Singletary’s day-after reaction

Singletary’s day-after reaction

The 49ers are exploring their options at running back and fullback, coach Mike Singletary told reporters today after potentially long-term injuries to Thomas Clayton and Zak Keasey.

A source close to Clayton said the initial diagnosis was that the team’s leading rusher the past two exhibition seasons sustained major ligament damage to his right knee in last night’s game. Singletary did not confirm nor deny the extent of the injury, saying he would wait for the results of the MRI examination before making an announcement.

Keasey sustained a fractured right forearm. His status for the season is also in jeopardy.

“We’ll talk through it today and see what our options are and look at the MRI when it comes back,” Singletary said. “We’ll do what’s best for the team going forward.”

Here are some other issues Singletary addressed on the day after the team’s 17-16 victory over the Broncos in the exhibition opener for both teams:

Singletary said he does not see any separation between QBs Alex Smith and Shaun Hill. He’ll continue to evaluate the two players. He said he will continue to go day-by-day with his evaluations, and when the time is appropriate a decision will be made on which QB starts the regular season.

–The first player Singletary singled out was right tackle Adam Snyder, who played very well last night. Although Snyder has never publicly expressed any displeasure with his constant shuffle of positions through his first four NFL seasons, Singletary revealed Snyder told him last year he wanted to be left at one position.

Singletary quoted Snyder as telling him, “You know, coach, I can play anywhere on the line, but you got to leave me at a position for a little bit and let me get everything I need so I can get comfortable and get better and do a good job.” And Snyder is making good on his promise, Singletary said.

–The rookie running backs generally did well. In particular, Singletary said he was excited about what he saw from Glen Coffee, who is a tough runner. But Coffee was also where he needed to be in pass protection. And that’s something not be taken for granted with rookies.

–Undrafted rookie Kory Sheets picked up 51 yards on 10 carries, but he made the mistake of getting out of bounds on a run inside two minutes when the 49ers were trying to run out the clock. RBs coach Tom Rathman had just told him to stay in bounds. “That’s a rookie,” Singletary said. “He has to grow as well.”

–Yes, Singletary really likes Vernon Davis. He said he was not at all surprised with his two catches on the opening drive for 41 yards. He said Vernon is very consistent with his blocking and he continues to work on his hands to perfect his craft.

–Singletary said he needs to look at the pass rush a little more in depth before talking about it. “Sometimes it’s not as simple as ‘Why didn’t guys get there?'” Singletary said. “I saw guys get off the ball and be around the quarterback, but I have to look at it.”

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I went over the Broncos’ 33 pass plays and did not see much at all from the 49ers’ pass rush. Here’s how I break it down:

Showed nothing: Manny Lawson, Marques Harris, Kentwan Balmer, Isaac Sopoaga, Aubrayo Franklin, Demetric Evans, Pannel Egboh, Ricky Jean-Francois.

Showed just a little better than nothing: Parys Haralson, Justin Smith, Khalif Mitchell, Ahmad Brooks, Diyral Briggs, Jay Moore.

Had an acceptable pass-rush performance: Nobody.

Granted, the 49ers did not game-plan for the Broncos’ offense and most of the nine pressures they brought in those situations were pretty basic. But I’m sure they would’ve liked to see their guys win some one-on-one battles.

Lawson, in particular, seemed to be susceptible to cut blocks, as he spent a lot of time on the ground. In speaking about offensive linemen, Singletary said, “One of their things is to go at your legs and make you think twice about selling out 100 percent to get to the quarterback. It’s really important going forward that our guys continue to work on technique and the small things and get it right.”

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Just to confirm what 49ers president Jed York said yesterday: The 49ers can no longer trade away the rights to Michael Crabtree. The deadline passed yesterday in which a team can trade an unsigned draft pick. York expressed confidence Crabtree and the 49ers will eventually reach an agreement, but said he’s not sure when that might happen.

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