49ers Blog and Q&A

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

October 29, 2010
Soggy & slow suit the 49ers just fine, thank you

The weather in England this week? Well, it's been rah-ther shabby to be perfectly honest. It's rained at least a little every day so far and it's so dark today that I'm not sure the sun ever rose. I feel like I'm in Finland. Northern Finland. But the 49ers aren't complaining. Rather there's a sense that the cool, wet conditions are a perfect precursor for Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium. The forecast is calling for showers and temperatures topping out at 56 degrees.

Mike Singletary this morning said the team briefly considered practicing in a bubble this week. But he decided against it because the conditions here at The Grove resort were a nice approximation of Wembley, which has had a notoriously soggy field for previous NFL games.

"That's something we discussed early on in the week knowing that the situation that we're going to play in is going to be very similar to what we have out here," he said. "Rather than try and find a bubble or something like that, let the guys out and experience what the field is pretty much going to be like because the grass is cut just about the same level at Wembley as it is here."

As the 49ers set out for their final practice this week, the coach said he was very pleased with the choice of venue. He said the remote location in Hertfordshire has fostered a chummy attitude among the players, something needed as the team tries to turn its season around. "I think the time that we have spent over here has been well served," Singletary said.

One of the storylines this week is the disparate travel schedules of the 49ers and Broncos. The 49ers have opted for acclimation, arriving here on Monday morning and allowing themselves to be immersed in their new time zone. The Broncos have chosen routine. They practiced this week in Denver and didn't arrive here until this morning.

The damp conditions also might be a hindrance to Denver's prolific, timing-based passing game. Quarterback Kyle Orton is second in the league in passing while receiver Brandon Lloyd - remember him? - is second in receiving yards. "The biggest thing that Kyle does is he gets the ball out," Singletary said. "He gets the ball out quickly."

Singletary said he wasn't sure if Vernon Davis would practice today, but it seems as if the tight end will be ok on Sunday. Davis hurt his ankle during Sunday's loss to Carolina. If for some reason he can't play, Delanie Walker or Nate Byham would start in his place depending on the play call for the opening snap.

Who is Frank Gore's backup, Brian Westbrook or Anthony Dixon? Singletary said there was no distinct No. 2 runner. However, he said it was a "priority" that both Westbrook and Dixon get more snaps going forward. The 49ers want Gore to get more rest as the season stretches on. Of course, they've been saying that since August ...

-- Matt 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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