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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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NinerCam 49ers vs. Lions Postgame

Posted by Scott Kegley on December 27, 2009 – 7:37 PM

Starting this week, we’re going to try something new.  Instead of having to wait to see our edited video package on TV49, we’ll upload some Flip videos as soon as possible.

After the team huddle break down in the locker room, I caught up with Ricky Schmitt and Dre’ Bly.

It was certainly a day that Schmitt will remember for years to come.  Picked up earlier in the week after Joe Nedney sustained a hamstring injury, Schmitt didn’t have much time to prepare mentally and physically for his first NFL regular season game.  Schmitt finished the day with two field goals of 33 and 39 yards to go along with two extra points.

“It was exciting,” Schmitt said.  “I was more excited that nervous, so going out there it was great knocking that first on through.”

Special teams coordinator Al Everest was pleased with Schmitt’s effort, especially considering the limited amount of preparation time.

“When you have a veteran guy, preparation’s not so bad,” Everest said.  “They know what’s up and they know what to expect.  For Ricky being in a regular season game, he has a 280 blood pressure.  The bottom line is he played pretty well and we’ll go from there.”

You can view the full interview with Schmitt below or on Twitter.


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