Niners coach Mike Singletary met with the media today at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here is Part 1 of his media session with reporters:
Q: Is it good to have competition at QB or to have a player who’ll take all the reps on the offseason?
Singletary: I think it’s different for each team. For the situation we were in last year, it was right for the 49ers. It was the only way to do it – to let those guys compete because of the circumstances there. We came out of it with Shaun (Hill) being the quarterback and Alex coming on top of that thing as the season progressed.
Q: What was it about Alex that made you comfortable working him in as the starter?
Singletary: I think, first of all, when we drafted Alex with the first pick several years ago, there was something there. There was a reason we did that. I just feel going into last season, looking at all the things he had to face, it was his attitude that stuck out through the whole thing, whether he was hurt, whether he was learning, whether he was the backup. Whatever the situation was, he was always very steady. And I felt that talking to him, having a relationship with him going into last season, sitting down and talking to him and feeling the fire that was in him, and just needing to know if he was wanted after everything he’d gone through, the players in the locker room not really sure where he was, but just being steady. And so it’s the maturity factor and the attitude factor and at some point in time, the opportunity presented itself and he stepped in and (I) was very pleasantly surprised.
Q: How much of Smith’s problems were a result of the adjustment in coming to the NFL from a spread offense?
Singletary: I think Alex Smith, the thing that hurt Alex Smith more than anything, he really didn’t have a surrounding cast. When he came in, he came into a tough situation. He had an offensive line we were building, and trying to put an offensive line together. Trying to put a receiving corps together. I think there were a number of things there. Just the inconsistency of the coordinator – I mean, there were a lot of things that were not in place. I don’t think it was just the spread situation, but I think that could’ve been a small factor, but I don’t know because of all the other things that were not in place.
Q: Has the team settled on an offensive philosophy for 2010 after moving from power-running to spread throughout the season?
Singletary: The consistency of coming out of last season and stepping into this season and knowing there would be a balance. Yes, I think more important, Alex will feel comfortable about that. For the first time, it’s amazing to think that this is the first time there will be consistency at the offensive coordinator position going into that next season for him after five years. That’s a pretty amazing thing to say this the first time the offensive coordinator is there. So I’m excited about that alone.
Q: Have you reached a consensus on what is best: power running or spread?
Singletary: I think this offseason, as we continue to go through it, there will continue to be a balance. It’s smart for us to look at the things that we evaluate on film, and looking at the things Alex did well, and looking at the things our offense did well, looking at the things Frank Gore did well, and making sure we build on that. That’s very important going forward.
Q: Where does upgrading offensive line rank on your list of priorities?
Singletary: I think upgrading the entire team. For us, when Scot (McCloughan) and I sit down, the most important thing this offseason when we look at that board is to make sure that board is right, in terms of getting the best player for us. Yes, we want to add a player that the offensive line, but at the same time we don’t want to reach at any position. So it’s very important for us to evaluate and have everybody involved – not just personnel, but coaches and staff, assistant coaches, myself, Scot, everybody – and make sure we take the best player going forward and go there.
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