Singletary's Notebook: Aug. 3


On the progress the team has made so far:
"We're making strides. We're getting a little better. We just have to get a little better every day. We made some strides. Not bad."

On why LB Joe Staley sat out of practice:"It is just a little, slight ankle strain. A very light ankle strain. We're just keeping him out, but he will be fine."

On how long Willis will be out:
"We're not even thinking about it. We're fine. It's day-to-day. We'll be good."

On when he learned the nutcracker drill:
"I first learned the nutcracker drill in Chicago, when Coach Ditka came to the Bears. That is when I first learned it. The nutcracker drill we are doing now is different than what we did then."

On how he did the nutcracker drill differently in Chicago:
"There was more shedding. It was more of a hit and get off. A lot times with that you have a guy that may get up, and then you have a guy going three or four times against him and you're not getting any work in because you're just jumping around. The thing I wanted to do was have both guys get up there and really get the fundamental work in, of going through a guy, rather than going around or jumping around. It is working out better."

On whether the nutcracker drill will wear guys down:
"I don't think a nutcracker drill right now will have anything to do with guys breaking down. As a matter of fact, the nutcracker drill is going to be what helps them stay alive, in terms of defending themselves and knowing the tools they have. They are not going to get it any other time, so we take advantage of it now."

On when he will stop doing the nutcracker:
"We'll play it by ear. Like I said before, Fergie (Head Athletic Trainer Jeff Ferguson) and I will continue to talk, and the way we handle the drill is pretty safe. It's pretty fool-proof. The thing I really want the guys to get is just the technique and the battle. That's all it is."

On keeping players fresh throughout camp:
"Right now, with all of our players, it is just one of those things where we are looking at them and monitoring them accordingly. We are talking to the coaches and the trainers so we are being smart with each and every player we have."

On Frank Gore's expected workload throughout the rest of camp:
"Like I said, we'll play it by ear. I'm certain he is going to get some work and we'll monitor it as we go. It is easier when you start early and you get guys the exposure they need and the work they need. As we get going forward, Frank is one of those special guys and as time goes on we are going to be monitoring and watching it. Trust me, he'll be fresh when the season starts."

On what he has seen from LB Ahmad Brooks:
"Ahmad is a guy we are very excited about the opportunity he brings to our defense. We feel he is a guy who is going to continue to grow and make plays. He is out there all over the place making plays. So it is very exciting."

On DE Kentwan Balmer's performance today:
"He did okay. We have to keep working him. We just have to keep working on the little things, the details. Kentwan will be fine."

On guys who stood out during the nutcracker drill:"A number of guys are getting better at it. I feel, right now, the most important thing is for our coaching to continue to emphasize the little things and get the guys the tools so when they are in a game they can adjust accordingly and go from there. There are a number of guys on both sides of the ball that are getting better. I don't want to single them out for now, but they are getting better."

On TE Vernon Davis leaving the nutcracker drill early:"Vernon is one of those guys you just have to get away from contact. He loves contact, but that was all he needed. I just really wanted him to get away from there and go do something else. He is a guy, if you let him, he'll stay there all day.  That's him. Anything he can do to get him the heck away from what we were doing over there is fine."

On the young receivers' progress:
"They are coming on. [WRs coach] Jerry Sullivan is doing an outstanding job continuing to work with the younger guys. They are continuing to watch Isaac Bruce and see some of the things he is doing, and learning to become a pro. I think the guys are making great strides."

On when he expects WR Michael Crabtree to sign with the team:
"I'm really not thinking about it. When he comes in, we'll be excited to get him. But until that time I am just going to focus on the guys who are here."

On how he is approaching the quarterback competition right now:"It is making sure everything else is right. The offensive line has to be right. The protection has to be right. The receivers have to be running their correct routes at the right time. The better everything else around them gets, the better you can evaluate the quarterback. That is really the thing we are focusing on right now. I think both quarterbacks are continuing to get their timing down and get the trust with the receivers."

On how his quotes keep showing up on billboards and T-shirts as part of the team's marketing campaign:
"I don't really know how that got going, or why people thought it was worth putting up on a billboard. For me, the most important thing is that it is happening out here (on the field). The words, they can go on billboards, they can go on T-shirts, but if it is not going on out here on the field, we need to take them down quick."

On building a team identity:
"Each and every day, that is a thing we have to focus on. Before we can do all the other things we want to do, we must know who we are. We must have that in place before the season starts, and we will."

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