The one label Singletary wants to avoid

It was the usual Wednesday in the 49ers locker room before they hit the field for their first practice of the week in preparation for facing the St. Louis Rams . . .


–Coach Mike Singletary supplied one of those quotes that will probably appear in a marketing campaign within the hour:


“I have no problem with ‘conservative.’ If you want to say I’m a conservative guy, that’s great. I have no problem with ‘exotic.’ If you say I’m an exotic coach, that’s fine. I have no problem with any other adjective you use. But if you say I’m not a winning coach, then I have a problem.”


–Running back Frank Gore (ankle) and safety Reggie Smith (groin) definitely will not play Sunday. Singletary said he expects everybody else, including Joe Staley and David Baas, to be available for the game, though they might not see much practice time in the next day or two.


–Singletary said there’s a chance both Brandon Jones and Jason Hill could be active for Sunday’s game for the first time this season. (Certainly, Micheal Spurlock’s spot on the game-day roster is in jeopardy after his slow start.)


–The 49ers thought about promoting rookie running back Kory Sheets from the practice squad, but Singletary said it would not be fair to him. He is still learning a lot of the protections, and Singletary said Sheets is simply not ready to play.


–However, Glen Coffee will take over for Gore, and the offense will not be altered in the slightest. Behind Coffee will be Michael Robinson, and Singletary said fullback Moran Norris might get some carries, too, as the run game picks up the slack for the loss of Gore.


–I asked Shaun Hill about something I described as a “‘robust man hug” with Singletary, and Hill responded, “We were both excited. . . . We were all excited. . . . I’m surprised Alex and Nate didn’t fine me for that. I guess they didn’t see the TV (copy).”


–On whether he would like to be placed in a position to throw the ball late in the game to run out the clock. “I don’t think about those things,” Hill said. “I don’t dwell on that. Jimmy (Raye) has a wealth of knowledge, far more than I’ll ever have.”


–Safety Dashon Goldson on playing Brett Favre: “Up until that point, I looked at him as just another quarterback we were facing. There was nothing spectacular about him until that final play.”


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