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Singletary's Notebook: Sept. 1



Opening statement:**"How many of you guys have families? You mind raising your hands? You scared to raise your hands? So you have kids and every now and then your kids have some misunderstandings or what have you and they forget that there is a father at home. [Tight end] Vernon [Davis] and [WR Michael] Crabtree, just to let you know, I will not talk about the issue. But I will talk about this; they were both wrong. And we will not have distractions on this team, Vernon just forgot temporarily, and that is not allowed. We don't do that. We don't treat family like that. We don't disrespect each other. And I just needed to remind him that that's not who we are. He's fine. He did a great job. He's one of the captains. He did the right thing, but he did it the wrong way. So, that's all I'm going to say about that. Any other questions about who's playing this week, injuries whatever, we can go from there."

On whether TE Vernon Davis and WR Michael Crabtree will play on Thursday against the Chargers:"Probably not."

On his plan for the starters in the final preseason game:"It is an individual basis. I'm still talking to [offensive coordinator] Jimmy [Raye], we're trying to decide, we're thinking about how long, if we play the first group, how long would they play, whether it be a series, two series, first quarter, whichever came first. [RB Frank] Gore will not play. Probably [TE] Vernon [Davis] will not play, it doesn't make sense for him to play. [WR Michael] Crabtree may or may not play. The line, you know, once again the guys are going to get some time. Outside of that that's about it."

On whether RB Brian Westbrook will play:"No, he will not play."

On whether QB Alex Smith will play:"No."

On whether QB David Carr will start:"Will Carr start? I think so."

On his discussion with the team at the end of yesterday's practice:"The bottom line, I'm just saving you some words to write, is it was not acceptable. It was not a good practice. Some of our guys right now just want to get tomorrow's game over with. A few of them know they're not going to be playing. Some of the rookies or younger guys that are on the bubble are nervous, can't even think straight; can't even see straight. So you have the combination of those things working together. I understand it, but it's unacceptable."

On what a perfect preseason record would mean to him:"What would a perfect preseason record mean? Oh, I don't really care about preseason records. The only thing I tell our guys to do, and I really don't care about winning the game, obviously we want to win every time we step on the field, but the most important thing is that we get better. We get better in some areas we need to get better in. Some guys need to take some steps, we need to execute, we need to get in a rhythm; those kinds of things. So, you know as well as I do you can win every preseason game and come into the season and stink up the place. I think we understand that our guys understand that. But the goal is to go out and execute."

On whether QB Alex Smith not playing the final preseason game signals a new stage in his development:"Whether he played or not, even if he played, it wouldn't be a signal, it wouldn't signal any more than I've already told you all offseason. I don't see what it would signal. Some teams, they don't play their starting quarterback, some teams do. Everybody's got their own ideas about what they think is right or not right. Alex Smith is our starting quarterback. I'm excited about what he's doing; I'm excited about the progress that he's made. He's doing some things that, as a matter of fact to me, are ahead of schedule in some areas. So, I'm very excited about Alex. So whether he played or not, it has nothing to do with 'what more does that mean?'"

On how his experiences of being a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears shaped his vision of greatness:"Obviously, when you're a part of something like that there are certain things that you take away from it that are very positive. Also there's some things that you take away from it that were negative. And for me, I think about those times from time to time and as well as some of the organizations I've been with; it's the same. Whether you're in a great football team, whether you're in a great organization, whether you're in a great church; it's the same. You're together, have great leadership, you've got good talent, keep everybody happy – and what I mean by that is everybody's on the same page communicating. Nine times out of 10, if there's a standard that you guys believe in and practice every day, there's a good chance you're going to have success."

On how much competition is left for roster spots:"I'll tell you what I told the team. I told the team yesterday, 'Tomorrow is one of those, there are several different categories. If you're a veteran, it's either you play tomorrow and you do something that, 'Hey you know what, this guy can still play, let's keep him. I really didn't know it but I see it, okay, so let's keep him.' Versus, 'You know what, this younger guy is really doing better, this other guy is not, then let's make that decision.' So, you know, you'll have that decision. Then you have a young guy that you think may make the practice squad or may make the 53 versus someone else. And you kind of look at that and you go, you try and project, do you think he's going to get to that next level. Has he shown you enough progress throughout training camp that he can get to the next level based on his last game? And that's all you have. So it's versus the other guy where he's done it but he hasn't really taken it to the next level, so this guy's going to make the 53, this guy is not. So it's just decisions like that. So when I say, 'Yes, the majority of our roster is full, but there are still about five or six spots that can go one way or the other.'"

On whether he believes this team is best positioned now to win the NFC West:"I don't even think about that. I don't even think about that, I really don't. And I mean that. The thing that I think about the most, and I've said this all along, the most important thing for me is when we come out here is what we do out here on the practice field. Are we doing the things that we need to do? Everything else will take care of itself, but if we're doing the things that we need to do out here, we're earning the right *to *win, whether it's the West or whether it's to the playoffs and all this other stuff. The most important thing is I stay focused every day when we come out here and answer the question, 'Did we get better today? Is it good enough for the competition that we have to go up against in the next few weeks? Is it good enough to compete against those teams and win?' And that's really, in this case Seattle. That's it."

On the publications picking the 49ers to win:"I don't really care about the publications. Publications picked us in the last three years to stink up the place. You know, not last year when we came into, 'They'd be lucky if they win five games.' So, you know, if you read that you'd be all out of whack. I know you don't read that stuff."

On whether he likes that the guys on team aren't buying into that hype:"I like this. I like that out guys understand the focus. I like that our guys understand that any given day we come out here and if we don't get better we lessen our chances of being a great team. So I think they understand that, and to me, that's really the focus. All of the other talk about this or that; we just need to do it out here and nowhere else does it really matter."

On how he and the team feel differently than this time last year:"I'll let you know after next week. I know what I feel right now, but I'll let you know after next week. I can tell you much better after our first game on the road."

On whether the team got better today even though it was just a walkthrough practice:"No."

On whether he expected the team to get better today:"Well, you know what, let me say this. We didn't get better on the field in practice, but we got better as a team. Yeah."

On whether players' future contract situations factor into choosing the final roster spots:"Let me just say this. I think within reason. I'm not smart enough to get into, 'Well, you know, this guy here and this guy, we got put this guy over here.' I don't, no. We're not going to do that. I think we go out, we play our guys. And certainly there's some communication that [vice president of player personnel] Trent [Baalke] and I have to have, but we're not playing the cat and mouse game. We're going to go out and compete and try to see the things that we need to see out of the guys that we need to see play; our young guys, our veterans, and try as best we can to be as wise as we can, and go from there."

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