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Singletary's Notebook: Nov. 11



On whether he has made a decision for the starting quarterback against St. Louis:**"As of right now, it looks like it's going to be [QB] Troy [Smith]. Something could change, it depends on how [QB] Alex [Smith] progresses through the week, but as of right now, it looks like Troy is going to take all the snaps."

On whether the starter would be a question if Alex Smith was healthy:"If Alex were healthy? I think right now he'd still be the quarterback."

On whether he would feel reluctant about pulling Troy Smith if Alex Smith were healthy, since Troy won a game:"I don't want to get into 'if he did this' and 'if he did that.' Alex got hurt, Troy is the quarterback, that's where we're going."

On what Alex Smith will do during practice today:"I don't know if he'll do much today. He threw a little bit the other day, but we just have to be smart about him as well. Alex is smart enough to know that the worst thing that he can do is go out there and play with a hurt shoulder and lengthen the injury."

On how much of the play book Troy Smith can run:"He can run enough of it to be effective."

On whether there is a sense that the team can still make things happen at this point:"Well that's certainly a thought process for us. With the first half of the season done, for us the most important thing, like in every year, is November and December. And hopefully we've learned a lot of things from the first half of the season and we'll take that forward into the next half."

On how having former 49ers S Michael Lewis on St. Louis will effect their offensive and defensive signals:"It won't effect us much."

On how he gauges the locker room right now:"It feels pretty good to me. I mean, you guys are in there and you have to get a feel for it yourself, but to me it's pretty good."

On whether he seeks opinions from the leaders of the locker room on how things can change:"That's always ongoing. I'm always talking to, not just the leaders of our team, but pretty much all of our guys on our team. That's something that I believe in very strongly in, communicating with our players."
On whether there is anything that has changed that Alex Smith is still possibly an option for Sunday:"There's always that element. The thing for me is, as the coach, I've got to go with the guy that's going to take the snaps, but I never want to rule out anything. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a trainer, so I always go to those guys for that information."

On whether there is a common theme to what he heard back after his phone calls about Troy Smith:"Yes. That he's got good leadership abilities, he's a winner."

On naming Alex Smith a captain and his comments about his leadership back at training camp: 
"I still say the same thing now. The whole thing about leadership, it's really interesting that this is still a conversation. You guys know Alex as well as I do, if not more. And I think Alex is a leader. I think he exemplifies all the things that you want your quarterback to be. In terms of his leadership, Alex's leadership is all about the example. He's a guy that's going to work his tail off, do all the things he needs to do. I've talked about that enough in the past few days. He's just a different kind of leader."

On whether the players that were injured had time to heal during the bye week:"I think most of the guys are in pretty decent shape. The bye week certainly helped that."

On clarifying whether there is anything that will happen between now and Saturday that would cause him to change his mind on who will start at quarterback:"As of right now, Troy Smith is the starter. Depending on how Alex Smith progresses throughout the week, it could possibly change."

On whether he has any issue with Troy Smith going home during the bye week like the rest of the players:"No, not at all. Troy Smith was here enough to get what he needed to get. And he's a guy that really works his tail off. He was here last night really late. But that's all of his personal business. But I have no issues with him leaving and going home and taking care of his family and doing the things that he needed to do."

On whether he took any down time for himself:"Yes I did. The weekend came and I got some down time."

On what he did during his downtime:"It's always fun when I'm with my family, always."

On whether he has looked at Rams QB Sam Bradford on film and whether he sees a rookie:"I'm seeing a guy that, they're doing a good job of taking their shots in terms of when they get the ball down field. I think they're doing a nice job protecting him, he gets the ball out pretty quick. I think they have a good scheme, I think it works pretty well for him. I think he's doing a nice job. He takes off and runs when he has to, he's doing a good job."

On whether Alex Smith has received full medical clearance yet:"I don't think at this point, no."

On LB Takeo Spikes staying on the field later in the game against Denver and whether that will continue through the rest of the season:"I think that when I look at Takeo, the thing that we're trying to do is really make sure that we don't over do it. When I look at Takeo, I'm looking at [RB] Frank [Gore] the same way. We want to have these guys going into the second half of the season, for the whole part of that, and make sure that their game stays up. But we just have to keep watching them. [LB NaVorro] Bowman continues to make progress. There were some defenses that I think Takeo had a better grip on and I thought it was better to leave him in there to do that."

On whether keeping Spikes in was a matter of having experience on the field:"No, no."

On what he knew about Troy Smith when he signed him and if he is different at all:"No, not really. The thing that - [Vice President of Player Personnel] Trent [Baalke] and I sat down and talked about the possibility of - what would Troy bring to this team in case we needed him? We did our homework at that time. When the possibility came up of him having a chance to play, I just did more background information and tried to find out as much as I could about him just so that we would not have any setbacks or anything like that because we were doing something wrong on our end."

On his thoughts on Troy Smith not being a classic-sized quarterback:"Well I put it this way. I think, you look at [Eagles QB] Michael Vick and he's not the ideal size of a quarterback. You look at [Saints QB] Drew Brees and he's not the ideal size of a quarterback. To me, I'm the last guy that's going to look at somebody's size. It's all about the heart and the will and are they able to move our team forward."

On what the cut-off date would be for Alex Smith to start practicing and for him to change his mind about the starter:"You know what, I really don't know. I just think right now, today is Wednesday. I'm focused on St. Louis, I'm focused on Troy Smith being out there and I want to get out there and get my eyes on him and see how he's doing with some of the changes that we're making, and we're going to take it a day at a time. Cut-off date and all that other stuff, I don't know right now."

On whether Troy Smith will get all the first-team reps:"Yes. Absolutely. Every one of them."

On addressing the pass defense for this week's game:"I just think we have to do a better job. I think Reggie Smith may get a few more reps. We'll see how it goes, but obviously we have to do a better job and we're all aware of that. It will be addressed going forward."   

On all of the information sent to Troy Smith while he was at home during the bye week:"We tried to be careful not to over-kill it, but I just think that as the quarterback, he understood. He stayed until we felt like we had what we needed physically, and after that it was just a matter of expect on Thursday to get this much information, just expect on Friday when you come back, have that information and let's go. He's professional, came back ready to go, and it was all good."

On what S Reggie Smith can add to the secondary:"You know, Reggie is just a guy that's been steady, continued to make progress, and he knows what he has to do. And he's going to have the opportunity to play a little bit more and we'll see how it goes."

On whether Reggie Smith will get more time because S Dashon Goldson has been injured:"Well thankfully Dashon is a lot better now."

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