When it comes to his offense, Mike Martz is as protective as that squirrel from "Ice Age" is with his acorn - no one touches it but him. Mike Singletary learned that lesson yesterday. Asked today at his 10:45 a.m. press conference how much influence he'll have on the offensive side of the ball going forward, Singletary said this:
"I'll put it this way - Mike Martz is very proud of his offense. And I went in yesterday to talk to him and we were going to talk about a couple of things, and he said, "Well, what do you want to talk about?" Why do you want to talk about that?" But we had fun going through that, and I'm enjoying him and we had another conversation last night. ...
Over the first seven games of the season, Mike Nolan gave Martz carte blanche to run the offense as he saw fit. And it was Martz on Monday who convinced Nolan to stick with J.T. O'Sullivan at quarterback. It seems that Singletary also will give Martz plenty of room to operate. But he also held open the possibility of reining Martz in as he sees fit.
"I trust him to do the things he has to do. And the bottom line is that I have full confidence in Mike Martz and his staff going forward ...I think the bottom line is that if I feel that something needs to be a little changed or adjusted or whatever, then I will meet with Mike and we'll talk about it and we'll go from there. But other than that, I think Mike is a great coach. I feel very fortunate to have him."
There have been lots of questions over the last two days about why Singletary, not Martz, was tapped as interim head coach. The official word from the front office is that Martz has his hands full directing a new offense and a first-time starting quarterback. Another view (mine) is that McCloughan never wanted him in the first place. Remember last year when Martz's name first surfaced as a possibility? McCloughan dismissed it outright at the time, saying that Martz's style did not fit the personnel McCloughan had been assembling over the past three seasons.
On KNBR radio yesterday, McCloughan intimated that the team might started turning to some of its younger players, you know, the ones that McCloughan drafted and have yet to see playing time. Singletary said that when teams go that route it's usually because the season is hopeless and they want to give the youngsters seasoning.
"I don't think we're at that point." Singletary said. "We're at a point where we have to play better."
Over the first seven games, the 49ers have used a 4-3 defense as much as they've used a 3-4, which ostensibly was going to be their defense of choice. Asked which is the 49ers' true defense, Singletary acknowledged the lack of identity. But he didn't tip his hand to the Seahawks, either.
"We'll see at game time," he said. "We're kind of schizophrenic. We don't know what we are. But at game time, we'll see."
**UPDATE** Jennings said he will be out for Sunday's game against Seattle. Here are the 49ers' injuries. Lots of players not practicing today, but Dashon Goldson (knee) and Ray McDonald (knee) are the only ones out for Sunday. The others:
Walt Harris (veteran's day off)
Jonas Jennings (shoulder)
Michael Lewis (knee)
Josh Morgan (groin)
Mark Roman (groin)
Allen Rossum (groin)
Nate Clements (ribs)
-- Matt Barrows