The San Francisco 49ers moved out of their five-star digs in the suburbs and into a posh London hotel on Friday. Before departing, coach Mike Singletary touched on a number of topics as the team held its final practice before meeting the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Among the subjects Singletary addressed were tight end Vernon Davis, new starting quarterback Troy Smith, Broncos QB Kyle Orton and backup running back Anthony Dixon.
On TE Vernon Davis, who has ankle and knee injuries, and whether he would practice: “I think that’s going to be one of the things, depending on how the trainers feel, before we go out and practice. It’s still a day-to-day thing and I think he’ll be fine. As far as practicing today, we’ll be smart about it.”
On what he knows about Troy Smith now that he didn’t know at the start of the week: “I think it’s kind of like I’ve said before, you never really know about a quarterback until he plays in a real game. So I’m looking forward to seeing how he responds on Sunday.”
On how much of the playbook Smith will have down: “He’ll have enough for us to function and to get where we need to go.”
On the problems Kyle Orton presents to the 49ers defense: “Well, the biggest thing Kyle does is that he gets the ball out. He really gets the ball out quick, and I think when you face a team that does that, it makes you work that much harder in terms of trying to apply pressure. As a defense you have to figure out different ways of defending against that.”
On whether he considers Anthony Dixon to be the team’s No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore: “No, I wouldn’t exactly say that. I think both he and (Brian) Westbrook, we just need to figure out ways to get them in and different packages or what have you. We just know that Frank is the primary, and as far as Westbrook and Dixon, we just have to do a better job of getting them in.”
On why he didn’t elevate Nate Davis from the practice squad to serve as an emergency third quarterback Sunday: “Because there are other needs that we have on the 45-man roster and there are only so many people you can bring up. We have one or two guys that could step up in case of emergency, and if we have to go through two quarterbacks, hopefully our offensive line can block a little better than that.”
On how the practice field held up during the week: “I think the surface has been fine for what we were doing. It wouldn’t be ideal for training camp, but it was fine for what we needed.”
On whether the wet practice surface was good to practice on because it might replicate what game conditions will be like at Wembley: “Yes, 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. Rather than try and find a bubble or something like that, let the guys 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.”
INJURY UPDATE: Quarterback Alex Smith (shoulder) and center Eric Heitmann (neck) are out for the game. Listed as probable: linebacker Ahmad Brooks (knee), cornerback Nate Clements (ankle) and guard Adam Snyder (back). Questionable: running back Anthony Dixon (hamstring) and tight end Vernon Davis (ankle). Doubtful: cornerback Tarell Brown (back).