SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In typical Mike Singletary fashion, nothing the San Francisco 49ers coach said Monday had to do with playoff scenarios or remaining games or the current state of the NFC West.
In his usual single-minded way, Singletary was primarily focused on Thursday night's opponent, the San Diego Chargers, and "the opportunity," as he likes call it, to play a meaningful game.
Asked at one point why he seemed subdued, he said, "My mind is on the San Diego film. I've been trying to get on track with that and think about different things."
Singletary gave the players the day off, although they'll practice on Tuesday, which is usually a day off for players around the league. The importance of a productive week of practice, no matter how short, is critical.
It's one reason the 49ers played well Sunday in beating the Seattle Seahawks 40-21 and kept their division hopes afloat.
"First of all, they did have a good week of practice last week," he said. "Sometimes, I would say, most of the time when they have a good week of practice, they'll play well; sometimes, it backfires. But I would say for the most part when they practice well they play well."
Here are some other subjects Singletary addressed:
On why he seems less animated on the sidelines lately: "I think more than anything, it's probably just a progression. You get to the point where you realize that the referees are going to call what they're going to call and there's only so much of that that you can control. My big thing is body language of the players, making sure that the coaches are on time and getting things in. Making sure that the quarterback has time to get the call and deal with the offense, so it's really kind of honing in on those things.
On whether the team has met expectations: "For me, it (goes) from week to week. They met them yesterday."
On whether this season has been fun for him: "I would say this: It's been gratifying. Let's put it that way. Not fun. Certainly fun at times, but for the team, for the staff, for myself, it's really been a lot of things learned in this season – about myself, about the team, about the progression of trying to build something. So more than anything, gratifying to see where we were at the beginning of the season, to see how green we were, to see how much we had to learn, how much we had to work through. The most gratifying thing is to see this team continue to fight week in and week out. That's the thing that really excites me about this team. They always look ahead."
On what he's learned about himself this season: "The biggest thing is when you look at how the season has gone, looking at all the stuff that evolves in a season like this, just being able to really help the team stay focused and, at the same time, make sure that the coaching staff and the team is on the same page. So the leadership point from my behalf, managing all of that stuff, making sure that everybody is staying focused in terms of what we need to do, what the goal is. Sometimes we have a vision at the beginning of the season and it hasn't changed, but the circumstances sometimes change, and just making sure that the coaching staff understands that this is still the vision. It's not going to change."
On whether he's become a better coach: "We'll see at the end of the season."
On whether he would consider it progression if the team finishes 7-9 and wins the NFC West: "I consider this: we had a win yesterday, we move forward from that. We're going to try to get a win on Thursday. That's all I consider right now."