Exclusive: 1-on-1 with Mike Singletary

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Exclusive: 1-on-1 with Mike Singletary

Jan. 25, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVEMatt Maiocco
CSNBayArea.com

MOBILE, Ala. -- Former 49ers coach Mike Singletary, scouting players at the Senior Bowl for his new employer, the Minnesota Vikings, spent part of his afternoon reviewing his tenure with the 49ers. Here is a transcript of his interview:

Maiocco: Tell me about the new job that you have with the Minnesota Vikings

Singletary: Well, it's assistant head coachlinebackers. I'm excited about the role, excited about being in Minnesota, and I'm going from there.

Maiocco: How important was it for you to get right back in it and continue coaching?

Singletary: It was very important. I mean, everyone's got their own exit plan.But I think, for me, I love the game and it's as simple as that. But (I'm) very excited about where I am and the opportunity. I'll just continue to move forward.

Maiocco: Looking back on your time with the 49ers, how do you view that? How do you view those 2 12 seasons?

Singletary: Well, it's kind of like when I left -- the same way that I left is the same way that I feel right now. It is that I am tremendously thankful to the 49ers organization, the fans, The Faithful. They didn't have to allow me that chance to be a head coach. And having the opportunity to be the head coach for 2 12 years is something I will always be thankful for."

Maiocco: In reflecting, what do you think you learned from that experience that you can apply, looking forward into your coaching career?

Singletary: You don't have time for the things that I learned. But just know that it was a tremendous learning experience. And I'm grateful for it.

Maiocco: Why don't you think it worked out the way you envisioned it would?

Singletary: Many different reasons. You may know better than me, but I think many different reasons. That's all behind and I think for it's just continuing to be the best coach I can be. and my goal is still to be one of the greats, one of the best coaches in the league.
Maiocco: Do you think you need to be a coordinator before you become the head coach again?

Singletary: I don't think so. I think if that has to happen, if somehow that happens in the process -- but I think being in Minnesota I will work very closely with the coordinator there. They already have one there. Of course, Leslie Frazier, one of my old teammates has given me a great opportunity to work very closely on both sides of the ball. But to be a coordinator, in order to be a successful head coach, I don't think that's totally necessary.

Maiocco: It's sort of an interesting situation because you're going to a place where you have more experience as a head coach than the head coach has. How do you think you could help Leslie Frazier?

Singletary: I think that's one of the things we sat down and talked about. It's very important for him, being an interim head coach. And me coming into it the same way, there are some things that, very fundamentally, that you have to get in place early on. And sometimes as an interim coach you say, "I'll do that later." But there are some things you have to do immediately in order to execute your vision and move forward.

Maiocco: There are some things said after your departure that I'd like for you to address. One of which, Jed York said that he didn't feel you and Trent Baalke had a great chemistry. Did you feel that way? Did you and the general manager communicate maybe as well as you could or should have?

Singletary: I will take credit for all of that. That's something that's on me. He's exactly right. And that's something that Jed knew last year. But Trent did a good job and for me it's just a matter of some people you mesh with, and others you don't. I just look at it as one of those things that sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not.

Maiocco: One of the other things, I guess early in the season you had told people that if the team didn't respond the way you had hoped that you would step down voluntarily. Did the 49ers ask you to resign before, or after that Rams game?
Singletary: I don't really want to get into -- you know, it's done. It's behind us. Did they ask me? It doesn't really matter right now. I think the biggest thing is that they have moved on and I have moved on. I wish them nothing but the best, and certainly I'm going to do the best that I can to continue the journey that I'm on.

Maiocco: Were you surprised when it ended before the final game of the season?

Singletary: Not totally. You get to a point where frustration sets in on both sides -- whether it's the 49ers, whether it's me, whether it's personnel. Whoever it is. And all you know is you're not going to go to the playoffs. You're not going to have the opportunity to do something that hopefully you could have done at the beginning of the season. But like I said, it's all behind, you move forward and we'll go from there.

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”