Head Coach Scott Linehan

November 14, 2007



(Opening Remarks)

“This week’s coach of the week is Doug Newton and his staff at Pattonville High School. They scored 34 points off of turnovers against Lafayette High School. The final score was 51-21. Congratulations to Pattonville High School and Coach Newton, his staff and team.



“(Eric) Bassey and (Todd) Johnson checked out ok on their test, based on the game. They are cleared to go.



“Isaac (Bruce) was full practice today. Dante Hall was full practice. The limited practice players were: Torry (Holt), which we will continue to do that for the remainder of the year during Wednesday practices, Andy McCollum and Brett Romberg. Richie Incognito was listed, he will officially go on injured reserve today and we’ll move Eric Moore up from the practice squad.”



(On why C Andy McCollum was limited in practice)

“He’s been playing a lot more. It’s general wear and tear.”



(On if this is the healthiest practice the team has had this year)

“We didn’t have an O-lineman schedule for surgery today. That was an improvement. We really didn’t come out of the game with a whole lot of significant issues going into the week. With Isaac’s (Bruce) hamstring and some of these, whether or not (Brett) Romberg’s going to be up. We came out of that ballgame much healthier and went into the ballgame gaining some momentum as far as the health of the team.”



(On if C Brett Romberg is available for Sunday’s game if it will be difficult to insert him in the starting lineup in order to keep continuity among the offensive line)

“That’s a decision we are going to have to make. We want to encourage Brett to get back out there. He’s the starting center for us. Based on the turmoil we’ve had keeping the line healthy and a group together, it’s certainly tempting to keep things the way they were.”



(On S Todd Johnson and CB Eric Bassey’s performance on special teams)

“Todd, it is pretty well documented, that one of the big reasons he was coming here was to be a big-time special teams contributor. He’s been an excellent player, one of our most consistent players throughout the whole season on special teams. He can fill in and do a very nice job as a safety. He’s played a lot and is a great leader for that spot. We’re very happy with the evaluation of him and bringing him in.



“Eric Bassey’s been a great story because he was an acquired player to the practice squad from another team. They saw an evaluation of other players that we do during the preseason. He came in here and earned his way up the ladder on practice squad. He went out and made an impression on special teams and the show-team. He was given an opportunity to go in on special teams, and be put on the depth in the secondary, and really show what he could do there. He’s really played consistent. He’s been one of our leading tacklers and production players on special teams the last couple of weeks.”



(On if C Nick Leckey played well enough to start on Sunday)

“We’ll determine that by Friday. It shows that he’s played and competed in a lot of games whether he has the right physical characteristics to play that position, he has the right mindset and competitive spirit. He showed where we’re trying to get as far as, regardless if you are counted on to be the starter or backup or fill-in, whoever goes in has to play well enough for us to win. He came in at a tough spot vs. Cleveland and took a lot of accountability on his shoulders for us not doing as good as we wanted to do. He went out and played very, very well the next game. It’s a great example of what we’re trying to get done.”



(On Leckey being a feisty player)

“He has that mentality that regardless of how big he is or how big you want your guards and centers to be, he just has that extra part of the game you need to be a winner. That’s why he’s survived and made it in this league.”



(On if he will rotate the right tackles at San Francisco)

“We will, based on how the last game went. It worked. It worked for one game, one week. We just have to keep finding ways of settling in what we think is the best way to win. Those two guys (Leckey and Brandon Gorin) have different things that they do well and it’s not a bad change-up as long as we can continue to play at the level they were able to play for at least one game.”



(On decision to place G Richie Incognito on injury reserve)

“He would be available, at best, for the last two games. That’s the positive outlook. We have seven games to play, there’s a good chance he’d miss six of them. We have to invest in who is going to be available for the next seven games. We still have the good possibility of having Todd Steussie back on our team next week. It just made sense. We just added T Mark LeVoir to our team yesterday off of Chicago’s practice squad. We have to invest in the next seven games and just make the decision to get another guy on the roster and give someone a chance to get the reps he wouldn’t have if he didn’t replace him.”



(On what he knows about T Mark LeVoir)

“We looked at every practice squad player. We looked at our grades on every practice squad player. He was one of the top graded players that was still out there that you could possibly get. There’s no guarantee that you can get any of those guys to come. They still have the option. We went back and evaluated all those grades; the scouts grades, Paul Boudreau and Coach (Jim) Chaney evaluated the top three and went back and watched their preseason games and came up with top graded player. The top graded player was LeVoir. We felt like he has the physical size and makeup for the position. He’s really a tackle, but could play guard. He has really developed. Maybe not as fast as a (Mark) Setterstrom, but a similar type of player. He came out of Notre Dame and grew up in Minnesota. He’s gotten better. He really played well enough in preseason films for us to think he could be a future player for us. We look at it as an extra draft pick at this point because he’s been through two preseasons and camps with Chicago and really improved.”



(On what DE Eric Moore brings to the defensive line)

“He’s No. 1 attribute is to be able to rush the passer – third down. What we lack in that area we’ve been making up for it with Will (Witherspoon), (Brandon) Chillar and Pisa (Tinoisamoa). We’ve moved some guys around in some spots. That will help. He can really help us in the special teams again. He was a guy that can be put in the special teams role he was being worked at earlier in the year before we cut him and put him back on the practice squad. Hopefully he can contribute there first and give us some help on passing downs.”



(On being able to evaluate players you would normally not evaluate)

“We’ve looked at a lot of linemen. We’ve scoured the entire league. That’s going to be a positive down the road. You have to look at it like, ‘here’s a young player with a lot of upside. They have the physical potential to be what you’re looking for and is a couple years ahead of being what is a draft pick next year.’ You have to take advantage of the fact that we have spots open on our roster. The potential of adding a person, there is no guarantee he was going to come. There is some recruiting that’s involved in that. He (LeVoir) looks at it is an opportunity. He sees a lot of young players that have played. Last year we signed (Brett) Romberg off of the practice squad, one or two games into the season last year, by season’s end, other than (Todd) Steussie, we had first and second-year players playing for us upfront. Down the road, you look at a guy like that who is going to be competing for a roster spot, even a starting spot one day. You never know. You have to accumulate those kinds of players so you have those options.”



(On RB Steven Jackson’s back injury)

“Twenty-seven touches, I eased him right end, right? It worked. It wasn’t the same as a normal game like we had last year where he basically took every play. He was doing third downs, short yardage, everything. It works to have a change up. Brian (Leonard) can play a lot a third-down situations. Antonio (Pittman) did a great job in his first role, to come in and spell by series. That’s what keeps a guy like Steven fresh. For the most part he is going to be in the game. He’s through and past – I wouldn’t say 100 percent concern that he’s going to have a setback with a back or anything. Anything is possible. He was more general soreness after a game. He felt more normal after this game than he did and I think much better than he would have had he played a lot more, especially early in the game.”



(On rotating different running backs)

“We’d like to keep that going as much as we can. As long as we stay healthy we’re headed in the right direction.”



(On RB Brian Leonard playing fullback)

“He’s a competitive player. He’s not the 250-pound lead blocker that everybody thinks of as a fullback, but he gets the job done. He’s also a threat on having the ball in his hands one way or another whether it’s handing him the ball or throwing him the ball. That’s the vision I had when he came here and on special teams – that he was going to be a guy that could do just about anything from fullback to tailback to third-down back to special teams player, just an all around asset to the team. That’s a much better role for him, not that he can’t be our tailback. He had 102 yards against Arizona. He’s proven he can get 100 yards in an NFL game. That role is well suited for him.”



(On if he was surprised WR Isaac Bruce practiced today)

“Isaac doesn’t surprise me. He defies a lot of the odds. What happened to him was more of a scare. He felt that hamstring get pulled and aggravated and was concerned that he was going to do something worse to it. He tried to keep it warm on the sideline. He knew that there was a pretty good risk that he could injure it more. Dane (Looker) stepped in and played and Drew (Bennett). We were able to do that. He’s not 100 percent, but he’s closer to being cleared to play or up for this game than I thought he would be.”



(On how Bruce injured himself)

“He was making the cut before the ball was thrown. Once the ball was thrown to him high, he went up for the ball, I think he felt it. He went right to the ground and was stretching that leg out. It scared him a little bit that he may have re-injured it worse. He feels ok.”



(On WR Dante Hall)

“He’ll be fine. He was close last week – just the lateral cutting was a little concern. Also, preparation for being ready. He had a family emergency and missed a practice. It all wasn’t very good timing last week. Those were the two factors in not being available last week. Now he’s ready to go.”



(On QB Marc Bulger being named NFL Player of the Week)

“Our expectations were we would have a couple of these. We talked about it or the potential of it, every other week. After the bye week, we’re headed in the right direction. We put together a great team effort. Marc was a recipient of that. I like to have more and more of them and more nominees for the rest of the year. We make progress in that direction even though we lost the Cleveland game. Instead of spending our time wallowing around in misery, we continued to work at it; Marc did and the offensive players. It was a good start. Perspective is still – it’s just one win. We’re not having too many unrealistic celebrations around here. It is a very good sign that his point in the season we’re continuing to improve and get healthy.”



(On what position C Brett Romberg will play if he is active on Sunday)

“Guard and backup center. The way the season has gone, my No. 1 goal is to stay with the group that’s in there as long as they’re playing well; and try to keep some continuity with that group so that they can gain confidence.”



(On attacking San Francisco’s defense)

“The biggest thing they did was, they did a nice job of putting us in long yardage where we were forced to hold the ball longer than we wanted to. Some of the design of what we were doing put us in position for them getting to the quarterback. We would like to avoid third-and-long if we can. If you can do that it gives you much better chance of No. 1 converting, but No. 2 protecting the quarterback. We’ve made a lot of adjustments since then, the scheme of what we’re doing and the way we’re thinking with the adjustments we’ve had to make in our line. The biggest thing is not to get in a position where we feel we have to hold the ball to get the first down. We have to do a better job on first and second down this game.”





***** Head Coach Mike Nolan

November 14, 2007



(On what his schedule is going to be like this week after missing a few days last week)

“I will not miss anything this week. They are going to have the funeral services on Saturday so Friday after we are complete I will fly down to Dallas and fly right back after the funeral service on Saturday so I will miss a brief meeting that we have on Saturday mornings but outside of that I will be here all week. Last week I did miss a couple of days. Had the opportunity to go down and say goodbye to my father before he had passed but this week I will be here the whole week.”



(On if the week has been difficult on him or if the amount of work has been enough to keep him busy and his mind off of it)

“I think that is a good way of saying it. There is enough work to keep me busy but the thought bounces in my head from time-to-time. It’s a big loss and you walk with a heavy heart sometimes but at the same time he is in a better place and is not in pain anymore so there are a lot of things to it. Having the ability to say goodbye to someone is a unique experience not one you want to have often. But it sure beats not being able to have an opportunity so I don’t have any regrets and things like that. Like you said, the distractions of the job and the multiple things you have to do as a head coach kind of keep you distracted in a positive way. It is something he did as well so when I am distracted by it, it is almost energizing to know that it is something that he would have done as well.”



(On if his fathers condition has been more of distracting lately or if it has been a steady decline)

“No it is just one of those things. It is not something that has weighed heavy on my mind for a long time just because when a season begins, the responsibility of the job becomes such. When all of the sudden there becomes and immediacy to what is occurring, meaning he is going to pass, then obviously it is more on your mind. Otherwise you’re just kind of thinking ‘he must be doing ok, he must be doing ok’ because I he was in Dallas and I was in San Francisco so I wasn’t around to see him everyday like some of my siblings were. It hasn’t been on my mind, like I said, prior to last week.”



(On what he thinks have been some of the biggest reoccurring problems throughout the season)

“I think our biggest reoccurring thing has been our ineffectiveness on offense to move the ball and score points. Our special teams and our defense has done a good job. The defense has had some days that weren’t as good as others but for the most part our defense has played well enough to win and our special teams have been outstanding the entire season. The offensive side of the ball has been ineffective and inefficient as far as consistency and getting points. That has been consistent throughout the season not just the last seven losses but the nine games as a whole.”



(On how much of QB Alex Smith’s performance has been affected by injury versus confidence)

“That is a good question. He was knocked out for a couple of games and prior to that I thought he was doing alright. He was just more accurate and things like that. Since he has come back, his accuracy has been down a little bit. There hasn’t been any pain by his measure or anything that he has said. He hasn’t said anything about any pain so he has been fine there. But he has not been the same quarterback as he was before he got banged up and was out for a couple of weeks so maybe there is something there that he is not speaking about but I don’t think so. I just think as a whole our offensive football team has not done as good of job as they did a year ago.”



(On if the same thing applies to Frank Gore with his injury concerns)

“Frank got banged up and was out for a couple of weeks, but when Frank has carried the load, he has done an outstanding job. His run per carry is still pretty high. He averaged 5.5 yards the other day in the loss on Monday night in Seattle. I don’t think there is too much drop off in Frank right now, I think most of it is just been an overall getting the ball in the endzone whenever that could occur, whether it was running or throwing the ball and outside of that our passing game has not been up to snuff.”



(On them doing a lot in free agency like the Rams but the records not showing that and what he attributes that too)

“Maybe to injuries that they have faced. Some teams may attribute it to other things. I believe that our football team as a whole, two-out-of three phases I think are playing well enough to win but outside of that it still takes an entire football team to win a game so if we do turn the ball over it is the expectation of your defense that they get the ball back so that you balance that out. Obviously that is not easy to do, it is easy to talk about but it is something that you have to work hard at making it happen and we as a football team have not kept up with the negative plays against us. We haven’t swapped those out. We haven’t been on the even scale as far as that goes. It has been a disappointment in certain areas but outside of that in our division maybe some of us got ahead of ourselves.”



(On if the success of the Rams blitzes last week, has them expecting to see more of that this week)

“Oh I expect to see it in passing situations without question. They did do a very good job of it and they beat a very good offense in New Orleans. New Orleans turned the ball over several times. So I thought the Rams did an outstanding job. I think (Jim) Haslett has always been a very good coach and came up with a good plan. I believe that in passing situations against us he will try the same exact thing. In running situations most people try to load up the box on us to make sure they stop the run and sometimes that box with a blitz or sometimes they load it up with just an 8-man front. But I look for them to do both to be honest with you. After a win, it energizes you. It gives you confidence so that is kind of why every team is trying to get on that winning trail.”



(On how the Rams getting a win last week changes the dynamic of the team thinking they might not be as desperate going to San Francisco as they were going to New Orleans)

“Well maybe they are not as desperate but they are certainly feeling good about themselves and having the ability to win a game. Sometimes if you get off the winning track for too long you start to doubt whether you can win a game or not. I think they are a great example of a team that didn’t have a win at all that got one. Like I said, I’m sure you guys will be around them all day today and this week and they have to be feeling a little bit better about themselves and that is a real plus.”



(On if it surprised him that they started out with a 0-8 record considering all the weapons that they had)

“Yes it did. I thought they were a good football team. We played them early in the year and they had some injuries at that time also mostly on the offensive line. The Rams are a good football team. It is a fine line between winning and losing in this league. You can just about win any Sunday and you can just about lose every Sunday too. But they have some good players, and I have obviously noticed that they got a couple of them back. It is the same group that we faced in the first game as far as the playmakers that they have on offense any how.”



(On if this is a type of elimination game in a sense with many saying that everyone is still alive in the division)

“It could be. Every time you lose, you eliminate yourself one more step. We thought going up to Seattle the other day that we had the opportunity to get right back in the thick of things. Had we won that game we would only be one game out of first but we didn’t so we sit here at three games (back), which is a big difference with seven weeks to go. To be honest with you we are just focusing on one week at a time, which we have been for awhile, we have to make this week happen.”



(On if that raises the magnitude or the expectations of this particular match-up)

“Whoever we were playing this week, it would be magnified because we need to get back on a winning trail.”





***** QB Alex Smith

November 14, 2007



(On rebounding from a 24-0 loss to Seattle)

“Part of this game is being able to get past things like that. I think you have to have a short memory in some instances. I think once you watch the film and take what you can from it, you have to put it behind you and get focused for the next week. You have to have a short memory and really not dwell on those things and try to move on. It’s frustrating, but at the same time you have next week to re-prove yourself.”



(On how the team has taken the news of the death of Dick Nolan, father of ***** Head Coach Mike Nolan, and how it’s affecting the team)

“I know everyone’s feeling for him. It’s a tough loss and I know it’s hard. I think this team has done a good job trying to stay focused with that.”



(On if injuries have made it difficult to develop an offensive rhythm)

“It is difficult. You always hate to use that as an excuse and you don’t, so the next guy has to step in and not miss a beat and move on. I think that’s been the biggest thing, but obviously you can’t blame it on that. That guy has to step in and not skip a beat and continue to execute.”



(On the Rams defense)

“They bring a lot of pressure. I don’t know if that was game specific verse New Orleans and how much they throw the ball with (Drew) Brees back there or if that’s something they’re going to. I think they try to create pressure obviously the entire season, but last week there was a little bit more. I guess we will find out.”



(On ***** RB Frank Gore)

“When you have a strong running game, when you have a guy back there that gets a lot of attention I think it gives you matchups outside and gets situations you’d like outside, one-on-one situations, and it’s just a matter of taking advantage of them.”



(On if the loss of former offensive coordinator Norv Turner has been a big adjustment)

“It has been. The system has stayed the same, but as far as the play calling goes and game planning and things like that, it takes on a different attitude with Coach (Jim) Hostler here. He’s a different guy and is going to have different game plans. It has been a difference.”



(On the biggest differences between Coach Hostler and Coach Turner)

“I think just different styles, different mentalities going in. Obviously they’re different individuals and they’re going to have different takes on the game and that week’s approach, so there’s subtle difference. I guess when you reflect on the two years we’ve done different things, but obviously there are different players here as well, so it’s hard to say – just different.”



(On if he’s frustrated)

“It would be hard not to be frustrated after losing seven games in a row. I’m definitely frustrated right now with myself, obviously, with the shoulder injury and just where I’m at health wise. That’s definitely frustrating, as well. That’s part of this game. You have to battle through it and continue to work and continue to get better.”



(On if confidence becomes a problem during a seven-game losing streak)

“I think naturally there’s going to be some of that any time you lose, period. You might have some of that, then obviously when you lose seven in a row there might be some doubt. I think that’s part of this game, as well. You have to battle through that and continue to go back to what has gotten us here and that’s work ethic, that’s doing the little things, the details, the finishing, then really focus on that and really come together.”



(On the NFC West being looked at as an up-and-coming division in the preseason and why things haven’t panned out like many predicted)

“It’s hard to point to any one thing. For me personally, to be at 2-1 going into the Seattle game and feel good about the progression we had been making and then suffer the injury and sit out those weeks and even kind of come back with it and battling through that and what this has been like. That’s been the most frustrating thing, at least for myself and this offense.”



(On if his shoulder is still bothering him)

“Yeah, it’s something I’ll continue to have to work through, even just coming back from those three or four weeks off.”



(On Rams LB Will Witherspoon)

“I think there linebacking crew as a whole has really been playing well. They all seem to be productive players and guys that just seem to go to work. They are productive and they make a lot of plays. They show up on film. I definitely would say that about their linebacking crew as a whole.”