49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

November 24, 2008
Singletary channels Nolan after Cowboys loss

The always-entertaining Mike Singletary just held his Monday press conference. Asked if there was a talent mismatch against the Cowboys, Singletary essentially said that the Cowboys have been building a team with a plan in mind far longer than the 49ers. He said the 49ers have been dealing with "peripheral things" for so long that they are only just now at the point where they've gotten rid of the players they didn't want and added young players they do. In that way, he sounded a lot like Mike Nolan, who routinely insisted that the 49ers were headed in the right direction but noted that they began the building process with very little foundation.

Like Nolan, Singletary used the word "character" to describe what he was looking for in his team. He said that the 49ers were "more selective" than the Cowboys in the players they wanted, the implication being that the T.O.'s and Pac-man Jones of the world wouldn't be welcome in San Francisco. In fact, he likened the process to rebuilding the team as a "blood transfusion." "You have to figure out what is acceptable and what isn't," he said about the incoming blood.

As was the case with Nolan, Singletary on Monday was defiant about the defensive game plan, pinning the lopsided nature of the game on lapses by the players. Unlike Nolan, he also called out a couple of players - both directly and indirectly - using very blunt language. Asked more questions about cornerback Nate Clements, he said that on Terrell Owens' first long touchdown, Clements should have had help over the top. Keith Lewis was the safety on the play and barely got back in time to put a hand on Owens. On the play on which Owens beat safety Mark Roman deep, Singletary said Owens should have been jammed at the line and instead the player assigned to do that "kind of reached out and touched him." (Don't know who was responsible on that play).

Asked about rookie Chilo Rachal's first start ever, Singletary threw down the gauntlet to the second-round pick. "He did not play well," Singletary said. "He played like a rookie." Of course, he couldn't have been too displeased. "He will start this week (at Buffalo) and he will play better. But he did not play well."

On the two first-and-goal sequences in which the 49ers had to settle for field goals, Singletary said, "I think if Mike Martz had to do it over again, he would do it over again." The 49ers went 'pass, run, pass' on both sequences and failed to pick up a yard. But Singletary defended how Martz used Frank Gore, noting that the Dallas defense was stacked to stop the running back. "If you (face) a seven-man box, you're going to run Frank as much as you can. When you have an eight-man box, you're going to run him a little bit less. When you have a nine-man box, you're going to want to pass."

On the injury front, neither Josh Morgan nor Dashon Goldson are likely to play in Buffalo. There's a chance Arnaz Battle could return. Allen Rossum's ankle still is being evaluated.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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