Niners interim head coach Mike Singletary answered questions about the state of the team and its 35-22 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
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Here’s my game story, “Owens, Cowboys trounce 49ers.”
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Here are some of the excerpts of Singletary’s Monday press briefing:
–Singletary said the Cowboys have been putting together talent for a while and owner Jerry Jones knows the types of players he wants on his football team. Singletary said Jones has the “infrastructure” in place to take on some players with baggage.
He said the 49ers have just moved past the process of getting rid of the players they don’t want with the team. Singletary said the 49ers’ margin for error “is so small.” Singletary said he knows exactly the kind of player he wants on his football team. He wants guys who want to win, and he’s not averse, under the right circumstances, to taking on a player or two with a “bad attitude” or is “moody.”
–He said he feels as if the team is playing with 100-percent effort. Now, the goal is to play 100-percent “smart.”
–Singletary is definitely not speaking like the only coach on the staff whose contract expires at the end of the season. Singletary said he approaches this job as if he’s going to be here a long, long time.
–Singletary disagreed with the assessment that the game was “lopsided.”
“When I put this film on . . . I don’t think there’s any other team this year — maybe the last couple years — that played Dallas more physically, more sound, than we did yesterday. We also did some things in that game that were absolutely unacceptable, whether it be quarterback play, whether it be defensive-back play . . . but did we go into that game with the right mindset? Oh, yeah. I think you can Dallas that. They can tell you better than I can. Once again, our margin for error is small, and we could not overcome that.”
–On the subject I kept harping on yesterday during my game blog, Singletary said they want to get Manny Lawson on the field more. It started when the team tried to ease Lawson back slowly this season after he returned from a torn ACL last season. They wanted him to get the confidence and strength back in his knee.
“Now, he’s getting right back to where he was,” Singletary said.
Should be on the field more?
“We’re trying to get him on the field more,” Singletary said. “And we will get him on the field more. . . . It’s not like Manny has been doing great all year and all of a sudden, why isn’t he playing? We want to win, too.”
Singletary said he sees Lawson’s confidence growing. He said the past three weeks, Lawson has really been playing well.
–The 49ers’ pass rush did the defensive backs no favor. But Singletary said when you face a mobile quarterback, there has to be more discipline on the back end to hang with receivers down the field longer.
–On the Nate Clements-Terrell Owens matchup, Singletary said double-covering Owens the entire game was “not warranted.”
“Even the pass he caught over Nate Clements’ head, there should’ve been help over there,” Singletary said. “It wasn’t just Nate. You have a post safety who needs to get over there and help, and he should’ve been sacked in the backfield for a loss. No, it’s not just Nate. But it’s primarily Nate because he’s supposed to be on top of that thing.”
He added, “There are a number of teams that put a DB down there and get his hands on him (Owens), and he can’t get off the jam. So if that’s the situation, why would I double-team the guy every time when you put one guy down there and put your hands on him and stop him every time?”
Singletary said the Cowboys started moving Owens inside where he can get off the ball clean.
–On the one play that went for some big yards down the right sideline with Mark Roman in converage, Singletary said Owens was supposed to get jammed at the line of scrimmage. However, on that play Donald Strickland barely got a hand on Owens and did nothing to slow him down.
–When the 49ers had first-and-goals at the 4-yard line on two separate occasions in the first quarter. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz called pass-run-pass in both instances. When asked if Singletary today was questioning that play-calling, he said it was questioning it yesterday.
“It’s just one of those situations where I think the playcalling, if Mike Martz had to do it ever again . . . he’d do it differently,” Singletary said. “Dallas did some things up front that they had not done, and we were prepared for something different than what we’ve seen on film. They attacked more from the inside and the blitzed more in the red zone than they normally have.
Martz told Singletary that if he had to do it over again, he would’ve made some different calls.
–On the offensive line play in the run game . . . “They (Cowboys) did a good job. They fired off the ball. They attacked our offensive line. I think Frank Gore, there were some cuts he’d like to take back. After a while, you’re not sure with a team blitzing as much as they were blitzing, sometimes you try to do more than you should. It’s one of those things where their pressure created some issues. We kind of got back on our heels a little bit and didn’t take advantage of some things that were there.”
–On the play of right guard Chilo Rachal: “He did not play well,” Singletary said. “He played like a rookie, OK? He did not play well.”
Will he start this week?
“He will start this week, and he will play better.”
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