49ers "State of the Franchise" News & Notes

The 49ers held their annual "State of the Franchise" dinner at the Santa Clara Convention Center last night and as expected, Head Coach Mike Singletary was the star of the show, receiving a standing ovation from the gathered season ticket holders before uttering a single word. As is his custom, Singletary didn't tiptoe his way through his speech and had everyone fired up by the time he finished.

Perhaps the biggest bombshell the coach delivered was his statement that, in his opinion, the 49ers are "as talented as any team out there."

It doesn't exactly sound like someone who will be satisfied to merely make the playoffs, does it? According to Singletary, the biggest obstacle on the road to getting the team where it wants to go is consistent play from the guys up front. "We have to have an offensive line with teeth that can bite," he said.

Among other nuggets Singletary delivered was his intention to get his younger players on the field as soon as possible, even if it means arguing with their position coaches to put them on the field. "Sometimes a coach has the attitude of, ‘You know what? He can't play because he doesn't know the whole system.' Well, how much of the system do we need? Do we need another player in there, a veteran player in there, who maybe does not have the talent level? Or do we put that guy in there and maybe he doesn't know all the plays, but the plays that he does, we're a better football team because of that?"

Despite those comments, Singletary still hedged his bets by saying that at the moment Adam Snyder remains his starting right tackle and that David Baas is in line to be the starting left guard. The key words here though, are "at the moment."

Also, the coach explained that he still hasn't spoken to nosetackle Aubrayo Franklin, who missed all off-season activities and has yet to sign his franchise tender. "I expect him to be here," he said, adding, "But if he's not, it's not going to be an issue with me. It's going to be the same as I said last year. I'm going to focus on the guys that are here. I'm going to focus on what I can control. If Aubrayo is not here, Aubrayo's not here."

The glad-handing with the fans and the speeches are now over with for Singletary. He's getting back to work.

Baalke Optimistic About Signing Draft Picks

Vice President of Player Personnel Trent Baalke was also on hand last night, and he told fans that even though the team has yet to sign the first four of their eight draft picks, he had a good feeling about the negotiations taking place and he expected to have all the deals done by Friday, which is when the rookies are due to report.

There are a couple of signs that Baalke wasn't just blowing smoke to make fans happy. First of all, the team cut undrafted rookie receiver Jared Perry a couple days ago to trim the roster to the maximum-allowed 80. If they expected any prolonged holdouts, they'd likely have held on to the former Missouri Tiger. Secondly, both first round linemen, tackle Anthony Davis and guard Mike Iupati, as well as second round safety Taylor Mays, have been working out at the team's facility almost every day, which is a good indicator they'll be motivated to get something done quicker rather than later.

As always the biggest problem with rookie contracts is the salary slotting. Agents are loathe to have guys drafted below their clients sign for more money, so everyone keeps waiting for people above and below them to sign to establish parameters. "We feel real good about it (negotiations)," Baalke said. "It's just a case of nobody's budging right now at any level. One's been signed. Once they start falling, they'll fall in order."

Baalke also made it clear that for now getting their draft picks signed is foremost on his agenda, meaning that extensions for tight end Vernon Davis and safety Dashon Goldson will have to wait. "Right now, we're focused on getting the rookies into camp," Baalke said. "That's our number one priority. As soon as that's done, then our staff is going to work on signing and getting these guys that we feel are 49ers long term into long-term contracts."

York Calls His Shot

Finally, Team President Jed York delivered some bulletin-board material of his own last night. He apologized to fans that they'll have one less game to attend this season, since the 49ers will be designated "home" team in London when they play the Broncos on October 31, but added that the team will make it up to them by hosting a playoff game in January. I think he and Singletary were made for each other.

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