Jim Harbaugh revealed today that he had to deal with a Frederick P. Soft sighting last month. But it wasn't the scenario you're probably thinking of.
No, Soft - the little guy who whispers fawning praise into the ears of winning squads - didn't appear between the Lions and Vikings games. A number of observers noted that actors Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were prominent before and after the Lions win and wondered whether their appearance was related to the 49ers' flat effort in Minnesota.
Not so, Harbaugh said. "Looking back, we had good preparation," he said today. "I felt we played hard, thought we gave very good effort. And we, uh, we didn't that game."
Instead, Harbaugh said the sighting occurred on a Wednesday, "three or four weeks back." Safety Donte Whitner didn't remember the exact date, either, but he also said it was a Wednesday, a day on which players typically have to juggle remnants of the most recent game, the game plan for the upcoming contest as well as returning to practice.
"A lot of guys don't like Wednesday practice," he said.
Harbaugh said Soft was spotted before the players went out to practice that day. "It was noticed pre-practice," he said "Before we got out there - he might be lurking."
Et cetera - Last week, Whitner identified receiver Santonio Holmes as the player the 49ers defense had to keep an eye on. This week, he said it's wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Johnson, who is from San Francisco, leads the Bills with 15 catches for 195 yards. He also has three receiving touchdowns. Tight end Scott Chandler leads the team with four.
• Patrick Willis was named Defensive Player of the Week after the 49ers' 34-0 win over the Jets, the fourth time he was won that award. Said Willis: "Anytime I win an award, I want to start by thanking my teammates. Especially that front seven. I'll say it again, I don't think I'd be half the guy I am today without those guys."
• Offensive lineman Joe Staley, who drew national headlines when he said the Lions defensive line was overrated after a win over Detroit, had a very different assessment of the Bills defensive line. "I think they're the best of the bunch," he said. "All four of them." Staley said that defensive tackle Kyle Williams was one of the more underrated defenders in the NFL.
-- Matt Barrows