I always knew that Rams safety O.J. Atogwe was a good safety. But the lengths he'll go to learn about his opponents is positively heroic. Atogwe, as it turns out, is dating Singletary's second-oldest daughter, Jill. What's more amazing is that he's lived to tell about it ...
"He's a very nice guy," said Singletary, who seemed perfectly fine with the relationship. "He's a gentleman. He's been to my home several times and we've had conversations, not about football, but about life."
After going to high school at Valley Christian, Singletary said his daughter decided to attend art school in Chicago. That's where she met Atogwe, 28, who attended Kellogg Business school at Northwestern University as part of the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program in March this year. Atogwe also played collegiately at Stanford. Jill Singletary now attends the San Francisco Academy of Art and plays volleyball for the school. Atogwe is one of the best safeties in the league. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2006, his 33 turnovers is tops in the NFL. The Rams made him their franchise player in the offseason.
Entangling alliances aren't new to the Rams-49ers rivalry. Alex Smith's uncle, John L. Smith, was a scout for the Rams when Scott Linehan was their coach.
After a rough start of the practice week on Wednesday, Singletary said his players picked up the pace Thursday and ended with a very good practice today. The injury situation also has improved. Frank Gore (ankle) and Reggie Smith (groin) won't play, but everyone else should, including offensive linemen David Baas (ankle) and Joe Staley (knee).
Singletary said he and his coaching staff will continue to discuss how Brandon Jones and Jason Hill will be worked into the lineup. Hill is a good special teams player, and he could take over Smith's regular duties.
For the Rams, QB Marc Bulger (shoulder) and cornerback Ron Bartell (thigh) are listed as questionable. Safety James Bulter (knee) is out, tackle and first-round pick Jason Smith (knee) are doubtful. Left tackle Alex Barron (thigh) is probable.
-- Matt Barrows