San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan addressed the Seahawks beat reporters for about 10 minutes during an interview via teleconference this morning.
Nolan was pretty straight forward and answered all the questions, but as you can imagine Nolan did not divulge a whole lot about his plans on how he'll attack the Seahawks on Sunday.
However, even though Nolan's 49ers suffered a season-opening loss against Arizona, he still believes his team is improved from last season.
Nolan also confirmed that quarterback Alex Smith has been put on the injured reserve list for the season with a shoulder injury.
Here's the transcript from Nolan's conversation:
On quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan's first regular season start for the 49ers: "I think he managed the game well. He had a couple turnovers in the game. He had some help from some of his teammates on those turnovers. But I like what I see. I think he's tough, competitive and resilient. He's got a nice feel for the game. Again, I don't know exactly where he's at, but I feel the more he plays the better he's going to get because the things around him I'll think he'll trust in them more and they'll be trustworthy as we go forward."
On what O'Sullivan did to earn the job: "Well, the things I just spoke about are what he showed me. And it goes back to probably the first couple times we got him in some minicamps He didn't get much, but we got him in there and did the things we spoke about. He walks in there and he's got a good command, a good presence. And he did the same thing in training camp.
"The first week of training camp he didn't take any reps the first five days and then we stuck him in there a little bit and again, he got my attention. He got Coach Martz's attention and we decided to go with a rotation that made him a part of the mix."
On how Seattle's depletion at WR affects game planning: "It makes preparation difficult. Obviously they have until Friday to finalize their roster so they can practice any way they want. But Coach Holmgren's always been an outstanding coach in every facet, whether it's play calling or whether it's putting his roster together or creating an offense. So we've got are work cut out for us, and the best we can do is just prepare based on what we know and react to the other things on Sunday."
Do defensive back prepare for scheme and not the players? "Both. You try the best you can to prepare for both. You can't rule anything out. Obviously we try to keep abreast of who's being added to the roster and who's not.
On how they approach the Seahawks defensively considering their lack of receivers: "You prepare for both (players you see on Seahawks' film and players who haven't yet played for the Seahawks). You can't rule anything out. Obviously we try to keep abreast of who's been added to the roster and who's not, but they've got practice squad guys who I'm sure are working in some capacity. We try to cover all the bases, you don't want to unturn any stone. You want to turn them all over just as they will do with our defense. It just makes for a little more work than you typically have."
On how he felt about Seneca Wallace playing against them last season: "Obviously he's a very versatile player. He can run with it, he can play quarterback and throw it, or he can play wide receiver and catch it. He did catch one on us at the wide receiver position for about twenty yards. I know he tried a reverse and a reverse pass that were somewhat unsuccessful but at the same time, any time he goes in the game you want to be alert to the possibilities of whatever he can do, which like I said, are pretty multiple. But he's a good player."
On whether he had a specific plan in place in case Wallace came into the game: "We recognized him as a possible quarterback, so any time you get two quarterbacks on the field at one time…Much like Hines Ward at Pittsburgh, it's the same type of situation. Although he's a wide receiver now, he can play quarterback and when he does, what happens? There's a number of guys in the league that do it, some do it better than others, but Seneca Wallace has proven that he can do all those things and do them very effectively. So it wasn't so much that everyone was looking and anticipating him being there, it's just one of those things that should slip in a couple times during the week and that should be enough that everybody's at least aware of it. Players know players, and if somebody comes in that doesn't look like what they anticipated, then obviously there should be a light that goes on that says, 'Something's up.' But in this case, as has been pointed out, he can be a starter and play 50 snaps for all we know."
On Alex Smith's condition: "Alex will go on IR. That's about the extent of where I'll go with that. That will happen today."
On whether there are any other injuries on the 49ers: "Our team's fairly healthy. We got to play better than we did the other day from an overall standpoint, but we're healthy."
On what Justin Smith has brought to the defense: "Obviously the versatility in itself gives you two things: it allows you to match him up on players and it allows you to do a couple other scheme things that maybe you wouldn't do with somebody that wasn't the type of player he is. What I like the most about him is he's a hard-working, tough individual. He's just a tough, good football player is what he is. His motor runs high all the time, he plays every snap, which is not customary for a defensive lineman. There are some other guys that do that…He's been a very good addition, I've been very pleased with him. As I mentioned, if you're a player next to him, I think you like the way it looks next to you because he is a tough, good football player."
On whether Smith's injury affected his decision to start JT O'Sullivan: "They were all healthy. We had an open competition at quarterback and all three guys were healthy throughout the competition. Alex had his injury on Friday, in the Friday practice. It really didn't have any bearing on the decision of who was one, two and three."
On how important it is to have Isaac Bruce on the offense: "Well, if it's the only way we win, then it's critical. He's a very good player. He's very professional, very mature. I think anyone in the league would like to have him on their football team, us included, for more reasons than those I just mentioned, because obviously he's a playmaker. It's important as we go forward that he gets the ball, no question. He's not here to be a decoy."
On what Mike Martz has added to the team and who does the play-calling: "The play-calling belongs to the offensive coordinator, just like it does on 31 other teams. But from a philosophical standpoint, we talk about the plays—not necessarily the specific plays—but we talk about our philosophy going into the game and what we want to accomplish. And if the game goes that way, then we stay with that strategy. But if it goes another way, then sometimes you have to adjust, whether it's to run a little bit more, practice a little bit more, whatever, anything. Mike's a very intelligent, very capable football coach, as we're all aware. I've heard him do his job and I think he's outstanding at it. Like I said, we communicate a lot on things, but outside of that, Mike calls the plays."
On Martz's stigma that he doesn't like to run the ball: "You know, that's just kind of a fallacy about Mike. Clearly, with Frank [Gore] last week, that was evident. I think that scared Frank a little bit early. But as Frank will tell you now, after being around Mike all training camp and now after the first regular season game…Look at Mike and Marshall Faulk. He was the MVP of the league one time, so I think it's almost comical when people say he doesn't like to run the ball. Mike just likes to use the best players. If one of them is the running back, then he'll run the ball."