San Francisco Conference Calls

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Transcripts of reporters' conference calls with San Francisco's Mike Singletary and Takeo Spikes on Wednesday afternoon:    

HEAD COACH MIKE SINGLETARY

On how things are improving for the 49ers during his tenure as head coach…

It's a work in progress. We continue to strive to do the little things, go forward and do the little things that we need to do in order to be successful.

On the 49ers playing better since the coaching change…

There is a good staff in place here. The players that are here have tremendous character and great attitudes. They really want to win and do things the right way. It's just a matter of coming together and making it happen. One of the most important things that we have done is come together as one unit and have said, "This is what we need to do. Let's go get it done.'

On what QB Shaun Hill brings to the position for the 49ers…

He brings confidence, poise and a way for guys to know that they have someone that is confident in what they're doing. He's going to manage the ball as best as he can and create leadership, allowing a confident group to go out and do their job.

On the Jets' defensive line…

It's about as good as any front seven in the league. They look the part and they play the part. It's been pretty interesting watching them. They come off the ball and do a great job. They are a very competitive group.

On working with offensive coordinator Mike Martz…

It's been great. Mike has been a joy to work with. He and I have really formed a relationship. We just keep going forward. It's a relationship that gets better every day.

On playing against QB Brett Favre…

It's an amazing thought to think that I played against him. I remember after that game thinking to myself, "This guy is going to be special." You could literally hear the ball coming by. It was a very cold day and I remember playing against him [November 1992]. It was cold that day and the ball passed by and I literally heard the ball. The guy had leadership, something about him that you knew he was going to be successful.

On if one is born with leadership or if it is learned…

I've studied leadership for many years. One of the biggest things you have is a natural leader. He or she cannot help but to lead. Then there are other leaders that happen to be in the right place at the right time. They have great mentors that help them become great leaders. They learn how to be a leader. There are two different kinds of leaders — those that really are natural leaders and those that can learn how to be leaders.

On what type of leader Favre is…

He is very natural. He is a guy that was always in there. That's pretty obvious.

On if being an interim coach is a fair test to determine if he is ready for a permanent head coaching position…

Any situation, for a guy who is not ready, is not fair, period. If you're ready, I don't care if it's the last two games of the season, I don't care whatever the situation is, it's going to show. That's my heartfelt belief.

On what the York family has told him about his future in San Francisco…

I haven't asked anything about the future. I don't really think about it a whole lot more than this game this week. From the time that I took this job, the most important thing for me was to make sure week in and week out that I was pouring myself into this team so that I was helping this team become the best it could be. Everything else will take care of itself.

On Eric Mangini being inspired by Singletary based on a speech he gave to Mangini's high school class…

It's pretty amazing that I spoke at his high school. Anytime that you have an opportunity to make a difference or say something that brings about thought-provoking ideas in someone's head when you're doing something right, that's the bottom line in life. If we can make a difference wherever we go and in whatever we're doing then we're doing something worthwhile.

On the situation with TE Vernon Davis…

I wouldn't change one thing. I wouldn't handle a player now any different than I would 10 years ago or when I was playing. Anything that I would do right now, I do things out of the right heart and motive. Nine times out of 10, I have a relationship with that player who knows exactly where I'm coming from. I don't try to embarrass anybody or belittle anyone. I try to be myself and do what I think is the right thing to do at the moment.

On if he would drop his pants in the locker room again…

Absolutely not, but that was a shock treatment that no one else was supposed to know about.

On what he thinks about that situation being leaked to the media…

That's one of the ways that the game has changed. Nothing is secret. Anything in this game today is not a secret. All in all, you have to be who you are. You have to do the things that you feel in your gut is the right thing to do. If you're not doing that, then you're consistently being inconsistent and not true to yourself.

On if Hill has done a better job of avoiding the pass rush…

Hill has done a better job overall in terms of a presence, body language, confidence and continuity. All of those things mixed into one he has brought to our offense.

LB TAKEO SPIKES

On the 49ers' win at Buffalo…

The trip back is always good when you're able to go back to your old stomping grounds and get a win. As far as defensively, we were kind of pleased with the way that we played in the red zone. We kind of had some mishaps and some miscues in the middle of the field that allowed those guys to get more rushing yards than what we would have wanted.

I think the reason why we're like that is because of the way that we've been playing over the past four weeks, the past month, defensively. We're just back to the basics. We're just trying to get everything back and tightened down.

On playing for Mike Singletary…

It's good. It was challenging when I first got here, mainly because of the aspect of being able to do something for so long and he comes in and he wants you to do it a certain way. The good thing about it is he didn't want to take away from what I do, but he just wanted to clean my technique up. I think that was the hardest thing, but ever since that day and up until now, I still love everything about Coach Singletary.

On the improvements since Singletary took over…

I think a lot of it has to do with him, but I think the rest is just everybody buying into what he's selling. That's including the players and coaching staff. I think that we've done a good job of that. I think that's why, over the past month, like I said, you've seen some inspired-play football from us. I just think that's the bottom line.

He believes in attention to detail. I think the biggest thing is the belief, the belief that "Guys, we can do it, we can do it. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but it can be done by doing these X amount of things right here, day in and day out, by being consistent."

On what a 4-8 team is playing for…

The way that we look at it, we're really not mathematically out of it. If we lose another game, then it's a for-sure done deal that we're done, but we're just trying to win one at a time to see where we end up. I think that's the best way to look at it, because you never do know. I was in a situation like this one time before and we ripped off and won a lot of games.

On the Jets' offensive line…

I think it's a pretty good offensive line. One of the things that I noticed is that even though these guys have not played together for a long period of time individually, they have a lot of games of experience. With that, I think that's the reason why they've been able to have so much success is because nothing is new to them.

To have vets on their line such as Alan [Faneca] to be able to anchor the line, I think that's the best thing about it because you can see those guys working together. Especially when handling D'Brickashaw [Ferguson] over there.

On Faneca…

That's always been his MO. Alan and I go way back, all the way from the days in college at LSU and Auburn. Even though he got drafted to Pittsburgh and I was in Cincinnati, to me he's not slow. He still can get the job done. His MO has always been to me, "I'm going to maul you, I'm going to pound you, and if I have to block you I'm going to do it nasty." That's what I've been seeing, the same things up until now. That's credibility.

You ask what he brings? I think it's just the credibility of what he's done and the way that he carries himself as a player.

On if it's fun to play against Brett Favre…

No, not really [laughing]. He presents so many things. I think his presence alone makes that offense better. With saying that, Favre, man, goodness, there are so many things that he can do well. I think about the time when they played the Patriots and they drove the length of the field.

The main thing is that we know he's going to make his plays, we understand that, but we cannot allow any big plays to go over our heads. That has just been our thing, that has been our Achilles' heel. Whenever we do give up a lot of points on defense, we've seen the deep ball go over our heads.

On RB Thomas Jones…

The biggest thing with him is his vision. He's powerful, there's no doubt about that. You can see the film and see that. His vision, I think, is the most underestimated thing that people really don't talk about.

His ability to get up inside the line, if there's a backside guy, you may think that he's staying frontside but as soon as you fold trying to go and pursue, he's coming right back where you left. It's something that can't be coached. I think he's just blessed with that athletic ability.

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