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Singletary's Notebook: Sept. 11



Opening Statements:**

"Hello. Good afternoon. I'm excited to finally have our first game of the year. I think it's been a good week of practice. It started a little slow and got better each day. One of the hottest weeks in the summer that we had this week. So, our guys pushed through it and handled it pretty well.

I know we have a tremendous opportunity coming up this Sunday in playing the defending champions of the NFC. I'm very excited about the opportunity that we have. We've been preparing for this since March 16th, and we're just continuing each day to strive to get better and compete and do the things that we need to do. Have an identity going into the season. I think we did all the things that we needed to do to prepare for the season and be ready for the first game.

We have our captains we named earlier in the week: [LB] Joe Staley, [LB] Takeo Spikes, [DE] Justin Smith, [C] Eric Heitmann, [TE] Vernon Davis and [RB] Michael Robinson. Those six guys, to me, embody all of the things that we strive to be, in terms of the work ethic No. 1. These guys are always working, and they're team guys striving to do all the little things that we need to do in order to be the best we can.

I'm really excited about Vernon. I think he exemplified a lot of those qualities that you have to have in order to be a leader. I know he told me last year that that's something he wanted to strive to be, and I felt that this year, just simply by what many of his teammates have said, comments the coaches have made about the maturity level that Vernon has shown and the professionalism and the work ethic and all of those things, I'm very excited about him.

On whether they will be captains throughout the season:
"They will be captains throughout the season, yes."

On whether they will all wear the "C" patch:
"I don't know about that."

On whether wearing the "C" patch will be an option:
"They will be captains, but as far as the "C," I'm not sure about that."

On what Davis has done to make things right since being taken out of the October 26, 2008 Seattle Seahawks game last season:
"It's not about making things right. I think the thing that I've always talked to Vernon about, and even before that event, Vernon and I had a relationship because, as a former linebacker, trying to think about covering someone like him, I just always talked to him about – I never thought he had an idea of the ability that God has given him. We had a relationship before then. I just felt that the bottom line to that game was just unacceptable. Going forward, I think Vernon has really opened up in terms of communicating, 'Coach, how do you want me to do this? How should I go about doing that? What's the best way to do this?' Those kinds of things. I remember one day during the first minicamp that we had, the veteran minicamp. I brought everybody up and everybody was dog tired. I brought everybody up and I said, 'Guys, I realize this is hard. I realize it's difficult. Why don't we just stop right here and take a breath and walk around and we'll come back and start up.' And Vernon said, 'No. We started it. We're going to finish it.' He was the first one and he set the tempo, for me, for the rest of that minicamp. So, it's things like that, and other things that he's done, but that's just one example."

On what the group was practicing:
"We had our first veteran minicamp, and when we had that minicamp, all the veterans came in, and I had them in stations on the field. I had told them before, 'Be prepared,' because it was going to be tough – and it was. Some guys didn't look like they were going to make it, but they did, and they just rallied around each other and finished it out and made it through."

On whether he thinks Davis can excel in this style of offense:
"I think that's something we're going to find out. I think it's just one of those things that it's certainly an offense that is tight-end friendly. I think it's just a matter of the trust factor between [QB] Shaun Hill and Vernon Davis, and it will go from there."

On his opinion of the trust factor between Davis and Hill:
"I think it has grown. I think he and Shaun have a relationship, in terms of Shaun being able to say, 'Vernon, I need you to do this. I need you to do a better job there.' There's an open communication there, even constructive criticism that Shaun may have for Vernon. I just think that's what it's all about. You have to have a relationship."

On whether he has seen the quarterback's trust that Davis will be in the right place at the right time increase:
"I think so. I just think that Vernon, early on, recognized that with this offense there was a possibility that he could be a target and looked upon as a playmaker. I remember watching Vernon out here daily during the offseason catching balls. For long periods of time, I'm in my office trying to get work done and I go to the window there, and he's out here catching balls. I go sit down, do something else, go to a meeting and I come back, and he's still catching balls. I think he was preparing for that all offseason and I think he's certainly grown, and I'm excited to see where it all goes."

On Davis' development and improvement as a route runner:
"I think the thing for Vernon is a matter of concentration. He has good hands. I saw him during the offseason catching balls in every situation, in every position. The thing that happened to Vernon a lot is that he wants to run up field before he catches the ball and he takes his eyes off of the ball. So it's just a matter of concentration and he continues to get better at that."

On using earplugs instead of speakers to simulate opposing crowd noise:
"When I look at the speakers, they are more of an annoying thing than anything else. I mean, there is screeching, but you still hear everything that everybody is saying. I felt that if we could have the earplugs, we couldn't hear anything and it forces you to really communicate and be aware that you can't hear and the person next to you can't hear. It doesn't matter how loud the stadium is, we can communicate in spite of how noisy it gets and that was really the thought process behind it."

On the use of hand signals to communicate through stadium crowd noise:
"Yes. Absolutely."

On the noise being a factor last season in the second meeting against Arizona:
"Yes, there were several issues, that was one of them. I just want us to be as prepared as we can for any issues coming up but as far as the earplugs, that was the thought."

On how the hand signals will be utilized in Sunday's game:
"That's always an alternative because sometimes the head signals just don't work. It goes out for periods of time and it can't be an excuse to say 'well, we couldn't hear it, we couldn't get it.' We've got to work through that. That what the good teams do and that's what we have to do."

On whether QB Alex Smith is considered number two as a back up:

On how the production of the wide receivers will sort out:
"It's going to be a work in progress. We've got [WR] Brandon Jones hopefully in October. We'll see how that works and how he continues to make progress. I'm hearing good things from our trainers on how he's doing so we'll see how that goes. As far as the receivers are concerned, we're just trying to keep them healthy and Jerry Sullivan is working his tail off evaluating and we'll see from week to week. We know that we have [WR] Josh [Morgan] on one side and we've got [WR] Isaac [Bruce] on the other and from there it all depends on whose healthy, who is doing what and what we need for that week. We'll go from there."

On who will be playing the slot receiver position:
"Right now we are looking at [WR] Arnaz [Battle], he is certainly one of them, and [WR Micheal] Spurlock is certainly another. It just kind of goes back and forth depending on the situation in the game."

On wanting to keep the game against Arizona a low scoring affair:
"For the sake of our defense and what we're striving to do, yes. I want every game to be low scoring. Obviously when you're playing against a tremendous air attack like [we are] this Sunday, we just want to do all of the little things that we can. As far as the score is concerned, I just want to make sure that we come out on the right side of that. I'm not going to worry about anything else. We want to go out and play well as I think that if we execute, everything else will take care of itself."

On having patience if the game against Arizona goes into the thirties:
"I know that they are a good football team and I know that they are NFC champions, but we're a good football team too. I'm not really worried or concerned about them so much, I'm really thinking about us because it's going to be about us and I think that as long as we take care of our business, the score and everything else will take care of itself."

On the roles that CB Tarell Brown and S Reggie Smith will have in the secondary packages:
"Terrell Brown is also a nickel back. [S] Michael Lewis is more of a dime. I think I said that Tarell Brown and Dre' Bly were the nickel backs and Lewis was the dime, that's kind of the way that it works out."

On the roles that [S] Reggie Smith will have in the secondary packages:
"Reggie Smith is a safety, dime and nickel back. Reggie is one of those guys that he came here playing corner but he can also play safety or where ever we need him."

On whether Michael Lewis position changes when the defense goes into a dime defense:
"It depends on if they have five receivers on the field, it depends on the speed of those receivers. It also depends on what they are trying to accomplish with those receivers. I think that we look at our guys and try to figure out who are the best match ups and whether it's a dime or a nickel. The name really is insufficient. The most important thing is that the match ups are good. That's the key. If you've got a guy that's a better match up than another guy, I don't care where that guy goes, you want to have that match up. That's what we're trying to do."

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