Niners fans: We want losses?

San Francisco, based on its 5-9 record, would have No. 8 overall pick in the NFL draft if the season ended today. But if the Niners’ season ended in the playoffs they would select no higher than 21st despite a 7-9 record. (Worst-case scenario: They would pick No. 32 if they won the Super Bowl)!

December 23, 2010
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Rams coach not sweating over which Smith will start

After Troy Smith’s virtuoso performance against the Rams in mid-November, NFL teams appeared to piece together an effective game plan for stopping the 49ers quarterback: Keep him in the pocket and force him to make accurate passes. That blueprint — or book, if you will — severely limited Smith’s effectiveness and eventually led to his demotion.

December 22, 2010
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Singletary tight-lipped; QBs invisible

In the latest twist in Operation Sealed Lips, quarterbacks Alex Smith and Troy Smith weren’t in the locker room during the nearly hour-long media availability today. A team spokesman said the signal-callers were in meetings.

December 21, 2010
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Keaton Kristick is having a blast, man

Most of the 49ers are polite when fielding questions from the media. Keaton Kristick, happy to discuss wrestling moves once the tape recorder is turned off, might be the only one who could accurately be described as eager.

December 20, 2010
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911 call for secondary: Is there a CB in the draft?

Late in the second quarter of the Niners’ 34-7 loss to San Diego on Thursday night, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers spotted the mismatch — wide receiver Vincent Jackson on linebacker Takeo Spikes — and lofted a pass to Jackson for a much-too-easy 11-yard touchdown. After the game, Spikes didn’t reveal whether he was supposed to receive help on the play. Instead, he focused on Rivers, who made the play happen….

December 18, 2010
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Singletary playing familiar tune with The Smiths

Given the circumstances, 49ers coach Mike Singletary said quarterback Alex Smith “handled himself about as well he could” in a 34-7 loss to the Chargers on Thursday night. Even so, Singletary said he considered benching Smith during the game. And today he reiterated what he said after the loss: He hasn’t made a decision on whether Alex Smith or Troy Smith will start at St. Louis on Dec. 26. Just…

December 17, 2010
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The Niners and their knack for not making plays

Geez, I spent nearly 1,000 words trying to describe the 49ers’ performance and my non-writer, NFL-mad friend captured it perfectly in a concise in-game e-mail. His message: Puke. Evidently RB DeShawn Wynn wasn’t the only one with an upset tummy after the Niners’ 34-7 faceplant against San Diego:

December 17, 2010
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Willis, Spikes in; Gates, Floyd out

Pregame notes leading up until kickoff: • ILBs Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes, who were questionable with hand injuries, will play tonight. CSN Bay Area has reported that both Willis and Spikes have broken hands. UPDATE: A Niners spokesperson has confirmed that Willis had surgery Monday and had a pin inserted. Spikes did not have surgery. • 49ers inactives: David Carr (3rd QB), K Joe Nedney, CB Tramaine Brock, CB…

December 16, 2010
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Singletary, Chargers’ Rivera have a history

Here’s a good story from today’s San Diego Union-Tribune on the connection between Mike Singletary and San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. Rivera was Singletary’s backup at middle linebacker on the 1985 Chicago Bears and later played alongside Singletary for five seasons. Rivera notes that Singletary, the Hall-of-Fame player, had a unique ability to absorb Xs and Os and the subtleties of the game. It’s not a trait generally assigned…

December 16, 2010
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Slumping Crabtree draws shut-down secondary

Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe leads the NFL with 14 touchdown catches. In two games against the Chargers secondary, though, he’s combined for two catches for 16 yards. Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne ranks second in the NFL in receptions (94) and yards (1,213). Against San Diego, however, he had five catches for 42 yards.

December 16, 2010
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Grab bag: Dixon gets four … and 30 more

This and that from today in Santa Clara: • RB Anthony Dixon says coach Mike Singletary asks him to get four yards. On Sunday, the 233-pound rookie got him 34. In the first quarter of Sunday’s 40-21 win against Seattle, Dixon swept right and cut back left on the longest run of his career. It was type of play Dixon often made en route to leading the NFL in rushing…

December 14, 2010
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Casting call for Niners ILB duo

The 49ers starting inside linebackers sported similar casts — and messages — today. Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes had casts on their right arms, but little news for reporters regarding their playing status for Thursday’s game at San Diego. Come to think of it, the club-wearing linebackers must also share the same media consultant. Have a listen:

December 14, 2010
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How a loser could be a division winner

As you know, the 49ers could lose at San Diego on Thursday night and still win the NFC West with a 7-9 record. The Niners would have to win their final two games and have the Rams and Seahawks both lose at least two of their remaining three games. In the event of ties, San Francisco would win the tiebreaker by virtue of a 5-1 division record. If such a…

December 14, 2010
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