Singletary's Notebook: Oct. 6



Opening Statement: **"Good afternoon. In terms of who we get back this week, (C Eric) Heitmann should be back this week, we will see how he works in. And James, (CB) William James, same scenario. (WR) Ted Ginn, all of those guys, hopefully will have a chance to be back this week and we just have to see how it goes. We just have to take it a day at a time. (TE) Delanie (Walker) on the other hand is going to be week-to-week and we'll just continue to monitor that as well as the other three guys that I talked about, and just make sure that we don't rush anything and that everybody is on the same page."

On whether TE Nate Byham is at a place where he can be used as a receiving tight end as well as a blocking tight end:"I think he works hard enough where he just continues to increase his value by the number of things that he's working on. And that is being a receiving tight end as well as an H factor, as well as a tight end. So he continues to work and get better and that just brings value to our team."

On whether they are missing a "big play" receiver like WR Ted Ginn.:"I think sometimes when you look at it, sometimes speed equates to big play. And I think that's very deceptive. If you can remember Jerry Rice was not the fastest guy in the world, but somehow he got down field, and I just think that in Atlanta it was that kind of game, but Ted Ginn, it would be great to have him back because if he can get down the field and you have a (WR Michael) Crabtree and a (WR) Josh Morgan and a (TE) Vernon Davis, it makes the other team really have to pick their poison."

On how much it will help the offense to have someone who can stretch the field:"Speed is just something that always helps. It's something that you can't create. It's something that you can't make. It's there and when you have it, it really makes a difference."

On what will determine whether Heitmann starts at center over David Baas:"I think the most important thing for our football team is that Heitmann is just going to have to continue to work himself back into football shape to begin with. And David is doing a nice job right now. And I just feel like we'll know when that time comes. It's not something that we're rushing, it's not something that, 'Okay Heitmann, you have to hurry up,' it's not like that. So I think right now we're just going to let it work itself out."

On whether Heitmann will get snaps at guard to get him familiar with those spots:"Right now, I just think it's important for him to get all he can, whether it's on practice team, whether it's guard, whether it's center, whatever it is. I think it's really important for us to get him in as much as we can and let him adjust."

On S Taylor Mays' mental progress along with his statistics from Sunday:"Taylor Mays had no mental errors in the game. None. You know, and I'll just say maybe one. But he knew exactly where he needed to be, he played his position well, he brought value to our team. I think he's going to be a tremendous asset going forward."

On what Mays' play says about football instincts, considering he never played special teams in college:"It was great awareness on his behalf. I just think since he's been here, he's continued to blossom. There are things that when we drafted him, we hoped that he could do. We were not sure if he could do, but he has surpassed our expectations in terms of what he can and cannot do."

On the challenge for the secondary to cover Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin:"It is a great challenge, I think it's a welcome challenge. I think both those guys, both those receivers really can get down field and I think the most important thing for us is to have our guys try to get our hands on them early and slow them down before they get up field, and that's going to be real key for us."

On whether he is relieved that the secondary won't have to chase around Eagles QB Michael Vick:"You know what, it doesn't really matter to us. I think there are pros and cons to both quarterbacks, so I'm excited for the opportunity that we have to play the Eagles."

On why it seems that the team hasn't been able to find a role for RB Brian Westbrook:"It's not that we haven't been able to find a role. I think sometimes when it's early in the season you're just trying to get it going for Frank Gore, just to make sure that the offensive line, being as young as it is, are really in tune with him, and just really trying to explore all of the things with Frank Gore. I think Westbrook, the plan that we had when we got him here was to make sure that as we go forward and we find out what he can and cannot do, in terms of our offense, is just letting it develop, and that's what we're trying to do. And I think as time goes on we'll see that."

On what happened in the first third-down play where it looked like Alex was trying to get in across the formation and he called a timeout:"You know what, I can't recall the dynamics of that play. I know what you're talking about, but I can't recall why we had to – maybe the personnel or something like that. Oh yeah, what happened was the personnel that we had was not exactly the personnel that we needed and we wanted to make an adjustment, but the personnel wasn't quite a fit for the adjustment. So it was kind of one of those things that started out bad and it wasn't going to get any better."

On whether that was a mental mistake on Westbrook's part:"No, no it wasn't a mental mistake, it was a matter of getting out there and having everybody be on the same page, but it was not a mental mistake on his behalf, no."

On at what point he would consider making a change at quarterback and whether he is close to that point:"I am nowhere near that point. I think when I look at (QB) Alex Smith, it's the growing pains of not just Alex Smith, but our team. Hopefully we're at a point right now where everybody is growing up. I think whatever we've done up to this point, it's got to be behind us, and it's time to move on. I think Alex has done a decent job, and I think going forward he's only going to get better, but as far as making a decision to get Alex - no. No, we're not even close to that."

On how much the pass-rush helps the cornerbacks against WRs like Jackson and Maclin:"Well, it's extremely important that you understand that every cornerback in the league is only so good. You're only as good as the pass-rush. And I think our pass-rush, I think had a pretty good day last week, and we're just going to continue to get better. We just got (LB) Ahmad (Brooks) back, and Ahmad is kind of getting back in the groove, and I just feel like overall, (LB Travis) LaBoy is continuing to heal and get better, and (LB) Parys (Haralson) got in a hot spot on Sunday, so I think our guys are just going to continue to get better."

On G Chilo Rachal's health:"Right now he has a bit of a sore knee, but overall I think he's fine and we'll just look at it day-to-day."

On his assessment of G Mike Iupati's progress:"Not bad. I think he, since the first game, has just continued to be very steady. (T Anthony) Davis, I think really took a huge step on Sunday. I think he did a very nice job. But both those guys are continuing to make steady progress."

On what he saw in S Taylor Mays:"Well in all honesty, I think when you're a safety and particularly, as big a safety as he is, it was really important for us to see if he could really get into the box and cover. Do some of the things that some of the smaller, quicker-twitch safeties can do. And he indeed can do that. He can play in the box, he can play post, I mean, he can do anything that any other safety can do. Now it's just a matter of continuing to zone in on the finer points of the technique that he has to use. But he has the speed to help us, he has the ability to run and change directions. He can play low, for a big guy, he can bend. So that's extremely important. So I just think that we were really fortunate to get him."

*On the report that he didn't shake hands with Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith after the game: *"That was poor sportsmanship on my behalf. That's all it was."

On getting a sense of his state of mind during the post-game press conference when he didn't have a good connection between himself and the media:"I think the one question you asked, I read it wrong. I don't remember anybody else asking a question other than you that I had an issue with, and that's because I misread the question. So for dazed to come out of that, I don't really get it. I will say this. It was poor sportsmanship on my behalf. I don't know if any of you guys ever get ticked, I'd be the first to tell my kid, that was wrong. I should have went over and shook his hand, I chose not to, for a number of reasons. But nothing else was on my mind, and nothing else – but I was disappointed, and that was a very honest feeling after the game."

On whether he has talked to Falcons coach Mike Smith since that time:"No."

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