Singletary's Notebook: Sept. 9

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Opening Statements:**

"Good afternoon. First and foremost, I'm very thankful that training camp has come to an end and we're ready to start the regular season. We had a chance to select the 53-man roster and go forward with those guys that we feel give us the best chance at winning. I think we have a tremendous opportunity in the first week here going against Arizona – a very talented football team, great receivers, Hall of Fame quarterback, a defense that's tremendously aggressive. So, it's going to be a tremendous test for us early on. I'm very thankful for that.

Early on in training camp, really the offseason as that progressed, there were three things – three objectives that we had – in terms of answering some questions on our offense and our defense. First of all, finding a quarterback – that was Shaun Hill. Next, finding a right tackle. [T Adam] Snyder stepped up and did a great job. And then, finally, [CB] Shawntae Spencer, the additional starting corner. Shawntae, primarily, was named the starting corner because of the technique that he uses, because of, I would say, the experience that he has. He knows our defense. He's played our defense. He's continued to get better. [CB] Dre' Bly came in and is going to be an excellent addition to our football team and Dre' is going to continue to do what he's done. He's just competing. He's just trying to get better so that he can help us, but right now, Shawntae really doesn't have many mental errors. He's doing a great job at that position, and we felt that Shawntae would give us the best chance at winning.

Additions to our team since coming to the 53: [T] Tony Pashos, who comes to us from Jacksonville. When I was in Baltimore, we drafted him there and was at Jacksonville since then. Tony's going to come in, and it's a tremendous opportunity for us. We've been looking for a tackle that could come in and really add more depth to what we have and more experience and, at the same time, I think he fits our mold. He's a tough guy. He's a physical guy. He's going to compete. The one thing that I want you to understand is that's one of the biggest reasons why I don't really say "back ups." And I have to watch myself. The main point is we have starters, who are our No. 1s, and we have No. 2s. And those No. 2s – anybody who we have that's not starting, the mindset that I want them to have is that one day, they're going to be No. 1. If they're not thinking like that, then I don't really want them on the team. Everybody that we have is going to compete. No one is going to be given anything, and that's on a day-to-day basis.

I just finished talking to our guys who are going to be on the developmental squad, just having them understand: 'Guys, if you're not busting your tails to strive to be a part of the team, to be a part of that 45, then you're not going to be here very long. And it's just the nature of it.' I want everybody to understand that we're all here to compete.

Any questions that we have concerning Kurt Warner, talking to him last offseason, that's already been handled, already been dealt with – don't want to go there. Any questions about [WR Michael] Crabtree, that's already been handled. He's not here until he comes here. I don't really want to talk about him. Nothing has changed in my mind.

I guess outside of that, when I look at Arizona, the game that we played with them last year, don't really need to go there. It's done. Whatever happened last year, it's in last year. Thankfully, today, all 32 teams are 0-0 with an opportunity to go forward, and I'm excited about that. I know that they did not have they greatest preseason record at 0-4 and, I guess, when you look at ours, 3-1, what does that mean? It means that we've come to the end of it, and the regular season is about to start, and we're ready to go. We're excited about going forward. We're excited about our opportunity. It's a great thing that I love about our country. You can do anything you want to do, as long as you're willing to work at it and work for it.

The last thing is the injuries. The injury situation: Brandon Jones, the receiver, we're still shooting for October. He's making tremendous progress. Hopefully that continues to go, and we'll see what happens there. [LB] Ahmad Brooks with the knee, hopefully, we're just looking at it. We're going to take that maybe next week, maybe after that. I don't know, but sometime within the next week or so, hopefully we'll get him back. So, any questions outside of that I'm prepared to answer."

On whether SS Michael Lewis is ready to play:
"Michael Lewis is good to go."

On whether Lewis will be the starting strong safety:
"He will be the starting strong safety."

On whether T Tony Pashos has an opportunity to compete for the starting right tackle job:
"Everybody has the chance to compete for a starting job. Everybody."

On when CB Shawntae Spencer emerged in the right cornerback competition:
"I think it was assumed that it was between [CB] Dre' Bly and [CB] Tarell Brown, simply because when Shawntae got hurt last year, we had no idea what his progression was going to be or how he was going to come back. A lot of times, it's the mental aspect of the game when you come back and you try and work yourself back into it. Shawntae worked his tail off in the offseason, came into training camp and was really on his game. And then, of course, Tarell Brown, when he got hurt, it made it really difficult to continue, to really grow at that position. Shawntae, I think, continued to exemplify the things that we needed at that position and we felt very good about that."

On whether Spencer has returned to his starting form from 2005:
"I think Shawntae is better, to me, than he's ever been since he's been here. He's playing great technique. He's not making mistakes, mental errors. He's doing a good job all the way around, playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. So, I'm very thankful to have Shawntae, and Tarell Brown and Dre' on the team, and we're just going to continue to get better."

On whether the team has any plans to bulk up the tight end position:
"We always have our eyes open to try and find a physical tight end, but for the time being, maybe and offensive linemen may fill that role. We'll just kind of take a look at it."

On whether opening up the season on the road is a good thing:
"In all honesty, I'm just thankful we're playing our first game. I'm excited. Whether it's on the road, whether it's in Candlestick, I don't really care. I'm just excited for our guys to see where we are. That's really what I want, and to have a team like that is really a tremendous opportunity for us. So, I'm excited about that."

On who the nickel back will be:
"Well, right now, Dre' is."

On who the dime back is:
"Our dime back is Michael Lewis."

On whether S Mark Roman would come in on six-defensive back rotations:
"Mark Roman, yes."

On whether playing a pivotal game against last year's NFC Champion comes too early:
"It couldn't come sooner. But, to be honest with you, I really don't care who it is. I don't care what the situation is. I think the most important thing for us to do is, I think, what we've strived to do all offseason. Any team we play, and the better the team, I think, the better the opportunity. But, the most important thing for us is to focus on who we are, make sure we're doing all the things we need to do and giving ourselves the chance to win football games. So, the better [the opponent], I think, the greater the opportunity."

On what makes QB Kurt Warner so good:
"I think he knows the game, No. 1. He really understands the game. If you're going to try and blitz him, you better make sure that you can get there because if you don't, he's going to make you pay. I think he really understands defenses. A lot of quarterbacks are looking for the open guy, whereas I think he's a guy who really understands the nuts and bolts of the Cover 2 and the Cover 3 and the Cover 4 and the mixture of defenses, where he's looking out there and he knows where the open guy is going to be. So, right away, when he comes up with the ball, he's moving guys. When you can move guys with your eyes, that's a great asset, and that's what he's doing. You're thinking he's going over here and all the while, he's trying to move the safety over to the side he's looking at and go right back there. The receivers, he's got great receivers to throw to. So, you can be a Hall of Fame quarterback, but if you don't have great receivers to throw it to, it doesn't matter very much. He's got tremendous weapons in his receivers. I think everywhere he's been there's been great receivers, so that always helps. And the offensive line, I think they do a good job protecting him."

On how he thinks CB Nate Clements will do against Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald:
"As I've said before, I think the most important thing going forward is we just have to make progress as a whole. You talk about Larry Fitzgerald, or whatever, I just think we have to get our there and compete."

On what Clements has to do against Fitzgerald:
"He's got to play better. It's as simple as that. He's just got to play better, and he will."

On his emotions going into the season opener:
"There's not enough room around here for me to show you what my emotions are. I'm very excited, but I'm really excited about our team. That's what I'm excited about. I'm excited about the guys. There's been a lot written, a lot said, and I just want them to have an opportunity to go out and play the best football that they can, and let's see where we are."

On how his emotions compare to when he was a player and he could let it out on the field:
"When I go to my office, maybe I can do it there."

On what he's seen in QB Shaun Hill's emotions going into the season opener:
"If you know Shaun, Shaun is always kind of the same. But, for him, it's just continuing every day that he has, every practice that he has, to throw with the receivers, continue to get the continuity down, the chemistry, the trust – all of those things. I just think it makes him that much more confident, that much better."

On whether he's seen leadership from the offense:
"I've notice a difference in a number of guys on offense, whether it be Shaun Hill, whether it be [TE] Vernon Davis, whether it be [WR] Isaac Bruce, [T] Joe Staley, [C] Eric Heitmann. I've noticed more confidence, more leadership, and I think better expectations in terms of who they are and what they can do. So, yes, I have."
On what the players have done in the past four days:
"The couple of days off they had after the game, Saturday and Sunday, they did nothing here. So, outside of that, the Monday and Tuesday is just a matter of coming in and guys hungry to look at the game plan and get back into the swing of things."

On whether offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye naming RB Frank Gore the focal point of the offense downplays the importance of the quarterback:
"I don't think that Coach [Raye] was saying that at all. I think Coach [Raye] is being very wise in terms of, you want to get the ball into the hands of your playmakers. On our football team, I don't want anybody, including myself, to think that they're the most important person on this team. We're trying to build a team. We're not trying to build superstars; we're not trying to build any of that stuff. We want a team. I think to give us the best chance of winning is getting the ball into the hands of our playmakers. The No. 1 playmaker that we have is Frank Gore. Outside of that, they're just continuing. You've got Isaac Bruce, and you've got [WR] Josh [Morgan], Vernon Davis. We have playmakers. I think he was just talking about the No. 1 playmaker that we have."

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