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Singletary and Teammates Applaud Franklin

Posted by Taylor Price on November 13, 2009 – 3:35 PM


A day after beating the Chicago Bears 10-6 at Candlestick Park, Mike Singletary said nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin has been his most consistent player this season.

That’s certainly high praise, considering the player who lines up behind Franklin is two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Patrick Willis. But Singletary meant what he said in complementing the play of his nose tackle, who took points off the score board by intercepting Jay Cutler at the Bears 1-yard line.

Known in the locker room for being one of the best dressed players on the team, Franklin became a new kind of trendsetter by becoming the first of five different players to intercept Cutler last night.

“It was fun,” Franklin said of his first-career interception. “But I’m just glad they didn’t get in the end zone.”

Franklin was asked if defensive lineman such as himself imagined scenarios where they intercept a pass and the 6-foot-1, 317-pound nose tackle admitted such things were in fact true.

111309-franklin-sub“I think anybody does on the defensive line,” Franklin revealed. “We’re the guys who rarely get our hands on the ball; we’re trying to knock the ball down. Fortunately, God blessed me to get a pick and I held on to it.”

It was Franklin’s first interception since his high school days at Science Hill High in Johnson City, Tennessee. Back then Franklin was an all-state linebacker who recorded 180 tackles as a senior. Franklin said he would send the ball back home to his mother, Chantini Carter who lives back in Tennessee.

Franklin received even more praise from teammate Jeff Ulrbich who was recently placed on injured reserve. Ulbrich, who remains around the team in a daily basis, interrupted Franklin’s media session to openly share his thoughts on one of the 49ers most underrated players.

“I’m putting this out there right now, anybody that doesn’t recognize that he is one of the top-3 nose tackles in the game right now, doesn’t know anything about football. You know nothing and you shouldn’t be writing,” said Ulbrich as he put his right hand on Franklin’s shoulder.

Ulbrich was asked if Franklin should be in the Pro Bowl this year, to which the 10-year veteran said, “He should, without a doubt.”

More Monday Notes

-After having their longest injury list after the Tennessee game, the 49ers have a shorter injury list following last night’s game. The injury list is: Michael Lewis (stinger), Arnaz Battle (quad), Mark Roman (knee), Adam Snyder (AC sprain), Takeo Spikes (hamstring) and Isaac Bruce (ankle).
-Out of the names mentioned above, all figure to be active for the 49ers next game against the Green Bay Packers. Singletary added that the team will need to monitor Spikes on a day-to-day basis.

-Singletary made a decision in regards to the starting wide receivers for the duration of the season. Josh Morgan will remain in the starting lineup when Bruce regains full strength in his ankle. But Singletary reiterated that Bruce will remain a factor in the offense and will see plenty of playing time.

-One are of concern to Singletary was the kicking game. Joe Nedney missed a 39-yard field goal which could have been a useful three points given the close circumstances at the end of the game. Singletary also said that wind played a factor in him not letting Nedney attempt a 50-plus-yard field goal on the 49ers final possession. Singletary elected to let punter Andy Lee pin the Bears inside the 10-yard line, but Lee was unable to do so. “We have to make those kicks,” Singletary said.

- Singletary was pleased overall with his defense and how they were able to execute the game plan for the Chicago game. “I thought our defense did what we focused on which was creating turnovers,” he said. But Singletary found areas for improvement after watching the game again last night. “We have to continue to work on our tackling on the perimeter,” he added. “We have to continue to keep working at that.”

-In addition to Franklin and others on his defense, Singletary singled out linebacker Matt Wilhelm who filled in nicely for Spikes. “Matt has experience and that helps tremendously.” Wilhelm finished the game five tackles, one of which went behind the line of scrimmage.

111309-smith-sub-A day after he completed two impromptu shovel passes for big gains, Alex Smith said he too found himself asking himself why he was doing it too. “Those things seem to come in spurts like that. You don’t get them, then you do two or three of them and you even ask yourself the same question, ‘Why am I doing it?’ It just kind of happens when you’re playing in the game, you’re not thinking, you’re just reacting. And sometimes it’s just a quicker way to get the ball out. You can’ always set up and have a form throw so it’s easier sometimes just to shove it to the guy.

-Smith praised backup running back Michael Robinson, who converted two first downs on the 49ers final offensive drive. “It was huge, especially when you’re trying to run down the clock,” Smith said. “We had the lead and it was important for us to change field position and take as much time off the clock as we could. To get those third down conversions to eat up quite a bit of that clock… in the end, those are things that help you win the game.”

-The maligned 49ers offensive line put together a solid performance, helping Frank Gore surpass the 100-yard mark for the 17th time in his career.

-“I think as the game went on we got better,” left tackle Barry Sims said. “It would have been nice to finish some drives off, we moved the ball well at times, but we needed to finish drives better than we did and give our defense a better chance where they do not have to win it on the last play of the game.”

-Sims, an avid golfer, will not step foot on a golf course this weekend with the 49ers having the weekend off. “I’m just going to relax, keep my body fresh and get ready for Green Bay,” he said.

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49ers React to Ulbrich Loss

Posted by Taylor Price on October 19, 2009 – 2:27 PM


Last Friday, 49ers inside linebacker Jeff Ulbrich visited with neurologists to determine the severity of a concussion he sustained on October 4, against the St. Louis Rams.

And on Monday, the news from that meeting caused the 49ers to place Ulbrich on the team’s injured reserve list and sign veteran linebacker Matt Wilhelm.

“We really have a conservative approach to everything we do as it pertains to our players,” head coach Mike Singletary said on Monday. “We want to make sure that we take care of our players because taking care of the players, means we’re taking care of their families as well in the long run.”

Singletary added that Ulbrich will remain around the facility as a mentor for younger players in a similar fashion as cornerback Walt Harris, who has been around often after injuring his knee in the offseason.

“Jeff is the kind of guy that you want around. He’s good for our team,” Singletary stated. “He’s good for our linebackers. He’s good for our coaches. He’s like a coach on the field anyway. Next week he will be here and in the meetings.”

While the 49ers coaching staff might have picked up an unofficial member of their staff, the players inside the 49ers locker room felt a major loss.

“Losing him is like losing a brother. I mean, it is losing a brother to me,” linebacker Patrick Willis said with intent. “I looked up to Jeff and I still do. He’s helped me understand so many different things.”

Since Willis joined the 49ers as a first-round pick in 2007, he instantly had the support of Ulbrich.

“From day one when I stepped out here and I didn’t know anything, I asked Jeff a thousand questions,” Willis said of Ulbrich’s influence. “Not one time did he hold out on me and not answer the question for me.”

Willis was pleased to hear that Ulbrich will remain around the facility and on some road trips, but not having him in full pads in the locker room and on the sidelines will be a shocker.

“Losing him is going to be sad. He was like a warrior in the game to me, especially in the locker room,” Willis added.

The tough task of filling those shoes falls on Wilhelm, who has spent the last six seasons with the San Diego Chargers. Wilhelm was with the Philadelphia Eagles this past training camp, but was released prior to the start of the season.

What makes Wilhelm a likeable candidate is his familiarity with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s defense, a system he played in for four seasons in San Diego.

“The meat and potatoes of the defense I know pretty well,” Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm understands both inside linebacker positions, but will have to learn the terminology associated with the defense. Knowing that, Wilhelm wants to help the team in any way as soon as possible.

“Obviously, this is a backup role, because they have two great inside linebackers. But they need someone to come in on special teams and be one play away and learn this defense as fast as they can,” Wilhelm said.

More Monday News and Notes

-Singletary was asked if starting strong safety Michael Lewis could be placed on IR like Ulbrich because of a concussion, but the 49ers head coach said it was “unlikely.” He also stated that Lewis’ return has not yet been determined and that the team would continue to monitor his health.

- Last week, Singletary hinted a possible change on the offensive line. On Monday, he announced the changes.

“Right now, Chilo [Rachal] and [Adam] Snyder will alternate [at right guard], a lot like [Tony] Pashos and Snyder at the right tackle position. We want our best five on the field, and we feel like Snyder alternating with Chilo will be good for us to find out who is best at that position.”

-Singletary has been pleased with the progression he’s seen from rookie wideout Michael Crabtree in the short period of time he’s been with the team.

“Michael Crabtree’s progress is excellent. He’s working his tail off. He stays here. He’s with the coaches all the time and learning the playbook. They’re very pleased with what they’re seeing, and I’m pleased with what I’m seeing and the conversations that he and I have had. With the coaches, it’s been great. He can’t get enough of it. He wants to be out here. He wants to get better. He wants to play and make a contribution. So, that’s very exciting.”

-Quarterback Shaun Hill said he didn’t realize how big Crabtree actually was on the football field.

“He plays much bigger than he appears. When you see him, you think he’s on the short side. But when he’s out there playing, he’s a big target out there. He has very strong hands and attacks the ball out there. I think he’s going to be good for us.”

-Hill was also pleased with Crabtree’s work ethic.

“I’ve been very impressed with how much he’s learned since he’s been here. He came right in and was able to pick it up. If a question does arise, he’s not afraid to ask. I feel very comfortable that he’s going to know everything he’ll need to know for this game on Sunday.”

-Hill said the front seven of the Houston Texans defense has stood out to him the most through his film study.

“Good team. They’re playing well right now. They’re going to be a very good opponent for us. They have a very good front with a great pass rusher in Mario Williams. They just play good fundamental defense.”

-Hill will be aided this week significantly with the return of running back Frank Gore, who has missed the last two games with foot and ankle injuries. The 49ers star runner stayed in the Bay Area over the bye week to rehab his injuries and also help Crabtree get filled in.

“Over the bye week, he [Crabtree] looked very good. He was getting the plays. Now we’re fully-loaded as an offense and on Sunday we have to get going,” Gore said. “I feel like a kid right now, I can’t wait to get back out there with my team.”

-Gore said he wasn’t concerned about out-scoring the Texans’ high-powered offensive attack.

“For us, we just have be ourselves and go out there try to keep the chains moving and score points. If we do that we should have a great chance to win.”

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49ers Regroup After Atlanta Loss

Posted by Taylor Price on October 12, 2009 – 3:42 PM


The way Shaun Hill sees it, there are two ways the 49ers can deal with Sunday’s 45-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. They can either dwell on the loss during the bye week or they can get back on the field and work things out.

Hill and the 49ers will choose the latter.

“Generally you have another game to rebound in a week, in this case we have to sit out and have this taste in our mouth, but this is a good time to work on some things, without a doubt,” he said on Monday.

In Hill’s estimation the game came down to execution.

“By and large we didn’t execute as well as they did,” he said.

From the vantage point of head coach Mike Singletary, the 49ers didn’t respond to the Falcons solid start.

“As a team, we learned that preparation is everything and yesterday was one of those situations where on the defensive side of the ball, it felt like they had a great game plan and we had a difficult time getting on track.

“The preparation as a coaching staff, starting with me, was not great and we just did not do a good job overall. When that happens it makes it difficult.”

The players felt the same way about their performance.

“We didn’t get it done in any phase of the game,” cornerback Nate Clements said. “I always look at myself in the mirror first. I felt like I could’ve done a lot better across the board. You can’t just pinpoint one thing in this game.”

Clements will treat the next two weeks as if the 49ers won the game.

“I take the same approach win or loss. I’ll look at the film, see the corrections that need to be made and I’ll make those corrections on the practice field,” he said. “We all know we can play a lot better.”

A lot of Monday’s locker room talk went towards Dre’ Bly’s fumble on his interception return and his mid-return showboating. On Monday, Bly addressed the media alongside of Singletary.

Bly began with this statement:

“I wanted to come to you all and publicly apologize for yesterday. I apologized to coach. I’m not a selfish guy. I didn’t mean to embarrass him, my team, ownership, or the fans. I’m a prideful guy. I like to have fun and it was totally inappropriate. I got caught up in the moment and it was wrong.”

Bly’s teammates applauded him for owning up to his mistake to the media.

“That doesn’t surprise me at all, he’s a high character guy,” Hill said.

Singletary said Bly approached him early in the morning before he could talk to the veteran about his interception.

When Dre’ came in, it’s one of those things I didn’t really expect. I thought that I was going to have to go to him because I didn’t even notice all the other stuff, the hand behind the head and all of that. I didn’t even notice that yesterday. I just knew he caught the ball, and the next thing I knew, there was a fumble. But, when I saw him holding the ball the way he was holding it, I knew there was a good chance that it would come out.

“By him coming to me and saying the things that he said, it really took off a lot of the thought process, in terms of where I was going to go with it because we are – we’re not trying to – we are building something here, something that will be special, and it is going to be a process. But, yesterday, that was just something that, as a 49er, that’s just something that we won’t do. I think now he understands that.”

More Monday Notes

-Safety Michael Lewis sustained his third concussion of the season. While the news is serious, Singletary announced on Monday that the team received positive news in regards to Lewis’ latest injury.

“Afterwards, he cleared right away, meaning that he was coherent,” Singletary said. “He understood everything that was happening, which is a very good sign. So, now it’s one of those things we have to really look at and watch day-to-day and see where it goes.”

-Singletary didn’t have any new information on linebacker Jeff Ulbrich, who sat out of the Atlanta game because of a concussion he sustained against the St. Louis Rams.

 “The biggest thing about Jeff, as in Mike, we are continuing to evaluate there and we want to do all the testing we can just to make sure everything is right because everything is about them. When it comes to injuries, I want to make sure that there’s not a player on the field – practice field or playing field – that has some type of injury that could harm them going forward.”

-Singletary said there were a couple of factors in why Vernon Davis and Hill looked out of rhythm on Sunday.

“Vernon had to turn right now, but it was one of those things where the blitz was there and it didn’t get picked up and Shaun either got picked up, but Vernon didn’t have his head turned around. Or it didn’t get picked up and he had to let the ball go.”

­-Asked what the team’s biggest concern was headed into the bye week, Singletary said it was to make sure the team had the best 53 guys available.

“Whatever changes we need to make, that we make them now. Whatever things we need to clean up, we clean up then begin to go forward with that. I think that is the most important thing, to make sure we have the 53 guys that are going to be with us these next 11-plus games going forward.”

-Singletary said first-round draft pick Michael Crabtree will remain close to the facility during the bye week so he can better prepare himself for his NFL debut in two weeks.

-Singletary had a special guest at his press conference in his former college defensive coordinator at Baylor University, Corky Nelson. Singletary introduced Nelson at the end of his presser and praised him for teaching him “everything he knows about linebacking.”

“As a matter of fact, he about killed me in college and I hated him in college because he hurt me. He’s the best coach that I know to teach the fundamentals of linebacking. I can honestly say that everything that I know about linebacking, I learned from him. He wanted to come out and I’m very thankful, I’m very blessed by him, his wife, and some other friends from Baylor. I wanted to allow him to come in and listen to this. He said he wanted to it, I don’t know why, but he said he wanted to listen to it.”

-Singletary finished his press conference by leaving a message to the 49ers Faithful:

 “The last thing that I want to say is this – I’m not going to apologize to the fans again, but the one thing that I want you to know after a game like yesterday it’s a situation in where you kind of sit back and go ‘Wow, I didn’t really know that could happen again.’ And the thing I will say is this, this team will be a special team, this year will be a special year. It’s unfortunate as to what happened yesterday. As a staff, we did not do a good job preparing for a team [coming off of] a bye week, but going forward, we will come back and we will get better and we will be a team for our fans to be proud of.”

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Singletary Serenaded For 51st Birthday

Posted by Taylor Price on October 9, 2009 – 2:51 PM


At the start of team meetings this morning, Mike Singletary received an extra special birthday gift – all of his players singing happy birthday to him in unison.

Singletary turned 51 on Friday, but said he would not do anything out of the ordinary to celebrate the day.

“I was telling somebody earlier, every day for me is like my birthday. I’m the most blessed man in the world. To be able to come out here and work with these guys every day, then to go home to my family –it can’t get much better than that. I’m good.”

Other Friday Notes

-The topic of Singletary’s press conference quickly turned to how focused his team would be for Sunday after the signing of first-round pick Michael Crabtree.

“I think our team is very focused, very mature and at this point, we’re not going to let anything take our attention off what’s really important,” Singletary said. “Crabtree is in here, fantastic, great, glad we got him. But, we got Atlanta this weekend. That’s been the focus all week. I’m very thankful our guys see it that way as well.”

-Singletary said the only players out of action will be running back Frank Gore, safety Reggie Smith and linebacker Jeff Ulbrich. (Click here to read both team’s injury reports).

-Asked about his comment from earlier in the week in regards to his defense being the least selfish group he’s been around, Singletary elaborated on his previous statement:

“I’ve been a part of some great defenses and too often what happens is this guy is saying, ‘Wait a minute, I got that sack!’ or ‘Give me a chance to make a sack!’ None of these guys ever talk about. They’re always talking about what is the best way to get to the quarterback. Who’s supposed to be here or there – we never talk about that.

“To me – that’s truly amazing. I think that’s one of the No. 1 reasons we’ve been effective. That’s something we have to continue to do because week in and week out it’s all about gap integrity. If you’re doing your job, forget about everything else, just make sure you do your job first then go ahead and try to do something extra.”

-Earlier in the week Singletary said his offensive line would have to pick up their play, and on Friday he re-visited those comments.

“I had a conversation with them letting them know how much I appreciate their ability to work at it. They’re trying to get where they need to go and that’s a great thing to see and it’s going to pay huge dividends down the road. I’m just excited about their perseverance. They’ve been through a lot. I have to remember that at times and make sure I appreciate the small things they’re trying to do to get big results.”

-Lastly Singletary said he has not made plans for the bye week in regards to practice. “I don’t know, I have a couple of surprises for that. I don’t know just yet, but we’ll talk more about it after the game,” he said.

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Singletary Approves of 49ers Character

Posted by Taylor Price on October 5, 2009 – 2:11 PM


On Monday, Mike Singletary spoke positively about all three phases of his 49ers ballclub and singled out a handful of players on each unit.

The 49ers head coach also commended the performance of his entire team in a game they were expected to win. Singletary referred to the game as a “character challenge,” citing how the team entered the game as the favorite and responded with a convincing 35-0 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

“I’m very proud of the guys and the way they played,” he said.

Singletary opened his Monday briefing by announcing that starting running back Frank Gore and second-year safety Reggie Smith had been ruled out of this Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Falcons. Gore is out with an ankle injury and Smith is out with a groin injury.

In addition, Singletary said outside linebacker Marques Harris suffered a hamstring sprain and linebacker Jeff Ulbrich had a concussion. Two players who suffered minor injuries, free safety Dashon Goldson and outside linebacker Manny Lawson both returned to action later in the game.

When commenting on the play of his offense Singletary said he thought quarterback Shaun Hill did a good job of spreading the ball around and keeping it in the hands of only his receivers.

He also highlighted the performance of his rookie running back.

“I thought [Glen] Coffee ran hard,” Singletary said. “He just has to continue to get into the groove.”

On defense, Singletary was overwhelmed with the hustle displayed by his defense.

“Defensively looking at the film, guys were running to the ball,” he said. “When you talk about relentless – that’s what you see on film.”

One of the players who embodied that relentless style of play will be recognized on the NFL Network’s “Head Coaches Show.”

Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis will be highlighted by former 49ers head coach Steve Marriucci on tonight’s show that will air on the NFL Network at 3:30PM PT.

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NFL and 49ers Think Pink

Posted by Taylor Price on October 2, 2009 – 2:12 PM


If you see members of the 49ers and Rams wearing pink cleats, gloves, sweat bands or hats this Sunday, don’t be alarmed.

It’s planned.

This week, the NFL will do its part in celebrating breast cancer awareness month by allowing selected players to wear pink cleats and gloves. Sweatbands and hats will be available to all coaches and players on the sidelines.

“Without a doubt this is a great idea,” linebacker Jeff Ulbrich said on Friday. “There are so many people who are affected by breast cancer in general. I think it’s really cool that the NFL is doing something like this because of the exposure that the league gets on a weekly basis.”

The chance to spread awareness is even more special to Ulbrich, as his mother is a breast cancer survivor.

“She’s in the process of recovering, but she’s feeling a lot better,” he said. “I’m honored to help spread awareness and honor her courage.”

Ulbrich said he wasn’t chosen as one of the 49ers players to wear the pink cleats, but he understands why.

“I don’t know who they selected on our team or the other team, but hopefully they chose guys who will have the ball in their hands and will get a lot of exposure on TV so we can get the message out there.”

Other players like tackle Joe Staley won’t be able to wear the pink equipment because of the position he plays.

“I’d love to wear the pink shoes and gloves, but my hands and feet are taped up so you wouldn’t be able to see them,” Staley said. “The pink equipment should be for the guys who get the most visibility.”

A group of players who are not afraid of grabbing the spotlight are the 49ers defensive backs. Come Sunday, the corners and safeties will likely be wearing some brighter than normal accessories.

“For us, we’re real flamboyant guys and we like to wear all types of bright colors,” cornerback Tarell Brown said. “If you have confidence in yourself you can wear pink!”

But joking aside, Brown understands the importance of this Sunday and appreciates the NFL for doing their part in raising awareness to such an important cause.

“It’s a positive thing to raise awareness and give back to the community. Anytime you have the opportunity to give back you have to do it. What the league is doing is a huge positive. They’re doing a great job with helping out in the community and I think a lot of teams are excited about this Sunday.

“I think if we all had the opportunity to do wear the pink cleats – I think we all would. I definitely would try to wear a nice pair of black and pink cleats!”

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Singletary Moves on From Minnesota

Posted by Taylor Price on September 28, 2009 – 1:30 PM


The 49ers heartbreaking defeat didn’t have their head coach down on Monday. Mike Singletary seemed to be in usual spirits during his annual day after the game press conference.

“They just make a football play, that’s what happened,” Singletary said of Minnesota’s last second touchdown pass that helped the Vikings win 27-24.

Rather than dwell on the disappointing loss, Singletary wants his players to learn from the experience and use it to get better.

“I think you take it, you learn for it and you get ready for the next game,” he said. “Winners let it go – they move forward. Losers wallow in it.”

Singletary said his team got better in “some areas” but refused to specifically single them out.

Besides fielding a number of questions relating to the game’s surprising finish, Singletary was also asked about the status of running back Frank Gore.

Singletary said that Gore would have an MRI on his strained right ankle later today. Other than Gore, tackle Joe Staley had a knee contusion and will have an MRI later today as well. Also, safety Reggie Smith suffered a groin injury, linebacker Jeff Ulbrich had a right quad contusion, cornerback Dre’ Bly injured a toe, guard David Baas sprained his ankle, tackle Adam Snyder sprained his thumb and linebacker Takeo Spikes suffered a left leg contusion.

Asked more specifically about Gore, Singletary said the injury was not related to the ankle sprain he sustained against the Seattle Seahawks.

Singletary said he hasn’t determined how long Gore will be kept out of action.

“I’m going to do what’s best for him first, then I’m going to do what’s best for the team next,” Singletary stated.

More Notes From Monday:

-Staley looked good to Singletary earlier this morning and the MRI is more of a precautionary measure.

-Singletary said there was a point in the game where he felt the 49ers running game was getting into a rhythm, but Percy Harvin’s 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown stifled all of that. “We were starting to get what we were looking for in the running game.” After the kick, Singletary said the 49ers “had to get back to the drawing board.”

-Singletary on Vernon Davis’ seven catch, two-touchdown performance: “Yesterday was an improvement for him. I think he’s capable of a lot better than yesterday. Hopefully we will see more of that in the future.”

-Singletary also said the 49ers were not in a prevent defense on the game’s final drive. “We were playing a get to the quarterback defense,” he said.

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Jones Sidelined with Fractured Shoulder

Posted by Taylor Price on August 7, 2009 – 1:58 PM


Wide receiver Brandon Jones will miss an extended period of time after suffering a slight fracture of his right shoulder, 49ers head coach Mike Singletary disclosed on Friday.

The free agent addition was turning heads throughout training camp prior to being injured during red zone 7-on-7 work in Thursday’s afternoon practice.

“It’s going to be a little longer than we anticipated,” Singletary said of Jones’ injury. “But, we’ll work through it.  The receivers that we have, we’re very confident in our guys here.”

Jones’ injury opens the door for the rest of the 49ers talented wideout group. In particular, Dominique Zeigler, Jason Hill and Arnaz Battle could be the main beneficiaries. The way Singletary sees it, the injury doesn’t jeopardize the production from the receivers this season.

It doesn’t do anything to be honest,” Singletary added. “As I’ve said before, this is not a political speech, it’s the truth.  We’ve got wide receivers that (receivers coach) Jerry Sullivan is working his tail off with them.  They’re growing, progressing.  We’re fine for right now.”

So far at camp, Jones had been lining up at three different spots. Without his versatility, others within the group will have to fill the void. 

“I think that is something that Jerry Sullivan and myself along with Coach Raye will sit down and talk about,” Singletary said of who will step in for Jones as the team’s No. 3 wideout behind Isaac Bruce and Josh Morgan.” Thankfully, as I’ve said before, we have some receivers and I know we have some who are capable of stepping and doing a good job.  I hate that we lost Brandon Jones.  He’s making great strides.  He’s doing a great job (and) he will be back.”

The good news for Jones is that his fracture will not require surgery. Only time is necessary to heal the injury.

Asked if Zeigler could be the man capable of stepping in for Jones, Singletary was complimentary of the lanky wideout from his alma mater, Baylor University.

“Certainly Dominique has continued to make strides since he’s been here.  We’ll just have to sit down and talk about it and see what we’re thinking.”

Now that the 49ers have been at training camp for almost a week, Singletary has been pleased with his team’s progress. After Friday morning’s workout, Singletary gathered his team to discuss the strides that were made throughout the week.

“Right now we’re on track.  We’re not executing the way we want to execute right now.  But I don’t think anyone is outworking us.  As long as you continue to work, game progress and confidence, the execution will come.  But I’m very proud of the guys, in terms of the work ethic.  In terms of the execution, we’re not there yet; we have to just keep plugging away.”

Morning Practice Particulars

jmooreblog-subOutside linebacker Jay Moore returned to practice after suffering a nasty cut on the middle finger of his left hand. Moore’s hand was heavily taped like he had a boxing glove on his hand.

During 1-on-1 wide receiver defensive back drills, Zeigler made another impressive catch in front of veteran cornerback Dre’ Bly. Zeigler appeared to have no chance of catching a pass headed towards the sideline, but Zeigler reached out and grabbed the pass. The catch was so impressive; all of the defensive backs on the sideline watching the drill couldn’t help but look at each other in amazement after what they had just witnessed.  

Before the team met for their final 11-on-11 portion of practice, 10-year linebacker Jeff Ulrbich gathered everyone to remind them to finish the practice strong.

“I just felt like occasionally about this time of camp, people start to get tired,” Ulbrich said. “They start losing their legs a little bit and the energy starts to fizzle. I just felt like we needed to finish strong and that was basically all I was saying to the group.”

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Singletary: ‘Today was one of our better practices’

Posted by Scott Kegley on August 5, 2009 – 12:55 PM


Vernon Davis, Isaac Bruce and Delanie Walker all hauled in long touchdown passes during the first of two practices on Wednesday, prompting head coach Mike Singletary to praise his team’s effort and tempo.

“I thought that today was one of our better practices,” Singletary said.  “I think that this is a practice that we can build on.  If we can get this much better each day, I think that puts us where we need to be.  I just complimented the guys; I thought they did a nice job.  We’re excited about today.”

But the morning session wasn’t all about flashy passes and solid play by the defense as Singletary and special teams coordinator Al Everest began practice by demonstrating and expressing the importance of a few football fundamentals – ball security and form tackling.

The players were first split into groups based on body size where one player would try to strip the ball while the other held the ball “high and tight.”

“It serves both sides of the ball,” cornerback Shawntae Spencer said.  “For us, our objective is to get the ball back for the offense.  When the ball carrier is running, you have to strip the ball and we work on a few different techniques.  On the other end were the receivers, who we worked with, and their job is to protect the ball.  To be honest with you, they did a better job because you didn’t see too many balls on the ground.”

The next drill lined up two players with a five yards between them, forcing the defender not to bite on the juke and secure the open field tackle.  Such basic skills are second nature to defenders, but offensive players must also know how to wrap up.

“We’re used to that on the defensive end,” Spencer said, “But it was interesting to see the wide receivers do it.  It was kind of funny.  A lot of those guys did pretty well, but they don’t practice that a lot, so that was entertaining.  I heard [secondary coach] Johnnie Lynn coaching up Brandon Jones, telling him to stay low, but Ziggy [Dominique Zeigler] was the funniest I think.  It just didn’t look right.”

Cornerback Dre’ Bly, who’s locker is next to Spencer’s, laughed in agreement with that assesment.

Tackling did not look foreign for all of the offensive players however.  Linebacker Jeff Ulbrich even noted that Zeigler and a lot of the receivers do well tackling when they are on kickoff or punt teams.  In fact, it was one of the running backs that caught Ulbrich’s eye in the drill.

“I thought Frank looked like a pretty good tackler,” Ulbrich said.  “He’s just one of those old school football players who can do it all.”

The 49ers have one more practice this afternoon that will focus solely on special teams.

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