San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan opened his press conference stating that the team is only two games behind division leader Seattle. They are in a very unique position given the fact that they play the Seahawks next week and the lack of competitiveness within the NFC West has not counted them out just yet.
Nolan stated that he continues to have confidence in his players and staff and that the team plays hard. The team is just inconsistent.
He noted that linebacker Jeff Ulbrich continues to play well as he has throughout the season. Rookie safety Dashon Goldson has played good as well.
The secondary played a good game and the defense as a whole played well and even forced turnovers toward the end. The team needs to get better at stopping the run early in the game.
This was the best game that Nolan has seen tight end Vernon Davis play and he was pleased with some of the things that he did.
Nolan was pleased with the performance of running backs Maurice Hicks and Michael Robinson, who were in there in place of Frank Gore.
Tackle Jonas Jennings will be placed on injured reserve to have surgery on his ankle. Nolan has confidence in Adam Snyder to step in for Jennings. There are no plans to move rookie Joe Staley over to left tackle.
When asked about the Seattle game and the 49ers' playoff hopes, Nolan said that this coming game is very important and you never want to count yourself out.
Nolan feels that, while quarterback Alex Smith did not play well at points in the game, he remains very confident. He feels that Smith's development has been slowed by a lot of the changes within the team and still feels that he is early in his career and the flaws on offense are a matter of execution. Alex Smith's play is not the result of his injury, despite the fact that his shoulder remains sore. While Smith has a lot of discipline, he is still inexperienced.
Nolan has found much of Vernon Davis' actions on the field very encouraging and feels that the second year player has matured. He pulled fullback Moran Norris from some on the field antics and warned him to not get the team penalized.
Nolan feels that they have done just as good a job as anyone at managing timeouts in games. He defended his time out calls from Sunday. Nolan went into a lot of detail discussing why they did what they did with their timeouts, how the team works out plays in certain situations and how they get those plays in to Alex Smith. I am sure that Matt Miaocco and Matt Barrows will go into this discussion in greater detail. Stay tuned to their blogs in case they provide updates later.
Guard Justin Smiley suffered a separated shoulder on Sunday. Doctors were able to pop the shoulder back into place during the game.
Nolan ended his press conference by reflecting on some of the things that his dad would do or say during tough times that help him in the present.
The press conference video will eventually be archived here: