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Singletary's Notebook: Aug. 19



On whether he was trying to get the players' emotions going today:"No, actually it's a combination of things. Linebackers, particular our young linebackers, normally when they come in from college, they haven't worked a lot of man coverage. And we have talked about man coverage. We have gone through some of the technique, but it's just getting out of a habit, and the habit that they have, they are trying to cover a guy and at the same time look back at the quarterback because that's basically what they've done in college. So just trying to get them to break that habit and the only way you can do that is just repetition and constantly reminding you can't do that at this level. If you've got man-to-man coverage, cover the guy, and that's all." **On being loud toward the players:"Yeah, it's is one of those things that can get you killed. If you're on a guy, some of these young guys we may have to depend on this year, so they don't have a lot of time. They have to make sure that they are ready to go and they really focus on getting good reps at it, and really the only way you can do that is after practice, or either before practice. That's the only way you're really going to get it as a young guy."

On what he has seen from undrafted players LB Keaton Kristick and LB Mike Balogun:"They're competitive. I think they work hard. I think Mike is the kid that comes from a really different football background. He played played at junior college, played at Oklahoma, played at just an organized situation that was looked upon as a semi-pro team. He hasn't played a lot of football, so he has a lot to do early by trying to get in some good habits. The other kid from Oregon [State], I just think he has to continue to play more inside. He'd be an inside guy for us. And he was the guy -- more of a rover kind of guy -- that just ran to the football. So just trying to get him technique as quickly as we can and get him up to speed."

On whether the release of WR Brandon Jones affects WR Ted Ginn Jr.:"You know what it's really, the thing in that decision, it was just a matter of trying to help him go on and get on with another team. [WR] Dominique [Ziegler] has had a nice camp as [wide receiver] Ted Ginn has had a nice camp. So I just think it was good, it was good timing to go ahead and let Brandon look for another team."

On whether he would consider Zeigler as a punt returner:"You know, he's more of an emergency guy for us, but I know there are a couple of things about Zeigler. He is a very dependable guy; he has been up to this point. So its certainty a situation which if we had to we would."

On Zeigler's willingness to go across the middle and make a catch:"He is a unique guy. He is very unselfish and he doesn't mind going across the middle, going underneath, doing some of the dirty work. He is a guy that does everything for us. He wears a lot of different hats. He can play any of the receiver positions, gives us some flexibility and he's really good on special teams as well. So he gives us flexibility at that position."

On QB Nate Davis' progression:"I think Nate, he is a work in progress. I think, you know, you come out here that's the beauty of him. You come out here in a situation in practice, a very controlled environment. He  does well. But in a game, in a game, the situation we put him in, he's done pretty well. But we want to put him in the game in a situation where he's playing against a little better competition earlier in the game and see how he fairs that way. But the protection part of it, just learning where the fire is coming from, that's the point that he has to get to. He has to be able to do that on the move. So far we're just working at it, so we'll see how it works."

On whether Davis will get in early in the Vikings game on Sunday:"Hopefully this game. It's possible, just as early as we can."

On whether he wants to see Davis play without gloves:"I don't really care whether plays with gloves or not, I just want him to be effective. But if gloves make him feel better, it has nothing to do with picking up protection, it has nothing to do with anything else, he throws a nice ball with or without them. So that's up to him."

On whether quarterbacks can be effective with gloves, such as former Bears QB Jim McMahon:"Yes, he did wear gloves."

On when TE Vernon Davis and WR Michael Crabtree will be fully ready to go:"No, we're going to take it one day at a time. This is preseason. We're not going to rush them back; we're just going to continue to communicate with the doctor and the trainers, as well as the players. When they're ready, I think the time will work itself out."

On whether he's expecting TE Vernon Davis and WR Michael Crabtree not to play Sunday against the Vikings:"I don't know, it's just a day-to-day situation"

On CB Nate Clements:"He's doing fine. He's just continuing to do some of the small things that I really think can separate him from being a very good cornerback, and that's just the detail of his position. I think that's really the determining factor going forward. I just think he has to continue to work on all the little details of playing that position and I think he'll do just fine.

On the amount of practice necessary for RB Brian Westbrook:"Well, I think that's something that will play itself out, but I always believe that in order to be effective you have to practice some. I know that he didn't practice a whole lot there with the old team, we knew that and we understood that, him coming in. But I just want to make sure that he practices enough in the new system where he's able to pick it up and get the timing down and he knows exactly what he's doing."

On whether Westbrook will play this weekend against the Vikings:"I don't know. I'm in no rush to get him on the field. I think the young guy we have, [running back Anthony] Dixon, I want to continue to get him all the reps that we can. I want to continue to work [running back] Michael Robinson in some, and we'll just see where it goes."

On where S Reggie Smith is now compared to the beginning of his career:"I see a more confident player. I see a player that really is beginning to understand what we're trying to do on the backend, all of the little detailed things. You know, once again the word detail comes up a lot and that's the thing that we're stressing. We have to know what exactly we're doing; we have to know exactly what the calls are, exactly who we're working with. We can't be guessing. What I've seen in Reggie this year, even starting in OTAs, was just a confidence factor. I think sometimes it takes guys a little bit longer than some others. Some guys, they come in as rookies and they're ready to go; other guys it takes them a little longer and I really like what I see in him."

On S Taylor Mays working into the No. 3, dime role:"We're just going to let everything work itself out. I think every day we come out here, the players know that we're constantly evaluating them and we're not going to play any favors. We just want the best players on the field at all times, and if Taylor Mays fits the situation a little bit better, then he's going to be on the field. If Reggie Smith fits that, then he's going to be on the field, so it's great competition back there and it's a good problem to have."

On whether he likes players such as LB Joe Staley and RB Frank Gore to match up in practice:"Yes I do. Yes I do because I am a sharpened iron. I think [linebacker] Pat [Willis] is continuing to work on his third-down skills, in terms of his man-to-man coverage, and of course [running back] Frank [Gore] doesn't think that anybody can cover him, particularly a linebacker, so that's always a great matchup to see."

On whether he will treat the Vikings game on Sunday as more than simply a preseason game:"No. I think it's important to show people what we want them to know about our team September 12. During the preseason we're just going to continue to evaluate. We know it's a preseason game. I'm not going to go out and try to win a game at the expense of what we're trying to do. We just want to be ready by the first game of the season because that's when it counts and that's the thing we're staying focused on."

On WR Bobby Guillory:"He's struggling a little bit. He's got a lot of nervous energy about him; just trying to get him to settle down a bit. Hopefully he has the chance to return a punt in this game. I just want to see him with the ball. You know, 'let me see what you can do with the ball.' And so, hopefully that situation comes up this weekend."

On whether he thinks QB Alex Smith is frustrated because TE Vernon Davis and WR Michael Crabtree can't take snaps at the moment:"No, I don't. I think with Alex, it's just a matter of him continuing to get in a groove with the guys that we have. Obviously, he would want [wide receiver Michael] Crabtree on the field, you'd want [tight end] Vernon Davis on the field, but they're not there so you're not going to sit over there and whine about it; you're going to go out there and practice and try to get better. There are a lot of things that he can do as a quarterback to get better that have nothing to do with Vernon and Crabtree."

On whether G Tony Wragge is still in competition to replace C Eric Heitmann:"Well, yes. I think he is, but the fact that [guard David] Baas had a really good showing last week; the thing that we wanted to know was if Baas could do it. And it's just one of those things where you never really know until you get in the game and Baas just really handled himself really well. He handled the calls really well, the protections, he snapped the ball with ease. So there was a lot of comfort in that. So yes, [guard Tony] Wragge is still in that, but at the same time I think Baas did a really nice job last week and hopefully we can continue to go forward with that."

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