49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 14, 2009
Singletary: Thank God for preseason

Mike Singletary reacted to his team's 17-16 win over Denver like he has to the team's training-camp performances thus far: He was unimpressed. "Thank God for preseason," Singletary said, noting that none of the facets were as sharp tonight as he wants them to be. He said he thought his quarterbacks played "ok - nothing to make you jump one way or another." He was more discouraged by the lack of a pass rush. He characterized it as "not too good." "We will get to the quarterback," he said. "I'm confident of that."

As for the quarterbacks, the plan going in was to have both Shaun Hill and Alex Smith take about 12 snaps. Because Hill's initial drive was 10 plays, Hill was taken out. Singletary also said that Hill was more of a known quantity than Smith, who has spent most of the last two seasons dealing with shoulder issues. "You pretty much know what's there," he said of Hill. Of Smith: "The bullets were flying. I thought he did a pretty decent job here and there, but ... nothing great."

Smith, meanwhile, said it felt very good to be on the field again. He said he particularly regretted a missed screen pass to Glen Coffee that he said could have gone for an 89-yard touchdown. "It might have been a short throw, long run," he said. On that play, the idea is to buy time by holding onto the football so that the defense collapses on him and the receiver has room to roam. Smith tried to throw a dart and it fell incomplete. What's more, it was the type of play Jimmy Raye has been having the 49ers run frequently in practice. On another throw, a 14-yarder in which Champ Bailey seemed to have a chance for the interception, Smith credited Josh Morgan for coming back to the ball. Smith said he threw it because Bailey's back was to him when he let it go. Smith finished 5 of 7 for 33 yards and a 120.8 passer rating. Hill was two of two for 41 yards and a 118.8 passer rating.

Both of Hill's throws went to Vernon Davis, who was used more like a tight end in one drive than he was all of last season. Ok, that's a bit of hyperbole, but you know what I mean. Hill's first throw to Davis arrived 10 yards from the line of scrimmage and Davis added 13 on his own. The next one, on third and 15, went for 18 yards. Said Davis: "Jimmy Raye's thing is you've got to get your playmakers involved. It's what he believes in."

If you're in Denver, the big story is Kyle Orton's three interceptions. One of them was turned in by Reggie Smith, who also sealed the win by picking off the final two-point conversion in the end zone. (He doesn't get credited with an interception for that one, though). Smith, who was practically invisible last year, said he's still learning the position from veterans Michael Lewis and Mark Roman. But he said he's comfortable reading the quarterbacks eyes and making plays on the ball. After all, he was a safety in high school and for his first season at Oklahoma.

Bad news for Zak Keasey. He has a fractured forearm. He will have an MRI tomorrow. Look for Friday night hero Brit "2-TD" Miller to see even more action at fullback with Michael Robinson (groin) and Keasey laid up. ... Thomas Clayton also will have an MRI tomorrow. He seemed to badly twist his right knee. He was carted off the field with what the team called a knee sprain but you have to believe it's more serious than that. He also will have an MRI tomorrow.

-- 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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