After victories against Seattle and Detroit earlier this year, Mike Nolan rewarded his players with two days off - a "Win Monday" in addition to their normal Tuesday off. Not so with Mike Singletary. The interim head coach didn't rule out "Win Monday's" in the future, but for now he wants to see his players the day after a victory. Think of it as spending quality time with your mom, dad, brothers and sisters at the dinner table.
"It's just a matter of, I feel like I'd like to see the players the next day, I'd like the players to come in and talk about it," Singletary said. "Who else are you going to talk to the win about? You can call Mom, you can call Dad. 'Hey, we won the game.' Congratulations. But your teammates the next day, you can come in and talk about it, and laugh about it, watch it together, grow from it and put it behind you."
The underlying theme for what Singletary is trying to do over the last half of the season is team building or what Singletary called "thinking as a family." Having players come in on Monday and share their victory is part of that. Singletary also touched on the family theme when talking about the offense, defense and special teams all complimenting one another other on game day.
When he played for the Bears, Singletary said, he used talk to quarterback Jim McMahon in the week leading up to games to make sure the offensive game plan matched with what the defense was planning to see. "That's how we talked, and it got back to the coordinators and coach Ditka. And those things would happen because we were thinking about winning. We weren't just thinking about stats or just how good the defense could be. .. That's really when you begin to win. And that's when you begin to think as a family and a team. Because that's what it's all about."
Singletary was quick to point out that the idea of marrying the offense with the defense was not a put down of offensive coordinator Mike Martz, whose aggressive downfield philosophy often has put the defense on the field for long periods. "I've got to be very, very honest," Singletary said. "When I look at Mike Martz, I'm very, very pleased with what he's doing."
Singletary didn't seem to think that any of the injuries - Michael Lewis (knee), Tarell Brown (neck) and Michael Robinson (shoulder) - were very serious. Asked about the seemingly late hit that briefly put Lewis out of action, Singletary said, "Sometimes if the ref calls it, it's late. If he doesn't, you don't worry about it."
The defensive radio receiver has gone from Mark Roman to Patrick Willis back to Roman. Singletary said that Willis was relieved. He said it had been difficult for Willis to get the defensive call to the secondary in time. "It just wasn't getting there fast enough. At the back end, you can get beat like that (snapping fingers)."
Singletary attributed the improved sacks allowed totals - two in the last two games - to a combination of better offensive line play and Shaun Hill releasing the ball more quickly than J.T. O'Sullivan. Martz also seems to be calling far fewer seven-step drops for Hill.
-- Matt Barrows