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Singletary Moves on From Minnesota

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

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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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Singletary Names Team Captains

Posted by Taylor Price on September 11, 2009 – 4:08 PM

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When the 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday on the road, head coach Mike Singletary’s team will be led by the six team captains he announced on Friday.

Linebackers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes along with defensive end Justin Smith, running back Michael Robinson, center Eric Heitmann, and tight end Vernon Davis will serve as the 49ers team captains for the ’09 season.

“Those six guys, to me, embody all of the things that we strive to be, in terms of the work ethic,” Singletary said. “Number one, these guys are always working, and they’re team guys striving to do all the little things that we need to do in order to be the best we can.”

Upon hearing the news, the chosen six were extremely honored to have been selected.

“It’s a big honor,” Spikes said. “ It’s big from the aspect that it’s my second year here and it comes this late in my career with another team. It’s something that I accept open handedly. It shows the respect factor not only that my peers have for me but for what the staff has for me.”


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Spikes Appreciated Every Minute of Camp

Posted by Taylor Price on August 31, 2009 – 7:07 PM

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Out of all the players who have Twitter accounts, veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes’ commentary on the social networking site has been the most memorable.

Take one of his Tweets from Aug. 5, as an example.

“We just finished a 3-hour practice; if some1 filmed out camp it would be titled: Junction Boys 2.”

But now that players will check out of their hotel rooms on Tuesday, training camp is practically officially over for Spikes and the rest of the 49ers “Junction Boys.”

Looking back on this year’s camp experience, Spikes would “definitely,” call a documentary of the camp by the same name.  He also felt like it would have been watched by many.

“If HBO would have come here this year, the ratings would have been off the chain!” he said with a smirk.

As if he were breaking down the opening scenes of the fictional show, Spikes followed his statement by recalling all that he and his teammates had gone through this summer.

“It started from the first day with the nutcracker. [Before that] We were going into the meeting rooms the first couple of days while everybody [in the NFL] was practicing,” he said.

After the ninth or so day of camp, Spikes said most head coaches give their players a bone by canceling practice to take the team out to the movies.

“It’s kind of like the national [rest] day at training camp,” Spikes said.

But for the 49ers, there was no movie trip this year. Coach Singletary told the players to “Bring it up,” but he didn’t mean it like the players were finished for the day. Instead, the players went back out to practice.

And although it was a lot of work without much time away from the facility, Spikes said it was worth all the labor.

“When you look back on it now and you appreciate every minute of it.”

A 3-0 preseason record tends to do that.

Practice Notes

Guard Dave Baas and tackle Adam Snyder returned to practice on Monday but did not participate in team drills. Backup quarterback Alex Smith participated in one team period and threw a couple of passes.

083109-goresteams-subOutside linebacker Ahmad Brooks successfully underwent a procedure on his knee to remove a bone fragment. Singletary said Brooks is “day-to-day.”

Frank Gore got some extra work in at practice, more so than usual. While watching special teams practice, Gore decided to jump in the drills and participate in the gunner drills. While special teams assistant coach Dave Fipp held the blocking bags, Gore tried his best to avoid the block and run down the field. He even had special teams ace Marcus Hudson offering him tips.


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It’s Official: NFL Referees at Morning Practice

Posted by Scott Kegley on August 6, 2009 – 3:31 PM

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No penalty went unnoticed at the 49ers training camp practice on Thursday as an NFL officiating crew was on hand to oversee the proceedings.

The officials are in town as part of their annual tour.  But rules change each year, so it’s important for the players as well as the coaching staff to understand what is or is not a penalty.

There are four key changes to the 2009 rulebook.  The first and most publicized is the elimination of low hits on quarterbacks.  This has been referred to as “The Tom Brady Rule,” preventing defenders from rolling up on the quarterback similar to the hit that caused the Patriots signal caller to miss almost all of the 2008 season.

“Everybody saw the hit on Tom Brady last year, which was a legal hit,” league referee Carl Cheffers said.  “This year, if a player or defender is on the ground, he cannot lunge into the knees of a quarterback.  Again, we’re just tightening that rule to try and eliminate injuries.”

The second major rule change also resulted from a season-ending play last year when Steelers receiver Hines Ward stunned Bengals rookie linebacker Keith Rivers with a devastating up-field crack-back block. Rivers never saw Ward coming and missed the rest of the year with a fractured jaw.

“Those kinds of plays, they’re trying to eliminate,” Cheffers said.  “They want them to hit them, they want them to hit them hard, but they don’t want them to hit helmet-to-helmet, because that player is not looking at the blocker and that’s a potentially injurious block.”

While the helmet-to-helmet rule may be new for offensive players, it’s well known by those on the defensive side of the ball.  Even that rule has been tweaked however, expanding the rule to include arm- and elbow-to-helmet contact.

As Cheffers explained, the goal is to limit hits on “defenseless receivers to be below the shoulders.”

“It’s good on both sides,” safety Reggie Smith said.  “You don’t want a lot of injuries.  Then again you have to be aware of where you’re hitting. You’ve got to use that shoulder, I guess, from now on and keep your head on a swivel for receivers also.”

The special teams rules have also been modified, prohibiting teams from using “wedge blocks,” where three or more players line up shoulder-to-shoulder, during a return.

“We require guys to be outside the numbers, outside the hash marks now,” Cheffers said.  “The whole idea is that the kicking team is not allowed to bunch up.  When they bunch up and there’s an onside kick, there’s been injuries with the blocks and the collisions that happen after that.”

While that may be a big change for many NFL teams, it could actually benefit teams like the 49ers.

“We never really did three man wedges,” explained Smith, a key contributor on the 49ers special teams units.  “But for us as a kickoff team, going against other people’s kickoff returns, it makes it easier for people like me and Hud [Marcus Hudson].   We’re on the inside where all those big guys are, so it makes it easier to get down when you don’t have big men, teamed up as wedges.”

While it may be hard to get accustomed to some of the new rules, having the officials out during camp is extremely beneficial.

“It helps us as DBs because we do a lot of press coverage with the wide receivers,” Smith said.  “When we were doing one-on-ones that helped, if we were pressing them too long.  It gives us the little ins and outs that we don’t know that we can do during the game.”

Morning Practice Updates:

It was an interesting morning in terms of weather.  It was pouring rain right before stretch only to have the sun come out minutes later.

Takeo Spikes didn’t take long to heat up either, picking off Alex Smith’s first throw during team drills.

Dominique Zeigler also made one of the most impressive plays of camp.  During drills, Zeigler broke his route to the sideline and despite tight coverage, Zeigler adjusted to the throw over his right shoulder and pulled it down with one hand.

The team will be back on the field this afternoon.  Follow SF_49ers on Twitter and we’ll keep you updated on any more highlight reel catches like Zeigler’s.


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