49ers thoughts from Singletary's session

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Thoughts after attending Mike Singletary's day-after-game news conference at San Francisco 49ers headquarters Monday:

  • The 49ers' head coach appeared quite subdued and understated, though he laughed when asked about it. Singletary used the phrase "decent job" to describe Alex Smith's three-touchdown performance during the 49ers' 40-21 victory against Seattle. This sounded like at attempt to stay grounded. Had Smith struggled, Singletary probably would have downplayed that angle as well;

  • Division games against St. Louis and Arizona to close the season are more important to the 49ers than their game against San Diego this week. That thought came to mind when Singletary described left guard Mike Iupati's status as day-to-day following a stinger injury suffered Sunday. Having a game Thursday gives Iupati less time than usual to recover. Resting him sounds better than risking him if it's a close call;

  • Singletary said the 49ers are "still searching" for a defining performance. He described this season as "gratifying" when asked whether he was having fun. Singletary said it was gratifying to see how a very "green" team had kept fighting and looking ahead through the ups and downs of the season;

  • These news conferences tend to become self-analysis sessions for Singletary. I think that is partly because he's a fascinating and compelling figure. It's harder getting him to discuss specifics about plays, players, strategies, etc. He doesn't volunteer as much in those areas.

  • Had Singletary become a better coach this season? "We'll see at the end of the season," he said.

I'll be traveling back home from the Bay Area later Monday and heading to St. Louis over the next couple weekends. The 49ers' game at St. Louis in Week 16 stands out as the next pivotal matchup in the NFC West.