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Singletary's Notebook: Oct. 20



On the injuries this week: **"I'll go through some of the injuries. We have [TE] Vernon Davis, knee contusion, [CB Nate] Clements, leg contusion, [LB Manny] Lawson, rib contusion, [WR Josh] Morgan, thigh contusion, [LB Parys] Haralson, calf contusion, and [TE Delanie] Walker, we're just going to continue to monitor day-to-day. [C] Eric Heitmann had a neck that has been an ongoing kind of thing. We looked at it Monday, and we're just going to continue to monitor it on a week-to-week basis."

On whether he expects any of the players besides Heitmann and Walker to be iffy for the Carolina game:"I think right now with the other guys it's just a day-to-day situation."

On whether Heitmann will be available for the game:"I don't think so at this point."

On whether he expects the guys he labeled day-to-day to play:"Day-to-day."

On whether the day-to-day guys will practice today:"Most of those guys, well I would say half and half right now. Some of the guys will practice, some of the guys, it will be a limited kind of watch-and-see what they can do. But most of the guys that I named, we're just going to have to keep our eyes on."

On why he went with WR Ted Ginn for both punt return and kickoff:"Well, I just felt that right now, Ginn really likes to do it, and he does a good job with it, and as long as he feels that way, until [WR] Kyle [Williams] is really, really, his finger is 100 percent good, then we're going to keep it the way it is right now."

On using Ginn for both punt return and kickoff even though he is a starter and whether that is something he is looking to change:"I think as Ted Ginn continues to grow in our offense, that may change with time, but right now it's okay."

On what his message to the team is about the challenge of two consecutive road games, including the international game in London:"Just make sure that you don't get sidetracked by the distractions. We've got one game, and that's Carolina. And when we're done with that game, then we'll look toward the next game. But we really have to focus on this game coming up with Carolina. All of the other things with London, that London trip, hopefully most of the guys have gotten everything ready for that for the most part, and can really focus on the Carolina game."

On the challenges for the coaches to prepare for Denver ahead of time because of the obligations with meetings and media once they are in England:"I just think up until this time, all of our administrative people have done a great job of preparing us for those meetings and talked about it ahead of time, and so that when we got to this time, we could really focus on the game this week. So, most of that is handled."

On his thoughts about the NFL's change in enforcing high hit penalties with suspensions:"I know that the NFL is doing everything that they can to help protect players and the safety of the game. So, they're just going to continue to do that and we have to be smart about what we're doing. But I know that they're concerned about the safety of the players, and so are we."

On whether he has noticed a higher risk in playing football now than there was 20, 30 or 40 years ago:"You know what, I really don't think so. I think some of the same hits that I see today, I saw them when I was playing. I don't see a big difference, I really don't."

On whether it is difficult for someone in the secondary to change his hit mentality:"Well, I just think it's something you have to think about a little bit more and just be a little bit smarter about because it's not just only the receiver that you're looking at, you're also looking at that DB because sometimes those guys get hurt as well. I think overall, it will be a good thing going forward. At least the guys are thinking about it, and any time we can help players be safe, it makes sense."

*On whether it is difficult to make that change in mindset in the middle of the season: *"Well, it's always going to be difficult. More difficult for some players than others. But in a game, in a heated moment, yes, it is a little more difficult. But you just have to continue to carry that message, and over time, I think players will get it."

On whether it takes away weapons from players like S Taylor Mays or S Dashon Goldson:"No, I think as long as those guys can still be physical, it doesn't mean they can't hit the guy as hard as they possibly can. It just means that the technique has to change."

*On improving their third-down percentage since Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson has taken over and whether that is play-calling that is making the difference:  *"I think our offense overall is just continuing to get better. I think the inexperience that we had at the very beginning at the offensive line, the two rookies, [C] David Baas playing center for the first time in six years, [WR] Michael Crabtree not getting really a chance to go through training camp, [TE] Vernon Davis not really having a chance to go through training camp for the most part. There are a lot of pieces to put together and I think our guys are just continuing to grow and mature, and gain some experience. And I think that's a big factor."

On whether being 0-5 gives him a better understanding of how dangerous and hungry a team like Carolina can be:"Oh, you're absolutely right, yes. Absolutely."

On what stands out about Carolina:"I think you have to look at both sides of the ball. I think defensively, they play hard, they play aggressive. They get after you. They've got some good football players. And on the offensive side of the ball, the first thing that jumps out at you is the running backs. Their offensive line is very aggressive, their running backs are capable of breaking it. So you really have to have a solid game plan and make sure that you're ready to go."

On why elusive, speedy running backs have given them trouble this year:"Well, I think more than anything else, like I've said before, the running backs that have gotten yardage on us, it's more us than them. Guys just having break-downs at the wrong time, and guys just not really doing the things that they need to do, and all it takes is a little step here or there and for a good back to get out and gain some yards. So we just have to go out and continue to get better at that."

On whether LB NaVorro Bowman will resume the role previous to his bad read on Oakland TE Zach Miller:"I think in that particular game, Bowman being young and going against a crafty guy, I just think we decided for this game, for this time, how about we just back off a bit and get [LB] Takeo [Spikes] up a bit more and let him handle the experienced guy and we'll go from there. But I think going forward, Bowman will be okay."

On Spikes doing well in a coverage role and whether he is surprised at his age that he is able to stick with a tight end:"No, not at all. He's – you talk about tight end being crafty or whatever – Takeo is pretty crafty himself. You get a lot of experience and you know where you're safeties are, you know where your help is, and when you know those things, it plays to your advantage. And Takeo definitely understands that."

On how Spikes handled some of his snaps being taken away by Bowman:"I think Takeo handled it very well. I think he understands exactly what we're striving to do. It's not a matter of just taking away reps because you're not as good, it's taking away reps because we want to have you. And make sure that the wear and tear does not take you away from us toward the end of the season. And hopefully after that."

On whether the experience playing Kansas City will help prepare for Carolina:"I think each and every week, every back that we play, not just Kansas City, but each and every week, you gain experience in different schemes and everything else. But I think we'll be fine. Each week it just gets a little better."

On the statistic that said RB Frank Gore was a large percent of the offense and whether he wants to start reigning that back:"Well I do think that we have to be smart. We talked about Takeo just a few minutes ago, and it's the same situation with Frank. He's a guy that you have to watch him, because he will take every down, and more. And at some point in time you just have to explain that some of these other guys are going to have to play. [RB Brian] Westbrook needs to play a little more. [RB Anthony] Dixon needs to play a little bit, so that we can have the opportunity to have Frank Gore the whole year."   

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