Not much in the way of big news today. Nate Clements did not participate in practice today, but he's been removed from the Out (definitely will not play) category, which is a step forward. I believe I read somewhere that he would potentially be back for the final game of the season. We'll see. Some interesting news for the Lions. Matt Stafford will be out, but Drew Stanton will get the start over Daunte Culpepper. Stanton is a Michigan State product so I'd imagine he gets a little love back in Detroit.
After the jump I've posted the daily press transcript for Coach Singletary and Alex Smith. Also, check back at 5pm as we'll have an open thread for the Poinsettia Bowl featuring Cal and Utah. Drew K has put together a list of players to keep an eye on for draft purposes.
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
K Joe Nedney (left hamstring)
Did not Participate in Practice
WR Isaac Bruce (ankle)
CB Nate Clements (shoulder)
RB Glen Coffee (hamstring)
DE Justin Smith (not injury related)
LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring)
Limited Participation in Practice
OT Joe Staley (knee)
Full Participation in Practice
CB Marcus Hudson (back)
RB Moran Norris (toe)
RB Michael Robinson (shoulder)
CB Shawntae Spencer (ankle)
Did not Participate in Practice
CB Phillip Buchanon (shoulder)
LB Larry Foote (foot)
QB Matthew Stafford (left shoulder)
Limited Participation in Practice
S Louis Delmas (ankle)
DT Grady Jackson (knee)
WR Dennis Northcutt (groin)
Full Participation in Practice
DT Joe Cohen (knee)
WR Calvin Johnson (knee)
LS Don Muhlbach (concussion)
DE Dewayne White (toe)
Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post-Walk Thru - December 23, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
On K Joe Nedney:
"Joe Nedney, the MRI revealed that he had a little bit of fluid. It was more than we expected, so he's going to be down this week, and we're just going to take it day-to-day from there. [K] Ricky Schmitt will be the guy that we bring on and see how it goes this week. We'll evaluate that as we go forward."
On Schmitt being here two years ago:
On whether Schmitt has a powerful leg:
"Yes. It's just a matter of controlling it, yes."
On whether it was a priority to bring in a left-footed kicker:
"Lefty, righty - just as long as it goes through the deal, I'm good. I really don't care."
On what the focus is going into this week's game:
"Finish. With everything that we have, finish. That's the most important thing, and not so much the two weeks, but this week. Let's go out, Detroit, when we look at Detroit, Detroit is a blue collar team. They're playing hard and trying to make the most of what they're doing. I think here, for us, once again, it really isn't about Detroit, it's about us. It's our last home game. We want to make a good showing. So, we're going to go out and we're going to finish the football season at home."
On whether the team is under pressure playing a team that the 49ers are expected to beat:
"It's like this: Expectations to me, I don't know about everybody else, I expect to win every game that we play. Obviously, it hasn't happened that way, but there's no pressure on us. The thought process, the reason you play football, is to win games. So, if we're thinking, ‘Wow, we've got to win.' What the heck is that? We're in the wrong place. We're in the wrong business if that's our thought process."
On whether there is any thought to playing some of the young players like C Cody Wallace:
"Cody will be up this week. I want to get a chance, hopefully the game allows an opportunity to see him a series or so, depending on how the game will dictate that. But, I really do want to get a chance to see him and if he can do it or if he can't."
On whether Wallace will play center or guard:
On whether LB Scott McKillop or DT Ricky Jean-Francois will get playing time in the last two games:
"It's not likely."
On whether there are any other young players who he wants to see specifically:
"I think right now, Cody is the main focus when I think of the younger guys. He really knows, he knows what he's doing. He knows the system. It's just a matter of having the opportunity. I want to get a chance to see if - really, hopefully the game dictates that where we can get him in there and get a chance to see it."
On whether CB Nate Clements will back off as the season ends:
"No, Nate will come out here and work a little bit, maybe some individual or something like that. We're not going to get him back, try and get him back out here - no. We'll just continue to stay on the plan that we're on, let some of the younger guys that are getting a chance to play play it out."
On whether WR Isaac Bruce is shut down for the year:
On whether there is any thought to dressing him for the final game at St. Louis:
"I think it's like this: When I think about Isaac Bruce, maybe some other people might want to see it, but I think Isaac knows who he is and he knows a final hurrah and all that stuff, I don't think it's that big to him. I think he's done his damage. He's done a great job. He's a great pro and a future Hall of Famer. We're just fortunate enough to have him in the capacity that we do, continuing to build into our young guys. That means the world to us."
On the importance of a winning record:
"It's very important. We always have to set goals. Week-in-week out, it's always important to have some direction in terms of where you're trying to go and what you're trying to achieve. For our team, to finish 8-8 would be good for us. It's something to build on and go from there. It is important, very important."
On whether QB Nate Davis will play in the final two games:
On why he won't get in:
"That would be because it would be different if [QB] Alex Smith was a proven veteran player, got everything under control. I want Alex to get all the playing time he can get. I want to see every drop of everything that he has, and I think it's very important for us and for him just to get - he hasn't played for a year-and-a-half before he had a chance to get back in there. Every situation that he can possibly be in, I want him to learn every lesson that he can possibly learn. So, that's where that stands."
On whether QB Nate Davis has practiced:
"He gets an opportunity from time to time against the first-team group. But, he'll have to wait for this offseason and kind of go from there."
QB Alex Smith
Post-Walk-Thru- December 23, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
On whether he likes to hear head coach Mike Singletary say that he wants Smith to be exposed to all situations in the final two games:
"Yes, no question. Yes, I want to be out there. Absolutely. It's definitely what I want to hear."
On what he hopes to accomplish in the final two weeks:
"Playing good football. I think that's it. Play winning football. Nothing crazy, just go out there and do my job. Offense go out and do our job as a unit and put us in a situation to win the game."
On whether winning football means limiting mistakes:
"Yes, it's that fine line of making plays and not making mistakes, yes. Going out there and - we're not going out there to not make mistakes. We're going out there to win a game, and within that, play good football, as error-free as possible, especially mental mistakes and things of that nature."
On how important these next two games are in terms of professional development:
"I'm really not thinking about that right now. I guess really focused on playing good football this week, bouncing back from last week and playing well this week, playing well against Detroit. I think in a couple of weeks I'll have plenty of time to think about the rest of that stuff."
On whether anything surprised him about Philadelphia's defense after watching film on Monday:
"No, I think more apparent than anything was the amount of self-inflicted wounds we did. Yes, they were bringing a lot of pressure and caused some problems for us, but we did a lot to ourselves as well. I think that's kind of the thing that showed up on film for me."
On whether the comment that head coach Mike Singletary made about owing him an apology surprised him:
"I don't know. I didn't really feel like he owed me an apology. We talked after the game. It was an emotional time. There was a lot on the line there. You work so hard all off season, on camp and all season for that and all of us were disappointed to lose and have the playoffs hopes die. It's hard. It's tough when you put that much time and commit so much of yourself to that and to have it end. It's hard, and you get emotional. We talked the next day, and I kind of understood that at the time."
On what he can learn from that experience:
"I think for this team, since I've been here, we've never played in a game of that magnitude this late in the season. To be mid- to late- December and playing for playoff contention, for your playoff life, this team has never done that, at least since I've been here. I think that it's a good experience."
On what he learned from it:
"I think it helps change expectations in a sense, and it's something I think we've been doing a lot this year, especially Coach Singletary has been trying to do since he took over is to change that expectation level, and I think that we're moving there. I think that kind of taste in our mouth right now is still there, and I thnk it will help us moving forward."
On whether the 49ers teams that he played with in the past didn't have the expectation to win the NFC West:
"Obviously, that is an expectation. I'm talking about, I guess, more the feeling, the unspoken element of it. Not talking about it but really the collective expectation level for all of us, and really talking about it but doing it."
On possibly taking snaps from C Cody Wallace in the game against Detroit:
"I've taken snaps with Cody at practice, all offseason, training camp, and through the first part of the season."
On what it would be like to have the same offensive coordinator for two straight seasons:
"Ask me that question in a couple of weeks, right now, honestly I think it's easy to get distracted and start thinking about this offseason and next year. I think we have two important games ahead of us and, most importantly, this last home game here and really trying to focus on that. But, obviously, stability is a great thing to look forward to. We're really trying to stay focused on Sunday and not think about this offseason or next year or anything like that."
On the difference in personnel on center exchanges:
"Yes, it's a different feel, different timing sometimes. There is a little adjustment there."
On how did T Joe Staley fair in his return against Philadelphia:
"I thought that he played well. I'm far more self-critical when I watch the film, so I'm not really evaluating the other guys. I thought that he did well though. I thought that he came in and didn't miss a beat."
On watching his former college team playing in a bowl game tonight:
"Yes, definitely. It's the longest post-season win streak on the line tonight, the Utes. I think that it's eight or nine bowl games that they've won. I'll definitely watch once I get out of here."
On the type of challenge that the Lions defense presents:
"I think watching them they play good football. You turn it on and, yes, they're a 2-12 football team. You may expect to see some lopsided games, but you turn it on and they are playing good football. They play sound football. They play tremendously hard, I think the team's been in a lot of games this year and that their record is little deceiving. I think that they've gone after some people on the defensive side of the ball. Kind of a mix of some young players with veteran guys over there, but I think that they are going to pressure you like any team, any other defense. The thing that I see is that they are playing really hard and really sound defense over there."