49ers Blog and Q&A

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

December 16, 2009
Goldson was a true safety net on Monday night

Dashon Goldson got a lot of accolades for forcing two fumbles Monday night. But on Wednesday, cornerback Shawntae Spencer was raving about Goldson's pass coverage. Spencer was sure he was alone on two deep passes to Larry Fitzgerald, which is usually a bad situation for a cornerback. But on both, Spencer said, Goldson came swooping in from nowhere to provide help. On one of them, Goldson was able to pry the ball from Fitzgerald at the goal line, something that coach Mike Singletary noted few defensive backs do when Fitzgerald gets his hands on a ball.

"He's a playmaker," Spencer said of Goldson. "If he sees something, he's going to go at it wholeheartedly, full speed ahead. He's a very rangy safety. He plays sideline to sideline. For me, it provides a comfort level to know you've got somebody in the middle of the field that can get sideline to sideline."

After those deep incompletions to Fitzgerald, Spencer said Goldson was yelling at him to, "Give me a ball call! Give me a ball call!" That is, Goldson, who was running with his back to the ball, wanted Spencer to alert him that the ball was in the air so that he could turn and face it. Said Spencer: "I said, man, I didn't even know you were coming."

Asked about the guards' performance Monday night, Singletary said he was pleased. In fact, he said the entire offensive line would get game balls for their performance. One of the big differences between that game and the one in Week 1 against the Cardinals was Alex Smith's cadence. I'll have more on that in tomorrow's paper, but the bottom line is that Smith's bark took a lot of the bite from the Cardinals' defensive line. (See what I did there? Word play, baby.)

Running backs coach Tom Rathman is rumored to be a candidate for head-coaching vacancy at San Jose State, but Singletary said he hadn't heard anything about it. "I feel like this: Any of our coaches at any given time, if they are going to interview for a job, I'm sure they will come to me and say, 'coach, this school has approached me, this is what I'm thinking,'" Singletary said. "I know Tom. Tom is a class guy. We have nothing but class guys and when that time comes, he will do it. But, I don't know anything about San Jose State. I don't know anything about him talking to them, and so I don't really think about."

There was no practice today, a rarity when a team is playing on Sunday. Still, the 49ers had to file an injury report, the depth of which hints at why Singletary gave his guys a day off from practice.

Did not practice: WR Isaac Bruce (ankle), S Dashon Goldson (chest), RB Michael Robinson (shoulder), T Barry Sims (knee), LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring), TE Delanie Walker (ankle).

Limited participation: LB Ahmad Brooks (foot), RB Frank Gore (toe), RB Moran Norris (toe).

Full participation: CB Marcus Hudson (back), T Joe Staley (knee)

Singletary said Sims' MRI didn't turn up anything serious and that Sims would be day to day. It sounded, however, that Staley would start at left tackle. "If Joe is healthy, he's going to start," Singletary said.

For the Eagles, TE Brent Celek (back, thumb) and WR Jeremy Maclin (foot) did not practice. DE Trent Cole (hamstring) and RB Brian Westbrook (concussion) were limited while DE Victor Abiamiri (knee), WR Jason Avant (hamstring), C Nick Cole (knee), WR Kevin Curtis (knee), LB Akeem Jordan (knee), DT Mike Patterson (wrist), RB Leonard Weaver (hamstring) and LB Tracy White (shoulder) went through full practices. Westbrook practiced last week but did not play in the game.

-- 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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