Singletary undecided on quarterback

December 17, 2010, 11:54 pm
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Dec. 17, 2010MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comSANTA CLARA -- The 49ers, fresh off a pitiful performance in San Diego on Thursday, have a couple big games on Sunday.RECAP: 49ers ugly in 34-07 beating from San Diego
Scoreboard-watching has generally gone well for the 49ers this season, as the other teams in the NFC West have made it possible for a 5-9 team such as the 49ers to remain mathematically alive this late in the season.The only way the 49ers will be eliminated prior to their game against St. Louis on Sunday, Dec. 26, is if both the Rams and Seahawks win their home games. St. Louis plays Kansas City, while Seattle takes on Atlanta.Before dismissing his team until Tuesday, coach Mike Singletary stood at the lectern for his usual day-after-game press conference. Here is some of what he said:--Singletary: "Obviously, as tough a loss as it was last night for us, there is still an opportunity ahead and the thing we're going to do is focus on St. Louis and get ready to go play a tough division foe next week."My take: Yes, the 49ers still have an opportunity, but they need a lot of help along the way. The 49ers must win their final two games, and both Seattle and St. Louis would both have to lose two of three for the 49ers to advance to the playoffs.
--Singletary (on whether he'll start Alex Smith or Troy Smith at quarterback against the Rams): "I just think that right now as we look at the film and look at the things we want to do. We'll look at the Rams when we played them the first time. The Rams were a little bit different and I think we're a little bit different. There are some things that have changed since then and we'll deal with it accordingly."MAIOCCO: Singletary again weighs which Smith to play
My take: Troy Smith tore up the Rams on Nov 14, but the major thing that has changed since then is that Frank Gore is no longer around. Troy Smith was most effective when he had play-action pass as his main tool. But the 49ers are not able to have the same success with play-action with Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon in the backfield with the quarterback. Also, Singletary's decision might also change based on whether the 49ers remain alive in the division race after Sunday's games.--Singletary (on his future hinging on Sunday's games): "My future depends on the St. Louis game that we've got coming. To me, I take it one week at a time and I don't really worry about all the other things. But right now my focus is on St. Louis."My take: The question, I thought, was actually asked about the 49ers' playoff hopes being connected to the Rams and Seahawks games. But, obviously, the 49ers' fate this season is connected to Singletary's future, as well.--Singletary (on whether he saw the replay of Justin Smith's contact with an official and his thoughts on referee Clete Blakeman's comment that Smith "basically came at him," umpire Garth DeFelice, and "shoved him"): "Ummm. No, no. I did not see the replay of it. As a matter of fact, I just knew the players were saying there was something with Justin and it was possible he'd be ejected. And then the ref came over and talked about it and I asked him what happened and he basically, that's what he said. I wasn't going to go there so it was probably better I didn't see the replay. My reaction probably would've been different. I heard from several people, several of our players, about the replay. The call is what it is. As much as you'd like to protest it, as much as you'd like to go ballistic about it, it is what it is."RELATED: Smith denies intentional shove of official
My take: One of Singletary's top players got ejected from the game. I have a difficult time believing Singletary did not want to see the replay, especially considering if Blakeman's account of the events are accurate, Smith would be subject to further league discipline. But with his next answer, Singletary intimates that he's been assured Smith will not face a suspension.--Singletary: "The bottom line is I think from what I have heard is that what happened last night, that's basically it and we'll move forward from there."My take: OK, Singletary seems to have information that Smith will be subject to a fine, but not a suspension.
--Singletary (on Alex Smith's performance): "Let me just say this: I thought under the situation, under the circumstances, I thought Alex (Smith) handled himself about as well as he could."My take: We can assume that Singletary meant the dropped pass to Delanie Walker early in the game, and the fact that Smith was sacked six times and under constant pressure. Smith completed 65.5 percent of his passes (19 of 29) for 165 yards with one interception.--Singletary (on breakdowns in pass coverage): "I just think that for us, I think we have to do as a defensive staff continue to focus on the back end and make the necessary adjustments that we need to make in order for them to get better."My take: Singletary mentioned the "back end" or secondary, and that actually surprised me. I've spoken with others who believe he problem stems from a lack of a consistent pass rush. So I followed up, asking about the production of the outside linebackers.--Singletary: "I think it's a combination. I think it's a combination of things. Obviously when you're on the back end you always want there to be more pressure. When you're creating pressure, you always want there to be great coverage on the back end. So it goes hand in hand. It's a work in progress."
My take: It's not a work in progress. The 49ers have played 14 games. The 49ers have a veteran secondary, especially at the corners, and they have veteran outside pass rushers. This has been a constant theme for the 49ers. They've had just one player generate 10 or more sacks in the past 11 seasons. Andre Carter had 12.5 sacks in 2002.--Singletary (on whether he can pinpoint a reason for Michael Crabtree's lack of production): "No, I really can't. I just think we have to do a better job of including him."My take: Crabtree, the No. 10 overall pick in 2009, had three catches for 17 yards against the Chargers. He had one catch for 1 yard last week against the Seahawks. He's gone five games without achieving more than 50 yards receiving.

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