49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 24, 2010
No training wheels for Singletary's rookie class

Mike Singletary doesn't spoon-feed his rookies. Anyone who watched NBC's broadcast Sunday night saw Singletary approach receiver Bobby Guillory during warm ups and listened to the coach, with his famous gravitas, challenge Guillory not to muff any punts - as if a rookie who grew up in Oakland needed the added pressure. But that's what Singletary does. He only has a short period to make big decisions on a lot of players and figures upping the ante on a young guy is a good way to find out what he needs to know.

It turns out Singletary and the 49ers did something similar with top draft pick Anthony Davis in the preseason opener against the Colts. The 49ers purposely put Davis, a right tackle, on an island against veteran defensive end Robert Mathis, a guy who had 21 sacks in the last two seasons.

"It was good to see the matchup," Singletary said. "It was good to see where he was. It's a great opportunity for him to see the speed of the game without having some help, feeling the whole thing, feeling the anxiety of playing against a premiere pass rusher in the game, one of them. And just allowing him to get out there and see if he can handle it, see how he responds."

Davis appeared to struggle with Mathis' speed, but Singletary gave him positive reviews for his play against both the Colts and the Vikings. "I think Robert Mathis just rushing up field just a regular rush - I think Anthony Davis did a good job," Singletary said. "I think it's the game that got him. But as far as just a straight pass rush, I thought Anthony Davis held his own."

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Singletary said no decisions have been made about when and how long Nate Davis plays Saturday against the Raiders. He said he'd seen enough of No. 2 QB David Carr to feel comfortable that he knows the offense.

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Singletary spoke before the team's only practice today. He said he thought Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree would practice. (*It turns out that Davis is still working individually with the strength and conditioning staff*) He also said it's possible that Frank Gore would play in his first preseason contest Saturday in Oakland. Singletary said the main concern isn't Gore, it's getting the offensive line accustomed to how Gore plays. Singletary also said it's more important for the 49ers to get players like Gore and Brian Westbrook practice time together than it is to get them in a game scenario.

Singletary said he didn't think Ahmad Brooks (lacerated kidney) would miss any of the regular season. Brooks suffered the injury two and half weeks ago. He's been cleared for light exercise but no contact. He is not practicing today.

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There is no time table on Kyle Williams' return from turf toe. "It was a pretty good sprain," Singletary said. He said he thought Guillory did a "pretty decent job" handling punts against the Vikings. Asked why he didn't give LeRoy Vann the same opportunity afforded Guillory, Singletary said: "We felt that he wasn't as consistent catching the ball. We just felt that after a while we really needed to move on, and we felt that he wasn't the answer."

Singletary said the team might give someone else a chance to return punts this week but hasn't made any decisions.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

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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