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From the Field: Aug. 17 PM Practice

Posted by Taylor Price on August 17, 2010 – 4:00 PM

Mike Singletary is scheduled to speak to the media prior to Tuesday’s only practice of the day.

New 49ers running back Brian Westbrook just trotted out to the practice fields wearing his red No. 20 jersey.

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Willis Returns to Defensive Huddle

Posted by Taylor Price on June 14, 2010 – 5:36 PM

You will never hear Patrick Willis question the importance of practice. Not in mid-June, or in any month for that matter.

The 49ers three-time Pro Bowl linebacker and unquestioned defensive leader has been eager to return to the practice fields ever since he underwent a minor knee surgery this offseason.

In recent weeks, Willis has been slowly working over 49ers head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson for permission to practice, asking him what he’s allowed to do each and every day he’s been around 49ers headquarters. And while Ferguson has limited Willis to individual work in last week’s organized team activities, this week was a different story.

Willis’ self-described gnat-like behavior must have paid off as Ferguson gave him the clearance to join 11-on-11 periods during Monday’s OTA session.

The wait was difficult for Willis, but he understood Ferguson’s reasoning and respected it.

“He’s one of the best trainers in the league and with my injuries before he’s done a great job of getting me ready, preparing me,” Willis said while standing in front of his locker. “I was just going to listen to him and let him tell me what to do, but at the same time, I had to bug him a little bit to let me get back out there. He gave me the ‘OK’ to participate in some of the drills and it felt good to get my feet wet and get back on the field with the boys.”

The feeling was beyond mutual.

Once Willis stepped into the huddle, outside linebacker Parys Haralson remarked, “The X-Factor is back!” Others chimed in, “Welcome back 52!”

Willis wasted no time validating the opinions of his teammates. He instantly got involved in the action by perfectly timing a delayed blitz for a would-be sack of quarterback Alex Smith.

Several plays later, he read an inside handoff to running back Glen Coffee and was in perfect position to make a play on the second-year back.

Not bad, considering Willis told reporters how he felt slower with his eyes than his feet after Monday’s practice.

With Willis back in the fold for the remainder of the offseason, the leader of the defense only sees a better performance for the entire unit in 2010.

“I think our defense can be exceptionally good. It’s going to take a lot of hard work. It’s going to take guys continuing to grow and be hungry and want to be stronger than we were before. We want to be No. 1, but if we can get in the top-3, I feel like that’s putting us in a great spot as an overall defense.”

Notes and Quotes

With Willis amongst his teammates for team periods, safety Taylor Mays took the opportunity to stand beside head coach Mike Singletary and secondary coach Johnnie Lynn deep in the 49ers defensive backfield. That location, some 40 yards behind the play, was Willis’ destination for most of the offseason. But on Monday, Mays took mental reps and asked questions in between the plays he participated in during the team period.

The first and only turnover of the day took place in the first team period, when safety Michael Lewis intercepted Smith’s pass intended for tight end Joe Jon Finley. The deep crossing route was first deflected high in the air by cornerback Kary Paymah, which allowed Lewis time to catch the ball and run it down the right sideline for a nice return.

The best offensive play took place later in practice as third-string signal caller Nate Davis found rookie wide receiver Kyle Williams 35 yards down the field on a go route over the coverage of undrafted cornerback Tramaine Brock.


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Faithful Vote: Best Interception of 2009

Posted by Taylor Price on January 19, 2010 – 1:11 PM

January 26 Update:Congratulations to Aubrayo Franklin who won with 33% of the vote.

With 40 percent of the vote, Frank Gore ran away with last week’s “Faithful Vote” for the 49ers Best Touchdown of 2009.

But a new week opens up a new competition and a new fan poll on 49ers.com: Best Interception of 2009.

Just like with TV49’s touchdown nomination video, you can check out the top interceptions in this TV49 clip.

The 49ers had 18 interceptions in 2009, but after careful thought, we trimmed it down to the best four. Here’s a closer look at the finalists for this year’s best interception.

Our first nominee is the biggest. Not necessarily by reputation, but by stature. At 6-foot-1, 317-pounds, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin was easily the largest competitor in this category.

He was also the only 49ers defensive linemen to intercept a pass this season.

Franklin’s takeaway was crucial for a number of reasons. First, it was at an important early stage of the 49ers Thursday night primetime home matchup against the Chicago Bears on the NFL Network. The game was scoreless just under the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

Second, the interception happened at the 49ers goal line with the Bears needing more than a yard to score on third and goal.

With Chicago lined up in a goal line formation with multiple tight ends it appeared as if the Bears were content to try and pound the ball for the game’s first points. But that wasn’t quite the case.

Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler sold a play-fake to running back Matt Forte and then tried to find tight end Kellen Davis.

But instead he threw it to Franklin.

The nose tackle was blocked initially but scraped down the line where he found himself in perfect position to disrupt Cutler. Franklin read the play and put his hands up to block the ball, but somehow he plucked ball out of the air. Even more impressive than the interception from close range, was Franklin’s 11-yard return after.

Second on the list of nominees is strong safety Michael Lewis for his interception in the same game.

Lewis’ interception put a capper on the 49ers five-interception performance against Cutler and the Bears. It also literally ended the game.

With eight seconds on the clock and the Bears in need of 12 yards to give them the win (trailing 10-6 at the time) Cutler was again trying to force a pass to a tight end, this time it was to his starter, Greg Olsen.

But his pass did not have enough air under it and Lewis stepped right in front of the line drive intended for Olsen. By the time Lewis’ knee went to the ground in his own end zone, the game was over.

Our third interception nominee comes from first-year starter, free safety Dashon Goldson.

Goldson gave us the most interceptions to choose from, as he led the 49ers with four.

As for which one we selected as a finalist, Goldson’s game-changing interception against the Arizona Cardinals on “Monday Night Football” was certainly a worthy choice.

With the Cardinals needing 20 yards on second down, Goldson showed some serious play-making ability. Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner locked on to Steve Breaston one of his four wide receivers out in the play and Goldson immediately recognized it.

Not only did Goldson out-leap Breaston for the ball down the right sideline, he stepped in front of one of his teammates too. Cornerback Tarell Brown was also in position to make a play on the ball, but Goldson came instantly in the picture and took the ball right out of the air. After the play was over, Goldson (pictured above) celebrated in style.

It was key considering that the score was 10-0 late in the second quarter and Arizona was in need of points to stay in the game. The 49ers went on to win 24-9, clinching a season sweep of their division rivals.

Goldson finished the game with two forced fumbles to go along with his interception.

Our final candidate is quite familiar, mainly because he was nominated in our last category.

Patrick Willis’ interception against the St. Louis Rams was the only interception to be returned for a touchdown.

It was Willis’ second consecutive season with a pick-6, as he silenced the St. Louis Rams with a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown.

With the Rams facing a third-and-eight from their 20, Willis ended any hope for a Rams comeback with an amazing defensive play which showcased all of his physical tools. St. Louis came out in a shotgun formation with four receivers, but ultimately Boller found a receiver from the wrong team.

Pressure from outside linebacker Manny Lawson combined with great downfield coverage caused Boller to roll to his right and then errantly throw back across his body towards the middle of the field. Boller’s pass was intended for wide receiver Keenan Burton, but it found its way in Willis’ arms, who reached to his right and plucked the ball out of the air.

Willis slightly bobbled the interception initially, but his focus allowed him to take the ball untouched for the 49ers first defensive touchdown of the season. It also put an exclamation mark on the defense’s only shutout of 2009.

You can vote as many times as you’d like all week long by finding the poll on the bottom left corner of the 49ers.com home page. The winner will be announced next Monday, along with a new “Faithful Vote” for 49ers fans to debate on.


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On the Phone with Philly

Posted by Scott Kegley on December 16, 2009 – 10:48 AM

Eagles head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb called in to the 49ers media room today for their game week conference calls.  Both Reid and McNabb described the 49ers as a “dangerous” football team and stressed the importance of Sunday’s matchup to both clubs.

McNabb also said that the 49ers middle linebacker tandem of Takeo Spikes and Patrick Willis has the makings of a Hall of Fame combination.  He also spoke glowingly of his former teammate Michael Lewis who in his opinion, is a natural leader.

Reid reflected on the team’s decision to draft DeSean Jackson in 2008.  The coach said he didn’t have any reservations about Jackson after being well-informed by California head coach Jeff Tedford.

Take a listen to the entire conference calls of Reid and McNabb and be sure to check back each week as we’ll post the audio of the opposing coach and one key player.


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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on November 23, 2009 – 4:20 PM

A day after his team dropped its fifth game of the season by less than seven points and sixth overall, 49ers head coach Mike Singletary hinted personnel changes were on the horizon.

“I am confident that there may be one or two [changes], but I am still looking at the film,” Singletary said.

Although he would not show his cards on the potential changes, Singletary vowed his players would perform better in the remaining games.

“I am confident that this season will be a good season,” Singletary said. “We’ve got six games left. I am convinced that we will play better.”

Despite dropping another game behind the division leading Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the NFC teams muddled in the Wild Card race, Singletary believes the 49ers can still reach their goals.

“At the very start of this season, our goal was to win enough games to go to the playoffs. That is still our goal. That has not changed, will not change. In my mind, we’re good enough to do that,” he said. “We just have to get it done.”

Singletary’s press conference included several questions pertaining to the shotgun formation that the team predominantly used in the second half against Green Bay to score three touchdowns.

“I think, as we go forward, we have to really look at what’s working for him and what works for the offense and continue to do more of those things,” Singletary said of tailoring the offense to quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith too was asked a high volume of questions regarding the shotgun attack, but insisted that the second half rally had more to do with desire than the shotgun formation. (You can watch video from his interview right here.)

“When you’re down that much, there wasn’t much left to do but to go after those guys and try to mount a comeback,” Smith said. “We finally made a few plays and got ourselves going.”

The one play that clearly kick-started the 49ers offense and the entire team for that matter, was Smith’s 38-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a third-and-20.

“I think it did a lot,” Smith said of Crabtree’s first NFL touchdown. “That whole drive, we made a couple of plays and then we were in third-and-long and Crabtree made a big play for the score – I think that got us going. That’s a little bit of what we needed.”

The 49ers added two more touchdown passes in the second half, but never could get the run game going because they were trailing heavily for most of the game.

Looking back at the film, one could infer that the team is best suited to throw the ball from the shotgun formation on every play – but not so says Smith.

That would require the 49ers entering another ‘world.’

“It’s easy to say let’s go live in that world [spread offense] – but I don’t think it’s realistic. I don’t,” Smith said. “That’s something you evolve to down the road maybe. Right now, it’s about finding that balance. Maybe it’s something you go in and out of, but you still have to have balance.

“We have one of the top running backs in the NFL and we need to find a way to continue getting him the ball and put him in situations to succeed.”

Gore rushed for 59 yards on just seven carries, with his best run coming on a 46-yard gain on a delayed draw with Smith not in the shotgun formation, but rather under center.

More Monday Notes:

-The 49ers had their longest injury report of the season following Sunday’s defeat. (Note that names with a * next to them will undergo an MRI Singletary said). *Michael Robinson (stinger), Michael Lewis (quad), Arnaz battle (leg strain), Jason Hill (left ankle sprain), Delanie Walker (forearm contusion), David Baas (right ankle sprain), Patrick Willis (trap spasm), *Marcus Hudson (back strain), Tarell Brown (left knee contusion) and Reggie Smith (abdominal strain) were all named by the head coach to start his press conference.

-According to Singletary, Smith’s injury was not related to the groin injury that has hampered him all season.

-Josh Morgan’s 76-yard kickoff return late in the game impressed Singletary but wouldn’t commit to naming Morgan as the team’s starting kick returner. “Obviously we liked what we saw yesterday. If Josh Morgan is the kickoff returner, then hopefully he’s not returning too many of them in a game so we don’t have to worry about it too often. I just think that yesterday, he did a nice job when called upon. We’ll have to look at that a little bit more.”


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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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49ers Regroup After Atlanta Loss

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

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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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