49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

February 20, 2009
Singletary talks about Alex Smith with ex-Bay Area coaches

Mike Singletary was interviewed this afternoon by a couple of ex-Bay Area coaches-turned analysts, Jon Gruden and Steve Mariucci, on NFL Network. The 49ers coach repeated a lot of what he had to say Monday evening in San Mateo and this morning during an extended media session at the combine. Still, there were a couple of interesting items.

Gruden, for example, cut Singletary off mid-sentence to ask him about Alex Smith. Said Gruden: "Alex Smith - he's a guy that I really liked coming out of Utah. Where does he fit now with the change in coordinator and his health and all those things? How's he doing for you?"

Singletary replied by saying, "Hopefully, we're able to restructure the contract of Alex Smith and get that all squared away. And then he and Shaun Hill - we'll have both of them going into training camp. And we're excited about that."

Gruden's question, however, may be more interesting than the answer. Back in 2005, Gruden's Buccaneers were believed to be one of the teams most interested in drafting Smith. When Smith went first overall, they ended up taking running back Carnell Williams with No. 5 overall pick. You have to wonder whether Smith and his agent would have had more bargaining power this winter had Gruden kept his job in Tampa Bay where there is a dearth of quality QBs ...

Singletary also was asked about the No. 10 draft pick this year. "We're looking for a number of things. On the offensive side of the ball, we're looking for a tackle. We're looking for somebody to help compliment some of the great things that Frank Gore does for us. We're looking for someone to compliment the tight end position. There are a number of things we're looking for on the offensive side."

Before you go asking whether Singletary's mention of a tight end means the 49ers are trading Vernon Davis, the answer is, no. Remember, Billy Bajema is a free agent and the team is no rush to re-sign him. The 49ers likely are looking for a blocking tight end late in the draft who could fill Bajema's role.

Said Singletary about defense: "We're looking for what everybody is looking for - somebody to help put pressure on the quarterback. We're looking for a safety to compliment on the back end."

Earlier in the day, both Singletary and GM Scot McCloughan spoke about adding another running back who could spell Frank Gore and keep him fresh late in the season and, ideally, in the playoffs. Gore typically starts the season between 210 and 215 pounds. McCloughan said the 49ers would seek someone heftier, say between 215 and 230 pounds. Who fits that description? Ruling out first-round prospect Chris Wells, here's who NFL Draft Scout lists at the position. The last number is the round Draft Scout projects as the prospect's draft status:

Shonn Green, Iowa, 5-11, 235. 1-2.
Rashad Jennings, Liberty, 6-1, 234, 2.
Andre Brown, N.C. State, 6-0, 224, 3-4.
Arian Foster, Tennessee, 6-1, 232, 5-6.
Gartrell Johnson, Colorado State, 5-11, 222, 6-7.
P.J. Hill, Wisconsin, 5-11, 236, 6-7.
Javarris Williams, Tennessee State, 5-10, 219, 7-FA.

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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