As announced previously in this space, XFINITY from Comcast has generously agreed to support the best NFL community around -- us! As part of that effort, between now and the end of the 2010 NFL season XFINITY will be sponsoring a variety of special editorial and interactive features on our site. Welcome!
The 49ers wrap up the last of their offseason training activities today through Wednesday, culminating in three days of mandatory minicamp workouts Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Once that is done, the offseason activities are more or less complete until training camp kicks off in a month and a half. Consider that your warning because 49ers news will certainly quiet down. Of course, in spite of that we'll have plenty for you here at Niners Nation. We'll be powering through the 53 man roster projection, position by position. We'll also start putting together our more comprehensive looks at the various position battles heading into training camp. And of course, we'll continue our look into the regular season with a breakdown of the numerous opponents on the 49ers slate of games.
In the meantime, the 49ers did conduct practices last week and at the end of the week Coach Singletary had some comments about practice up to that point. The big questions surrounded the work the backups are getting with some veterans away from camp. Additionally, Coach Singletary addressed the progress of the rookies. As we head into training camp this is a particularly interesting year for 49ers rookies. Last year Crabtree was holding out. The year before Kentwan Balmer was the number 1 pick. Not exactly getting much out of training camp for the #1 picks. Of course, the year Balmer was picked was the year we saw Josh Morgan selected and he made a quick name for himself in training camp. Which rookie will be the first to really step out of the shadow of the draft and take hold of significant playing time?
After the jump, we've got Coach Singletary's media session transcript.
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post-Practice - June 11, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
"It was a good practice today. It was good competition. We just have to, as I said at the end of practice, we have to learn how to compete without getting all emotional about it. It's the first fight we've had and hopefully the last. We just have too much work to do to spend time doing that. But overall, it was a good week, a good practice today and I look forward to getting into next week and seeing some of the other veterans going at the end of the week."
On whether he expects to see some of the other veterans at the end of the week:
"So far, so good."
On whether he's able to do more when everybody is here or do they practice normally:
"No, we are just going to do what we do. With what we have here, with our 74, I'm more concerned with the guys that we have here. I trust the other guys are doing what they need to do. They are men. They know that when we come in together for training camp, it's on. We've got to compete and we're looking for the best 53 guys. I don't really think about them because I know they are doing what they need to do, but as far as the guys here, we just have to keep getting better."
On whether there's something to be said for players like LB Ahmad Brooks and DT Ricky Jean Francois that are getting plenty of reps without LB Manny Lawson and NT Aubrayo Franklin being here:
"That's the exciting thing. You've got the young corners out there. [CB] Tarell Brown, [CB] Karl Paymah, the guys you mentioned, Brooks, Francois. It gives them an opportunity to get out there and get coached on the go. That's a good thing. That's the positive side. When you look at Manny not being here, he's a very bright guy. I know he's working his tail off and when he gets in, he's going to pick up where he left off. Aubrayo does his job as well as anybody. When he gets in, he'll pick up where he left off.But in the meantime, those other guys can get some really good work in."
On whether he's seen improvement in Brooks:
"Yes, I think Brooks is doing a nice job and is really looking at the playbook and is understanding the things that we are trying to do. He's not just understanding what he has to do, but really understanding why. That's really important for us, but he's doing a nice job as well as Francois. Francois is really kicking in and he's doing a nice job. The young corners, T Brown - sometimes you can be sitting in the classroom and you can be on the field and you watch somebody else do it and you think you have it until you have to get in there and execute it yourself. It makes a big difference when you can go through it full speed, get coached and get the reps."
On how dropping into coverage is coming along for Brooks:
"I say just take it a day at a time and when you put on the pads, for some reason, things change. So we'll see how fast he plays when he puts on the pads, as well as some of the other guys. Its one thing when you look at guys in shorts, some guys look really impressive and all of a sudden, they put on pads and you have to try and find them. I'm excited for next week. We need to concentrate and get through it and get better and get ready for training camp."
On who has taken advantage presented by Lawson's absence:
"Obviously, you'd have to start with Ahmad, but all of the young guys. I think [LB Diyral] Briggs has really benefitted. I think [LB Travis] LaBoy has benefitted. I think all of those guys wouldn't normally be getting as many reps as they are getting right now, I think pretty much in that order."
On how he would evaluate QBs David Carr and Nate Davis when QB Alex Smith gets the lion share of the reps:
"Every time they get in there, they have to show something. It's as simple as that. That won't change. We'll just continue to go with that and whatever we see, we'll have to evaluate it on our own."
On what he and the players got out of Hall of Fame CB Rod Woodson being here:
"Anytime you have a player of that caliber, not only as a talent, but as a human being, that's a huge plus. When Rod came in, I told him, just do what you want to do. I trust you. I know him. Whatever you need access to, just do it. As many players as you can talk to, particularly the [defensive backs], particularly the young ones, I'd really appreciate you spending as much time with them as you can because they don't know what they don't know. It was really nice to have him here"
On how T Anthony Davis and G Mike Iupati looked in terms of knowing their roles this week:
"They're getting there. They take steps every day, but once again, when we put the pads on, that's when you really have to evaluate where they are because now it's coming and its coming fast. At that time, you really have a chance to see where they are."
On what special teams coordinator Kurt Schottenheimer has been able to do with the special teams so far:
"I think he and Dave Fipp have really done a good job. I'm really thankful that Dave is here to assist and to help talk about some of things that Schottenheimer's philosophy and some of the philosophy that we have from last year, that maybe we don't have to change all of it. Some of it you can keep and I think Dave has really been a great help to Coach Schottenheimer, but he's jumped right on it and just really injected himself into what we are doing and the 49ers philosophy and I think he's done a fine job."
On whether Schottenheimer gets one roster spot to pick a guy for special teams:
"Well, in all honesty, we've talked about that. It's got to be more than one roster spot. It's got to be a couple, three of four. We really need some guys on special teams to step up. Special teams this year for us is going to be huge because there will be some close games. I would like for there not to be, but there will be and we want to come out on the other side of that thing with a win. In order to do that, special teams will have to come up big."
On whether three or four non-starters will be on the roster for special teams:
On whether that influences how he uses starters on special teams and his feeling on that:
"Yes. When we look at defense and offense, you always talk about how much better we have to be on that side of the ball, on the defensive or special teams side of the ball. With special teams this year, as I look at teams that have done a good job and get to the playoffs and go deep into the playoffs and go to the championship game, they have great special teams. For us, it's more than just one guy. It's got to be a number of guys. Our philosophy is we don't want anybody on this team that is just kind of sitting around and holding a bag. Everybody's going to have to contribute. There will be some guys that make this team, and right now, maybe they're not quite where they need to be, the number two guy or whatever. If they're busting their tail on special teams and they can help us win, that's important. I'm looking at those guys."
On whether there are two or three guys that are core special teams leaders:
"Obviously, right now you have to look at [RB] Mike Robinson. Mike Robinson has always been a guy that has done a nice job and really contributed well. He's just got to stay healthy. There are a couple of guys. [FB] Brit Miller has done a nice job, [LB] Scotty's [McKillop] done a nice job. So, there are some guys. We just have to keep evaluating and some of these young guys are going to really be challenged to step in there and get used to playing special teams well."
On his reaction to the stadium billboard after the stadium was approved:
"It obviously was very nice. I was really happy for the 49ers organization, [President/CEO] Jed [York], [Owner] Dr. [John] York and the entire family. It's been a struggle to try and get anything built in California and to be able to do that, that's very nice, a tremendous accomplishment."
On whether returner CB /RS LeRoy Vann has shown anything to allow him to play cornerback:
"Once again, a guy like LeRoy, you really have a better idea once you get in pads. He's not the tallest guy in the, he's not the biggest guy in the world but he's got a tremendous heart, I do know that. It's just a matter of how it all works out. I just know he's working his tail off. He's a savvy kid, asks a lot of questions, he works hard. There's a lot to work with there."
On why he dislikes scuffles on the football field:
"I look at our team like a family. Maybe some guys have the philosophy, well that's what football's all about. No, that's not what football is all about to me. I learned football where you go out and play together. You come out here and if you're going to fight out here and in the same breath you're going to say we're family, you're going to talk to each other like crap? No, we're in this together. If you can't see it that way, then we've got to find somebody else. I don't want that at all because it's foolishness to me. I'm a firm believer that what you do out here on the field, that's what you're going to do in the game. It's all repetition. That's not happening."
On whether S Taylor Mays is developing as well as he thought he would to this point:
"Well, he's making strides. He's got a long way to go, but he's making strides."
On whether he will talk to the guys that got into the scuffle individually or addressed it as a team:
"I addressed it as a team. I know who they are and I understand why it happened, but it just can't happen."
On addressing the fans at family day tomorrow:
"It's always great when you have the opportunity. Family day is a great opportunity. There are a lot of kids running around. I love kids so that makes it worthwhile right there. Everything else is gravy, but I get excited about that. Young fans, kids that have no idea what's going on they're just having a good time. And for our fans that are our diehard fans, I'm excited about them, I'm excited about this team and some of the things that we're striving to do out here to make them proud of what we're doing in this organization."
XFINITY from Comcast is a proud supporter of Niners Nation. You'll get your 49ers games as a part of over 120 NFL games XFINITY provides in HD, as well as On Demand game recaps from every NFL game every week, faster Internet speeds, and stunning HD. With XFINITY and NFL RedZone, you get every touchdown from every game every Sunday afternoon! Call 1-800-XFINITY or visit http://www.xfinity.com.