Last week, Mike Singletary questioned the team's offensive leadership over the first half of the season, an obvious dig at how quarterback Alex Smith ran his huddle. Today Smith - who has not yet been cleared to practice -- defended himself, arguing that Singletary's notion of leadership is far different from his own. He said it's something the two have discussed frequently over the last two seasons.
"He and I have different views on leadership," Smith said. "And I think that even goes back to the core of offense and defense - very different things. You know, being a middle linebacker and what leadership is and being a quarterback are different things. Executing on offense and executing on the defensive side of the ball are very different things. It's a different mindset in my opinion. We've talked a lot. I mean, over the last couple of years we've always talked. He's pretty open about that."
Smith noted that no one had any issues with his leadership skills when he took over for Shaun Hill at the midpoint last season. "I'm the same guy I was then, and that leadership was just the same," he said. "I'm the same I've always been. I work hard, I feel like I'm a good teammate, bust my ass to do everything I can to help us win. I mean, I'm there for my teammates. ... I think the real question as far as leadership goes, you have to talk to the guys in this locker room. That determines leadership -- not coaches, not me. It's your peers."
Both Smith and Week 8 starter Troy Smith said no one has told them who the starting quarterback will be Sunday against the division-leading Rams. (They and Seattle are 4-4). Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson faxed the game plan vs. the Rams to Troy Smith in Ohio; Alex Smith stuck around Santa Clara to rehabilitate his left non-throwing shoulder.
Smith said the shoulder is nearly back to normal. Every-day chores are done without a lot of pain and he went through a normal workout today for the first time. However, he has not resumed throwing and trainers have not yet cleared him to play. It sounded as if it might take one more week for Smith to be ready to return to action.
He noted that Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford had a similar injury early in the season and aggravated it on Sunday. "Obviously, you want to be tough and go out there and play banged up," Smith said. "But if it's going to be something that's going to become chronic, if you're going to fall on it and then be out another couple of weeks, I'd rather take the extra couple of days and get it right."
The team signed RB DeShawn Wynn and WR Lance Long to the practice squad. They released RB Jehuu Calucrick and LB Eric Bahktiari. Wynn has been in the league since 2007. He carried the ball 50 times for the Packers that year and scored four touchdowns.
Alex Smith was the only player who did not take part in individual drills today. Tight end Vernon Davis (ankle), CB Tarell Brown (back) and the rest of the players took part in an afternoon practice. The 49ers will have tomorrow off and begin practicing for the Rams Wednesday.
-- Matt Barrows