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Singletary's Notebook: Sept. 8



Opening Statement:**"All right, the injuries I think you know about. We've talked about that, that's the same. [CB] Will James is a day to day thing. The other guys [LB] Ahmad [Brooks], [C] Eric Heitmann, [WR] Kyle Williams, you know, we just have to continue to evaluate those guys on a week to week basis, but right now, day-to-day on William James."

On RB Brian Westbrook's availability:"He will be available for the game."

On how much you can do with him up to this point with the limited time he has been here:"It depends on what you mean 'wants to do with him'."

On the reason for releasing QB Nate Davis and signing QB Troy Smith:"It's fairly simple. I think right now if we had to go into a game with Nate Davis, right now it would be a difficult situation for us. It would be tough. We do have [QB] David Carr, but I wanted the guy who is the third quarterback, I really wanted him to be able to compete with the number two, and right now that is not the case. Hopefully we're able to keep Nate Davis and he will be our practice squad quarterback, but if it doesn't work out, then I feel it was a risk worth taking to get the player we did, so that's why."

On with the limited number of reps that the number two quarterback gets on the scout team:"You know, what let me say something. I'm not going to talk about the quarterbacks anymore. That's a dead deal. [QB] Alex Smith is our starting quarterback. David Carr is our number two. Whoever the number three is, he has to compete with number two, that's it. You're right, it's a limited number of reps, especially right now that the season is going to start. It would have been better in training camp. But due to the situation that came up with Nate Davis not totally being prepared mentally, it didn't happen. So, I'm hopeful that we get to keep him, if we don't, we don't."

On how you measure competition for the number two quarterback with limited number of reps that David Carr and Troy Smith will be getting:"You know what, I think as a staff you just continue to look at it and the limited amount of reps that they get, what do they do at that time? Can they recall things that - they just have to work. The reps that Alex is getting, they have to work mentally without getting those reps. And just like Alex did last year, when he wasn't getting the reps, I'm not sure he got one rep before he had a chance to play, and he came in and he played well, and that's what the two have to be able to do."On whether Carr was going to compete for the starting job:"No, there was no talk that he was going to compete for number one. There was no talk. There was no talk of that. There was no talk that he was going to compete for number one. I'm telling you that there was not from me. I'm the head coach. It doesn't matter who else said it, it doesn't matter. He was not going to compete for number one. I did want him to challenge Alex, but he was not competing for number one because I didn't want another situation. In order for him to compete with Alex Smith, he would have had to get more reps. He would have had to get more reps than he did. Alex Smith was the guy that we wanted to make sure that he was ready and that he was prepared. That's the thing that we did all off-season to focus on him, make sure he had everything that he needed in order to be successful. That was the main focus. We did not have David Carr come in here and compete with him for number one, we did not. Absolutely, unequivocally did not."

On whether there is any disappointment from Carr this summer:"Well, no. I don't think there is any disappointment with him, I mean there's a reason he's number two. So no, there's no disappointment. He's worked his tail off and he has a good grasp of the offense. If he had to go into a game, you know we support him all we could. We'd rally around him and go from there."

On whether there has been any response from WR Michael Crabtree since the walkthrough last Thursday:"It's been a non issue."

On why this year's team better prepared to finish for the Seattle trip:"I don't know, maybe we're more mature than we were last year. Maybe we're a better team than we were overall last year. So, maybe that's the reason. But we haven't played the game yet, so I feel that by the time that this week is over, we would have put the work in that we needed to put in to prepare to go up there and come away with a win. But we have to play the game." 

On whether he saw any commonalities in struggles he had last season from week to week:"Consistency, inconsistency, it's as simple as that, inconsistency. That's what happened in Seattle. That's what happened everywhere else, even in some of the games that we won, inconsistency was there. You know, hopefully going forward we can do a better job of being more consistent and more detailed across the board."

On thoughts about the conversation he had with TE Vernon Davis regarding the increased coverage he will see this year:"You know what, I think first of all we're very fortunate to have Vernon. I think he's unique in every sense of the word. I think when you mention tight end, he's a guy that when he goes out, he splits out, you have to be aware of where he's at on the field, as far as the additional coverages I think definitely defenses - I'm glad other teams have to prepare for him and not us because I think he presents coverage issues and I think you just can't put a safety on him and say 'you got him.' So, I think [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye has continued to do a good job this offseason along with [tight ends coach] Pete Hoener, creating some things that Vernon can do to really create mismatches." 

On whether the conversation was about preparing for it mentally:"Conversations with Vernon this offseason were basically to grow into what he can become mentally. Being able to handle it, being able to deal with it and at the same time, being able to understand that there are other receivers, and that if you don't touch the ball as many times as you would like, to be aware that there are some other guys on the team, and just be understanding of that fact. We all have to be selfless."

On whether Scot McCloughan being in Seattle causes the team to make any adjustments:"You know, it's one of those situations where, I think you have someone like a Scot McCloughan there, maybe it eases some of the fact of not knowing some of our guys. I'm sure that Scot has really talked about some of the personality of our guys and that's what really a team wants to know more than anything else. He may be a great player but is he a player that we can rattle? Is he a player that we can get to? And Scot knows those things. But I just think that once again, in the final analysis, the most important thing for us is to go up there - we're not going to change anything. They have several of our players, some of our players that are really bright guys. You know [special teams assistant] Jeff Ulbrich, [RB] Mike Robinson - Robinson knows our offense as well as anybody, and Jeff knows our defense as well as anybody. But at the same time, it's just a matter of us going up there and being prepared to play and to focus on the details of what we have to do."

On whether he has an instinct that the personnel that was released would end up in Seattle:"You know, it was. When you have the GM up there that brought a lot of those guys here, it was always on the forefront of our mind that, ok they might end up in Seattle, but there is no way to get around it. You just have to continue to go forward and have your guys respond positively."

On continuing to be successful against the NFC West:"You know for me, the bottom line is that we were 8-8 and we were at home when the season was over. That is not something that we wanted to accomplish. Obviously, there were some positive things but not enough. So this year, our focus is to make sure we go out and take care of business, whether it's in the division, whether its outside of the division, just do the best that we can and make sure that we're prepared for each and every game that we play."

On whether the captains are the same from last season:"Yes, and we have one addition and that's Alex Smith."

On whether that decision was a player vote:"No, I voted."

On whether it was important to put Alex Smith in a leadership role:"Well, I look at it this way, I didn't name him a captain because a quarterback. I named him a captain because he exemplified this offseason the things that I wanted our captains to do. I think when you talk about the identity of the 49ers, Alex really put in the time. You know he's out here when no one was out here. He was the guy that got the receivers together and threw to them, and changed his schedule around to meet with some other receivers. So, he was not just doing it once a day, he was doing it twice a day, as well as in the classroom. He was wearing Jimmy Raye and [quarterbacks coach] Mike Johnson out all offseason. Those are the things that we need. And some leaders are more vocal than others, and some leaders are very exact in terms of this is who I am and I'm going to show by my actions and everything he's done this offseason, to me, exemplifies leadership and the character that we want on this football team."

On whether it is important that the quarterback be a leader:"Sure it is. I mean, if everyone said that the quarterback position is the most important position on the football field, which I disagree with, I just feel that Alex Smith is a guy that I think has done a great job this offseason. As far as whether it's important at the quarterback position, if he's not a leader, then he wouldn't be a captain on this team. Hopefully you want that position to be a leader, and fortunately we have that this year."

On whether he has a new special teams captain:"We do not." 

On whether they will experiment with the wildcat and QB Troy Smith:"You know, it's possible at some point and time, but right now - the time to do that is in OTA's and training camp. The fact that we really felt that we didn't have that guy here - it's kind of tough to throw it in now, but we could do it."

On whether he has the confidence in his special teams to step up and fill in the void left by released players:"They have to. You know we have core players on our special teams. You know Mike Robinson, I said this before, he's everything you want on your team, and on special teams he did a good job. But I just feel we do have some young guys that can step in and do a good job."

On getting the young guys acclimated with the crowd noise:"I think for our young guys, the two young guys, we need to get them all the noise that we can feed them, and that's not even enough, but as much as we can today, tomorrow and Friday. We want to hopefully have them acclimated when we go into the game and be ready to respond to the noise that they haven't heard before, nor will they hear here."

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