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Singletary's Notebook: Aug. 1


On how the first practice went:
"I'm thankful that all the guys are here, but we have a lot of work to do. That's very evident. It wasn't bad, but we just have a long way to go. I want to be honest every step of the way, every practice, every drill, everything we do. I want to make sure there is not a false sense of security about where we are. Right now, we're not very good, but at the end of it, we are going to be where we need to be."

On what he told the players after practice:
"We just have to be better in everything we do.  We can't waste a drill; we can't waste a practice. We're too far behind the elite teams in this league and we have to earn the right to be amongst them. Before we can talk about a championship we have to practice like and think like a championship team, and we're just not there now."

On what he would like to see improved:
"It's a number of things. When you begin to talk about being a great team, about being a championship team, there are some things you need that you can't even explain what they are. You just know it and you just feel it. Right now, that's not here. We have to earn it to make it come here because it won't just happen."

On whether the defense seemed ahead of the offense:
"The defense was okay. And yes, you're exactly right – our offense is always a step behind, but I don't really buy into that. That is kind of the way it has been all my life. It's just about coming out here every day with the mindset that we are going to get better every day."

On the nutcracker drill:
"Initially, what we had in the nutcracker, I think we got some good work out of that. The fundamental part of what we're trying to achieve, I think we took a step today in that area. And we're going to do that a few times. I just think it's important we understand contact, but even more importantly, it's not just coming out here and hitting people. It's coming out here and learning how to engage and win in a competitive environment. And that's really what we did in that drill."

On where the team is right now:
"This team to me, right now, is a team that is hungry. It's a team that wants to win. But they're not quite sure of the price that has to be paid in order to get it. It's like a kid who is a little bit naïve about how much something costs. He says, "Well I want one of those." And mom and dad may look at him and say, 'We don't have enough money for that.' The thing I want our guys to understand is we have all the money we need. We can buy anything we want. But we have to be willing to pay the price to get it, and that price, it's a high one. I think our guys are willing to do that, but I'll know by mid-training camp."

On what it takes to become a great player:
"I do know what it takes. It's hard to say, 'They'll know it when this happens.' It's just like everything else. One day you'll see it and you'll feel it and say, 'That's it.' It's getting better every day. It's paying attention to the details. It's doing the small things extraordinarily well. When somebody makes a play and it looks like a great play, that should be routine. It's knowing the difference between good and great. There is a thin line between the two, and it is finding that. Those are just some of the things."

On evaluating the quarterbacks:"The way we functioned (at quarterback) today, that's just one thing. There are too many other things that are wrong. Before you can evaluate the quarterback, you have to make sure it is the quarterback that is the issue. Today there were just too many other things wrong, and it makes it difficult to evaluate the quarterback when so many other things are wrong. In order to get a fair assessment of who that guy is, we need to get all other things equal. The receivers are running their routes as fast and hard as they possibly can, and catching the ball when it's in their area. Our offensive linemen are continuing to communicate with each other. Our running backs are picking up the guys they need to pick up on the blitzes. All those little things we have to do consistently before we can even look at the quarterback and say, 'Okay this guy is going to give us a better chance of winning than that guy.'"

On the crowd jeering Alex Smith:
"I think it's outstanding because Alex needs to learn how to deal with it. The fans, that's what they are here for, that's what they do. They are fans. The most important thing for Alex is to know it is going to happen. He just needs to move forward and keep getting better and overcome those little idiosyncrasies in his mind."

On whether he saw Alex Smith get over those idiosyncrasies today:
"I did. I thought I did."

On who is the leading candidate to start at quarterback:"It doesn't matter where we are today. I want to find the guy who is going to lead this team. Right now, I'm not seeing that guy. If you ask me to pick one of them now, I'm guessing. I don't want to guess. I'll say it is this guy today, but tomorrow it might be that other guy, and I don't want to do that. I want those guys to compete on a level ground, and at some point in time, one guy will be better than the other and we'll know that is the guy. That is when I will answer that quarterback question. Answering it now, to me, doesn't make sense. It's not going to be effective either way if I had to pick one today."

On today opening drill, the nutcracker, vs. the Oklahoma drill:
"On the Oklahoma drill, when a defensive guy gets up there, even if he's not very good, he can just out-quick a guy and slap him to the side. It looks great, but when you're up there and you're playing against a line that's not going to happen. You have go through the guy. I want the guys that are going to stand with a base underneath them, be fundamentally sound and take their man back to the quarterback, or the guy is going to take them into the defensive backfield. That's what I'm looking for. I'm not looking for any dodging, any turning, any jumping around. I want you to go straight through the guy. And that is what we are trying to achieve. It is fundamentals. It is leverage and moving your feet. That gets tiring, but in a game, in the fourth quarter, the fundamentals always come back. And the team which is most fundamentally sound is going to win at the end."

On who stood out to him:
"I'm not really looking on who is on defense or offense. I'm just trying to get 53 guys that will get up there consistently and do it. We had some guys who did okay, but today they were more or less understanding the drills."

On when Moran Norris will be in camp:"Whenever his personal business is done. I told him he has to do what he has to do. I know he wants to be here. We'll stay in contact and when he's done with that he will be here."

On whether Josh Morgan could emerge as the top receiver:
"Josh has a lot of potential. We have a lot of confidence in him. It is just a matter of Josh continuing to get better. Does he have the potential? Absolutely. But a guy like Isaac Bruce isn't around a long time for nothing. He knows what he is doing. He knows the workout routine he has to have. He knows how to be effective. He knows the routes. So, I think time is one of the things that will answer that question."

On Michael Crabtree:
"There is nothing new. That is one of those things, as I said before, whoever is out here is who I am going to focus on. When that happens (he signs), I'll be excited about it. But I'm not wondering when it is going to happen. I want the guys out here to make sure we're ready. The most important thing I can do is make team understand that one guy coming in will not make the whole picture different. We just need to make sure we are getting better every day. I'm excited we have him, I know we want to have him and when the time is right, he'll be here."

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