Thank you for sending in your questions for cornerback Shawntae Spencer. We selected a few and caught up with Spencer to get his answers.Our next "Ask A Player" will be with long snapper Brian Jennings. Send us your questions for Brian by firstname.lastname@example.org. Past interviews can be found here.
Q: Hey Mr. Spencer,Do you ever get nervous knowing you're covering some of the best receivers in the game? And what do you have to do to keep your starting spot in 2010? Thanks, Arthur -Hayward CAP.S. Good luck in 2010A: Nervous? No! I have nothing to lose, everything to gain. They're the stars, I'm just me. That's how I look at it. The matchups with guys like Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson are usually for guys like Nate Clements or Walt Harris. It was kind of easier to dominate the No. 2 receiver in the past, but when I got a chance to go against the top receivers I embraced it. I looked at it like, "What do I have to lose? They're the superstars." If they won, everybody would expect it them to win, but if I got the best of them, then I did my job and I was good with that.
As for starting or not starting, I'm just going to work hard this offseason, that's what it's all about. In the past I've taken a month or two off, but I'm not going to do that this year. I'm going to take a week off. And then I'm going to get back in it and stay in shape all year round. I'm going to work on my game and get even more out of the offseason.
Q: What's up Shawntae?I was wondering what is your all-time favorite meal to eat before a game? –Gary in Los Angeles.A: Pasta and grilled chicken before every game. That's it, not too much. I don't like to have a full stomach, but before every game since I was in college it's been pasta and grilled chicken.
Q: Hi Shawntae: Besides Nate Clements are there any other cornerbacks you admire and pattern your game after? -Thank you very much, CarySekoff.
A: To be honest with you, I don't really pattern my style after any player who is currently in the game. My favorite corner in the game right now would be Nnamdi Asomugha with the Raiders. But I watch film on the old corners from the past, the Eric Wright's, the Mel Blount's and guys like that. I like to look at the older film because they were more technique-sound. But as far as me emulating anyone's game in the league right now, I don't think so. I don't do that. I watch a lot of the older film. I also liked to watch Rod Woodson's film from when he played cornerback with the Steelers. He was an outstanding defensive back and he was very technically sound. One of the best off-corners playing off man-to-man and things like that was Aeneas Williams and I like watching his film too. The only corner I watch film on who plays now is Asomugha. He presses so much and he's very patient. That's the part of the game I'm trying to work on.
Q: Hi Shawntae, out of all the wide receivers you had to cover in the NFL who is the toughest to cover? -Best regards, Harold Taliaferro.**A: The toughest matchup to me was against Reggie Wayne. We had a history together and played against each other in college for a few years when I was at Pittsburgh and he was at Miami. He's always tough and it's even harder because he and his quarterback are on the same page. He's a great route runner, he's fast and he has it all. That was my toughest matchup.
Q: Hey Shawntae,In the past I noticed you were usually very casual on the field. Everytime you made a play you didn't seem to show your excitement. Thisyear you have come out with fire and you are showing the league thatyou can be a dominant corner. Does this swagger come from Singletary?Or because of the family attitude you guys have built in the lockerroom? By the way, that Taunting penalty on you against the Vikings call was a bad call. Ed Reed would haveeasily gotten away with that. –Taylor Link.A: I don't celebrate. I don't do the dances. If I did, my father would kill me. That's been a part of it from day one; my parents always stressed that to me, especially my father because he played the game. He would always say, "Respect the game, [dancing] it's not a part of it. I know it's an entertainment business at this level, but that's not a part of the game." I hardly even trash talk. I try not to celebrate and the only time I did was in Minnesota. The emotions got the best of me on that one. Coach Singletary said he thought it was a bogus call, but I still apologized to him and my teammates because that's not who I am. I don't do that. When I make a play, I get up and go back to the huddle. This game, you can't afford to be out their gloating. If you celebrate on one play, then they beat you the next. You just have to maintain focus throughout the whole game so I try to stay away from that.
Q: A lot of us want to know what it's like playing for Coach Singletary, what is it really like? -Vanessa in SF.
A: It's hard, very demanding. But he's going to get the best out of you. He's going to get everything out of you. You're either going to give it or he's going to take it. It's either one of the other. But I think we've all noticed the changes in this team. You see it in the style of play and the production. He treats everyone equally too. A lot of times coaches have their superstars and they have what I call, "productive tolerance" for their superstars. Coaches tolerate a lot more than they would from other guys, but it's not like that with Coach Singletary. He is what he is and he treats everyone the same. That's one of the things I respect the most about him.
Q: Shawntae, I`m a huge 49ers fan and I was wondering when do you think we will make the playoffs? -Jordan Sanchez, Age 11.