We're back with the first injury/practice report of the week. At this point it's too early to get particularly worried about given injuries, but it's still something to pay attention to. For example, neither Dwight Freeney nor Reggie Wayne practiced today. However, it sounds like both guys are not expected miss time on Sunday. On the other hand, Donald Brown did not practice and yesterday Bill Polian apparently indicated that Donald Brown is likely to miss 2-3 weeks with a shoulder contusion. You don't want players to be getting hurt, but Brown has been playing well this season, so that certainly is a plus for the 49ers.
On the 49ers side of things, Reggie Smith has gone from being declared out from the very beginning, to just not participating in practice. So I suppose that's at least an improvement. Takeo Spikes banged up his shoulder on Sunday and sat out practice today. We'll keep on eye on him as the week progresses.
Did not Participate in Practice
SS Reggie Smith (groin)
LB Takeo Spikes (shoulder)
Limited Participation in Practice
DE Ray McDonald (ankle)
Full Participation in Practice
DT Aubrayo Franklin (knee)
CB Marcus Hudson (shoulder)
RB Michael Robinson (shoulder)
Did not Participate in Practice
RB Donald Brown (shoulder)
DE Dwight Freeney (knee)
DT Eric Foster (shoulder)
WR Anthony Gonzalez (knee)
CB Marlin Jackson (knee)
K Adam Vinatieri (right knee)
WR Reggie Wayne (groin)
After the jump we've got Coach Singletary and Alex Smith's post-practice transcripts.
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post-Walk Thru - October 28, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
"I'm very excited this week to go to Indianapolis for a great football game, a tremendous challenge, obviously. We're just going to have a good week's practice and get ready for the challenge at hand."
On whether he changes his coaching at all based on margin of defeat:
"I don't really have a philosophy about if you lose you do this. Each week is a new week to me, and we've got to go out and get ready to play the next game. Every game has its own set of issues and parameters as to why you played the way you played, why you did what you did. But, I think it's as important that as you move to that next week, you continue to learn from week to week. But, in terms of being nice, being hard - no, I'm going to be myself week-in and week-out and have our staff go accordingly."
On who the starting right tackle and right guard will be:
"[T Adam] Snyder and [G] Chilo [Rachal]."
On whether Snyder moved back to right tackle:
"Yes. Right tackle."
On whether he will still alternate right guards:
On whether Rachal is the starter:
"Chilo is the guy."
On whether he considered T Barry Sims at right tackle:
"Did not, no."
On whether Sims is solely the backup:
On whether WR Brandon Jones will play this week:
"Brandon will be active. He will be active this week. In terms of playing time, we just have to wait and see on that, but he will be active."
On what position Jones will play:
"He's right behind the X, [WR Michael] Crabtree."
On S Michael Lewis' status:
"Michael Lewis is fine, ready to go."
On whether Lewis will help in covering the tight end this week:
"I'll put it this way: As far as the tight end is concerned, it was more about our technique than the tight end. So, rather than saying Michael Lewis is going to come in and help us with the tight end, the guys that we had on the tight end have to do a better job covering the guy. It's as simple as that. But, Michael will certainly help when he has a chance to cover the guy, but that's really what it came down to."
On whether Colts TE Dallas Clark is similar to Texans TE Owen Daniels:
"They're different in their own way. I think they're both guys that the quarterback has formed a relationship with, sort of like our quarterbacks with [TE] Vernon [Davis]. The tight end and the quarterbacks always have that relationship, and that's certainly the same situation."
On whether Lewis will start:
On whether he has given any thought to playing LB Ahmad Brooks more:
"I don't know about more, but we're always looking to try to get him in more. I think he's a full go right now. His knee is a little banged up and he's trying to get back, but I think he continues to get stronger, and that's good for us."
On whether he considered G Tony Wragge at all for right guard:
On Colts DE Dwight Freeney:
"He's a guy that just comes off the ball. You talk about reckless, relentless. He is the ultimate pass-rush guy. So, we're going to have our hands full trying to protect against him. You've got the guy on the other side as well. Both of those ends come up-field extremely well, spinning and turning and fighting and everything else. So, we'll have to do our job on them"
On how the team prepares for Colts QB Peyton Manning changing the play at the line of scrimmage and whether the team will have anyone try to mimic that:
"We may do a little bit of that, but all the gestures and stuff is for you to get caught up in it. Sometimes, it doesn't mean a thing. I just think it's important for us as we go into this game is really to focus on our technique and really focus on the communication, and I think we'll be fine. We'll let all of the other stuff take care of itself."
On whether he has thought of doing anything different with calling in the play:
On who will call the plays in the huddle:
"It will be [FS] Dashon [Goldson]."
On whether he could sense that QB Alex Smith can do the job:
On what Smith has shown in terms of poise:
"Alex is a totally different guy today than he was even six months ago. He's just a totally different guy. I think his mindset is clear. The thing that spoke volumes to me about him was in the offseason he had a chance to move on and go to another team and make more money. But, he decided to stay because he felt that he wanted to be a part of what was here. He wanted to finish what he started. To me, that speaks volumes for who he is and the kind of person that he is. So, I'm excited for him going forward and I'm not going to build too much into it. I'm going to let Alex's play speak for itself as we go forward. We'll go from there."
On whether he has to do anything to help build up Smith's confidence and establish a relationship:
"I think, first and foremost, with all of our players, one of the things that I always strive to do is build relationships with them so that they have an idea of who I am and I have an idea of who they are. I think the better the relationship, the better you understand when something's not right. If Alex is not looking right, if his eyes aren't right, if his body language isn't right, you have a better idea of feeling that and trying to get ahead of it and being proactive rather than waiting until something happens. I just think that it's extremely important that with the quarterbacks, with your skill people, really, as much as I can try to have them understand that this is the way I want our relationship. This is what you can expect from me, this is what I'd like to be able to expect from you and let's go forward with that. I try to be the same person every day, and consistency, I think, is huge. When you have players out there playing and they don't know what you're thinking, what you're feeling or whatever, I don't really want anybody to ever think twice about where I'm at. If there's something there, Alex knows that I'm going to tell him, ‘You know what? I don't like that,' or, ‘This is good,' or ‘I'd like to see you do that more.' I think we have an open-dialogue relationship, as well as [QB] Shaun [Hill]. It's the same with both of them. I'm very open and honest with them and expect that to reciprocate itself."
On him building a natural rapport with Smith:
"It's just a very natural thing for me, to me it's as natural as with your own kids, with your own family. It's very important to me, if I'm going to be the coach, I need to know how I am responsible for ‘okay, these 53 guys, then these 53 guys in some way, somehow, at different times I'm going to establish a relationship with every one of them. That's very important to me. Relationships is what makes everything go."
On what S Dashon Goldson gives the defense with the helmet radio that LB Patrick Willis didn't:
"I think what happens is that you have responsibilities. There's one guy that's responsible for the ‘Close' call which is [LB] Takeo [Spikes] and another guy that's responsible for making the calls, that's [LB] Patrick [Willis]. Then you've got a guy that's got to relay the information on the back end to the defensive backs, and sometimes when Pat gets it, sometimes he's in his game here and you're talking to the D-line and the DB's are so far back and then maybe on the headset the last thing the guy sending the call in said is, ‘make sure you watch this, make sure you watch for the bang-8, make sure you watch for the deep route and that's the one bit of information that you don't get out. I think it makes it difficult, so I think that it's one less thing that Pat will have to think about. I think he understands the importance of those guys having it back there because if there's a mistake back there, then nine times out of ten it's going to reveal itself on the scoreboard. If there's a mistake on the front line, hopefully somebody can go and make a play and make a tackle and we'll talk about it. If it's on the back end, then it's hard to recover."
On whether the communication is even more important facing Indianapolis this weekend:
"Yes it is, absolutely. Yes indeed."
On whether there was a specific moment when you noticed a change in Smith's body language:
"No, I just think that during training camp, during the season when I named Shaun the quarterback, I told Alex at that time ‘I don't want you to lock yourself in a barn,' or say ‘Shaun is the guy-get out.' It is that I want to continue to develop a relationship. It's a long season; you never know when you're going to need the other quarterback. I just wanted to, every chance that I got, tell him, ‘hey, are you continuing to develop here? How is that going,' and the answer was yes every time. To me, he's been a true team player, the ultimate team player throughout the whole process."
QB Alex Smith
Post-Walk-Thru October 28, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
On what he remembers about his first career start against the Colts in 2005:
"That was a good game. I think it's just coincidence, back starting again against the team I got my first start against. A lot has changed since then."
On whether the Colts run the same defense now that they did in 2005:
"There are some things similar, but I wouldn't call it the same defense. They have kind of changed from what I remember, a lot more of the Tampa 2 in the pass than you see today."
On whether Coach Singletary told him to stay ready when he was the backup:
"I never got the barn quote. But this is the NFL, if you're a backup quarterback and you think you're not going to play, you're in a dreamland. How many QBs go through a season and take all the snaps and can handle that? It's not a lot. I think you have to have the mindset, you have to have the expectations to play. The question is, when does it come? You have to be ready for that because you don't know when it is going to come."
On when he got his confidence back:
"I don't think I ever lost confidence. It had been two years almost since I played in a live game, yeah I had played in some preseason games but that is always different. I think it is more just getting back out there. It felt the same. It always did, especially when you get in the rhythm of things out there playing."
On Singletary saying his personality changed over the years:
"I guess it is always different. People might perceive things different than you might. I feel like I have always approached this game the right way. I have always worked incredibly hard, put a lot of time in. I knew that counted and made a difference. I think the thing is over time you get smarter about it, you are more efficient with your time, you are doing better things with it. I think you understand how to prepare yourself a little better for games, those types of things. In a sense, that might have changed. I think in the last couple of years my mindset has definitely changed and progressed just from being around the game more, especially having sat out for a couple of years."
On whether this is when he should truly start being judged:
"Yeah, I think it is playing ball right now. You are always being evaluated in this game, constantly. I mean I guess, I haven't really thought about it at all. I'm just going out there and trying to play quarterback the best I can."
On whether he can no longer be judged on potential:
"Yeah, I guess. I probably had that excuse when I was younger. Now I have to go out there and produce, go out there and play. There's no more wait and see."
On how his relationship with Singletary helps:
"He is so direct, puts everything out on the table, I think, which is a good thing. You don't ever wonder what he thinks about you or what's going on. He lets you know what he expects. For a coach, I think that is a good thing from a player's perspective. You like that. Other than that, it was just getting back to playing. Having been out a couple years with injuries, I think it was just getting back out in the game and doing. I don't think I ever lost confidence in myself, in fact I know I didn't. I think it is just a matter of getting back out there and getting the opportunity."
On how his technique has changed since he last played:
"I think technique is something you work on in practice, something you work on in drills, and when you play the game, you go play. That is how technique shows up on game day, by repping it in practice, by working on it in the offseason. That is how technique is developed. When you go out there and take snaps, you don't want to be thinking about your feet or your shoulders. When you're out there playing, things happen too fast to be thinking about that. I think those are the things I have constantly tried to work on in the offseason. It can be difficult at times when you are learning playbooks, technique sometimes goes out the window or takes a backseat. We work out here every day on technique; footwork, posture, the mechanics of throwing the football, decision making. Those are all things we go through every day in practice. The next step is having it show up on film on game day."
On QB coach Mike Johnson:
"Mike is great, especially in that area of technique and really drilling that in drills and having it show up in live situations."
On Singletary's assessment that Smith is as confident as ever:
"It probably comes from a little bit of everything. Being around the game more, you know more about it, a better understanding of it. The last couple of years put things in perspective for me, especially with football and what is important, what you really miss when you get away from it."
On what he needs to do to take the offense to the next level this week:
"Every game is different. Every defense presents a new challenge, a different challenge. For us, I would really emphasize that it is on the offensive unit to score points. It is on us to find a way to move the ball, whatever way that is. We have to find a way to be successful. We have to be balanced, we have to be able to throw the ball, run the ball. We have to do all the things it takes to be successful, in the end that's all that really matters. If I can bring anything extra to the table, I guess I might, then all the better. But in the end you have to be able to do everything."
On Indianapolis' defense:
"They are fast and they get after the quarterback. That team is set up very well. They are good at playing with the lead. I think they force teams into playing one dimensional because they are playing from behind, then you have to throw the ball. That is what they want as far as the defense goes. They want you to sit back in the pocket and throw the ball. They like getting after the quarterback, especially the two defensive ends."
On how much family will be there to watch him play:
"Same as always. I don't have a lot of family in Indiana. Normal as always."
On how aware he expects to be of DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis:
"Not at all, I guess I expect to be. I think there might be things that we work on throughout the week to help that when it comes game time. When you are playing quarterback, you can't be worrying about defensive linemen. You are really looking downfield, you react to that stuff. So yes, I think if you are thinking about them, that's a bad thing."
On whether the 10 guys that he has around him on offense right now is the most talented group he's had since he's been a 49er:
"Since I've been here? I would, actually. In fact, I don't think it's very close. I think we have a big opportunity in front of us with the guys that we have in this locker room and the guys that we have in this huddle. This team has a lot of depth and a lot of talent."