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Players Feel Support with Stadium Results

Posted by Taylor Price on June 9, 2010 – 11:51 AM

In speaking for all of his fellow 49ers teammates on Wednesday, cornerback Tarell Brown sounded very pleased to hear the citizens of Santa Clara had approved the plan for a new 49ers stadium.

“I’m excited and I know my teammates are too. It’s been a long time coming,” said Brown on an off day for players between OTA sessions. “A lot of people are really excited about it, and it just shows you how much trust the city has in us as 49ers and the great job they’ve done upstairs in getting the job done.”

With 59.61 percent of the vote in favor of Measure J, the citizens of Santa Clara supported the stadium measure not just with votes but with their time. Some 700 hundred volunteers took part in the campaign process, spreading the word about the benefits of having a world-class stadium in the heart of Santa Clara’s entertainment district.

Because of the outpouring of public support around town, the players truly felt the passion from those around them in the community.

“It makes you realize how much people care about not just the team or the city, but things outside of the football in the community,” rookie safety Taylor Mays added. “The people are extremely passionate and that’s what I’ve realized from seeing this stadium vote go through.”

In respecting that passion of the team’s Faithful fan base, the 49ers will remain as the San Francisco 49ers.

Linebacker Matt Wilhelm put the stadium change into perspective best.

“The tradition of this organization with all the championships and the Hall of Famers is not going to go away over night just because the stadium is moving. We’re going to wear the ‘SF’ on our helmet and we’re representing more than just San Francisco, we’re representing the whole Bay Area.”

Most of the players had been following the campaign results last night, but fell asleep like many of us, not knowing the final outcome.

Thankfully, they were informed of the positive vote when drove to work this morning only to see a giant billboard posted on the corner of Tasman Dr. and Centennial Blvd. which read, “Future home of the San Francisco 49ers.”

“I saw that this morning coming in and thought to myself, ‘It’s going to be crazy!’ Brown said with a smile. “I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people and surpass a lot of stadiums. This is going to be one of the top stadiums people will love to come play at.”

Brown sees the new stadium as a great venue for all Bay Area football fans, not just the players on the field.

“At the end of the day we’re still the San Francisco 49ers. There are a lot of other teams who have the stadium in different cities, just like the New York Giants playing in New Jersey and the Dallas Cowboys playing in Arlington. Regardless of where you put the stadium, that’s not going to change who we are and where we’ve come from.”

For more information on the 49ers new stadium visit: www.49ersnewstadium.com


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Sims is Playing ‘Outstanding’ Football

Posted by Taylor Price on November 17, 2009 – 3:31 PM

Coach Singletary had a pretty direct answer in responding to a question regarding the play of Barry Sims.

“Outstanding. It’s a pleasant surprise,” the 49ers head coach said of the 11-year veteran who has filled in nicely at left tackle for injured tackle Joe Staley. “I think he’s done a great job. I’m really excited about what he has been able to bring to that position. I think he’s done a phenomenal job.”

Outstanding, check. Great, check. Phenomenal, you can check that too.

Definitely some high praise for Sims, who has given up just a half sack in two starts this season. Sims practically had three starts, considering that Staley was injured on the first play of the game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Sims’ experience (129 starts in 159 games) has been a big plus in helping the 49ers offense the past couple of weeks.

Upon learning that his coach had called Sims’ play ‘outstanding,’ quarterback Alex Smith agreed with his coach’s opinion.

 “I think just that, he stepped right in and hasn’t missed a beat. He has played really well,” Smith said of his fellow University of Utah alum. “That’s hard to do, come in and play left tackle in this league where you are getting matched up every week against big-time pass rushers; the way he’s played has been great. I don’t think twice back there, I trust those guys up front.”

The rest of the 49ers offensive linemen also have a lot of trust in Sims.

“He’s a salty vet, so he knows what it takes to be successful,” said left guard David Baas, the man who lines up directly next to Sims on the line. “That’s what we expected out of him and we’re glad he’s doing well. We trust each other a lot out there, so that’s a good thing.”

Teammates like tight end Delanie Walker said Sims’ experience is exactly what the 49ers offense needed when Staley went down.

“He’s been doing a great job of executing his assignments and he’s been communicating well with the tight ends on certain blocks that we have to accomplish,” Walker said. “He’s been doing a great job. He’s been a leader for us.”

Walker said one of his favorite things about playing with Sims is how the 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman enjoys what he’s doing on the field.

“He’s the same guy; he doesn’t change on or off the field. I think that’s what makes him a great person,” Walker said. “He goes out there and does what he has to do. I like to see how he acts, I’ve seen him on the field smiling after a big play and I think when other players see that – it puts a smile on your face.”

Losing a player like Staley might have damaged the mindset of some teams, but the 49ers felt confident in Sims, knowing they had a player who has experienced practically everything a player could experience in the NFL.

“It’s tough replacing Joe, because Joe is a great tackle and a big part of this offense,” Walker said. “But I think Barry stepped in and has done a great job. We know he could do it because he had been doing it for a long time. Nobody doubted him, we knew he was going to step in and take care of the big shoes he had to fill.”

More Tuesday Notes:

-Singletary announced on Tuesday that rookie running back Glen Coffee will return this week after missing the Bears game with a concussion. Defensive tackle Demetric Evans will also return to action against Green Bay after missing the last few weeks with a shoulder injury.

-Other injury news: Takeo Spikes is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury. If unable to play, linebacker Matt Wilhelm will step in as Spikes’ replacement. Only Staley (knee) and cornerback Nate Clements (shoulder) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

-Singletary said that veteran wide receiver Isaac Bruce would return to action this Sunday after missing the Bears game (ankle), but would be behind Josh Morgan, who will start opposite of Michael Crabtree against the Packers. The 49ers head coach was non-committal in naming Bruce as his No. 3 receiver, citing that the coaching staff would have to determine the usage of receivers based on the personnel package.

-Asked if having the weekend off was a good thing for his players, Singletary answered: “I think any time you have an extra day or two for guys to get their legs back underneath them, some of the pounding that they’ve taken, to heal and use it wisely, I think it can do nothing but help us.”


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Singletary and Teammates Applaud Franklin

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

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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

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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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