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49ers Put San Diego Loss to Rest

Posted by Taylor Price on December 17, 2010 – 4:31 PM

The show goes on.

Even after the 49ers lost 34-7 last night, at 5-9 with two divisional games remaining, they have not yet been eliminated from playoff contention.

St. Louis and Seattle will have to lose this weekend to keep the 49ers playoff hopes alive. But there’s a possibility that both could do just that.

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Monday’s Locker Room Talk: Nov. 8

Posted by Taylor Price on November 8, 2010 – 5:41 PM

After returning to team headquarters following a five-day break over the bye week, the 49ers weren’t experiencing a typical case of the Mondays.

The 2-6 squad came into work eager to get in an extra practice and put all their focus towards Sunday’s opponent at Candlestick Park, the 4-4 St. Louis Rams.

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On the Phone with Reid and Jackson

Posted by Sam Good on October 6, 2010 – 4:33 PM

When the 49ers traveled to Philadelphia to face the Eagles last December, coach Andy Reid knew he was matched up against a good team.

And as his squad prepares to come to San Francisco this weekend, Reid believes the 49ers team they will play Sunday is even better than the one they saw nearly 10 months ago.

“They play aggressive football, very similar to the personality of their head coach” Reid said during his Wednesday conference call with the Bay Area media. “They’re tough. They fly around on defense and make plays.”

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Monday’s Locker Room Talk: Oct. 4

Posted by Taylor Price on October 4, 2010 – 1:58 PM

Taylor Mays will be the 49ers starting safety opposite of Dashon Goldson, head coach Mike Singletary announced Monday.

The team’s second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft performed quite well in his first career start at Atlanta. He totaled a team-high 11 tackles and made a heads-up play recovering a blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter.

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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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From the Field: Aug. 7 PM Practice

Posted by Taylor Price on August 7, 2010 – 4:03 PM

Fans are in the stands clapping and that can only mean one thing – the players are warming up for Saturday’s open afternoon practice. They’re in shells, so no pad-crunching hits, but plenty of plays are out there to be made.

Kickoff return is up first instead of individual drills. Like yesterday Ted Ginn Jr. is the first returner, followed by Kyle Williams, LeRoy Vann and Dominique Zeigler. As it takes place, Frank Gore works on ball security on the other practice field. He’s holding a football covered with a thick elastic cord that’s being yanked by a training camp assistant.

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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on December 28, 2009 – 3:42 PM

If Vernon Davis catches one more touchdown pass this week against the St. Louis Rams, he’ll tie Antonio Gates’ single-season record of 13 touchdown catches set back in 2004.

But the 49ers aren’t looking at it like it’s a one-man accomplishment for their starting tight end. It’s really more of a team feat.

“It’s a credit to the guys around him. We all depend on each other. But we’re happy for him, he’s worked really hard,” quarterback Alex Smith said.

In Davis’ first three seasons, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2005 draft had 103 catches for 1,132 yards (11 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns. To put his breakout year into further perspective, already this season Davis has 72 catches for 876 yards (12.2 yards per catch) and 12 touchdowns.

With numbers like that, Davis has the support of all his teammates in being a strong candidate to make the 2010 Pro Bowl.

“I’d love to see him on that list,” Smith said. “I’d love to see as many guys as possible, but especially him. He’s worked hard and had a lot of the stats this year to back it up.”

Davis and the rest of the 49ers will have to wait until 4:15 PM PT on Tuesday when Pro Bowl rosters are announced.

And while Smith was unaware of what Davis needed to pass the league milestone, the 49ers signal caller said he wouldn’t press the issue in St. Louis.

“I don’t think we’re going to force anything. We’re just going to let it happen. We’re going to try and win the game,” Smith said. “I think there’s something to be said about him and the work he’s put in over the last few years as well as this season.”

According to Smith, Davis’ development has forced opposing defenses to game plan for the 49ers versatile tight end.

“Definitely his speed up the field is something that causes problems,” Smith said. “I think you can see in these last few weeks defenses have acknowledged [that] and are making adjustments too.  I think they’re more conscious of him.”

Smith was pretty aware of Davis on a 2-yard rollout touchdown pass in which the quarterback could have kept the ball for a touchdown run. Ultimately, Smith decided to throw his 17th touchdown pass of the season.

“It looked better on film than what it looked like in my head,” Smith said. “It definitely would have been a bang-bang play at the goal line. I don’t think it would have been a walk in like I kind of had in my mind. Either way, it turned out the way it did.”

Asked if he’d taken up Davis on his offer to pick up a dinner tab this week, Smith replied, “Not yet, I’ll hit him up on that.”

More Monday Notes

-Mike Singletary opened his press conference by announcing the 49ers injury report following the Lions game. Right guard Chilo Rachal will undergo an MRI later on Monday on his knee, left tackle Joe Staley is day-to-day with a knee contusion, Glen Coffee remains questionable with a hamstring injury and cornerback Shawntae Spencer has a wrist sprain. “Should be fine,” Singletary said of Spencer’s injury.

-Later, Singletary said kicker Joe Nedney and cornerback Nate Clements will not return to action this season. Ricky Schmitt will get another chance to kick for the 49ers. He made 2-of-3 field goals against Detroit.

-Singletary said the offense planned on getting the ball early and often to running back Frank Gore, but Detroit countered by stacking the box with eight defenders. Singletary said the 49ers played a “cat and mouse” game early on and that’s why Gore only had seven carries in the first half.

-Singletary wasn’t happy that his offense struggled to convert the Lions six turnovers into points of their own. “It’s not acceptable. It’s never acceptable,” he said.

-The head coach also has reservations about continuing to use starting wide receiver Josh Morgan as a kick returner. It’s not just offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye who feels that way. “That’s a priority for us this offseason, to find a return guy,” Singletary revealed.

-The 49ers are the only team in the league to force five or more turnovers in three games this season. Singletary said the credit goes to the team maturing on defense. In particular, he highlighted the growth of free safety Dashon Goldson and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. This season, both players are playing the most they ever had in any points of their career. Goldson leads the team with four interceptions while Brooks leads the team with 6.0 sacks.

-“Goldson has gotten more comfortable back there. He’s really doing a good job of reading the quarterback better,” Singletary said. “Ahmad has really stepped up in the second half of the season.”

-Singletary was asked if other linebacker had more range than 49ers two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, he responded, “No.”

-Singletary made a great point to close out his press conference when fielding a question on the importance of finishing the season 8-8. The head coach reminded the media that beating the Rams is not a foregone conclusion. “You have to go earn 8-8,” he stated.


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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on December 21, 2009 – 4:23 PM

With the playoffs out of the picture, the 49ers are vowing to finish the 2009 season on a strong note.

“You’re disappointed, but we still have two games left. We’re going to prepare just like we have a chance of going [to the postseason],” outside linebacker Parys Haralson said. “When you play this game, you always play like you’re going to give it your best all the time. We’re upset about the playoff situation, but we still have two games to play. We enjoy playing football and we want to go out and play for each other.”

Head coach Mike Singletary elaborated that point even further by emphasizing the importance of the 49ers finishing the season 8-8. The team can do that with wins at home this Sunday over Detroit and the following Sunday on the road in St. Louis.

Asked if he would use the final two weeks to evaluate backups on the 53-man roster, Singletary said that would not be on top of his agenda.

“The last message I want to send is: we want to evaluate before we want to win. We want to win. Every time we step on the field, I want our guys to know we want to win and we want to compete.”

However, Singletary said young players could get valuable experience in limited playing time without having to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. According to Singletary, backups could be involved for a series at a time, but not at the cost of winning.

“Both these games are definitely important, no question,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “I’ve been here five years now and [8-8] would be the best record.”

Despite the frustration of losing another game because of “self-inflicted wounds,” Smith said he undoubtedly feels something special developing in the 49ers locker room.

“I’m not just saying this to say this, but I do feel like there’s been a bit of a mindset change around here, an expectation level, a confidence in what we can do,” Smith added.
More Monday Notes

-Singletary opened his press conference by sharing an exchange he had with quarterback Alex Smith last night. “I owe him an apology,” Singletary said a day after he was critical of his quarterback’s performance in a 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. “I talked with him after the game and we had a conversation where I really kind of challenged him on some things, some of those throws or whatever. After looking at it, I have a better perspective.”

-Smith said the talk between the two was a positive one for him as well. “He did [apologize]. He doesn’t owe me an apology though,” Smith added. “We were all disappointed with yesterday. That wasn’t the only thing we talked about. The point is to get better moving on. It was a good talk. I did take a lot away from it.”

-Singletary went on to detail each of Smith’s first-half interceptions. According to the head coach, tight end Vernon Davis could have made a better play on Smith’s first interception that was picked off deep over-the-middle by Eagles safety Quintin Mikell. “I think the ball was there. It’s just one of those situations where Vernon either has to make that play, or either he has to stop that DB from making that play. He’s got to help the quarterback as well,” Singletary said.

-The second interception was due to a “trap coverage,” in which the Eagles baited Smith into throwing to Davis. “It’s a trap coverage where you’re throwing the ball on timing, and it looks like the receiver, or the defender is going with that receiver, and you come back and get in front of the second guy that the quarterback is going to try and throw the ball to because he feels that either the corner or the safety has run off, but they come back.”

-Singletary had no grandiose explanation for the final Smith turnover, other than it “was just a poor decision.” Smith tried to dump the ball off while he was getting hit in the pocket. Singletary said it was Smith’s fault for trying to force the issue.

-The 49ers head coach expressed remorse for not getting the ball in the hands of Frank Gore more often, who finished with a game-high 16 carries for 107 yards. ‘I thought Frank ran the ball well when he had the opportunity,” Singletary said. “It’s a shame we couldn’t have gotten him the ball more last night. That’s kind of the way we were built in thinking this week, running the ball a little bit more this week because they’re a smaller front. When we got behind – which is what they’re built for, coming from behind, rushing the passer, stunting, those kinds of things – they got to do what they do more than we did. That’s kind of the situation there.”

 -The game’s injury report included, kicker Joe Nedney who re-injured a hamstring injury on a kick-off following his 25-yard field goal. Nedney underwent an MRI on Monday, with results to be determined. Singletary said if Nedney can’t play against Detroit, the team would likely bring someone in to handle the kicking duties. Singletary noted that he didn’t think punter Andy Lee could handle duel kicking responsibilities.

-Other than Nedney, rookie running back Glen Coffee had a thigh strain and also underwent an MRI on Monday. Singletary noted that left tackle Joe Staley was feeling fine after his first start in months.

-In other injury news, cornerback Nate Clements is unsure if he’ll return this season. He has been rehabbing diligently to return to the 49ers lineup, but isn’t sure if he’ll be able to participate in either of the final two games of the season. He’ll have to undergo one last MRI to make sure his fractured scapula is completely healed. “I’m taking it one day at a time, just doing what the trainers having me doing for rehab. I’m trying to get my shoulder back right,” Clements said. “Right now the range of motion is good, strength-wise; I’m kind of weaker there. I think it comes with time and the healing of the bone.”

-It’s been the longest period of games missed in Clements’ nine-year NFL career. “I missed one game last year, but this is the first time where I’ve been out a consistent period of time. It’s been frustrating not being out there to help the team.”


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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on November 30, 2009 – 6:19 PM

Moments after Mike Singletary thoroughly explained how several members of the offense met with him last week to express opinions about the offense’s direction – players in the locker room were also asked to comment.

But according to quarterback Alex Smith the matter was blown out of proportion.

“This is not something that is new. It’s always been there,” Smith explained. “I know a lot has been made of this – I just think with the more you play in an offense – the better you play in that system.”

Smith said that Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye’s office doors have always been open for players to express themselves. Those visits picked up, ever since the 49ers used more of a shotgun attack in the second half of the Green Bay game. From that point on, the offense grew increasingly excited about its potential in a spread attack.

With players communicating that with the coaching staff, Smith said it spoke volumes about the steps the team has taken recently.

“I think the more comfortable we get with things, you’re going to get a little more input to maybe what you like, maybe what you think you can do. I just think that comes with growth, with experience.”

Tight end Delanie Walker also felt those discussions were critical.  

“It says a lot. Our philosophy is that we’re a family. We’ve been a family since training camp. Now it’s just bringing us together even more. You tell a couple guys something. Then one of them goes up there for the offensive team. Then a change comes around and we have a great change and can win games in the spread offense. I think it brings us together closer.”

More Monday Notes

-Singletary announced the following injury report at the conclusion of his press conference, something he normally opens with. “[WR] Josh Morgan: Hip contusion, taking it day-to-day he should be fine.  [DT] Kentwan Balmer: Right shoulder sublex, his shoulder went out, went back in and that’s day-to-day. [LB] Parys Haralson: thumb contusion and [S] Curtis Taylor is having an MRI today: hip strain.

-Singletary again was pleased with the play of his quarterback. “Alex Smith, I thought, did a very nice job,” he explained. “I thought he took a big step yesterday. This is an offense that he talked about and envisioned and was able to step in and not just talk about it but produce, find receivers, have a blitzing linebacker or end coming right at him and still focus downfield and make a throw.”

-Singletary said Smith’s two best throws were on a fourth-and-one pass to Vernon Davis for a 30-yard gain and an incomplete pass to Michael Crabtree in the back of the end zone. “He made some really nice throws yesterday. The one throw to Vernon on the fourth-and-one was outstanding. He didn’t even break stride. Of course, the possible touchdown to Crabtree, that was an outstanding throw. So, he’s really doing some things that are very nice to see.”

-Singletary was asked again about his philosophy in using a spread attack, to which he replied, “I just feel like going forward, it’s just a matter of continuing to look at our offense and look at what helps us win. I think there are a lot of philosophies out there. I’m hearing a lot about, well, the philosophy should be to throw the ball more. Sometimes, it’s run the ball. The only thing I can say is this: My overall philosophy is to win.

“I think that’s the thing that I’ve said from the very beginning. I want to win. I think it’s one thing when you look at this is what I’d like to do, but I think you have to look at what you have and go with that, make the most of it, and be excited about having it. To me, that’s what I am. I talked many times about when we run the ball, I want to run the ball. I don’t want to tip-toe. I don’t want do any of those things. I want to hit people. I want to go forward and I want to run the ball. When we pass the ball, I want to do the same thing. I want to see our receivers going downfield and adding on, hitting somebody. Don’t just look at the guy. Run with the ball. Go hit somebody. To me, that’s what it’s all about. That’s football. So, that’s not going to change.”

-Singletary complimented the play of offensive line which gave up zero sacks against the Jaguars. In particular, he singled out the right side with guard Chilo Rachal and tackle Adam Snyder and left tackle Barry Sims.

-Lastly, Singletary said that starting left tackle Joe Staley will begin running and weight lifting this week. Singletary is hopeful that Staley will return for the 49ers home game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football in two weeks. As for the status of cornerback Nate Clements, Singletary hopes to have the veteran defensive back healthy be the season finale at St. Louis.


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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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