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Mike Singletary: “before I Get Into the Spread Offense and the Shotgun and Whether I Want Vernon Davis in the Spread Offense, I Really Want to Talk About Winning.”

KRON-TV 4 sportscaster Gary Radnich, right, prepares the evening sports broadcast with his producer Jason Applebaum at KRON-4 studios in San Francisco CA Friday Feb. 18, 2005. (Bay Area News Group Archives)

Very interesting stuff out of San Francisco. The 49ers will be running some spread offense in the forthcoming weeks according to Coach Mike Singletary. The 49ers head honcho mentioned they’d be implementing some version of the spread during his usual press conference in the wake of San Francisco’s loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Then on Tuesday, Singletary joined KNBR in San Francisco for his weekly coach’s show to talk about what he meant by his statements regarding running some spread in the future, the development of quarterback Alex Smith, how assets like Frank Gore and Vernon Davis will figure in to the 49ers new offensive packages, and how he takes full responsibility for his team coming out emotionally flat this past Sunday in a game they really needed to win.

On what his personal ‘definition’ of the spread offense is (there are plenty out there):

“You know, I think there are different versions of the spread offense. One is when you just have the quarterback in the shotgun situation and he’s taking the snap from center and you have anywhere from three to four to five wideouts in the game. Or you can have a spread situation where the quarterback is underneath the center and maybe a back in the backfield and the same situation with three to four, five wideouts. So,  I think the spread offense is just a matter of if you’re going to call it the shotgun, or there are a number of different things you can call it. To me, that is my thought process when it comes to spread offense.”

On if he thinks the team has the personnel to run the spread effectively:

“I think when our offensive line gets to the point to where they really believe that they can, they can.  Yes we’re missing two of our starting tackles, but at the same time, I think our offense can do close to whatever they want to do.”

On how he sees tight end Vernon Davis fitting in to any plans to run the spread offense:

“You know before I get in to the spread offense and the shotgun and whether I want Vernon Davis in the spread offense, I really want to talk about winning. Because that’s, you don’t do something unless you think it can bring you results. And before I get really engrossed in a conversation where we’re taking about something that really isn’t the direct result of winning – I just think that, you know, it’s just another subject to kind of take you away from what we’re striving to do. I think we are going to run some version of a spread offense. We’re going to do that some. But we’re not going to get away totally from who we said we were at the beginning of the season. And it just depends on how much, how comfortable Alex Smith is with that and you know, some of it goes with our offensive line and just tying all of those things together. Frank Gore, it changes his running style. So, I just want to make sure that the most important thing for us as a team, is to make sure that when we line up, we’re doing what we’re doing because it really benefits Alex Smith and our playmakers, it really benefits Frank Gore, it really benefits our team as a whole. So that’s what’s really going to determine how much of it we run going forward. Before we get excited about talking about a subject that could or could not help us get where we need to go. I just think that it’s an interesting topic to talk about and it’s been around a long time. And we’re going to just continue to keep looking at it and expanding it as we see fit.”

On the development of Alex Smith:

“In all honesty, obviously he can throw the ball. He’s throwing the ball as well as anyone right now. And I think obviously, it’s a tremendous asset to have a quarterback that can throw the ball. But at the same time, Alex Smith is still continuing to grow – his confidence and everything else. With every pass that he completes, his confidence just continues to take another step. It’s one thing to have a quarterback that’s coming from behind where you have to throw the ball, it’s another thing when you start the game. Let’s see if we can hit some of those things at the beginning of the game when the team is really trying to apply the pressure, to do some of those blitzes, or to really run the mixed coverages and things like that. Let’s see if we can do that. I think that’s the next test. But it’s a little bit easier, and I won’t say by any stretch of the imagination that it’s easy, but it’s a little bit easier when you know that you’re coming from behind – whether it be the Houston game, whether it be the game we played this week – and you pretty much know that they’re going to be in a defense you know they’re going to be in. They’re kind of just sitting back guarding against you big yardage. At the beginning of th game, it’s different. The coverages are a little bit more complex. But that’s the next step that we have to take. I’m not saying that Alex can’t go out there and do that, but what I am saying is – I think we have a good thing going with Alex Smith – and I just want to make sure it continues to go well. But at some point in time we’ll know how confident he is in terms of at the beginning of the game, throwing some of those routes.”

On if he would agree that his team looked emotionally flat last Sunday for the first time really all year:

“I agree with that. Absolutely. I agree with that. You think on the one hand, how in the world do you go out in a game like that and be a little flat? But it’s not all on the players, being flat. That’s why we’re going got have a meeting of the staff. I think it’s important…I take full responsibility for that.  I really take full responsibility for that, because any time that you have a team and they go out there and they play flat, there’s something in the coaching that is flat. Maybe it’s something…it could be any number of things, but I take full responsibility, because that can’t happen – we can’t be flat. We can’t go out there and, I know it’s not one of those things where you go out there and you know you’re going to win the game. I know it’s not that. So it’s just a matter of making sure that when we go out to play, we’re going out to play for 60 minutes. Coaches and players. Let’s go and let’s have the enthusiasm. And not just on Sundays. It has to show up on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so forth. So I take full responsibility for that and I do agree with that.”

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