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Singletary's Notebook: Aug. 16



Opening Statement:**"I'll talk about some of the injuries to begin with. [WR] Kyle Williams sprained his big toe and we are going to reevaluate him in a couple weeks and see how he is. [CB] Will James has an ankle sprain right now that looks like anywhere from 4-6 weeks and we'll continue to evaluate that. [TE] Vernon [Davis] is day to day. There was a strained right knee, looks good, looks strong, and that's a day to day thing. Tomorrow, some good news, we get [LB] Travis Laboy back. [LB] Ahmad [Brooks] is continuing to make progress, doing well. I think this week he'll start riding the bike some, maybe do some running and we'll evaluate that in a couple weeks. [K] Joe Nedney, [LB] Joe Staley, we just felt like, in this game, giving them some more time to just continue to heal whatever nicks and pains that are there. I know what Joe Nedney can do so that's fine and I know what Pat can do so that's good. As far as the game was concerned, I felt very good about the game. As I said before, I thought the game was a good step. I think the thing that we talk about is the journey and I feel that we are on the right road. We just have a ways to go, quite a ways to go to do the things that we want to do. I talked to our coaches today and we talked about the game, offensively, defensively, and special teams wise, and the thing that I talked to our team about is continuing to develop the discipline, the detail, and the consistency in which we have to do things in order to get where we need to go. But, I do think we made good strides. There were some positive things in the game - there were guys running to the football. There's a lot of energy on both sides of the ball so that was all good."

On whether WR Ted Ginn will be the primary return man:"I'm not quite sure if we'll do that. We may look at Ted a little bit more at that position, but we've got some other guys on our team that can do it, so we'll just see how it goes."

On how you envision using RB Brian Westbrook this season:"I think first and foremost, just to let you know a bit of the conversation so nothing is misconstrued, when I talked to Brian Westbrook, I just wanted him to know how much I respected him as a player. And the fact that he is still there at this point, I'm just thankful that he was an option. So, the more we talked and the possibility of it being able to work out, it was great. But the thing that I wanted him to know about our team and about [RB] Frank [Gore], you know Frank Gore is the guy, Frank Gore is our running back. I don't want to lie to you and have you think something different and then when you get here you're like 'Wait a minute, I could of gone somewhere else.' I said there will be some time that Frank has to take a blow. And at those times, I would like you to be ready. And if anything were to happen to Frank, God forbid, this is football, you understand pass protection. You understand how important that is. You're a seasoned guy. You've been around a great tradition of football, and have had a lot of success. I would not want to put [RB Anthony] Dixon in that situation right now. I think Dixon is just going to continue to grow and develop, but there is a lot to learn when it comes to pass protection. And you wouldn't want to put your quarterback in a situation where you have a running back back there that doesn't understand totally pass protection. So, I didn't want to put us in a bind. So as I look at Brian Westbrook, I think he adds a lot to a very young offense. We have a lot of tools, young guys and I think he's a guy that really adds a lot of value in terms of the leadership, the experience, having been a part of a good football team. So, that adds a lot to our team and on the offensive side of the ball."

On whether he wants to see Gore taking a rest more this season:"When I talked to Frank, I told Frank that it's something that we'll see how it goes. You know Frank is a guy that wants the ball. Any great player, whether it's a receiver, a running back, he wants the ball and I understand that and I'm not going to sit around and tell Frank 'Well look here.' But, it's something that I want him to understand that we want him as long as we can possibly have him, and I want to take care of him in the process. So I just think it makes sense."

On whether Gore would be more receptive to giving Westbrook more carries because of his accomplishments:"It's possible, I think Brian and Frank will talk about a number of things. Brian is the kind of guy that has a lot of wisdom and he's at a place now where Frank is going, and I think it's really valuable. Just as valuable as [QB] David Carr is to [QB] Alex [Smith], being able to talk about the things that a quarterback needs to know. Being able to talk about some of the things that he's gone through, maybe you need think about this more in your development. Maybe you need to think about this more as you go forward. I think Brian Westbrook can share a lot of those things with Frank. He's a straight up guy and I think Frank will appreciate that."

On whether he feels more confident today than a week ago when it comes to his back up running back:"Let me put it this way, if you have an opportunity to add a Brian Westbrook to your team, sure you are going to say you're more confident. Sure you going to say that because all of the things that Brian Westbrook has accomplished. But simply because of the fact that [RB Glen] Coffee decided to retire and all of those things, I had great hopes for him as well. I don't want to say, 'Oh yeah, he was just a guy.' I don't want to do that. I'm just going to say the way it is. I feel that Glenn Coffee, I felt very good about what he brought to our football team. I thought he was a nice compliment to Frank Gore, but the fact that he made that decision, I'm happy for him and I'm just thankful that things worked out for us as well. I think it was a win-win situation."

On whether he got the feeling that Westbrook would accept the role of Gore's backup:"Absolutely, I think the worst thing that could happen is - you know, I'm not a sales person, even when I was in college. They asked me to recruit one time and I just didn't do a good job. I didn't bring anybody to the school because I told them what it was going to be like. I said this is Baylor. This is what we do, this is what we are. It's going to be hard work. So they said, 'Okay Mike, thanks but no thanks from that point on.' So, I just believe in being up front, being honest. Here's what it is. Here is the opportunity. If you like it then you're the right fit. If you don't, then you're not. And I'm very thankful that it worked out where he understood and understood where we are as a football team and we just went forward from there."

On Westbrook bring in terms of his skill set:"I'll just put it this way, I'm thankful that we have him and I'm sure that [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye and all of his plays and selection of plays, I'm sure he's very excited about the abilities that Westbrook brings and I'm sure he's excited about the ability of finding some plays that fit him."

On whether envisions of Gore and Westbrook on the field together:"It's possible."

On how he feels about QB Alex Smith after yesterday's game:"I feel good. I feel very good about Alex. There was one pass yesterday to Vernon, that pass there, he'll do better at. He'll do a better job. But I felt very good about some of the other passes that he had, the three that he did complete. A couple were dropped or defended well against, but I felt good about him."

On whether he felt Smith had a better grasp of the offense:"Yes, what I see when I look at the offense, I see a comfort zone. I see a calming. It's not quite a swagger yet, that will come, but confidence. I really feel that our offense at some point in time this offseason, hopefully it comes before training camp is over, but they have to begin to feel like we can do this. We can be a very, very potent offense. So, our offensive line is in place. I thought they did a decent job yesterday. The two rookies, I thought they did a decent job in their first time out. The center, [C David] Baas, for not having played center since college, I was really proud of what he was able to accomplish. I'm sure that gave him a lot of confidence after the game. The shotgun snaps that Alex had to take, he had been having a little trouble with those, but it shows that they've been working at it, so that was very good to see in the game. So I felt very good about the vibe that I got from my offense."

On his philosophy on the maximum number of carries a running back can have during the course of a season:"I really don't have a thought about it. I just think you got out and you play. You get tired or you don't. You put somebody else in the game. As a coach, the thing that you look at, because some running backs are different than others, I may have a guy that can carry the ball 30 times a game and you don't really know - it depends what kind of runs. Are they in between the tackle runs or are they outside runs? What kind of hits is that guy taking? You factor all of that into it, I think as a coach, you have to look at that runner and you have to get a feel for is he getting stronger for the amount of runs that he's getting Or is he wearing down? I think that's what you kind of have to look at, and that's what I've seen through the years. I played with [RB] Walter Payton in Chicago, and we gave Walter the ball every down it seemed like, until we got a quarterback. And when we got a quarterback, things changed a bit. But we gave the ball to Walter and he wanted the ball and he got stronger as the game went on. And then as time went on as he got a little bit older, he wasn't s as strong toward the end of the game and that's when you begin to notice. That's when you begin to see and feel, as a coach, because you know the body language of that player and you have a feel for that player. But to say right now, like if you look at Frank, he gets stronger as the game goes on. He's a guy that in the fourth quarter, he's coming to the sideline saying, 'Let's run that again, Tell Jimmy, let's run that again coach, please.' So, that's how he is and at some point and time, in everybody's career, it changes."

On whether running the ball is the priority of this offense:"No, let me say it again. Our offense is striving to be a balanced attack. We want to be physical when we pass the ball, when we run the ball. Yesterday, we had a couple of receivers really get some great blocks down the field and some of those were passes. That's what I'm excited about. I want our team to get the message that we want to be physical, regardless whether we are running or passing. So, when you have weapons like a [WR] Crabtree and [TE] Vernon, other receivers [WR] Josh Morgan, now Westbrook and Frank, and we haven't even talked about Ted Ginn, but when you have those weapons, you have to use them. They aren't just going to be decoys. And I've always said that's the most important thing to me, I really do want an offense that can really do what they want to do and that is to have a balanced attack, do them both and do them very well."

On whether TE Vernon Davis will need another day to heal:"Whatever he needs."

On why LB NaVarro Bowman didn't play:"He had a little bit of soreness in his shoulder. We felt that we had enough other guys that we needed to see. We felt that rather than putting him out there and having it be more sore, why not have him fresh this week and let's go from there."

On whether he would say Baas is the starting center:"I think with what he did yesterday, I would say that he took a big step with being the center right now. But naturally, we still have more training camp, thank God, and we'll just keep working at it and we'll see."

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