49ers Minicamp: Coach Singletary's Day 1 wrap

The 49ers wrapped up a full day of practices and other activities, as they welcomed their 2010 rookie class to Santa Clara. Coach Singletary conducted a post-practice press conference, and I've posted the transcript after the jump.

There were two particularly interesting comments by Singletary. The first was in regards to the kick/punt returners, and the second was in regards to free agent LB Adalius Thomas.

Ted Ginn
In regards to the return game, he was asked how he saw Leroy Vann fitting into the team with Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams on the roster. He mentioned how the team couldn't have too many return guys, but this also led to a discussion about Ted Ginn's potential role on the team. Most folks saw him as primarily a return guy, but Singletary definitely wants to see what he can do as a receiver. I suppose that's not exactly shocking. After all, you want to get the absolute most out of your players, so if Ginn can make a strong contribution as a receiver, you know the 49ers wouldn't have a problem with that.

The question is whether Ginn will be able to step up as a receiver. After a low-key rookie season, Ginn seemed to take a step forward his second season, at least numbers-wise, finishing with 56 receptions for 790 yards. He regressed last season, which is one reason the Dolphins were quick to unload him. At this point he'll probably be no better than the #3 receiver on this team (not even including TE Vernon Davis), so we'll see what he can do in the receiving end of things.

Adalius Thomas
The second interesting comment was in regards to the recently released linebacker Adalius Thomas.

On LB Adalius Thomas being available and if there is any interest in bringing him to the 49ers:

"There could be, but right now I think we have our plate full. I know we were really interested in him about three, four years ago and he made the decision to go to New England. I think he's a quality player and he wants to play a couple more years. We'll just have to see how it all shakes out."

For those who have been hanging around Niners Nation since the beginning, Thomas was a guy most of us wanted to see the 49ers grab as a free agent. It didn't work out for the 49ers, but in the end one could say it did because Thomas regressed upon signing his big deal with the Patriots. Who knows how it would have turned out in San Francisco, but the 49ers dodged a bullet with that one. I'm not holding my breath on the 49ers adding him soon, barring any injuries to the current group (including LaBoy).

On whether the idea of having the rookies watch was a chance for them to see what will be expected of them this minicamp:

"Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words and there's no better way to try to explain the tempo that we work at, the tempo that we will be working at. Whether its shorts and helmets, whether its shells or shoulder pads, I just think that it's very important and we talked about that last year. We practice with pads a lot. A lot of teams think, well you're practicing in pads, that means you're out there killing each other. No, we have to just continue to be smart about what we're doing and continue to take care of each other, but get our work in."

On what he's watching for from the veterans during the workout without pads:

"The emphasis should be on the technique and detail, just making sure that everything that the coaches talk about, don't think that because we're not out here in pads, you can still finish. You can finish with your feet. Every little thing that we talk about, I'm just looking for guys that are detailed in their thinking and are disciplined in their thinking because that's what's going to separate good teams from the okay teams."

On whether he's hopeful that the rookies can learn those things by watching the veterans:

"I think so. I was looking at the body language of the rookies and they're excited to get out here. It's nice for them; a lot of them are visual learners anyway. You can sit in there and try and tell them this is how we do it, but they just don't get it. They come out here, they see it. They see the way we go through individual periods. They see the way we approach the team. They see the way we approach 7-on-7. They see the way we try to take care of each other and I think that's very important."

On what he remembers most about his first rookie camp:

"That I pulled a hamstring. I pulled a hamstring my first rookie camp."

On what he remembers from stepping into the building for the first time:

"You have to understand, coming out of the draft I was upset that I wasn't a number one draft choice. Whatever it was, I was prepared for mentally and I probably couldn't see all the peripheral stuff. All I knew was I wanted to get in and make a statement."

On where he sees CB/RS Leroy Vann fitting in when the team has WR Ted Ginn and WR Kyle Williams:

"The thing that I told him on the phone, because he was concerned, ‘Well, wait a minute you have all these return guys,' and you never have enough of them. Ted Ginn, I believe the more he gets acclimated, the better he gets at being a receiver, the less we are going to want him doing some of those things. I think it's important to remember he is a receiver. Yes, he has some value as a return guy, but hopefully we can get good enough where it's on a needed basis."

On why Ginn may be used as more of a receiver than a returner:

"I think more and more every day, as you have the coaches coming back, whether it's [wide receivers coach] Jerry Sullivan, whether it's [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye, whether it's [assistant wide receivers coach] Wendell Davis, they are saying, ‘This guy has a lot more to him than just a return guy. He's going to help our team as a receiver.' I think they'll have their hands on him and are going to give him a chance to show what he can do."

On what he will tell the rookies about what to expect this weekend:

"I already told them this morning. This is going to be the most competitive camp that we've had. It's going to be all about competition. I told them when they look around the room, it's going to be 53 guys that make this team and everybody that's in this room has a chance to make the team, if they can understand the opportunity at hand. They just need to come out and compete every day and understand what we are trying to do here as a championship team in the making. So, they have to come out here every day and just make the most of it."

On whether he told that to the whole group:

"Yes."

On RB Anthony Dixon's role on the team:

"Just like everybody else, it's like getting Ted Ginn. A lot of times, you envision something, but when you get him, they show you something else. It's the same with him. By the time he comes in, right now we envision making sure we don't' throw the whole playbook at him; let him take a little bit at a time. Maybe just take some reps here and there, short yardage, coming out of the backfield, maybe a pass or two if he's better than we envision. If he's mature, if he's ready, if he's doing all of the little things, we'll just have to wait and see. I know Jimmy Raye is excited that we have him and he's excited to be here, so that's a good combination. I know he's a work horse, so I'm excited to see where it leads."

On how the quarterbacks are doing and if [QB] Alex Smith is taking the leadership role he wants:

"I think he's been just fine. I think he's responded very well. I think Jimmy Raye is very excited, [quarterbacks coach] Mike Johnson is very excited and of course I'm very excited. I think Alex continues to grow into that position and really begin to exude the leadership skills that we hoped that he had. We're very excited about what he's doing."

On LB Adalius Thomas being available and if there is any interest in bringing him to the 49ers:

"There could be, but right now I think we have our plate full. I know we were really interested in him about three, four years ago and he made the decision to go to New England. I think he's a quality player and he wants to play a couple more years. We'll just have to see how it all shakes out."

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