Head Coach Mike Smith
Q: This game coming up looks like it might turn out to be a big hit fest.
A. "The 49ers are a very physical football team. Coach Singletary preaches physicality and I don't think that those guys have any doubt their going to be ready to play and have a physical football game."
Q. Do Patrick Willis and Dashon Goldson set the tone for that?
A. "Willis has been in the League for two years and has gone to two Pro Bowls. He had a gigantic game last week against St. Louis with 2.5 sacks, and I believe he had two tackles for loss, an interception, and a return for a touchdown. For some guys, that's a season, but he had that production in one game. Their safeties, (Michael) Lewis and Goldson, are very physical. They have a big corner named (Nate) Clements. He weighs over 200 pounds and he's a very physical corner. Shawntae Spencer is on the other corner. It's a very physical team and it's going to be a big challenge for us. Not only are they physical on defense, but they're big up front on the offensive side of the ball as well. Their offensive line has some really big guys and they pride themselves on wanting to run the football."
Q. How does the rotation work with Takeo Spikes as middle linebacker?
A. "Spikes is out in their sub package. They bring in an extra defensive back to play the nickel defender. They take out a defensive lineman. With their two outside linebackers, they can step with their hand down and maybe get Manny (Lawson) and Parys (Haralson). Both of those guys are very good pass rushers. They were defensive ends in college in a 4-3 scheme. There is not a whole lot of substitution. Those guys can put their hand in the dirt and rush the passer."
Q. Talk about where their rush defense ranks in this game, and what that allows you.
A. "Well, they've been very efficient in stopping the run. One of the teams they played was the Vikings and they held them to under 75 yards of rushing. They've done a very good job through the first four games. I think it will be a big challenge for us, depending on how they try to defend us. We're going in there with all intentions of it being a physical football game."
Q. Tony Gonzalez admits to missing blocks in the run game. We would have never known the difference. What do you think of a guy like that taking accountability?
A. "I think that's what our team is all about. We've watched the first three games in off week and really had an opportunity to evaluate it. Guys need to be accountable, and they are accountable. I think that's the great thing about this group of men. They are accountable, not only for themselves, but for each other. We know the areas that we have to improve in and it's across the board. Not just in one area, but offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. We all have to be accountable for what we've done so far."
Q. You've mentioned before that Tony Gonzalez is more than a receiver. He can block too.
A. "He is a very good blocker. I think especially when you start talking about tight ends. I think he's an all-around tight end that can catch the football and he can also run block. He has been a very effective player and a run oriented offense when they had the Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson putting all of those numbers up. "
Q. How do you prepare the team for a West Coast trip?
A. "We want to make sure our guys are hydrating prior to the trip. Anytime you go into altitude, you want to make sure they hydrate so we've had a different hydration plan through the week. We're going out on Friday evening. We'll practice here tomorrow like we normally do, and we'll catch a 5 p.m. flight. We'll arrive out there about 10 p.m. body time. We'll have a bite of dinner, get our guys in bed, and then we'll have a normal Saturday to get ready for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Sunday afternoon."