Takeo Spikes walked gingerly into the 49ers facility at 11:05 this morning, and Mike Singletary conceded the team is in the market for a backup inside linebacker. But the 49ers have been looking for one for three weeks now, and so far they haven't found any they like. "It's just a position right now (where) we're trying to keep from just going out and grabbing a body," Singletary said.
Spikes suffered a bruised knee in Monday's loss to the Saints and didn't play the second half. He was replaced by the team's only back-up at inside linebacker, rookie NaVorro Bowman, who played well and finished with five tackles. Bowman said today he figured he would make his first start this week in Kansas City.
If he does, the guy playing next to him on the field said he'll have no worries. "He came out there and he had everything down like he was supposed to," Patrick Willis said of Bowman's Monday night performance. "And that's what a pro does. When his number's called, he comes in and is ready to go. And he was."
The 49ers have one other inside linebacker on the team, practice squadder Keaton Kristick. Singletary said Kristick was not yet ready for the active roster. Ahmad Brooks also could step in at inside linebacker in a pinch.
Singletary continued to praise the offensive line's performance from Monday. He was particularly effusive about rookie right tackle Anthony Davis, who not only shut down Saints defensive end Alex Brown but also threw his weight around at the end of plays. That type of attitude - "nastiness" in NFL-speak - has been notably absent from 49ers offensive linemen in recent seasons.
"That's what I saw when we were looking at drafting him," Singletary said of Davis. "That's the thing that jumped out the most was his nastiness. That's the thing I really like about him."
Singletary said he didn't want to get into a "cat and mouse game" with outside linebacker Diyral Briggs and his agent, which is why Briggs wasn't resigned to the active roster yesterday. Briggs was cut Monday in order to elevate cornerback Tramaine Brock to the active roster. Briggs and his agent hoped Briggs would be re-signed to the active roster; The 49ers wanted to add him onto the practice squad. Briggs ended up joining the Broncos' practice squad instead.
The issue for the 49ers is that they already have four outside linebackers - one more than they truly need - on the active roster. "I felt that if Diyral wanted to be here, he knows the system, he is familiar with the coaches, and sometimes a player and his agent will talk and figure things out another way, so that's what happened," Singletary said.
The team signed OLB Bruce Davis to the practice squad instead.
Odds & Ends
• Singletary didn't reveal much about return man Ted Ginn's (knee) status, but he did say he was hopeful that Kyle Williams would practice this week. If healthy, Williams likely would replace Phillip Adams at punt returner.
• David Baas' committed a huge blunder on the opening drive when his shotgun snap sailed over Alex Smith's head and into the end zone. But he rebounded with a strong game from that point forth. He said he was able to recover because no one - in particular, Singletary - made a big deal of his error. "Singletary kind of asked me about it and let it go and didn't blow up about it," Baas said. "So that was good that he did that."
• Jimmy Raye got a big kudos for his Monday night game plan from his Sunday opponent, Chiefs coach Todd Haley, who was most recently the Cardinals offensive coordinator. "That game was as well-executed a game - run and pass - as you can get," he said on a conference call.
-- Matt Barrows