The 49ers might not be in midseason form – and that’s OK because it is the month of May. But coach Mike Singletary is exhibiting mid-November intensity.
Singletary stopped practice early in the 49ers’ organized team activity today to implore the team to get its act together. After practice he gathered the team around to deliver another impassioned pep talk.
“We lost a day,” Singletary said of the practice session that did not meet his approval.
When asked about what he didn’t like, Singletary said, “I don’t even want to get started. It was not good.”
–Linebacker Jeff Ulbrich is fully on board with Singletary’s demands. “He’s got a standard,” Ulbrich said. “It’s frustrating at times because guys are trying to adapt. It’s not quite there yet. There are still some guys who are not fully on-board. But if you don’t adjust and starting doing it, you’re going to be out of here.”
Ulbrich wants to make sure he’s not out of here. That is why he accepted a pay cut this offseason from a scheduled salary of $2.23 million to $950,000. Ulbrich’s goal is to do what’s necessary for him to earn a roster spot this season, which would make him a rare 10-year player for the team. Ulbrich was very realistic in agreeing to the pay reduction.
“I was getting paid too much for what I’d be contributing,” he said.
Ulbrich’s role will primarily be on special teams. That is why he dropped 10 pounds — from 245 to 235.
“When I’ve been watching film of special teams, the guys who stand out are the guys who are really fast,” he said.
–The 49ers have waived defensive back Jimmy Williams, who was out of the league last season after being a second-round pick of the Falcons in 2006. The 49ers took a chance to see if Williams could succeed at safety. The answer, they’ve figured, is no.
“Right now, we just felt it was the best thing to do,” Singletary said. “It is a numbers game. We feel good about the guys that we have and wanted to give it a look and see how it would work out, and just felt like, ‘You know what, right now is the best time to make that decision.'”
–With Williams out of the picture, Singletary said there’s a “strong possibility” second-year player Reggie Smith will remain at safety.
–The QB competition continues. Shaun Hill was probably a shade more accurate on his passes. Alex Smith is throwing the ball pretty well. A year ago he was being held back during these offseason camps. This year, he wants to get his arm into training-camp form earlier. Singletary said he believes Smith looks healthy.
But when asked specifically about the play of QBs, Singletary – not surprisingly – said, “We’ve got a ways to go.”
–Safety Curtis Taylor, a seventh-rounder, became the third 49ers draft pick to sign.
–The only veterans who are not here are receiver Isaac Bruce and safety Mark Roman. Singletary said he has never wavered that he wants Roman on the team this season. Roman was given permission in the offseason to seek a trade after he lost his starting job to Dashon Goldson.
Roman underwent surgery this offseason to remove bone spurs in his ankle. He rehabs regularly at the 49ers’ practice facility, Singletary said.
–Two rookies are unable to participate because of a rule that prevents them from practicing with the team until graduation ceremonies are held at their respective schools. The two players are: offensive tackle Alex Boone (
–The following players are here but are being held out with injuries: safety Michael Lewis, cornerback Shawntae Spencer, defensive end Ray McDonald, receivers Arnaz Battle and Michael Crabtree. Offensive tackle Marvel Smith worked in individual drills but did not take part in team work.
–The 49ers were one of a reported nine organizations that opted out of the pension plan for non-player employees. Niners offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is the president of the NFL Coaches Association. He recently released a statement “to express the desire in obtaining a unified pension plan that has portability and carries vestment from team to team.”
When Singletary was asked if this might be an issue in the future in luring assistant coaches to the 49ers, he answered:
“There is so much to that, that whole thing – who’s doing the pension plan? Who’s not doing the pension plan? To what degree are they doing the pension plan? I think we’re going to let all that stuff work out. We’ve talked about it as coaches. The most important thing we have is the focus on these players out here and getting team ready to play. All the other stuff will work itself out.
“We talked about it as a staff, and certainly there are teams around the league that respond one way or the other. Any time you have 20 coaches, you’re never going to have everybody saying, ‘Hey, way to go. Great.’ Everybody has their opinion. But at the same time, we all understand that it’s all about winning. We do have a pension in place, it’s just a bit different than what we had before. So we just go forward with that.”
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