Grab bag: Postseason wisdom from a kicker

This and that from Thursday in Santa Clara:

• Many NFL placekickers understand that they are to kick and not be heard.

But Jeff Reed isn’t one of them. And given Reed’s background, if he has something to say regarding the NFL playoffs, it’s probably worth paying attention.

“I’m trying to tell some of these guys around here, man, it’s the real deal once you get there,” Reed said. “If you make it, everybody’s 0-0. Great things can happen.”

Reed knows. He has two Super Bowl rings – two more than the other 52 players on the 49ers roster.

Reed combined to make 8 of 8 field goals en route to Pittsburgh’s runs to Super Bowl titles in 2005 and ’08. He’s made 16 of 18 field goals during the postseason in his nine-year career.

Since arriving in San Francisco on Dec. 3, Reed has drilled 7 of 7 field goals, including two 44-yarders.

The Steelers cut him loose this season after he made 15 of 22 field goals, including 4 of 9 at Heinz Field, which has notoriously difficult kicking conditions. Reed is 18 of 20 away from Heinz this season.

And he’s feeling at home after signing two days before his Niners debut against the Packers on Dec. 5.

“The first game was kind of iffy because I hadn’t been around the guys,” Reed said. “But once you finally get comfortable, change is good.”

Of San Francisco’s 22 projected offensive and defensive starters for Sunday’s game, only four have playoff experience. But Reed is not only new, he’s a kicker. He’s careful about how much postseason wisdom he dispenses.

“There are times in special teams or even a team meeting when I want to say something to the guys,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s my role. There’s a lot of leadership here.”

• On Tuesday, Mike Singletary said he’d decided on the Niners starting quarterback for Sunday’s game. He’d given his quarterbacks the news, but didn’t want to tell the media until later in the week.

On Wednesday, offensive coordinator Mike Johnson said he didn’t know who would start at quarterback. “I’m sure (Singletary will) let me know,” Johnson said.

It seemed highly unlikely that Johnson could really be in the dark about Sunday’s starter, particularly after the NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora broke the news that Troy Smith would start moments after Johnson met with the media.

Today, Singletary was asked about the sequence of events.

Was it safe to say Johnson knew who the starter would be Wednesday but didn’t want to say it publically?

Instead of a one-word answer – yes – Singletary said this:

“It’s safe to say this. Mike Johnson and I talked earlier this week, and the thing that I told not only Mike Johnson, but all of the coaches, is, ‘Guys, we’re going to prepare for both guys. So there is no definite, Troy is the guy, that’s it. We’re going to prepare for both guys. I’ll let you know at some point in time, when it’s a definite, this is the guy and it’s unequivocally, that’s it.’

“But in all of our coaches, as well as our players, I communicated with all of them early on.”

So the quarterbacks knew definitively who would start Tuesday, but the offensive coordinator did not?

“What did you not understand about what I just said, honestly?” Singletary said. “You know what, it doesn’t matter about all of the other, ‘Did he know, did he … ’ I’m just telling you that earlier in the week that I communicated with everybody. Everybody. But the quarterbacks knew it first. The quarterbacks knew it first because I’m always up front with them first, and then everybody else after that.”

• WR Michael Crabtree’s dip in production this season is certainly tied, at least in part, to the uneven quarterback play.

After averaging 4.4 catches a game as a rookie last year, Crabtree (45 catches, 572 yards) is averaging 3.6 catches in nine games Alex Smith has started. He’s averaging 2.6 catches in Troy Smith’s five starts.

Crabtree, who has four catches for 18 yards in his past 11 quarters, was asked if it was hard to find a rhythm given the flip-flopping at quarterback.

“I would say it’s difficult, but you just have to take what they give you and keep going,” Crabtree said. “I don’t spend my time thinking about it. I’m just trying to stay positive about the whole situation.”

• Singletary wasn’t happy early in the season when an anonymous source within the organization provided information for an unflattering Yahoo! article. On Thursday, he said he wasn’t upset that LaCanfora broke the news that Troy Smith would start Sunday before Singletary announced it.

“I knew it was a matter of time before it would get out,” he said. “And there are things that I absolutely do not want to get out, that won’t. But you just have to limit who you’re telling.”

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