Asked how Michael Crabtree's sudden elevation in the offensive lineup would play out in the 49ers' locker room, Mike Singletary today painted a rosy picture. There was some gentle ribbing from teammates, some typical rookie hazing - Crabtree had to sing "Happy Birthday" to the coach the other day - but otherwise Crabtree has been accepted onto the 49ers because everyone recognizes his talent.
"I want to be fair to the team," Singletary said. "The team comes first, and the team wants to win. And we're going to all that we can to get the best 11 players on the field at all times to give us a chance to win."
But not every player is singing a merry tune.
Asked today what his role will be going forward, receiver Brandon Jones said, "To be honest, I don't know myself. That's what I'm trying to figure out. I thought I was a receiver, but I guess I'm a special teams helper. I don't know. I just do what I can and just help out the team the best way I can. But at this time, I'm wondering the same thing you are."
Jones was one of the 49ers' few off-season acquisitions and the team is paying him - five years, $16.5 million - like a starter. Three things, however, happened after Jones was signed in March. 1.) Isaac Bruce decided to return for another season with the 49ers. 2.) The team drafted Crabtree. 3.) Jones broke his shoulder early in training camp. It's important to note that Jones wasn't getting much playing time before Crabtree was signed. But with Crabtree suddenly in the lineup, Jones gets pushed even farther down the depth chart.
"I thought I was going to have a big role back in March when I signed here," Jones said. "I thought I would have a role. And definitely in training camp. You're out there playing and you think you're going to have a role, but things happen, I end up injured ..."
Asked whether he has sought answers, Jones said he has. "I've tried to seek answers. Of course, you're not going to get the answers that you want. But I've seeked answers .... My job is to play football, to play receiver. I don't dictate who plays or anything. If it was up to me, if I was the coach I'd be playing. That's why it's not my job."
For the record, Singletary, when asked about Crabtree starting at split end Sunday, said, "We're not in a position to name a starter yet." Singletary did say that Josh Morgan, who has been helping Crabtree learn split end, could end up playing more snaps than Crabtree in Houston. Morgan knows all three positions, and he said today that he would be playing some flanker, Bruce's position, against the Texans.
Singletary said the team is continuing to take a wait-and-see position on safety Michael Lewis, who has had three concussions in a short period. This is reading the tea leaves, but I'd expect Mark Roman to fill in on Sunday.
The 49ers have replaced Kory Sheets on the practice squad with another running back, Keon Lattimore. Lattimore (5-11, 225) signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft and was released on August 30, 2008. He was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad on December 10, 2008, where he spent the remainder of the season. Lattimore re-signed with Dallas on May 1, 2009 and was released on September 5. Lattimore, 25, played his college ball at Maryland, which is a decent state school, but nowhere near as good as Virginia.
Nice scoop from KHTK's Jodi Bacon ... Former 49ers safety and Sacto native Keith Lewis has signed a one-year deal with Carolina.
-- Matt Barrows