‘Will you accept a collect call from T.O.?’: Absolutely!

I have breakfast plans for tomorrow. Good ol’ T.O. is scheduled for a visit.

Terrell Owens, who certainly made his mark here in the Bay Area, has agreed to take part in a conference call with the beat reporters who cover the 49ers. This is one conference call that should be interesting.

 

I began covering Owens when the club selected him in the third round of the 1996 draft. I attended every game during his eight-year run with the 49ers (except a game against Oakland in 2002, which occurred the day after my first child was born).

 

And there was rarely ever a dull moment with T.O. around.

 

Why I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s conference call is because when Owens wants to talk, he’s invariable really darn good. When he does not want to talk, it’s pretty obvious: He acts as if you’re invisible.

 

When the 49ers were set to play the Eagles in 2005, Owens declined to take part in a conference call with the scribes who cover the 49ers. He went out against his former teammates and caught five passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. The only players who remain with the 49ers from Owens’ time here are Jeff Ulbrich, Brian Jennings, Eric Heitmann and Arnaz Battle.

 

I’m curious to find out how Owens views his time with the 49ers. At the end, he was obviously very unhappy. Just wondering how his experiences in Philadelphia and Dallas have influenced his perception of the 49ers’ organization.

 

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Other 49ers bits and pieces:

 

–Yes, Mike Singletary is coaching for his future in the final six weeks of the season. Singletary re-worked his contract on Oct. 20 when he took over the interim coaching duties. Singletary is the only coach on staff whose contract expires at the end of the season.

 

–I was a critic of how Singletary handled the Vernon Davis situation on Oct. 26. The benching was fine. The banishment to the locker room was border line. But the public embarrassment of Davis afterward, I felt, was taking it way too far.

 

But Davis might be the only player I’ve ever been around who would’ve handled it the way he did. And I’m guessing that Singletary knew Davis well enough before that episode to know that’s how he could be handled.

 

Some players would’ve held that grudge against the coach forever and done anything in his power to undermine the head coach, privately and publicly. Davis has done just the opposite. He is the first player who has come out and said Singletary should get the permanent job.

 

“I want coach Singletary around for as long as he wants to be here,” Davis said. “I think he’s a great coach.”

 

Singletary deserves credit for being able to read the room. And Davis is to be commended, too, grasping the larger picture of what Singletary was trying to accomplish.

 

–In case you’re wonder, Fox is sending its No. 1 crew to the 49ers-Cowboys game. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be in the booth, with Pam Oliver stationed as the field reporter.

 

–After re-watching Sunday’s game, I was a little surprised to discover that O.C. Mike Martz might not be calling fewer seven-step drops with Shaun Hill at QB. But Hill is certainly throwing underneath less than J.T. O’Sullivan did.

 

Here’s the breakdown of the depth of Hill’s drops:

1-step (hots): 4 of 5 for 14 yards and a TD.

3-steps: 3 of 3 for 53 yards and a TD.

5-steps: 1 of 3 for 4 yards.

7-steps: 5 of 6 for 91 yards (with one sack and one pass-interference penalty that gained 17 yards).

Shot gun with 3 steps: 2 of 2 for 30 yards.

Shot gun with 5 steps: 1 of 2 for 8 yards (with one sack).

 

And, now, here’s the breakdown of the length of Hill’s passes down the field:

Under 10 yards: 11 of 15 for 104 yards and two TDs.

10 to 20 yards: 3 of 4 for 71 yards.

20 or more: 1 of 1 for 36 yards (and PI penalty for 17 yards).

 

–As I’ve written before – and I’ll write again – the offensive line got a bad rap in the first eight games. They were not nearly as bad as the stats would seen to indicate. The 49ers surrendered 34 sacks, but O’Sullivan and Martz did the offensive line no favors. It’s no coincidence the 49ers’ offensive line has yet to allow a sack in Hill’s two starts. (The Rams recorded two sacks on Sunday, but in both instances it was Frank Gore’s man who threw Hill for a loss.)

 

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