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49ers 17 - Rams 16: Mustache Monday

Maiocco and Barrows both mentioned the mustache growth developing in the 49ers lockerroom.  The team will be rocking throwback unis on Sunday against the Redskins and some of the players have decided to roll with throwback staches.  I bet they were inspired in part by Greg Manusky who was sporting one heck of a fu manchu yesterday.

Anyways, I bring that because Shaun Hill discussed that among many other things:

"It’s for the throwback game. It’s throwback week. Every day we go to meetings and we go by these beautiful pictures and we admire these guys’ moustaches on the wall. So, as part of our throwback game a lot of us have been working on our moustaches. So today is Moustache Monday. Most people are taking part obviously; is a lot easier after a win. It goes over a little better."

Apparently the best mustache belongs to Eric Heitmann, although Nedney's supposedly looks solid as well (no word on if Singletary will sport his Super Bowl Shuffle stache).  As for yesterday's game, Hill had plenty to say.  Mike Singletary's press conference after the jump.

RE: Just getting back to the game, when Mike Singletary gathered everybody together and said, ‘It’s your deal, you go talk to these guys,’ what did you say?

"Are you talking about at halftime, or are you talking about on the sideline?"

RE: Sideline.
"Sidelines I just kind of went through – it wasn’t a bring everybody up type of thing. I just went through and just talked to everybody, ‘Hey. We’re going to be fine. Just keep with it.’ They were all saying the same thing. There was nobody who wavered at all at the way – I guess, the hardships we were facing. They knew that there were plays to be made out there, and we could do it. So, everybody stuck with it."

RE: You talked about how there were some bizarre things going on out there. What were some of those things that were a little strange that were happening?
"Just little, itty-bitty things that kind of happened that throw off timing or can’t follow through. Just stuff like that, just little, itty-bitty things that, really, just don’t know or notice and most of the time doesn’t happen. But sometimes, it just – and sometimes it just piles on. I don’t know. I was sitting there – before I do these, before I speak to the media, I always try to think about what I’m going to say. I think I told you, I said, ‘I have no idea what I’m going to say to you.’ Finally, last night, when we got home, I started thinking about it. I was like, ‘God, this is a lot like bass fishing.’ You know? You go out there and you think it’s going to be a perfect day, and you’re out there and you’re throwing what you think is right. And you know this is supposed to be catching them, but this is not catching them, you know. And you’re out there for three or four hours and you haven’t caught a fish, and then all of a sudden the big one hits. But you just stick with it. You know what you’re doing is right. You just stick with it. You know what you’re doing is right. You just keep going and all of a sudden the big one hits. That’s kind of how that game went. Just as far as analogies go, that was the best one I could come up with."

RE: As far as analogies go, how did the two touchdowns equate – what pound bass would that be?
"The first one would have been a nice – are we talking Missouri or California standards, because California …"

RE: Missouri:
"California standards, your guys’ bass get a lot bigger than ours do. So, I’d say first one was probably a nice four-pound bass. The last one was a whopper. The last one was one you put on the wall. Eight pound in Missouri, 11 out here."

RE: What did your dad have to say to you after the game?
"It was kind of hard for anybody to speak after the game. They were all so frozen because I had so many people they had to stay outside. We couldn’t get them all in. So, I went out and they had kind of been waiting out there for a little bit. And I had so many people I didn’t get a chance to talk to me much, but he said he was proud of me and he loved me and told him to drive safe. So I got to speak with everybody for a brief moment."

RE: The first thing Coach Singletary did today when he saw us was break into a little smile. You seemed like you’re really full of exuberance…
"It’s the mustache. Last night was really, really hard because I’m really bad about dwelling on the mistakes, especially the night of and the next day. It really didn’t … our opponent and we lost. This one, there are some people that might say we shouldn’t have won the game. But, you know what? We did. The only stat that matters is the score at the end of the game. And we won that stat. So, I woke up very happy about that, and to walk into work today and see all these glorious mustaches, I mean that just brightens your day. Now, see, you’ve got one of the best ones around too."

RE: When you told Mike Singletary, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t take me out,’ did you know he was going to listen to you?
"No.  But, I was going to try my dangdest to make sure he did. Just kind of the same thing, I just really felt like, we’re fine. The defense was keeping us in the game. All we had to do was just stay the course. This thing’s got to get turned around at some time when all you can do is keep playing. Just glad that he believed in me enough to keep me in the game."

RE: He talked about what he saw in your eyes when he asked you. Did you see something in his eyes when he responded to you?
"You guys know his eyes. I think he’s already mentioned that he was ready to ring my neck, so you guys know the type of eyes I was getting."

RE: Did it surprise you at all that he agreed with you?
"I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it. I know kind of when I talked to him afterwards, he was like, ‘When I came and told you that, if you would have just been like, ‘Alright’’ and went and sat on the bench, then he’d had known he was making the right decision. But, when is stood up for myself, I said, ‘No. You don’t want to do this. We’re OK.’ That just kind of persuaded him in the other way. Like, ‘You know what? Give him a chance.’ I’m glad he did."

RE: When did he tell you that – that standing up for yourself was one of the reasons he did keep you in?
"It’s kind of the same way he’s just talked to you guys about it after the game. Right? Isn’t that kind of the same way he told you guys? But he just came back on the flight, and we were just talking about it a little bit."

RE: Is that something you’re trained to do as a quarterback, or is that something that you might not have done…
"I might be a little stubborn. I might be. I don’t know if that’s – I don’t think that’s in the training quarterback handbook, but I don’t know. I really don’t know where it comes from, or anything like that. But I just know that as long as there’s time on the clock, I want to be on the field. If there’s a chance to win, I want that opportunity to be out there. So, that’s all I was just trying to portray to him. The team was just unbelievably supportive. They knew I was going through some hard times out there and some hard times on the sidelines even. They were so supportive. I was just very fortunate."

After the jump, check out the rest of Shaun Hill's press conference and also, see what Mike Singletary had to say about the game...

RE: Who are some of the individuals that came up to you and tried to lift your spirits?

"Well, J.T. O’Sullivan and Jamie Martin did. They we’re great and all the offensive linemen, some of the receivers, shoot some of the defensive guys, kickers, it was unreal. Guys just to come by and suddenly say something or give me a pat, just saying, ‘You’ll be fine. We are sticking with you. We are behind you.’ All that, it was great."

RE: This was midway through the fourth quarter?
"This was probably more in the third."

RE: It was after that first pick in the third right, when he benched you for 20 seconds?
"Yeah, yeah. Give or take."

RE: Was that an animated thing? Could the rest of your teammates sense or hear that there was something…
"I’m sure there were some that were around. I imagine there were some that were around."

RE: Have you ever seen him that mad at you?
"You know…I don’t know. It’s kind of a more of a disappointed thing because it’s not a yelling, barking, mad at you type of thing. It’s more of a disappointed with what you are doing right now type of thing and I think every time I’ve turned the ball over I’ve gotten that."

RE: So how do you get ring your neck out of disappointed because that seems like a pretty big gap?
"Well, he was the one that said he was, after the game, he said he was ready to ring my neck and I think he told you guys the same thing."

RE: He said choke.
"Choke? Okay."

RE: He was that delicate. He wasn’t going to break your neck, he was just going to cut off oxygen.
"It would have been a Latrell Spreewell type of thing."

RE: Have you ever seen the NFL Highlights of the game where George Seifert pulled Steve Young out of a game?

RE: It was a Super Bowl season, but it was a lost cause against Philadelphia. The game was well out of hand but Seifert pulled him out for his own safety but he was…
"Pretty upset about it."

RE: He never really swore much, but ….[other beat writer] wasn’t a Mormon that day. [Everyone] No.
"Yeah, I could imagine."

RE: George didn’t even look at him, he just kind of…
"I hadn’t seen that."

RE: It shows up every once in awhile.
"Give him piece of mind, huh?"

RE: Yep. It’s probably on YouTube somewhere.
"YouTube is a great thing, isn’t it?"

RE: Do you get pretty excited, or over excited or pretty geeked up, does the ball tend to leave your hand a little too early?
"I don’t know, is there an example or anything."

RE: Oh, I’m thinking of, I don’t know what you saw in the second interception, when they picked the ball and then there was the deep out to Isaac Bruce that was a little ahead…
"I don’t know if those were examples of that or what, but like I said, I know that I did feel more geeked up for this because usually I’m a very mellow person and I kind of approach the game, and I was trying to get myself in that frame of mind for this one too, but for some reason, that elevated excitement stayed I guess, I know that I do play much better whenever I’m like this. Yeah, maybe that did have something to do with some things."

RE: Was it family in the stands, anything like that?
"I don’t know what it was. I mean since junior college, I’ve played one game in Kansas City in a preseason game and you know I played in this one. Other than that, I’ve never got to play in college near my hometown at all. I was out on the east coast for college and in my professional career and never played in Minnesota and obviously, been out here, so that was kind of the first time I was playing in front of a lot of my friends and family because I’ve had family come to games. There was people down in Dallas and things, but for some reason this one I was kind of a little more amped, a little more excited."

RE: Were you able to get together with people Saturday night?
"Saturday afternoon, people coming into town, I was able to see people a little bit. They all know how I kind of, how I am on Saturdays so I got out of there, early, but I got to see everybody enough, that I hadn’t seen in a very long time."

RE: Looking at things, how did things look when you were going back on the plane looking at the film?
“Things looked like I thought they were looking when I was standing there on the sidelines. Offensively, I just thought there were times when we had drives going, things were going pretty well and then something would happen. There would be a turnover, whether it be an interception, whether it would be a fumble and on defense we were fighting for the most part, really playing hard, hustling, trying to do the things that we strive to do and defensively we did that most of the game. There was a play here, a play there that we’d give up, but it was just one of those things. You look at special teams. Special teams, they were flying around, trying to get everything that we could. I thought St. Louis did a great job of really kicking off, pinning us in one corner or another, but it was just, you saw a lot of energy. You just saw a team that seemed like we just couldn’t get out of our own way at the beginning, so that’s what I saw.”

RE: Just going back to the conversation that we saw with Shaun [Hill]. It seemed to me, from reading the quotes, it was more of what you saw in him than what he said.

RE: That sort of convinced you and from your athletic background, what did you see?
“It’s hard to explain. It’s just that look. It’s just the body language and you’re right, it’s not so much what he said, it was how he said it and the mannerism in which it was conveyed and when I made the decision after that third interception, ‘You know what I think you need to sit down a bit, we are going to move forward here, just look at the game and get your composure back, I’ll come back to you,’ and he just said, ‘Hey coach, don’t do that. Don’t do that, I can get this done.”

RE: Now when you say, ‘I’ll come back to you.’ Does that mean you would have come back to him in that game?

RE: And put him back in?

RE: Mike, what did he show you in that fourth quarter, Shaun Hill?
“Once again, he didn’t show me anything that I didn’t feel was there. I was not surprised one bit. I was surprised at the beginning, the three interceptions and not all of that was Shaun, but the fact that they’re there. The thing that we talked about all week, so with him doing what he did in the fourth quarter coming back and showing the leadership, keeping the guys focused and being able to create those plays, that’s the guy that I always believe that he is.”

RE: I think you gathered the offense together right after you decided to keep Shaun [Hill] in the game and pointed to him. Could you tell us what you said to him and why specifically you pointed to Shaun?
“Well, basically, I just wanted Shaun, I let them know how I felt about what had been going on so far and then pointed to Shaun and said, ‘Hey, you take it. You tell them what you need. You tell them what you expect and let’s get this thing together and let’s go.”

RE: What did you think was on your mind?
“I’m sorry?”

RE: What did you think was going on? Did you have an idea of what was going on in your mind?
“Sometimes when you get in a situation, you’re just not playing well, you just aren’t playing in sync and as a coach, you can be on the sideline but you can’t feel it and I think you have to be in that huddle to see it and feel it and once you are on that sideline, no one can convey it better than the quarterback, no one can. So I said what I had to say and got the heck out of the way and let him take it and let him direct them, the only way the quarterback can do it and let it take place.”

RE: Do you respect him more because he said, ‘Keep me in here,’ than if he had just listened to you and said, ‘Okay, I had a bad day…’
“Body language tells you a lot and I don’t really, it’s not so much, it really doesn’t matter what a guy says, I mean, everything is in a guy’s eyes. Everything is in his posture when he comes off the sidelines and when you look at a player, whether it’s a corner that just got beat for a touchdown, he comes off and he’s grabbing his ham[string], well is his ham[string] hurt or is his heart hurt? Is his confidence hurt? So when I looked at him and he said what he said, everything was there that said, ‘I really can get this done. You can trust me to go back out there and get this done.’ And that is what the body language said and I said, ‘You know what, okay, fine, you got it,’ and I told Coach Martz he’s going back in and let’s go with it.”

RE: Was that third interception Shaun’s error, or was the receiver running the wrong…?
“It was more the receiver.”

RE: You’ve played pro football, and you know that interim coaches usually don’t have great records. Did you think this team would have a winning record with you, and No. 2, did you think that was possible?

RE: Why?
“In all honesty, and just being very honest, I expected us to be in the playoffs.”

RE: Really?
“I really did. And I’m disappointed that we’re not. But, I expected us, when I took this job, I expected us to be in the playoffs. That’s what I expected.”

RE: Why?
“Because I felt we could.”

RE: Did you tell the team that?

RE: How hard is it not to look back, given the way Arizona has collapsed, how hard is it to look back and think …
“I don’t look back. I don’t look back. I don’t look back and [say], ‘Man, if we had done this.’ You may say it, but Arizona, they’re in. They deserve it. I’m not going to be a cheap shot and go back and [say], ‘Man, we should have…’ No. It’s not. We’re note. We didn’t. We had an opportunity, it didn’t happen. Let it go. We have got to work forward. We’ve got this game Sunday. Let’s get ready to play that game, and then we go from there.”

RE: Looking back on the game, you were dominated in a lot of areas. Did you feel like you were stealing something?
“There are a couple of ways to look at that. We’ve certainly been on the other end of that thing, where you get the last play of the game and you’re kind of looking at each other. You can say all the things you want to say, but the longer I’m in this game, the more I understand: You win the game, you deserve. You’re going to get some of those games. Do you feel like you leave town and you feel bad for that team? Yeah, you do because they played their hearts out. It’s tough for a team to get the heart and the courage to believe again because we’ve been there, and try and fight, and well, maybe it won’t happen again. Well it happened to them last week, and it happened again yesterday. I feel for them, but at the same time, everybody has to go through that process. We’ve certainly been there long enough.”

RE: You get asked a lot of questions about your quarterback and your offense, but your defense has put up a series of really good performances over the last six weeks. What progress do you see on defense? What specific areas have improved since you took over?
“First of all, it starts with the staff. Greg [Manusky] and Johnnie Lynn, V.J.[Vance Joseph], Jason [Tarver]. I just think those guys are working their tails off to really try and put our defense, looking at the talent level that we have, the personnel, put our defense – give them the best chance to win and get out there on the field. The walkthroughs that we have, we’re still not where we want to be, but the best thing that we’re doing right now is we’re playing our tails off. We’re just flying, we’re hustling and everybody’s a part of it. Yeah, we’re still making mistakes that we’ve got to correct. Yeah, there are some missed tackles here and there that we’ve got to do a better job of. To have a defense, to go out there, particularly in the past four or five games and to play the way they played, that’s what you want. That gives you a lot of the positive things that you need to see going forward.”

RE: There are a couple guys in particular that seem to be playing their tails off, Aubrayo Franklin in particular….
“Aubrayo [Franklin], yes. Aubrayo is doing a great job week-in and week-out, particularly in the last five games. He’s really playing his tail off. And you look at Manny Lawson gaining confidence back in that knee. He’s playing well. Pat [Patrick Willis] has been pretty consistent. And Takeo [Spikes]. Justin [Smith], he jumps out at you when you’re looking at the film. So, I’m really excited about what these guys are doing. I looked at Nate Clements yesterday, and he probably played the cleanest game that he’s played, just doing his job and making plays and making things happen. So, very pleased with what these guys are doing. So, that’s very exciting to see.”

RE: What about Michael Lewis yesterday?
“Mike [Lewis] had a monstrous game. When you look at Mike, and the way he played – particularly after he responded to that touchdown, the three guys there and not one of them made a play on that ball. Well, Mike came back and it looked like he took it personal. He made a lot of plays after that, and just played with, seemed like, some added intensity, but he really played well. Made a lot of plays.”

RE: What did happen on that touchdown play?
“I think it was a miscommunication about, either Mike’s going to be on the top of that play or he’s going to be underneath. And I think by the alignment at the very beginning of that play, the assumption was, maybe, he was going to be underneath. Somehow he got caught up. It just ended up not being executed the way it was supposed to, and when that happens on the back-end, nine times out of 10 that’s going to be a touchdown, and it was.”

RE: It seemed like the three touch downs that you allowed through the air have all been those types of situations. Does that give you more confidence that hey, they’re just some breaks here or does it give you less that we should have these?
“Well, it’s both.  Number one it’s guys, we just have to execute. We want flawless execution and that starts with communication. What we do out here in practice is what we’re going to do out here in the game and we can’t do something different in the game that we’ve been doing all week in practice. First of all, it gets you a little upset, why do we get in that situation to begin with? And then second of all, yes it does give us a lot of confidence because you know it’s going to get cleaned up going forward. That’s how I see that situation.”

RE: According to the information handed out by your public relations staff you’re giving the team Thursday off?

RE: Why did you decide to do that?
“Why? It’s Christmas.”

RE: But I know that that’s something some teams don’t do.
“I don’t know what other teams do. I feel like I’m dealing with our kids when I tell them this is what we’re going to do and they tell me well everybody else doesn’t do this or they don’t do that. Well, we don’t live with them. We’re not responsible for them. We’re just responsible for you guys. And so as I look at our team I know that we’re going to accomplish what we need to accomplish and Christmas to me, these guys they busted their tail and yeah we could come in and have a walkthrough, but I’m not going to do that. You take that day, you enjoy that day and you make the most of it. Enjoy your family and comeback Friday knowing that we’ve got to work and get after it with the mindset in the right place and let’s go.”

RE: Would you have done that if you lost yesterday?
“Yes, it was already set.”

RE: Did those Bears teams in Chicago take Christmas day off?
“We were erratic. It depended on what Coach [Mike] Ditka was thinking, what he was feeling, what he was doing, what he had going on, but I think for us and where we are and sometimes when you look at the way that these guys have been pushing, there’s an emotional investment for these guys and I couldn’t be prouder of them than the way they’ve been responding. Some of the ways that they practice, the level of excellence that we’re looking for in practice and they’re pushing themselves and then the way they played so you just kind of look at it and say ‘Hey, you know what, I’m going to give these guys Christmas off. Go enjoy your families and enjoy that day.’”

RE: You mentioned the special teams and the directional kicking. Would you like to see [Allen] Rossum break it back a little bit instead of constantly [looking] for that sideline?
“He could break it back, but nine times out of 10 bad things happen when you break it back because you don’t have anybody blocking over there. Wherever that ball is in that directional kicking…I’m standing there, I’m looking at them and…‘Why don’t you break it back?’ But I also know what happens when you do that. You take what you can get, get out of bounds and we’ll go from there. We’re just getting him back from being healthy again so we’ll take our chances and just go ahead and follow your blocking, be smart about it and let’s go.”

RE: So you had no quarrels with him?
“No. [I] did not.”

RE: How much do you care about getting a 1,000 yards for Frank Gore whether he plays or not? He’s 22 yards shy.
“As a coach, yeah I’d like to see him get it but at the same time it depends on how he feels about it. Hopefully he’s healthy enough to go and he can get it, but if he can come back next year and get 2,000 [yards] that’s even better. So, I’m good with that depending on where he’s at.”

RE: You’ve mentioned Ahmad Brooks; I know he’s had the back injury. If he’s healthy enough to go could he get some exposure?
“Who is this again?”

RE: Ahmad Brooks.
“I don’t know. If he’s healthy enough yes, I would love to see him play and I’m like , ‘Get this black cloud out from over you.’ It seems like every time I get a chance to get him in there something happens. So, hopefully if he is healthy, I’d love to see him rush the quarterback a couple of times and see what he has. We’ll fight for that.”

RE: Isaac Bruce is looking like a young guy out there. How much football do you think he has left in him?
“I don’t know. I’ll tell you what it is pretty cool to see a veteran guy like that move and make the plays the way he’s making them right now and doing the job that he’s doing and not to mention the effect that he has on our locker room and our young players. That’s really neat to see.”