Mike Singletary said today that for now Josh Morgan would remain one of the starters at wide receiver, but he left open the possibility that Arnaz Battle could unseat him. Singletary said earlier in training camp that Morgan had to work on being more consistent. Today he echoed that. "He's still learning how to be a pro," he said. "At some point, the light's going to go on and he's going to take off." Asked whether Battle could overtake Morgan, Singletary said he'll "continue to watch the film and continue to look at the possibilities. But right now it is what it is." ... Left unsaid is the fact that Michael Crabtree also could replace Morgan when/if he signs. Crabtree has been earmarked for the split-end spot opposite Isaac Bruce. Crabtree is the Last of the Mohicans (My favorite flick) in terms of first-round holdouts. Cincinnati's Andre Smith signed today.
Two passes were thrown in Morgan's direction yesterday. Neither was on the money, but perhaps both were catchable. After the game, Morgan told me that he felt his legs were at 75 percent power due to the rigorous training camp the team underwent. He said he's already felt his speed and explosion begin to return now that two-a-day practices are behind him. Battle, meanwhile, led all receivers last night with four catches for 54 yards. However, he suffered a shoulder contusion.
Michael Lewis (concussion) and Ahmad Brooks (knee contusion) also were banged up. Brooks has been sent for an MRI. Singletary said he didn't know whether Brooks injured his knee in the game or whether he had a lingering knee problem and tried to play on it. Brooks played on special teams early but not much, if at all, on defense.
Singletary said the 49ers are "continuing to look at some options" at offensive tackle now that Marvel Smith has retired. There aren't a lot of options right now. Levi Jones and Mark Tauscher are perhaps the best veteran free agents available, but both have long injury histories. (See: Smith, Marvel). The pickings may expand as teams reduce their rosters this week.
He called the running game "pretty decent" but "not what it has been." Something to keep in mind: The 49ers were feeling mighty confident after trampling the Raiders Aug. 22. Oakland, however, gave up 536 total yards to the Saints yesterday, including 232 on the ground. Yikes.
Nate Clements did not have a good game, getting burned twice by undrafted free agent Kevin Ogletree. You'll recall that Clements allowed a touchdown last week against the Raiders. "Nate knows what he has to do, and he'll get there," Singletary said.
Singletary said J.J. Finley and rookie Bear Pascoe were on equal footing for the role of blocking tight end. The team won't have two players at that position, so they are competing for the same spot. By virtue of playing time, Finley seems to be ahead, and he made a nice 19-yard catch yesterday to set up the 49ers' first touchdown.
As far as Barry Sims, who, barring a late addition, will be the swing tackle for the 49ers this year: "I thought Barry handled his own for the most part," Singeltary said. "From time to time, it was a little tough."
-- Matt Barrows