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49ers-Saints: Drew Brees and the logic of Mike Singletary

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Over this past week we've had all sorts of discussion about the communication issues and Mike Singletary's response to the Yahoo article detailing various supposed problems. Whatever your thoughts are on the Yahoo article, Coach Singletary has certainly grown frustrated by it. We've all heard about his KPIX interview but now we've got another comment that has developed into a small firestorm.

During the interview with Dennis O'Donnell, they had the following exchange:

O'Donnell: OK, let's talk about trying to stop Drew Brees.
Singletary: We will not try to stop Drew Brees. We will stop Drew Brees. Next question.
O'Donnell: OK. How about trying to move the ball against the New Orleans defense.
Singletary: We will not try to move the ball against New Orleans' defense. We will move the ball and we will score.

Some folks over Canal Street Chronicles were calling it bulletin board material and yesterday Coach Singletary was asked about the comments in his post-practice media session (transcript after the jump):

On whether he is standing by his guarantee to stop Saints QB Drew Brees:

"I didn't say anything about a guarantee, okay? I just said we would stop him."

On how he defines stopping Brees:

"You know what, I really don't want to get into that. We're going to play the game, okay? It's just one of those things that I want you to understand that as a coach, as a player, or however you look at it, I'm certainly not going to go into the game thinking we're not going to stop him. If that's the case, I need to stay at home. So he knows that we're going to come out there and try to stop him. So what does that mean? We're going to get our game plan together and do the very best job that we can of going out there and stopping Drew Brees and that offense. And I don't know any other way to put it."

While Singletary obviously carries his emotions on his sleeve, I really have no problem with his declaration about stopping the Saints on defense and moving the ball on offense. Like he said, if the team goes in thinking they won't stop Brees, what's the point of showing up? If you don't think you're going to execute in a certain manner, well then you probably aren't going to be successful.

Of course, he'll also look silly if the team gets whipped on Monday, but I don't get the sense that Singletary really cares about that. However, while the 49ers might fall on their faces on Monday night, I'd rather they go in with some level of confidence. While talent and execution are key components for success, having some level of confidence is essential. Confidence won't take you all the way but it certainly helps. And given the 49ers performance last week against the Seahawks, rebuilding the team's confidence seems to be sufficiently important this week.

There's been a fairly ridiculous amount of discussion on this subject, but given Singletary's comments yesterday in his media session, I figure this is a good way to wrap up the discussion before tomorrow night's game.

Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post-Practice - September 18, 2010
San Francisco 49ers 

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening statement:

"Before I get started, the injuries. We have (C Eric) Heitmann, still week-to-week; (WR) Kyle Williams, still week-to-week; (WR) Ted Ginn, day-to-day; (G) Chilo (Rachal), day-to-day; (CB) William James, week-to-week."

On what he will do at right guard if G Chilo Rachal can't go:

"We'll just have - we just have to think about it. Right now it could be (T/G Adam) Snyder, it could be (T Barry) Sims, we just have to look at it real close."

On CB Phillip Adams in practice today:

"He did okay. But we'll figure it out if something happens where he can't go or it doesn't quite heal correctly, then we'll look at (WR Dominique) Zeigler, (TE) Delanie (Walker) maybe. We'll figure it out."

On how difficult it is to deal with offensive line issues when he's not sure who will be in the game:

"I think right now its okay. I think the guys are familiar with each other, they understand the offense and it's not about, ‘oh boy, here we go again, now we have to make another change.' You know what, you get in there and you do your job. We'll be fine."

On going into Monday night facing the New Orleans offense:

"I feel like, you know what, let me ask you again, let me ask you would you restate that? I want to make sure I understand exactly what you're saying."

On how the defense is preparing during practice this week to face the New Orleans offense:

"Well, first thing I would say is, I don't think we necessarily played to our capabilities last week. So just understand this. As much as I respect their offense and what they've been able to do, I'm very excited about our ability to do things on defense as well. I think there's some things on defense that they don't want to overlook. As far as us offensively, I feel that we're going to continue to take steps to get better. And as far as what they did the first week, Thursday night or whatever, we're just going to get out there and be prepared to play a good football team."

On whether he is standing by his guarantee to stop Saints QB Drew Brees:

"I didn't say anything about a guarantee, okay? I just said we would stop him."

On how he defines stopping Brees:

"You know what, I really don't want to get into that. We're going to play the game, okay? It's just one of those things that I want you to understand that as a coach, as a player, or however you look at it, I'm certainly not going to go into the game thinking we're not going to stop him. If that's the case, I need to stay at home. So he knows that we're going to come out there and try to stop him. So what does that mean? We're going to get our game plan together and do the very best job that we can of going out there and stopping Drew Brees and that offense. And I don't know any other way to put it."

On how the perceived underdog role has affected the team:

"I don't look at us as an underdog, ever. And you still have to play the game. So, I don't really think we've talked about being an underdog at all. I'm just excited to have the opportunity this early in the season to play a great football team. We're going to have our hands full, and we'll see how we come out."

On whether he is harnessing the energy of the Monday night setting:

"No, I think the hype is for both teams and it depends on how they respond to it and how we respond to it. I think our guys like it. We're excited about having the opportunity, like I said, this early in the season to go out and prepare for a very good football team."

On whether Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Raye will be in the booth or on the sideline:

"We're still talking about it."

On what point he tried to hammer home this week and whether they want to forget about Seattle:

"No, I think earlier in the week you really don't want to just forget about Seattle. You want to learn everything that you possibly can, chew it, digest it, and take it for what it is, and then move on as early as we possibly could."

On adjusting for a Monday night game:

"Other than adjusting your week, but it's not one of those things where you look at it and go, ‘Wow, what a pain.' You're excited. I'm excited that the country has the chance to see our guys for what they are. So I'm really excited about that opportunity."

On whether he was satisfied with the way his substitution packages on defense did against Seattle:

"I wasn't satisfied with a whole lot in that game. And that may be one thing I was not satisfied with. No, I mean, if you're talking about when they scored? You know what, the bottom line is we have to execute. I don't care if we put an extra DB on the field, or we put an extra lineman on the field, whatever package it is. We just have to play better, and I think all of our guys understand that and that's really what we're looking at. Just get better with whatever package it is."

On whether WR Michael Crabtree has made progress this week:

"We'll find out Monday night."

On what kind of game he is expecting Monday night:

"I'm expecting it to be a very physical game. I'm expecting it to be a game where we're going to come out and play to our very best to win the football game, and I think they're going to do the same. I'm expecting a very physical football game."

On responding to team scuffles this past week and earlier in the month:

"You realize that every question you've asked has to do with earlier this week? First, I want you to understand this. This team is a team in the making. It's a team that when you talk about team chemistry and you talk about all of those things, it takes time, particularly with a young team. When you look at Crabtree, Crabtree has been here a year and a half. And the young man came in that we didn't get to know right away because he came right in and boom, there it is. We come to the offseason and he's hurt most of the offseason. So you're right, some of those things are not conducive to team. But I also want you to understand this. When you look at a family, if you have a family that never interacts with each other, never has strong conversation with each other, never has disagreements, nine times out of ten you have a very cold family and they're not going to be, at the end, they're not going to be close. So that's how I look at it. I think it's a process. I think it's every day, it's 53 guys that have to continue to learn how to work with each other, learn how to practice together, learn what different body languages mean. All those little things that goes into a family setting, that's what we have and all I can tell you is that the end result will be better than the beginning."

On the level of energy in practice today:

"Started strong. Ended a little sloppy, but started strong."

On whether it is possible to get too amped up for a game like Monday night:

"Sure it is."

On how he deals with that:

"I don't. I don't because I don't think we are. I really don't think we are. I think we - we're looking at the things that we have to do out here, we're looking at making sure that we're on the same page out here. Any little thing that we have to work on before Monday night, we want to make sure that we have that right before we go into the game. I don't think we're thinking about New Orleans a whole lot, in terms of ‘man, it's Monday night.' I don't think we're thinking about New Orleans and Monday night. I think we're thinking about the preparation because if we don't prepare right, then it doesn't matter about getting hyped up. So I feel that that's where we are."

On whether it would be a statement game:

"It's going to be a football game on Monday night. Every game we play is a possible statement game. Would be nice."