Two things to take from Mike Singletary's press conference this morning. First, it seems more likely than ever that Troy Smith will make his second straight start, although Singletary continued to hedge a bit on the subject. "As of right now, it looks like it's going to be Troy," he said. "It could change." Two developments point to Troy Smith. 1.) He will get the first-team repetitions in today's practice, the first serious preparation for the Rams on Sunday. 2.) Singletary said that Alex Smith still has not been cleared to practice.
However, Singletary said a healthy Alex Smith would still be the team's top option. "If Alex were healthy, I think right now he'd be the quarterback," Singletary said. That raises an interesting scenario next week. What happens if Alex Smith is healthy enough to play and if Troy Smith has just led the 49ers to their second straight win? Cue the dramatic music ...
Some of you wondered why Troy Smith, who doesn't know the entire offense yet, didn't stick around and cram during the bye week. Instead he went home to Ohio and was faxed parts of the game plan vs. the Rams by offensive coordinator. It wasn't exactly a Carpe Diem performance. Still, Singletary said he had no misgivings about Smith seeing his family.
"No, not at all," he said. "Troy Smith was here enough to get what he needed to get. And he's a guy that really works his tail off. He was here last night really late. But that's all of his personal business. But I have no issues with him leaving and going home and taking care of his family and doing the things that he needed to do."
*Update* Reggie Smith said that he would spell Taylor Mays, who is on several special teams units, from time to time. Smith played in nickel packages early in the year but his defensive playing time diminished when he was leapfrogged by Mays before Week 4.
In light of recent lapses in the secondary, some of you have been asking whether Reggie Smith could see more playing time. The answer, according to Singletary, is yes. "He knows what he has to do and he's going to get the opportunity to play a little bit more, so we'll see how it goes."
It's still unclear whether Smith's increased playing time will come at the expense of Dashon Goldson or Taylor Mays, or whether he'll see extra action as a third safety in third-down packages. I asked whether Goldson's injuries - he has a partially torn plantar fascia on his left foot - would mean Smith would relieve him at times. Said Singletary: "Thankfully, Dashon's a lot better now."
-- Matt Barrows