Balmer, 49ers return to work

We’ll get to the news of the day, but first we’ll start you off with a helping of Kentwan Balmer, the 49ers’ first-round pick in the 2008 draft.


Balmer has not been able to crack the starting lineup ahead of Justin Smith, Aubrayo Franklin or Isaac Sopoga, but he gets action at left defensive end and some at nose tackle in the defensive-line rotation in base situations.


When he has gotten on the field, Balmer has done a pretty good job. Like most defensive linemen in this scheme, he is never going to put up huge statistics. But the team has been pleased that the level of play does not noticeably drop off when he gets on the field. And, from what I’ve seen, his commitment and hustle has never been an issue.


So, here’s my interview with Balmer from earlier today . . . 

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Mike Singletary met with the media this morning for the first time since Friday. The team did not practice Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday. Today, they are installing the base packages of their game plan to face the Packers.


Among the topics Singletary addressed:


–As expected, cornerback Nate Clements (shoulder) and tackle Joe Staley (knee) will not play Sunday against the Packers.


–Linebacker Takeo Spikes (hamstring) is day-to-day. Veteran Matt Wilhelm will get the start, if Spikes is unable to play.


–Running back Glen Coffee and defensive lineman Demetric Evans will both play, Singletary said. Evans missed two games with a shoulder injury, while Coffee was sideline for one game with a concussion.


–Singletary announced Josh Morgan will start, and Isaac Bruce will not. OK, I took the bait. I’ll write about this for tomorrow’s paper, but this is not exactly news. After all, Morgan has started all nine games. Bruce has not started the past three games. Even before he did not suit up with what the team described as an ankle injury, Bruce was not in the starting lineup for the two previous games he was healthy. Singletary said the team feels “Josh Morgan is ready.” Those words were echoed by Bruce, who said he knew he was just holding Morgan’s spot.


–When asked if Bruce would be the No. 3 receiver, Singletary said he wasn’t sure whether he’d be the third, fourth or fifth receiver. One would think Jason Hill has done enough to hold onto the No. 3 job.


–Fill-in left tackle Barry Sims is doing an “outstanding” job in place of Staley, Singletary said. I asked if the 49ers would consider keeping Sims at left tackle after Staley’s return, and Singletary said they’d consider it but he said he didn’t think that would happen unless Staley is just too rusty.


OK, then what about moving Sims to right tackle? Singletary answered, “Probably not. (Adam) Snyder is doing a good job on that side.”


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The NFL announced today an update on the leading vote-getters for the Pro Bowl. Only one 49ers player, Patrick Willis, made the list. Balloting continues through Dec. 21.


Only the leaders were revealed. Willis leads all NFC inside linebackers with 115,350 votes. Note to Vernon Davis followers: Atlanta‘s Tony Gonzalez leads NFC tight ends.


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