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Singletary's Notebook: Nov. 27



On the status of LB Takeo Spikes:**"It's going to be a game time [decision]. He tried to practice a little bit today. We didn't have him overexert himself, but he looked pretty good. We'll see come game time."

On who takes over the leadership role on defense when Spikes is not in the lineup:"I think [LB] Patrick [Willis] is doing a much better job. I think that Takeo and Pat work really well together, and I think that when Takeo is not there, that Pat has to pick it up a bit. [LB] Matt Wilhelm is still trying to get used to doing it, but hopefully this week Takeo steps up and is ready to go. I'll keep my fingers crossed for that."

On whether having Takeo Spikes out against Green Bay constituted to the yardage gained by Packers RB Ryan Grant:"I'm sure that it had something to do with it, a little bit. I wouldn't go there and say, 'well, he wasn't there,' no, I wouldn't go there. Certainly, continuity is big and Takeo really helps Pat out a lot, he really does, so he's a great asset to us."

On the challenge of containing Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew:"It's a big challenge because you've got a huge offensive line, and next thing you know, he just comes out of nowhere. He hides really well behind them, so we really have our work cut out for us this week. They are a power team and he's a powerful runner. He's an effective guy, so we definitely have our hands full this week."

On whether he recollects having problems tackling diminutive runners when he played in the NFL:"I would say for me – I was kind of small too, so it wasn't a big problem for me. For the linebackers, it shouldn't be a big issue. For our guys, we don't have huge guys, I think that Pat and Takeo should be just fine. The defensive linemen have to bend a little bit more to find him."

On Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew performance in short-yardage situations:"He's a good back aside from being a shorter guy. I would say that's the only difference – he's a shorter guy, not a smaller guy. He's really compact and he keeps his legs moving behind that pile, and I'll tell you what now, the offensive line does a great job of pulling him forward. So I think that we have to reevaluate that rule before the game, but the offensive line does a great job of pulling him right along with them so that helps too."

On whether a sneak play against Green Bay should have been raised as an issue with the league:"It should have been. The whole sneak thing when guys are pulling you forward - it should be, but I guess they don't enforce it that much, but we'll have to look at that."

On any other personnel moves to be made prior to Sunday's contest against Jacksonville:"No."

On talking to the referees pre-game concerning the sneak plays:"It's not really a big thing, we just have to mention things that could possibly come up in a game. Things that you see on film, those are just little things that you communicate to the referees before the game so they can look at it prior [to the game]."

On whether sneak plays are done by hitting a runner forward or pulling him forward:
"There are time when it's kind of like rugby – he's in there and they're just pushing, shoving, pulling, and the whole nine yards. They do a good job of blocking, it's not like they're cheating.They're working and they're doing what they have to do. I think that it's going to be up to us to do everything that we can do to stop them, but they do a good job of blocking for him."

On whether he agrees with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye's assessment of QB Alex Smith maturation and assertiveness:"Oh yeah, I think that I've been saying the same thing. I haven't quite gotten to excellent yet, but I would say that only because I haven't used that word. But I think that Alex Smith is making really good progress. I think that we're all thankful that he's making the progress that he's making, so hopefully we just continue to go forward with that. If he can continue to get better from week to week, it helps us that much more trying to get where we need to go."

On what hasn't Alex Smith done in order to make progress:"I would say, if I had to point to one thing, whenever you look at a quarterback, it's all about winning. I think that you could say that it's kind of like your team, 'Whoa man, we're playing hard, we're doing this, we're doing that….did you win the game? No. Well, end of conversation.' So it's kind of like the same with the quarterback. We've had some good quarterbacks come through this league, but they didn't win, so we don't know a whole lot about them. So for Alex, I think that he just has to continue working, and also our team and everything else, and we just have to bring that thing together and win."

On his comments on Alex Smith being 'meek' and how an NFL quarterback can be successful with that quality:"It's kind of the whole thing with leadership. You hit that point, I just want to answer that question and make sure that I define him right. Are leaders born or are they made? I think both, but when I think about Alex Smith, when I was talking about meek, I should have used the word humble. He's a guy, he doesn't want to cause any problems. To me, he doesn't have the typical mentality of a quarterback, which is, 'Hey, this is what I want.' He's not like that and that's thing that I like about him and I'm sure going forward, I'm see more and more assertiveness, I'm seeing more and more, 'Coach I like this, I don't like that,' and those kinds of things so I think it's a tremendous asset for him to be a guy that is still willing to be molded, still willing to listen and it's not all of a sudden, he throws a couple of touchdowns and he's not all of a sudden the greatest quarterback in the world. He's still listening and I think that's great so going forward I think he's going to find his balance. We are on this side of it saying, 'Come on, give us the information, let us know where you are, let us know what you are thinking,' and I think he has been on the other side saying, 'I don't want to cause any problems, I don't want to make this about me, I want it to be about the team, I want it to be about the offense,' and I think that's been his mentality and that's been great and we are saying we love that, but come on, be the guy that says 'this is what I want,' and we'll say, 'Okay, we are going to go here, we're going to do that and this.' Now we are where we need to be in the communication area and I think we are getting there, I just think he needed permission to say, 'That's okay for me to say, this is what I want, this is what I need.' The answer is absolutely yes. We need to know exactly what it is and he's doing that."

On that 'jerk' quality in most quarterbacks:"For lack of a another word, yes, I would say that, but there are some that I know that are, I would say are very clear and concise about what it is that they want and the great thing about Alex is I think he's such a bright guy that he can do a number of things and I think he's still finding out some of those things that he likes better than others because he hasn't played as long. To me, I think it's a tremendous advantage for him and us going forward, so he's not set in his ways and so I think that's a good thing."

On whether it's hard for the quarterback not to be the natural leader of the team given he is the only one talking in the huddle:"The way that Alex Smith is thinking right now and all that I've seen, I think Alex Smith understands that at some point in time it has to be about his point of view, but from a team aspect."

On what kind of a challenge the Jaguars defense present for their offense on Sunday:"I guess for me, when I look at their defense, you look at those big guys up front and they come off the ball, they do a good job and are big physical guys. Their DBs look like they are communicating well on the backend, I just think that we have to go out and just do what we do. I don't think that we have to try and think up anything else, just go out and execute the offense and hopefully, we can put it together early, hopefully we can execute early and find our niche, find our balance and just kind of move forward with that."

On whether he would like to see his cornerbacks play more aggressively this week:"We have to. Last week, for whatever reason, there were times when we were way too far off and gave them a lot more cushion than we had talked about during the week. So, yes, definitely get up there and challenge them a lot more than we did last week."

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