I think [TE] Vernon [Davis] is the best blocker we have period; we just don't use him that way. But in terms of his role and being a guy that you can put in the flexibility of putting him in the backfield and allowing to create matchups. When you have a guy like that, you can have him go downfield, you can line him up in the backfield, you can line him up on the perimeter, it does give you - it gives you something special. And the more he does it the better he's going to get. So it just depends on timing his, we'll just see how it goes from there. You know [FB] Moran [Norris] is still doing a good job. Moran hammered it in there as well. I looked at the film and he hit the safety a couple times and the safety had to think twice about getting up, so those are good signs."
On how far they came as a team from week one to the Saints game:
"I think the guys took a big step last night. You know, it's one thing as a coach, you continue to talk about the things you talked about in training camp, you talked about after the first game and before the first game; but I think at some point in time the players get it. You can talk to them and say things, but there has to be some point in time when they get it and they take it and understand it, and I think last night that transpired."
On the team searching for a big win:
"I think in the game we had last night, sometimes when you have a game like that and guys realize that you have four turnovers in the game and you come to the end of the game and you still have a chance to win it, I think it creates a mindset. you begin to put two and two together. I just think this team is a young team and they're learning some very valuable things early on in the season, and I believe they will capitalize and pick up and it will serve us well going forward."
On the state of the special teams units:
"Well, we'll have to go through the week and continue to evaluate and before the Kansas City game, we'll have to make a decision depending on who is healthy and who's ready to go."
On his handling of exchanges with the media after the Week One game against the Seahawks:
"I would put it this way; in terms of reigning myself in, there was one interview that took place last week that was a little bit off the chart, one that I recall. Should have reigned myself in? Probably so. Sometimes when - you know what I'll leave that there, probably so."
On whether he can maintain the highs and lows of his emotional approach to the game:
"One thing that I have learned about this job is I have to be who I am. I have to be who I am and I'm not going to change because you, I'm not a politician; I'm not a tap dancer. I say things that I feel and I do have to do a better job at not letting the media bait me the way they did last week in one particular incident. I do have to do a better job at that and I have to be smarter in that situation. But other than that, the biggest thing that I've learned is that it is important to look at how you're wired, and you got to go with that until the day I die. I have to continue to learn wisdom in certain instances and learn to what to stand for and what not to get upset about. And last week was tremendous for me, as a matter of fact it was tremendous for our staff. So yes, I would agree with that."
On whether he has changed his policy on arguing with the officials, which he previously said he would stop doing:
"Yes. I haven't had a chance to tell you that. I told our players after the first game because after the first game I had several players and coaches say, ‘Hey coach are you okay? I mean are you alright? What's wrong? You're not yourself.' And during the game, particularly the first game, I was biting my tongue; I was wrestling with myself not to say this, not to say that. There were a couple of bad calls as there's going to be in a game, but I realize that I do have to be who I am. I think my players have grown, and my coaches, have grown to know me, and to want me to be who I am and, ‘Don't change on us. The person that you've been, we've grown to trust that person so just stay true to that.' And so the thing that I did say is, ‘I will do my best not to be on the field as I was last year a couple of times wanting to choke somebody. I will represent you well, but there are sometimes when there are things out there that I need to fight for or at least let them know.' And last night I thought I did a pretty decent job at that. There were things out there, just a couple of things; they never see me. I don't know what it is but they never see me when I'm trying to call a timeout. They never, and they always say, ‘Hey, just wave you hand, we're there!' We're working on that, but anyway, it's a work in progress."
On whether he can signal to a player to call a timeout:
"The play, if the players are in the huddle or however the situation is, if it were that easy, if it was as easy as you're saying it is, I would do that. Obviously it's not. So if I'm screaming from the sideline to try and get someone, you got four or five guys down there, somebody should be looking at the ref, knowing what the situation is on the clock, someone has to look back. So we'll just continue to work at it. I don't know if other coaches have has the same issues but I certainly have and we'll just continue to do what I've done. If I got to run on the field I'll run on the field, whatever I have to do, but we'll work it out."
On the possibility of an electronic method to relay a timeout to the referees:
"Maybe I can shock them or something."
On the coaching techniques he has implemented to reduce turnovers:
"Trust me, that is something that we're emphasizing. When you talk about the turnovers, you have to keep in mind the kind of turnovers that happen. When you get tipped balls, that's a tough thing. That's a tough thing to try and teach about. When we've had, we've had some situations here in the first two games where, you know, last night the one, the pass to [RB] Frank [Gore], that's a tough call. It's out in the flat and you have to throw the ball perfect. The tipped ball that, in the red zone, the defensive end that [T] Joe Staley's blocking the guy and he has the wherewithal and the balance to get his hands up and tip the ball anyway. Situations like that are very difficult to guard against. You can tell the quarterback to find a bigger window or whatever but he's trying to make a play. So those plays, that's tough, but the one where [TE] Delanie [Walker] had the fumble, he just has to do a better job. He's trying to get lose and he's letting the ball out and the guy got his hand on the ball, so we just have to continue to emphasize it and do a better job because I think guys understand that that's the one thing that's really nailing us right now."
On whether he is emotional right now in the press conference:
"Do you feel I'm emotional? I'm asking, do you feel I'm emotional right now? [Response that he's not showing it] That's a good thing; that's really is a good thing. You know what, let me say this; last week was a very good thing for me. Sometimes when you think you figure things out you don't know, but last week was really good for me and I think it was good for me in the sense that it happened early, the media and all of the stuff and all that was written; and the thing that I am going to do, I'm going to be just very, I'm going to be more analytical with you guys when I'm answering questions and just make sure that I'm going in the right direction and not leaving anything out there for guys to take and write another story about. So I just want to make sure that if you guys ask a question then I'm going to try to stay on that question. So if you're feeling something a little different maybe that's it."
On whether his players thrive off his intensity:
"You know, I don't, I don't really know, I just, I feel like this. As a leader, I think people know that, whoever it is, I think people know that if I say something that's what I mean. Maybe not a lot of people do in this day and time, and if I tell them something, nine times out of 10 they may not want to hear it but it's true, it's real. And I'm finding that that's very unique in this day and time. I think a lot of people today, particularly a lot of coaches, try to be more politically correct and that's not me. But I'm trying to get better at saying the right thing and saying the right thing at the right time with the right tone. That may not come in my lifetime but I'm working on it."
On whether he has multiple ways to react to different situations:
"You know, let me say this; I think as a coach, particularly the head coach - and you asked a question very early on about, ‘Last week you were tense' or whatever - and as I recall, one situation and that was the one that was highlighted. I thought I did pretty decent with some of the other stuff, but the one interview that I had that was highlighted over and over that everyone saw, to me it was unfortunate but, you know, that's okay. That is who I am in different situations. But as far as a coach having to do different things, show different faces or whatever, I'm just going to continue to work at it. It's a work in-progress for me, but I'm not going to spend so much time trying be somebody else to the media when I have a football team to run."
On how he specifically deals with players in the locker room and if it differs from time to time:
"You know, once again you go back to the parenting. It's like you have kids. There are certain guys that, for them, they need you to grab them and shake them. There are other guys, all they want you to do is look at them and they know. Some guys just have a hard week, and as the coach it's the most important thing for me to know, in all of my players, is where they are. That's my most important job, so that when something is happening on the field and something is happening in the game it is vitally important that I know their body language and I know them so well that I can spot it. And that gives me the opportunity to say whatever it is that I need to say, and have it be effective rather than machine-gunning all of them at one time or pampering at any given time. But I think the most important thing is you have to be honest, and I am brutally honest with my players."
On whether he has reached that stage with WR Michael Crabtree to where he can reach him:
"I think so."