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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on November 23, 2009 – 4:20 PM

A day after his team dropped its fifth game of the season by less than seven points and sixth overall, 49ers head coach Mike Singletary hinted personnel changes were on the horizon.

“I am confident that there may be one or two [changes], but I am still looking at the film,” Singletary said.

Although he would not show his cards on the potential changes, Singletary vowed his players would perform better in the remaining games.

“I am confident that this season will be a good season,” Singletary said. “We’ve got six games left. I am convinced that we will play better.”

Despite dropping another game behind the division leading Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the NFC teams muddled in the Wild Card race, Singletary believes the 49ers can still reach their goals.

“At the very start of this season, our goal was to win enough games to go to the playoffs. That is still our goal. That has not changed, will not change. In my mind, we’re good enough to do that,” he said. “We just have to get it done.”

Singletary’s press conference included several questions pertaining to the shotgun formation that the team predominantly used in the second half against Green Bay to score three touchdowns.

“I think, as we go forward, we have to really look at what’s working for him and what works for the offense and continue to do more of those things,” Singletary said of tailoring the offense to quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith too was asked a high volume of questions regarding the shotgun attack, but insisted that the second half rally had more to do with desire than the shotgun formation. (You can watch video from his interview right here.)

“When you’re down that much, there wasn’t much left to do but to go after those guys and try to mount a comeback,” Smith said. “We finally made a few plays and got ourselves going.”

The one play that clearly kick-started the 49ers offense and the entire team for that matter, was Smith’s 38-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a third-and-20.

“I think it did a lot,” Smith said of Crabtree’s first NFL touchdown. “That whole drive, we made a couple of plays and then we were in third-and-long and Crabtree made a big play for the score – I think that got us going. That’s a little bit of what we needed.”

The 49ers added two more touchdown passes in the second half, but never could get the run game going because they were trailing heavily for most of the game.

Looking back at the film, one could infer that the team is best suited to throw the ball from the shotgun formation on every play – but not so says Smith.

That would require the 49ers entering another ‘world.’

“It’s easy to say let’s go live in that world [spread offense] – but I don’t think it’s realistic. I don’t,” Smith said. “That’s something you evolve to down the road maybe. Right now, it’s about finding that balance. Maybe it’s something you go in and out of, but you still have to have balance.

“We have one of the top running backs in the NFL and we need to find a way to continue getting him the ball and put him in situations to succeed.”

Gore rushed for 59 yards on just seven carries, with his best run coming on a 46-yard gain on a delayed draw with Smith not in the shotgun formation, but rather under center.

More Monday Notes:

-The 49ers had their longest injury report of the season following Sunday’s defeat. (Note that names with a * next to them will undergo an MRI Singletary said). *Michael Robinson (stinger), Michael Lewis (quad), Arnaz battle (leg strain), Jason Hill (left ankle sprain), Delanie Walker (forearm contusion), David Baas (right ankle sprain), Patrick Willis (trap spasm), *Marcus Hudson (back strain), Tarell Brown (left knee contusion) and Reggie Smith (abdominal strain) were all named by the head coach to start his press conference.

-According to Singletary, Smith’s injury was not related to the groin injury that has hampered him all season.

-Josh Morgan’s 76-yard kickoff return late in the game impressed Singletary but wouldn’t commit to naming Morgan as the team’s starting kick returner. “Obviously we liked what we saw yesterday. If Josh Morgan is the kickoff returner, then hopefully he’s not returning too many of them in a game so we don’t have to worry about it too often. I just think that yesterday, he did a nice job when called upon. We’ll have to look at that a little bit more.”

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Posted in Uncategorized | 35 Comments »

35 Responses to “Monday’s Locker Room Talk”

  1. By FaithfulManSince'88 on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    very disappointed with first half of GB game
    oline was getting blasted and not blocking well for Gore or Smith
    The defense was giving up big plays down the field and could not get off the field on 3rd down and at the 5 min mark to give the offense a chance to win the game.
    If the 49ers dont change the way they are playing then might as well start thinking about next year to see who they are going to get rid of and draft.
    One more loss and we can kiss the playoff chance good bye.

  2. By ARMANDO on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply


  3. By ARMANDO on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply


  4. By onebaboon on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    I think that SF needs to open the offense up by throwing the ball earlier and
    run later or when you get a lead. As I see it the problem is not the plays bot the order they are caller. Yes! we need to block and tackle better, we also need to game day coach better, we need to run the game instead of hving the game run us, Go niners

  5. By Keith Wood on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    I hope you are right. Lets not forget that Bill Walsh was an OC and strategist as well. Mike Singletary was an NFL linebacker and linebackers coach. He’s a fine coach and motivator, but he is going to need to get an OC that can/will create an offense for what this team has in personnel, not an over all Idea of what a NFL team should look like.


  6. By rhyno on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    I am sick of watching the Niners play good teams and come up short. They cant wait for the Rams to come around again. They need to take over these games. Competing don’t get you squat in the win column. They need help now, Arizona has to lose atleast two games and then we have to beat em. I know we can, they gotta do it. Almost beat Minnesota, came back on GB, came back on Houston, had a chance against Tennessee, had a whoopin from atlanta, almost beat Indy, “almost” is gonna miss the playoffs!

  7. By cali niner on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    Ive seen this to many times,we always start off slow then in the second half we have to dig ourselfs out of a hole. if we are going to stick with smith then lets start the game with what works for him wich is the spread out offense (in the first quarter not the third and fourth), when we have to play catch up!!! cmon guys we can do this, GO NINERS!!!!!

  8. By rush80 on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    maybe they should stay with spread offense then they have to key on the pass and opens up the running game thats what they use to do anyways

  9. By TYC on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    A positive note about the GB game is that Crabtree’s potential was exposed. I am hopeful that Mike and Jimmy realize that their “come from behind” play calling is FAR more effective then their original scheme. We need some miss direction moves (fake hand offs, pump-fakes, etc) to make opposing defenders pause and think. That split second will allow for a hole to remain open or give a receiver a step of separation. We are making it way to easy for them to cover our plays. Mix in the run with some play-action pass down the field…and for all that is Holy stop throwing 2 yard passes when 10 or more yards are required…pump the short and go for the 1st Down. We need to go for it!!! That is what winners do…play to win. First downs also provide our Defense with some much needed rest. Love the D’s development.

    When is #80 being retired?

    GO NINERS!!!

  10. By Chilly Will 49 on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    I’m so tired of all the excuses I have to keep hearing every damn weekend, about what they need to do to get themselves better and this and that!!!! Let’s just face it Niners are not going anywhere this year regardless whatever they do. Offensive or Defense they are just not good enough to hang with the elite teams now. I now realize it is gonna take a few more good years for these Niners to get back to the top, but as for now its just not happening we have some good talent here and there but we need much more faster players and bigger stronger lineman on Offensive and Defense. Niners need to take their first rounder picks and trade them for lower round talent. That way Niners won’t have to foot a big bill for the next BUST!!! Get players from lower rounds that will be willing to fight hard to earn a spot instead of looking for a big pay day!! That’s what my boy Bill Walsh would do (God rest his soul).

    Oh well thought we were onto something special this year with the ” Don’t Tell Me Show Me” slogan as you can see the Niners haven’t showed us NOTHING!!!

  11. By ninermom on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    Why are we still playing Smith. The record shows who has won games as QB. Is management pressuring Singletary to play him because he’s being paid big bucks? I can’t figure it out, put Hill back in he won our first three games for us. We can’t only play half a game each week when the opponent plays the whole game!

  12. By Jon on Nov 23, 2009 | Reply

    I have been looking forward to this season since our last game last season. I thought we would turn some heads. We won 3 out of 4 games and were over rated. When we played teams like Atlanta, Indy, even Houston, they made us look really bad. Our amazing defense was not that good anymore. The switch at QB did allow us to move the ball more on offense, but our O-Line did not step up to the challenge. Where is that fire we had on defense the beginning of the year? There is not as much emotion out there anymore. Are we a playoff team this year? Will we win out the remainder 6 games? NO! Not playing Philly, Arizona, and jacksonville. MAYBE next year! It kills me to say that, but we dont have the confidence to play with playoff contenders. It has shown that since the atlanta game.

    Lets face the music and realize that most likely we will be watching the playoffs this year for the 8th straight season without the niners in the post-season.

  13. By Chris on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    I always enjoy reading from the whiners after a niner loss. I am a lifelong fan and yes it hurts to watch the team like this, but they are making some progress, but let’s be realistic. They’ve been through so much change (both personnel and coaching), theirs no way they were just automatically going to be champs with a new coach and a new WR in one year. Realistically, they probably won’t make the playoffs next year too unless Warner retires.

    All that being said, layoff A Smith bashing. While I remember being bummed at the draft when they didn’t pick Rodgers, Smith is O.K. He’s not the next Montana, but how many of those are type drafted every year. The kid was thrown into the lions den the first year with no experience on the WORST team in the league (well maybe second worst to the raiders). Hill is probably is a little more savvy QB but has no arm strength. Davis looked good in preseason, but that was against rookies and 2nd stringers.

    As for Singletary, Yea he’s made a lot of mistakes as a coach, but again, he’s a rookie. Hopefully he learns from it. I am getting a little tired of hearing him talk in the press conferences about the mistakes and how the “can’t happen,won’t happen” . But, they keep happening. Talk’s cheap. The major mistakes I see are interrelated.The offensive mentality of ” smash mouth , we’ll run when we want to attitude” is the problem. The league today has become more pass oriented(maybe thanks to B Walsh?). I think the niners should play “smash mouth passing” type of offense. During the glory years, we used the pass to set up the run. It seems we now have three offensive weapons (Morgan, crabdiva, and v.davis). Let’s exploit that.

    The second mistake I think the coach made, was his choice of O.C. The man is a dinosaur and his offense reflects that. I personally don’t think the team will thrive while he is here. Unfortunately, if the get rid of him, that just compounds the problem for guys like A.Smith with another new o.c.

    Enough ranting though. I think the owners/coach need to do some serious analysis at the end of the season to figure out how to make this team win.

    Too bad neither of them ever read this blog to get some ideas.

  14. By shawn4niners QB on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    I have 2 questions 1. with the strength that v.davis had do you think tha he can do some pass rushing? The reason I asked is the guy is a machine and I remember when warren sapp played both sides of the ball and did a great job. 2.When is A.Smith going to play a game with throwing an INT?I like the guy but damn whats going on with that I know its not always his fault but I know he can make better throws…Again these are just questions that I have my football IQ is not that high but I do LOVE MY NINERS!

  15. By Joe on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    I’d take a different approach from what I have read so far. I think the team is doing okay. Is there room for improvement, or is the team capable of improving with its current roster?Yes. On the NFL web site a former NFL head coach identified one of the 49ers needs as having a 3rd down conversion perentage of about 45%. As I have looked at the 3rd down conversion percentage after the Chicago game (it was about 42% and the most recent game it was about 33%, I realized that the 49ers staff needs to make some adjustments under the hood again. I am comfident that they will.

    What I liked better is Alex Smith’s completion percentage in the recent game. It
    appeared to be around 65%. I think coach Ray is doing okay. Contrary to how the most recent OC handled things by trying to convert a qb to his system and expose the qb to a heavy pounding coach Ray appears to be calling plays to the strengths of the players especially the QB and RB.

    I hope that all the coaching staff and the key playmakers are able to be here next season. Starting camp with the key playmakers in place from one season to the other seems to have the potential to bring even more improvement.

    Good job Coaches Ray and Johnson. Is Many Lawson the sack leader on defense now?

  16. By L.G on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Man I am so tired of this! What has been going on for the last 5 or 6 years we really went down hill. We had average drafts and coaches the Niners could never get it right…I really had big hopes for this season! If Arizona can lose a few games we have Jacksonville, Seattle, and Arizona next there is still a chance things can turn around? If we lose to Seattle were really bad!

    I saw some good things in the second half of the game last week. I believe we have the talent to have but not OC to run a very effective West Coast Offense. I wish they would bring it back to the bay area. For years we tried different OC and nothing has worked. I’d love to see the old West Coast O back! It was a very well balanced offense and we have players who can really catch the ball.

    I like Alex Smith but i am just not sold on him. He is a good QB but not an elite QB. I wont be surprise if the Niners resign him and the OC next year. Coach Sing. is old school man. Maybe he will get with the times but who knows? For years he played in Chicago with average QB. Except for his Super bowl run but after that nothing special. You can’t just rely on the run in the NFL anymore because defenses are so good at shutting down on dimensional attack. To build the offensive line to be the kind of power house they want will take a few more years or more? We have the talent to open it up a little more now. I like to see a change in QB or OC.

  17. By Steve on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Bill Walsh’s first two years as head coach? 2-14, then 6-10. We all know what happened next…
    Coach Singletary WILL get it done. I’m frustrated with the offense, but I’m sure he is too. It’ll get fixed. Stay tuned…

  18. By Taylor Price on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Here’s how you can sign up for our team’s weekly E-newsletter.


  19. By NO19ERFAN on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    I’m heading to Frisco from SoCal this weekend for the game, NO MORE EXCUSES, we need to beat someone other than the Ram’s & Seahawks!!!
    It’s getting old, Singletary needs to “do what’s best for the team”, adjust to Alex Smith’s talents, he’s taken him under his wing, let him go Mike!
    He’s proven he can run the spread, at least run in a little more Frequent throughout the game and maybe you will NOT need it late in the game.
    I’m not a genius, but dang it, use our weapons, our line is banged up and the spread will help with a quick passing game, they will not have to block as long. Keep getting the ball to Gore as well, pass it to him, he can catch.!!! We are NOT a smashmouth football team, we want to be, but we just are NOT. Save the season, win the last on our schedule, let some of the other teams lose and we’ll be in the playoffs. Maybe to SPOIL in the 1st round, thats as far as I can optomistically see….
    I’m still 100% behind our guys, just need to see us get with it… Every play should be played with a sense of urgency!
    Good luck Sunday! NO19ERFAN

  20. By Monica DeMasi on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    I love my niners, and will always be a fan, win or lose. But I think Mike Singletary is in denial. He really beleives the niners are going to the playoffs. I would love to see that happen. But it’s simply is unlikely. I hope I eat my words.

  21. By NO19ERFAN on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Wish the Coaching staff would read some of our comments!
    I’ve read some good stuff…. Stuff that makes sense and that is do-able….
    GO NINERS!!!!!!!
    NO19ERFAN – Faithfull

  22. By 16Niner8 on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    So don’t expect anything different next year too, let alone the remainder of the 2009 season.

  23. By TONY on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    The issue I have with the season is that at the beginning Coach Sing said that the focus of the team play is we are going to run the ball. Well if you are in a fight and we are you sure as hec don’t tell the person you are about to fight what you are going to do because they are prepared for it. Never show your hand. When “Walsh” was coaching and don’t think I am against Sing, he spread it out to make the defenses work for it. Let’s give ALL of our players a chance to be involved in making up the points.

  24. By GO BLUE on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    when i look at the niners they remind me of the houston texans, in which they couldnt protect david car. we realy have have a good team you can not run the ball 3 times and on 3rd and 10 or 15 then expect alex smith to pass the ball and get a first down.STOP WITH THE SCREEN PASSES LOOK AT THE GOOD COMBINATION OF ALEX SMITH TO CABTREE, DAVIS AND EVEN MORGAN, LETS JUST THROW A LITTLE MORE

  25. By Bob on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    I’m a Singletary fan but I do not understand some of the logic. He’s a motivator and believes in team discipline and unity. Yet Michael Crabtree sits out all of training camp and then earns a starting spot once he is eligible?? That’s doesn’t seem consistent with Sing’s philosophy. I have a suspicion that management pressured him on that decision. And Jimmy Raye?? Now we have a focused passing attack when it was said all along this would be a running team. I can tell you this if Martz were still here there would be an effective passing attack and a balanced running game. Finally, Isaac Bruce would be catching a lot more passes. It’s ridiculous that he is not starting. He’s hall of fame and even at 37 he still has the skills to start in this league. Plus he has more class than the vast majority of players in this league. If the niners use him, they will win. Guaranteed!

  26. By faithful fan on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Three words: shotgun, shotgun, shotgun. Don’t force a square peg into a round hole – let Alex be Alex.

  27. By ninerfansf1976 on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Since Singletary is moving QB’s around, why not let Nate Davis throw a couple of games. He did just fine in the Preseason.

  28. By 49er 4 Life 601 on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    i luv the 49ers,but our offense & defense needs sum changes! first of all,we need to run a spread offense wit alex smith,frank gore,vernon davis,michael crabtree,josh morgan,&isaac bruce! plus,have jason hill,glen coffee,& delanie walker substituting! continue to pound the ball wit frank gore,moran norris,&glen coffee in the run game,but just use the spread offense & run game equally! on the defense,we need to put nate clements(when healthy) at safety,plus keep michael lewis & get rid of everybody else. get the rest in the draft & free agency! when it comes to our front seven,we need to run the 4-3 base defense,wit patrick willis,takeo spikes at inside linebackers,manny lawson at outside linebacker,parys haralson & justin smith at DE’s & aubrayo franklin,isaac sopoaga at DT’s & have ray mcdonald substituting! get sum more DE’s & DT’s out of the draft & free agency! Last,but not least,we need to rebuild our offensive line around joe staley!

  29. By jeremy on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Dynasties start as running teams, have a decade of losing before they start getting into the playoffs consistently and have young talented players that that shoot themselves in the foot. At least thats what I keep telling myself anyway.

  30. By 49er MAN on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Let Brit Miller have his chance

  31. By Big Ant49 on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Niners seem to be a second half team all the this year, even against the horrific rams. Scoring 7 points in the first half. Our D needs to step up. I am tired of seeing our CB’s playing 7-10 yards off every play! On the GB game its 3rd and 5 the WR’s just run a 5 yard curl route first down everytime because our CBs are giving up too much of a cushion. On Short distance they run short routes, they need to be more physical. Tackling needs to be greatly improved! Tackling drills should be practiced much more now, after the last few games the players go for the hit and no wrap-up. The O needs to mix it up much more, let the pass open up the run. Our O-line is horrbile! They need to start improving and become physical. When its 3rd and inches and you get stuffed its pretty pathetic to see. Niners have to step up run the table and AZ needs to lose. Dont tell me, show me! Show me something!

  32. By Martin on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    I will start praying tonight that Singletary wakes up and sees we can’t play smash mouth football without a decent offensive line that dominates THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE.

    How many games to we have to lose before he gives Alex and Jimmy Raye a WHOLE GAME TO WORK WITH,not just the second half.

    Alex has clearly shown that given a chance he can put points on the board.Will there be picks of course,but at least we are playing to win.

    During the Mondays Press Pass he is still convinced we can win running the ball with a decimated offensive line.I cant believe the coaching staff doesn’t see what everyone else sees.Alex is clearly a better quaterback out of the shotgun.

    I guess we wont go vertical until we are down by 28 points.We were down huge at Houston and Alex almost won that game.We were down huge again at Greenbay and Alex almost won the game again.

    WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





  33. By Ed on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Lets just hope they win the last games
    go niners.

  34. By HenriB on Nov 24, 2009 | Reply

    Shaun Hill has won every game he played (You can’t count the one where he only played one half, we don’t know what could’ve been), Smith has lost every game he’s played (Don’t count his one win, the defense won that one.) So, why is Alex still there??????

  35. By Anthony Latimore on Nov 25, 2009 | Reply

    It is the bare truth that we need to throw the ball early out of the spread offense to gain the lead on teams. Once we accomplish that goal, which we see the team can move the ball quickly and efficiently with Alex- then run the ball down their throats. Another thing is we ought to run Gore out of the four receiver set more often, spreading out the linebackers. Gore would definately see plenty of open holes then. Go Niners Big Baby!

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