Singletary stating his case with players

Niners interim coach Mike Singletary does not want to make the case for himself to get the permanent job next season. But his players have no such hang-ups about campaigning.

"I think he should get the job," tight end Vernon Davis said. "He's a great coach."

Singletary said he is not auditioning for next year's job, he is merely trying to do his best this season. The 49ers have a 2-3 record since Singletary became the coach to run their season mark to 4-8.

"When it's all said and done, I really won't try to make a case," Singletary said. "Hopefully, the case will be set.

"And if it's not there, it's not there. I can't really think about all of that other stuff."

But one thing that is clear is that Singletary has an overwhelming amount of support from his players.

Veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes raved about Singletary's commanding presence. Cornerback Walt Harris said Singletary is just now getting the team to play the way he wants.

"It takes time for the mentality to soak in, for the players to understand what it takes to win," Harris said.

Although Singletary is a defensive coach, the offensive players have bought in, too.

"He's going to get you better," running back Frank Gore said. "For one thing, he'll let you know whether you're doing the right thing or not. If you want to be a great player in this league, you need somebody like him over you."

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Singletary said all it has taken is five games since taking over as interim coach to discover his true calling.

"I am having the time of my life," Singletary said. "This is what I was born to do. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind."

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Singletary wears a large wooden cross during practices and games. He said of his religion, "If it were not for God, I would not be here."

Why does Singletary wear the cross in such a visible manner?

"I decided to wear the cross as a reminder of who I am and not lose my mind on the field and not become somebody else," he said. "I want to be consistent with who I am, so I'm very thankful for the cross."

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Quarterback Shaun Hill was making just his sixth career start, but he certainly knows how to manage a game.

On a third-and-12 situation with 2:26 remaining Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Hill resisted his quarterback instincts to throw the ball away. Instead, he went down for a sack when he could not find anyone open down field.

The Bills were out of timeouts, so the clock was able to run down to the two-minute warning before Andy Lee punted.

"I knew if I had an open receiver, I was going to take it for a first down," Hill said. "If it was gray at all, then definitely I was going to take the sack as opposed to throwing it away just to keep the clock running.

"That's an extra 20 seconds, which was a long time, so that was kind of the main thinking."

Hill said nobody on the 49ers' sideline reminded him to take the sack to keep the clock moving. Even though it was just his sixth NFL start, he knew what had to be done to manage the game.

"There are so many situations that come up in games and you have to rely on your preparation . . . so that your instincts are right in that situation. The instincts in a normal game situation would be totally different - you throw it away. But things change in different parts of the game."

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Safety Mark Roman has just one interception in 44 career games with the 49ers. He said he simply hasn't had any opportunities to get interceptions, other than a ball thrown by St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger earlier this season that he got his hands on.

Roman knows all about Favre. They were teammates with the Green Bay Packers. So Roman said there is the potential for getting some chances to make plays when the Jets come to town with Favre as their quarterback.

"I can remember when we were playing in Green Bay, sometimes you'd be like, 'Man, I wish we were playing against Brett right now,' " Roman said. "Sometimes he has those kinds of games, but you can't go into Sunday wishing that Brett shows up because he can either be really good or he can throw you a few."

Here's Singletary's take on Roman: "I'll put it this way, I think what Mark does is a tremendous asset because he gets everybody lined up he gives you an idea, he gives all of those guys an idea of what's coming, what's happening and he plays really smart and he plays tough. Hopefully he's due (for an interception), hopefully this game it happens but I would never judge a guy solely on how many interceptions he has. I was one guy I didn't have a whole lot of interceptions in my career you can say ‘why didn't you have more interceptions?' Well when the ball came I got a little tight and we played a whole lot of man-to-man coverage as well so that was a lot of it but I couldn't judge him solely on that but Mark is a solid player and I'm glad you told me that. I'll tell him ‘Mark, it's time to get one', hopefully this weekend."

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Niners offensive coordinator Mike Martz is not worried about the balance of the team's offense.

Early in the season, running back Frank Gore was getting some yards on the ground, but quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan got sacked 34 times in the first 7 1/2 games.

Now, quarterback Shaun Hill is getting time to throw, but the holes do not seem to be there for Gore. Gore has rushed for just 92 yards on 38 carries in his past two games. When the 49ers face the Jets on Sunday, they'll be facing the the fourth-ranked run defense in the league.

"So when teams face us, what's the first thing that they are going to take away?" Martz said. "They are going to take 21 (Gore) away. So when they line up in there and take 21 away, they're not rushing the passer now are they? And now they create some good things for us in the passing game."

Martz said the key for the 49ers is to do both successfully in the same game to keep a defense off-balance.

"You just have got to be able to transition in and out of the passing game and the running game when that happens and that's why we do what we do," Martz said. "That's why one week, he might rush the ball 15 times and the next week he might rush it 32 times. It's not so much the balance of the game, but the effectiveness of what you do."

One of the key matchups Sunday will be 49ers center Eric Heitmann against Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins.

"In 17 years that I've been in the league, he's the best center that I've had," Martz said of Heitmann. "He's the best by far, because he's so much more physical than most centers. He's got so much size to him and pop."

Heitmann, a 312-pounder, will have to summon all his strength on Sunday when he faces perhaps his biggest challenge. Jenkins -- all 350 pounds of him -- will line up directly over center.

"We're fortunate to have him," Martz said. "That's why I'm excited about that matchup."

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