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Singletary's Notebook: Nov. 17



Opening statements:**

"As far as the injuries are concerned, [CB] Nate Clements will be out, [LT] Joe Staley will be out. [DT] Demetric Evans will be up. [LB] Takeo Spikes is still day-to-day, and if Takeo can't go, [LB] Matt Wilhelm will start. As you know, [WR] Isaac Bruce will not start. [WR] Josh Morgan will start. So, that's what we're doing there going forward.

[QB] Alex Smith, in terms of our offense right now, I think through everything that our offense has been through, the loss of the tackles, loss of [RB] Frank [Gore] for three-and-a-half weeks and just trying to settle in, Alex Smith playing 14 quarters – I think the offense is continuing to come together, continuing to find its identity right now. You're asking a guy, Alex Smith with 14 quarters, to come out and execute the offense, get the timing down, know the receivers, know the offensive line and then be successful – as well as deal with some of the other things. It's not like he's a rookie. He's been here before to deal with some of negative tone or whatever. Going forward, I think he's handled everything well. I think he's just continuing to take steps forward. I think [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye and [quarterbacks coach] Mike Johnson continue to work with him, and good communication and good dialogue going forward. I'm very excited about Alex Smith and what he brings to our offense, and I think going forward, he's going to do just fine.

When you look at the Packers offensively, they're a smart football team. They're a tough football team. They're offensive line is tough. Their running back is a downhill guy, runs tough, and they've got good receivers. The quarterback is playing well, playing smart football. They don't have many turnovers. He hasn't thrown many interceptions – I think five so far. They're doing some good things on offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, it's a very aggressive defense. They really do a good job with the turnovers. I think they're No. 1 in the league with turnovers. Their d-line is very active and come off the ball. Their linebackers are very active. The DBs do a good job. They blitz. [CB] Charles Woodson is having a great year creating turnovers and harassing quarterbacks. It should be a great challenge for us. I'm very excited for the opportunity to go to Lambeau. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

On whether RB Glen Coffee will be available for the game:

On whether WR Isaac Bruce will be the No. 3 receiver ahead of Jason Hill:
"As of right now, it depends on what type of package starts. It depends on the package that goes in. We'll see. I know he's not starting. Whether he's No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5, I don't know right now. It just depends on the package."

On whether he's talked to Bruce about the change:

On how Bruce reacted:
"When I talked to Isaac about the change, he was very positive about it. He said, 'I feel that Josh Morgan is ready. He's ready for this.' He's been working hard, and Isaac has been working with him to get better. I didn't expect anything different from Isaac. He's a class individual, and he's all about the team."

On QB Aaron Rodgers being able to pick apart a defense if given time:
"You're exactly right. He will pick you apart if he has the time, most quarterbacks will. Hopefully, he doesn't have that much time. We're just going to have to continue to play better on the back end, and I think continue to try and put pressure on the quarterback."

On whether the 49ers starting outside linebackers having only 2.5 sacks bothers him or whether he's more interested in pressures:
"I always want to get sacks. You settle for pressures. Sometimes, pressures can be very effective as well. But, I just think those things will come in time. I think, more and more, offenses are doing more max protecting. I just think we just have to continue to have to do a better job there."

On whether he's ever considered starting LB Ahmad Brooks:
"No, not at this point. Ahmad Brooks is continuing to learn the system, continuing to learn how to be a consistent pass rusher. I just think that he's still getting his feet underneath him, but he's coming in and he's coming fast."

On the benefit of having a couple extra days following the Thursday night game:
"I think any time you have an extra day or two for guys to get their legs back underneath them, some of the pounding that they've taken, to heal and use it wisely, I think it can do nothing but help us."

On whether he's talked to the team about playing at Lambeau Field:
"I think the biggest thing that I told our team is we're going on the road, once again, to play a very good football team. It is a tough place to play, but we control some of that. I think it's very important for us to really focus on executing, focus on doing the things that we need to do and let everything else take care of itself. I didn't really talk a whole lot about Lambeau."

On how long he thinks it will take before QB Alex Smith is comfortable:
"I think he's comfortable right now, I really do. I think he's comfortable right now. I just think that the nice thing about where he's at is, first of all, he's a bright guy. Second of all, it's one of those things where the system that we're running is not so different. I think Norv Turner had a lot of similarities to the system that we're running now, so it's not totally different than the Turner system he had good success in. But, I think the thing that's really good for Alex is he's stepping in. He never really got out of the groove, and what I mean by that is he just continued to work. He just continued to work on his own, so when he did get the chance, it's not like he had to shake a lot of rust off. I'm excited about where he's at and the conversations that I have with him going forward are just continuing to ask him what does he need in order to be successful and trying to surround him with those things, whether it's more time, whether it's more detail, whether it's more meeting time, whether it's more route running out here with the wide receivers – just making sure he gets all of the things he needs so that he can feel as comfortable as he can during the game."

On whether he has everything he needs to be successful:
"I don't think you're ever going to have everything you need and you want and all of the other things, but I think that we're listening and trying to provide him with those things. I think he's being very reasonable about what he's asking for. Some of those things you kind of have to pull out of him because he doesn't want to change the offense. He doesn't want to change things around, but at the same time, I continue to reassure him that when I'm asking these questions, I really want the answers so that we can help him all we can."

On the things Smith has asked for:
"First is just a little more detail, getting into the offense and really just going back through some of the things that – we've gone forward here with [QB] Shaun Hill and some of those things. So, it's going back and kind of looking at some of the detail of those things and how that looks for him because when you have one quarterback, you're working with some of the changes that they need, when another quarterback may not need those changes, but they may need something else. So, it's just making sure that you kind of backtrack over those things and make sure that's cleaned up going forward. So, little things like that."

On how he would assess the play of LT Barry Sims:
"Outstanding. It's a pleasant surprise. I think he's done a great job. I'm really excited about what he has been able to bring to that position. I think he's done a phenomenal job."

On whether he would consider leaving Sims in the starting lineup when LT Joe Staley comes back:
"I may consider it, but I don't think it would happen because I think Joe Staley is our left tackle. Unless he comes back, and he's just really not ready or something like that, but Joe Staley is our left tackle."

On whether he would switch Sims to the right side:
"Probably not. [RT Adam] Snyder is doing a good job on that side."

On WR Josh Morgan's play:
"I talked to Josh Morgan the other day and just let him know that I liked what he's doing. I like the progression. I just want to see it faster. I want to see when Josh Morgan and [WR] Michael Crabtree line up, the [the defense] has issues on both sides. It's not, 'We'll take away one, and you deal with the lesser' because I think Josh Morgan is extremely talented. He's extremely physical. There are just a lot of things that he can do and present a lot of issues for a defense. So, I'm just looking for the time that, and hopefully soon, where he presents a lot of issues over there."

On whether a lack of experience in a passing offense in college is part of Morgan's development;
"Yes it is. It's a difference in being a receiver and being in an offense where you have to be really detailed. Some offenses, the receivers don't have to be as detailed. They're not asked to run specific routes, and I think in our offense, [wide receivers coach] Jerry Sullivan really stresses that. It's extremely important for receivers to be exactly where they're supposed to be because it makes the quarterback better."

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