49ers Blog and Q&A

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

November 17, 2009
Step right up, Josh Morgan ...

The last time the 49ers beat the Packers at Lambeau Field? You have to go all the way back to 1990. To break that streak, the 49ers will need a big day from quarterback Alex Smith and from a pair of neophyte receivers, Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree. Mike Singletary reiterated today both his commitment to Smith and to Morgan, who will take over the starting receiver role from veteran Isaac Bruce.

Morgan is a guy with an abundance of athletic talent who just hasn't put everything together yet. When I asked Singletary about Morgan's development, he said, "I just want to see it happen faster. I want to see that with Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree, they (defenses) have issues on both sides."

Morgan today heaped praise on Bruce for being a mentor on the field and what he described as "life coach." In college, Morgan played in an offensive system that didn't pay much attention to the passing offense. As a result, he admitted he arrived in the NFL behind most rookie receivers as far as route running. In that regard, Bruce has been the perfect mentor. "He's one of the best route runners to play the game," Morgan said. "He's real patient. He knows what he wants to do, and he sets them up a little bit. He's a technician." The word "technician" is perfect to describe what Morgan needs to become. Right now he's a raw athlete, who is being given seven games to master his skills.

Other tidbits from Monday ...

  • Takeo Spikes (hamstring) is a day-to-day, meaning that good-looking newcomer Matt Wilhelm could see a lot of playing time in Green Bay. I'll have a Q&A w/ Wilhelm later this week. Glen Coffee (noggin) will be available.

  • Nate Clements (shoulder) and Joe Staley (knee) are out, but Demetric Evans (shoulder) will be back up. I don't recall Evans' replacement, Ricky Jean-Francois, getting any playing time in Evans' absence. As for Clements ... I spoke to him last week. At the time, he said he was due for some tests this week that would better pinpoint when he could return to action.

  • Singletary said that Barry Sims has been "outstanding" at left tackle since Staley got hurt. MM asked whether, given that assessment as well as the 49ers' struggles on the right side, Staley could return to right tackle when he recovers. Singletary's response: "I may consider it but I don't think it would happen."

  • Singletary said he was concerned that his starting outside linebackers have just 2 ½ sacks between them. "I always want to get sacks, you settle for pressures," he said. "Still, he said there was no thought of replacing one of the two starters with Ahmad Brooks. "Not at this point. Ahmad Brooks is continuing to learn the system, continuing to learn how to be a consistent pass rusher. He's still getting his feet under him, but he's coming hard and he's coming fast."

  • -- 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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