One more sign that football is really just about here is the release of the weekly injury reports. The NFL requires injury reports to be published Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For those of you new to the site since last season, we'll post each injury report. The first two concern practice participation, while the final Friday injury report provides the traditional terminology for the game (probable, questionable, doubtful, out).
One thing to keep in mind with these Wednesday/Thursday injury reports is the fact that a lot of players don't participate or are limited in practice but end up playing on Sunday. That's not exactly breaking news, but I wanted to make sure folks were aware of that. Of course, if it says "Out (Definitely Will Not Play)" then we know what's what with that.
Out (Definitely will not play)
LB Ahmad Brooks (lacerated kidney)
C Eric Heitmann (fibula)
WR Kyle Williams (toe)
Did Not Participate In Practice
CB William James (ankle)
Limited Participation In Practice
LB Diyral Briggs (concussion)
Out (Definitely will not play)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
Limited Participation In Practice
DE Raheem Brock (back)
TE Anthony McCoy (ankle)
G Chester Pitts (knee)
After the jump I've posted transcripts from Coach Singletary and Alex Smith...
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post- Walk-Through - September 8, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
"All right, the injuries I think you know about. We've talked about that, that's the same. [CB] Will James is a day to day thing. The other guys [LB] Ahmad [Brooks], [C] Eric Heitmann, [WR] Kyle Williams, you know, we just have to continue to evaluate those guys on a week to week basis, but right now, day-to-day on William James."
On RB Brian Westbrook's availability:
"He will be available for the game."
On how much you can do with him up to this point with the limited time he has been here:
"It depends on what you mean ‘wants to do with him'."
On the reason for releasing QB Nate Davis and signing QB Troy Smith:
"It's fairly simple. I think right now if we had to go into a game with Nate Davis, right now it would be a difficult situation for us. It would be tough. We do have [QB] David Carr, but I wanted the guy who is the third quarterback, I really wanted him to be able to compete with the number two, and right now that is not the case. Hopefully we're able to keep Nate Davis and he will be our practice squad quarterback, but if it doesn't work out, then I feel it was a risk worth taking to get the player we did, so that's why."
On with the limited number of reps that the number two quarterback gets on the scout team:
"You know, what let me say something. I'm not going to talk about the quarterbacks anymore. That's a dead deal. [QB] Alex Smith is our starting quarterback. David Carr is our number two. Whoever the number three is, he has to compete with number two, that's it. You're right, it's a limited number of reps, especially right now that the season is going to start. It would have been better in training camp. But due to the situation that came up with Nate Davis not totally being prepared mentally, it didn't happen. So, I'm hopeful that we get to keep him, if we don't, we don't."
On how you measure competition for the number two quarterback with limited number of reps that David Carr and Troy Smith will be getting:
"You know what, I think as a staff you just continue to look at it and the limited amount of reps that they get, what do they do at that time? Can they recall things that - they just have to work. The reps that Alex is getting, they have to work mentally without getting those reps. And just like Alex did last year, when he wasn't getting the reps, I'm not sure he got one rep before he had a chance to play, and he came in and he played well, and that's what the two have to be able to do."
On whether Carr was going to compete for the starting job:
"No, there was no talk that he was going to compete for number one. There was no talk. There was no talk of that. There was no talk that he was going to compete for number one. I'm telling you that there was not from me. I'm the head coach. It doesn't matter who else said it, it doesn't matter. He was not going to compete for number one. I did want him to challenge Alex, but he was not competing for number one because I didn't want another situation. In order for him to compete with Alex Smith, he would have had to get more reps. He would have had to get more reps than he did. Alex Smith was the guy that we wanted to make sure that he was ready and that he was prepared. That's the thing that we did all off-season to focus on him, make sure he had everything that he needed in order to be successful. That was the main focus. We did not have David Carr come in here and compete with him for number one, we did not. Absolutely, unequivocally did not."
On whether there is any disappointment from Carr this summer:
"Well, no. I don't think there is any disappointment with him, I mean there's a reason he's number two. So no, there's no disappointment. He's worked his tail off and he has a good grasp of the offense. If he had to go into a game, you know we support him all we could. We'd rally around him and go from there."
On whether there has been any response from WR Michael Crabtree since the walkthrough last Thursday:
"It's been a non issue."
On why this year's team better prepared to finish for the Seattle trip:
"I don't know, maybe we're more mature than we were last year. Maybe we're a better team than we were overall last year. So, maybe that's the reason. But we haven't played the game yet, so I feel that by the time that this week is over, we would have put the work in that we needed to put in to prepare to go up there and come away with a win. But we have to play the game."
On whether he saw any commonalities in struggles he had last season from week to week:
"Consistency, inconsistency, it's as simple as that, inconsistency. That's what happened in Seattle. That's what happened everywhere else, even in some of the games that we won, inconsistency was there. You know, hopefully going forward we can do a better job of being more consistent and more detailed across the board."
On thoughts about the conversation he had with TE Vernon Davis regarding the increased coverage he will see this year:
"You know what, I think first of all we're very fortunate to have Vernon. I think he's unique in every sense of the word. I think when you mention tight end, he's a guy that when he goes out, he splits out, you have to be aware of where he's at on the field, as far as the additional coverages I think definitely defenses - I'm glad other teams have to prepare for him and not us because I think he presents coverage issues and I think you just can't put a safety on him and say ‘you got him.' So, I think [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye has continued to do a good job this offseason along with [tight ends coach] Pete Hoener, creating some things that Vernon can do to really create mismatches."
On whether the conversation was about preparing for it mentally:
"Conversations with Vernon this offseason were basically to grow into what he can become mentally. Being able to handle it, being able to deal with it and at the same time, being able to understand that there are other receivers, and that if you don't touch the ball as many times as you would like, to be aware that there are some other guys on the team, and just be understanding of that fact. We all have to be selfless."
On whether Scot McCloughan being in Seattle causes the team to make any adjustments:
"You know, it's one of those situations where, I think you have someone like a Scot McCloughan there, maybe it eases some of the fact of not knowing some of our guys. I'm sure that Scot has really talked about some of the personality of our guys and that's what really a team wants to know more than anything else. He may be a great player but is he a player that we can rattle? Is he a player that we can get to? And Scot knows those things. But I just think that once again, in the final analysis, the most important thing for us is to go up there - we're not going to change anything. They have several of our players, some of our players that are really bright guys. You know [special teams assistant] Jeff Ulbrich, [RB] Mike Robinson - Robinson knows our offense as well as anybody, and Jeff knows our defense as well as anybody. But at the same time, it's just a matter of us going up there and being prepared to play and to focus on the details of what we have to do."
On whether he has an instinct that the personnel that was released would end up in Seattle:
"You know, it was. When you have the GM up there that brought a lot of those guys here, it was always on the forefront of our mind that, ok they might end up in Seattle, but there is no way to get around it. You just have to continue to go forward and have your guys respond positively."
On continuing to be successful against the NFC West:
"You know for me, the bottom line is that we were 8-8 and we were at home when the season was over. That is not something that we wanted to accomplish. Obviously, there were some positive things but not enough. So this year, our focus is to make sure we go out and take care of business, whether it's in the division, whether its outside of the division, just do the best that we can and make sure that we're prepared for each and every game that we play."
On whether the captains are the same from last season:
"Yes, and we have one addition and that's Alex Smith."
On whether that decision was a player vote:
"No, I voted."
On whether it was important to put Alex Smith in a leadership role:
"Well, I look at it this way, I didn't name him a captain because a quarterback. I named him a captain because he exemplified this offseason the things that I wanted our captains to do. I think when you talk about the identity of the 49ers, Alex really put in the time. You know he's out here when no one was out here. He was the guy that got the receivers together and threw to them, and changed his schedule around to meet with some other receivers. So, he was not just doing it once a day, he was doing it twice a day, as well as in the classroom. He was wearing Jimmy Raye and [quarterbacks coach] Mike Johnson out all offseason. Those are the things that we need. And some leaders are more vocal than others, and some leaders are very exact in terms of this is who I am and I'm going to show by my actions and everything he's done this offseason, to me, exemplifies leadership and the character that we want on this football team."
On whether it is important that the quarterback be a leader:
"Sure it is. I mean, if everyone said that the quarterback position is the most important position on the football field, which I disagree with, I just feel that Alex Smith is a guy that I think has done a great job this offseason. As far as whether it's important at the quarterback position, if he's not a leader, then he wouldn't be a captain on this team. Hopefully you want that position to be a leader, and fortunately we have that this year."
On whether he has a new special teams captain:
"We do not."
On whether they will experiment with the wildcat and QB Troy Smith:
"You know, it's possible at some point and time, but right now - the time to do that is in OTA's and training camp. The fact that we really felt that we didn't have that guy here - it's kind of tough to throw it in now, but we could do it."
On whether he has the confidence in his special teams to step up and fill in the void left by released players:
"They have to. You know we have core players on our special teams. You know Mike Robinson, I said this before, he's everything you want on your team, and on special teams he did a good job. But I just feel we do have some young guys that can step in and do a good job."
On getting the young guys acclimated with the crowd noise:
"I think for our young guys, the two young guys, we need to get them all the noise that we can feed them, and that's not even enough, but as much as we can today, tomorrow and Friday. We want to hopefully have them acclimated when we go into the game and be ready to respond to the noise that they haven't heard before, nor will they hear here."
"And just to go back, I want to make sure you understand, David Carr never, ever was considered to come in and compete with Alex. I just want to make sure."
QB Alex Smith
Post- Walk-Through - September 8, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
On importance of being named captain:
"I guess you get the title of it, I guess everybody feels in some way they have different leadership skills and how they do things. Obviously, getting acknowledged for it is nice. I guess either way, it felt like I had a leadership role on this team, especially on offense. To get the acknowledgement that you're a captain, I've kind of been doing it the whole preseason, and to get officially named is nice. Other than that, it's an acknowledgement. You still have to go out there and play."
On when he was informed:
On whether he prefers heads or tails:
"(Laughing) I don't know, I guess I'm more of a heads guy."
On not having been a captain since his second year:
"Yeah, not since my second year. Early on, it was always tradition that they named guys every week. You named an offense, a defense and a special teams player and then you got put up on the wall if you won the game. That went up until my fourth year. So really, it was always changing. Every week the captains would change - offense, defense, special teams, and they kind of made it a point to do that because it was something that had always been done here. My second year we tried to change it for a few games and name permanent captains, and the last two years now we've named permanent captains. So it's nice. I guess like I said, it doesn't necessarily change anything about how guys view you or your role on the team. I mean, you get the ‘C' on your chest."
On whether he purposefully took action to be in control of being a starter:
"Maybe a little bit, I guess consciously doing more. You try to push yourself and constantly improve and that's on and off the field as a quarterback. But really, I kind of just continued to do what I've always done, work hard and be the guy I am. I'm not trying to be anyone I'm not. I think it naturally happens just from the stability that's been here this last year, I think, to be honest."
On whether he stayed after practice to work with receivers before:
"Well, yeah, but I guess with different coordinators, different things are structured different ways. Like I said in years past, sometimes you're more focused on yourself, just trying to forget what you learned the year before and learn something new, start over. What I'm saying is the more stability we had this offseason I think created an atmosphere at least for me to do more of that stuff."
On his level of confidence in the two rookies starting on the offensive line:
"I feel good about them. It's not something I'm thinking twice about. We're going into this game, we're going to get it done. I'm not thinking about those two guys up there at all. So I think that's a good thing."
On whether he was surprised to see some of the 49ers go to Seattle when they were waived:
"You know, it makes sense when you look at it. To have Scot (McCloughan) go up there, obviously in the personnel department, the same guys he evaluated here and brought here, it makes sense that he'd give them a shot up there."
On whether there is concern with Jeff Ulbrich being in Seattle and knowing the 49ers defense:
"Yeah, I've put a call into Jeff threatening him to keep his mouth shut (laughing). No, I guess for the defense - it's not something we're thinking about on offense. I still think that when it comes into the heat of the battle, the noise up there, guys are going to revert back to playing what they play. To think that in a week's time they're going to memorize things, offensively or defensively, and then in the half a second that you have to see it and understand it when the play is going on, that you're going to make that play is pretty extreme I guess. I just don't think it's likely when you get out there in the noise and things are moving fast. You better be focused on what you have to do and not us, otherwise I think you're going to be in trouble."
On whether last year's loss carries over into preparation for this game:
"Yeah, I think no question, we left a lot on the field. A couple opportunities there in the end of the game to seal the game offensively, driving the ball down, a couple of missed opportunities in the red zone, turnovers late that really cost us the game and gave them the opportunities to make the plays in the end that we really could have put the game away offensively, scoring late, holding onto the ball, eating up the clock, and we didn't do it."
On what carries over to this game:
"I don't know. I mean, it's a whole new year. I think you're putting that behind you. Obviously we're using that film to look at for the looks, the same defensive coordinator is there and you see that, so I guess when you go back and look at it you recognize how far we've come, the opportunities that we left there, but other than that - it is enough that it's the first game of the season and it's a divisional game. I think that in and of itself is enough that it has nothing to do with what happened last year up there."
On whether that loss is more painful to watch than any of the others in 2009:
"Well, I think just the timing of it being late, we went 5-1 in the division and that was the one game we lost. It was late in the year, I think we were still potentially in it if we won that game. So looking back, that's kind of what I remember about it."
On whether he can put his finger on why the team was inconsistent on the road:
"No idea. I mean to try to point to one thing or a couple things, who knows. I think in general West Coast teams, obviously if you look at the numbers, have struggled traveling East, and when you go over multiple time zones. I don't know. I don't know what it is. Obviously it's harder in general to play on the road, and I think we lost a couple close ones on the road. You look at the Vikings game, we lose on the last play. A couple other road games late, the Seattle game, you lose late that you had control of. And all of a sudden you make a few plays that are in the end of a game and we're probably not talking about our road record last year so much, but it's the nature of the NFL. You look at teams that play on the road and teams that play at home - I mean, there's a reason that often times on home field you get a little advantage."
On how much USC game film they are watching:
"Not much. It's on there, there's some of it in the breakdown. Not much. They haven't shown to be that much different in the preseason than they were last year, so I don't know how much affect or impact Pete (Carroll) is having on the defense."
On whether he felt that he was the number one QB during off-season OTAs and camp:
"I mean it certainly felt like I was in a position a little bit like it was mine to lose, but I didn't go in with any other expectations. I didn't know what was going to happen in the offseason, who they were going to bring in, who they weren't, and in the end, I wasn't going to be focused on that. I was going to be focused on what I had to do to continue to grow and improve. So I knew I had an opportunity I guess, but other than that I didn't have any expectations."
On knowing he was the starter and that someone would have to come in and take it from him:
"Yeah, I mean, potentially. I guess, like I said, I felt like it was my opportunity to lose, that I was going to be given another opportunity. I guess I understood that. I wasn't - I'm sure (Matt) Leinart thought the same thing. So I guess I was ready for anything. This is the NFL, you know, and realistically, I knew they were going to have to bring some guys in, its part of the deal, just a matter of depth that you have to have that. So I didn't know what that was going to bring, so in the end I guess I wasn't going to let it concern me too much. I was just going to continue to focus on what I was doing."
On being comfortable with the offense and how eager he is to get on the field for a regular season game:
"Yeah, no kidding. I'm excited. It's a big opportunity for us. It will be a good challenge to go up there in that atmosphere, you know. Probably arguably the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL, you know, opening game, a lot of unknowns as far as defensively what they are going to do. So it will be a good test for us, you know? It will be."
On whether he is confident that he can get WR Michael Crabtree involved immediately:
"Yeah, I mean I feel confident that - I think for his offense to reach it's full potential he's going to have to be part of this, no question. I think it's unfortunate that we've missed out on the preseason reps, but that's behind us. Moving forward now, it's the real deal. These games count. And he's going to have to come out and be a part of this, no question."
On whether he can assess QB Troy Smith and his learning curve:
"Not at all, no idea. I haven't even seen him throw or anything. I think he's been in the meetings today, but other than that, don't know how much he's crammed. So no idea."