Q: What was your overview of the game?
Nolan: I'm disappointed in the loss. Mostly because I thought we had an outstanding week during the bye week. I thought we practiced well. I thought we prepared well. It's evidence, today, that any time you make that many mistakes, whether it be penalties or turnovers, I believe the turnovers themselves led to 24 points, they stick with the win. As a matter of fact, their turnover led to our touchdown in the ballgame. As was evidenced by both teams, when you turn the ball over, it's going to hurt you. I thought the mistakes hurt us as well, whether that be by penalties and those things. I thought that the offense had a good plan, I thought that it was evident in the use of personnel. We said going into this football game that we wanted to utilize more people, we did. I thought that some of them gave us an especially good chance. We seemed to make a play and then, like I said, we got into turnover problems.
Q: Offensively, you seemed to mix personnel and formations well, but couldn't get the ball to open receivers. What was the problem?
Nolan: To be honest, a couple of times there was two guys uncovered. Like I said, I thought the utilization of our personnel was good. I thought the plan was good, it gave us an opportunity to be successful. Some of the times we took advantage, but there was some times there that were very costly. The turnaround for a completion for 10, 15 yards that we had a few times as opposed to an interception going the other way … obviously there is a dramatic difference between the two. So it kind of tells you how fine a line there is between success and disaster.
Q: The Giants have a pretty good defensive line, and as the game went on, you made some moves with Adam Snyder going in for Jonas Jennings at left tackle and David Baas going in for Justin Smiley at right guard. What was going on there?
Nolan: Well, even all last week, I said that we'd play those players, and that's basically what we did. It wasn't like we just started yanking people. It was something that we'd set out to do early on. We probably could have done it a little earlier, but not because the players weren't playing well, because the turnover things, I don't think they had as much to do with. Now the sack pressure, no question that we need to get the ball out of there. But that was something that we went into the week saying we were going to do, and we'll continue to work those younger two players in particular in the game. We've got good backups, and we need to play some of those linemen.
Q: You guys made so many changes in the offensive personnel, do you think that created confusion?
Nolan: No, they did a good job. I don't think that was confusion on the interception, I don't think that was confusion of Frank's fumble, and it certainly wasn't confusion on a penalty on the false start. No.
Q: What about Ashley Lelie? We didn't see him early, but what made you decide to go with him more as the game progressed?
Nolan: He's in our three-wide package, and I think he's going to do a real good job for us. What you saw in the first half, when we got into third down, he was in there, although we had a couple of third-and-shorts that don't count as far as the personnel grouping that we use with him because we can run the ball out of those other things. But anyhow, in the second half you saw more of him probably because when the score had gotten like it was, we had to start using a little more of our third-down offense in order to try and stay in the game, and that's why you saw him. But I thought he did a good job, and he'll continue to be part of what we're talking about when we utilize our people.
Q: Did you see some progress being made in your ability to move the ball on the ground?
Nolan: Going into the game, I thought that our running game would do well, and I actually thought it would do better than it did. But the game took on, you know, when you turn the ball over, and then the other team gets ahead, as we all know, defenses play with a different mindset when they're up by seven and then 14 or whatever it be. It changes their aggressiveness, there's absolutely no tentativeness in what they do, and so they can take risks and things. But sometimes that pops it open for you as well. So there's good to get out of a lot of situations. Today, we just didn't take advantage. They did.
Q: What about the 13 penalties against the 49ers today, the most all season?
Nolan: That was awful. That's really poor. I don't know what to say. You can't win doing that, and we haven't been penalized all that much. But at the same time, when we get 'em, we got 'em. Last (game) was the same.
Q: Is Alex Smith coming back as the starting quarterback next week?
Nolan: I would hope that Alex would be ready to go. We'll wait and see. There's a good chance. But right now, I'm uncertain, I just wouldn't know right now.
Q: Did the injuries to Frank Gore affect how much you gave him the ball?
Nolan: How we approached the game at all? No. If he was playing, we were going to use him. Otherwise, take him out of the game. We're not going to keep him out there just to use him as a decoy. Frank didn't want to come out. Several times we tried to get him out, and he felt he wanted to keep going.
Q: Did the pass rush of the Giants come from where you expected?
Nolan: Yeah, we expected it from the outside. They got an early sack out of (Michael) Strahan and they got two from Osi (Umenyiora). We had some breakdowns.
Q: Gore didn't play much in the second half. Was that because of the score?
Nolan: No, the score dictated some of the personnel and therefore it was more of a third-down personnel grouping. We had to go to it more often than we would have in a tight, normal game. Whether it was Delanie Walker or Michael Robinson, some of those people, Vernon (Davis) is back. Again, in the first half, we started out with some good things and then just a bad game.
Q: Did you think about taking Trent (Dilfer) out of the game and putting Alex (Smith) in?
Nolan: To be totally honest, I thought about it. It just crossed my mind, because (Dilfer) was getting hit, but I didn't want the other guy to get hit as well. If it had been Alex as it was two years ago, where the next guy in line is the guy you're trying to develop, then that would probably have been more viable. I did think about it, but as it was, no. I wasn't going to do it. Plus Trent had taken all the snaps.
Q: How do you feel about where the team is right now?
Nolan: I'm very disappointed in the loss, mainly because we're our own worst enemy right now. We've been that for a while. Last year, it seems, our worst losses, that's what we were. As I said last year, and I'll say now, I know we keep getting better and I don't know when it turns. It was the last thing last year, it was the same thing the year before. It's a disappointment to me that we are that way early on, it's a disappointment because it cost us games.
He said it: Mike Nolan after loss to Giants
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