Bits and pieces from today’s Mike Singletary press conference and locker-room meanderings:
• RG Chilo Rachal appeared on the injury report as doubtful due to the shoulder stinger he suffered against Seattle. Singletary said Barry Sims or Adam Snyder would start if Rachal can’t play. Snyder, in his sixth season, has started 54 games for the Niners at every position along the line besides center, including five at right guard. Sims has not played guard since 2006 in Oakland. He started seven games at left tackle in place of an injured Joe Staley last year and made eight starts at right tackle for the Niners in 2008.
So, to review, the offensive line Monday night could feature Staley at
left tackle, two rookies (RT Anthony Davis, LG Mike Iupati), a guard
playing center (David Baas) and a backup (Sims or Snyder) at right
Wide receiver Josh Morgan said the Niners’ protection problems didn’t
give them time to throw the ball downfield last week. And it seems
apparent that Davis and Iuapti, for all their first-round talent, are
suffering a few growing pains.
“Communication is the key, but we’re going to have a few flaws because
of the young linemen,” tight end Vernon Davis said. “They’re trying to
get acclimated. They’re learning. You have to respect that. You just
have to fight through that. I have to step up and be better because I
know that Anthony Davis is not going to communicate like the veteran
guys. But he’s definitely gotten better, both of them – Mike and
Anthony. I saw a lot of improvement out of them this week.”
• Phillip Adams (hamstring) is questionable for Monday’s game.
Singletary mentioned Dominique Zeigler (punts) and Delanie Walker
(kickoffs) as candidates to return kicks if Adams can’t play.
• For obvious reasons, Singletary wasn’t asked more play-calling
questions. But the topic was broached indirectly and Singletary didn’t
reveal if offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye would be in the booth or on
the sideline calling plays Monday night. “We’re still talking about it,”
• Singletary was asked if he stood by his “guarantee” to stop Drew
Brees, a reference to his testy interview Thursday with Dennis O’Donnell
on his weekly KPIX pregame show.
“I didn’t say anything about a guarantee, OK?” Singletary said. “I just said we would stop him.”
Follow-up query: How exactly did he define “stopping” Brees? Zero yards? This, naturally, inspired an inspired response.
“You know what, I really don’t want to get into that,” Singletary said.
“We’re going to play the game, okay? It’s just one of those things that I
want you to understand that as a coach, as a player, or however you
look at it, I’m certainly not going to go into the game thinking we’re
not going to stop him. If that’s the case, I need to stay at home. So he
knows that we’re going to come out there and try to stop him. So what
does that mean? We’re going to get our game plan together and do the
very best job that we can of going out there and stopping Drew Brees and
that offense. And I don’t know any other way to put it.”
• Singletary didn’t spend quite so many words discussing wide receiver
Michael Crabtree, who had his worst statistical game of his 12-game
career (2 catches, 12 yards) against Seattle. On Sunday, Singletary had
an animated conversation with Crabtree on the sideline regarding his
ho-hum effort to tackle Seattle’s Marcus Trufant on a 32-yard
interception return for a touchdown and reportedly aired out Crabtree in
the postgame locker room.
Has Crabtree made progress this week, coach?
“We’ll find out Monday night,” Singletary said.
Crabtree spoke with reporters in the locker room – a rare occurrence -
and his response to one question suggested he hasn’t tuned out
What needs to improve, he was asked – his reading of coverages? His route running?
“You could say all that. Everything,” Crabtree said before adding, “and
run a little harder at the end of the play. There’s a lot of stuff you
can get better on.”
• Strong safety Roman Harper earned a game ball in the Saints’
season-opening 14-9 victory over the Vikings for his role in shutting
down Minnesota TE Visanthe Shiancoe. After Shiancoe’s big first half (4
catches, 76 yards, TD), Harper began blanketing him in the final two
quarters and held him without a catch.
Asked if he expected to get similar treatment from Harper on Monday,
Vernon Davis practically scoffed, “No, I don’t think he can check me
man-to-man, one-on-one,” he said.
•On ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown (4 p.m.), Singletary will be
interviewed by Mike Ditka, his former coach. ESPN bills the conversation
as “hard-hitting,” but I’d be surprised if the “dang-gum Yahoo
commercial” is mentioned. In another segment, LB Patrick Willis will
break down game film with Jon Gruden.