Singletary: 49ers took 'a big step'

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Mike Singletary recently finished a news conference filled with compelling introspection following a rough start to the season.

More on that in a bit. First, I just wanted to share a couple football-related notes from the San Francisco 49ers head coach:

  • Singletary thinks the 49ers "took a big step" during their 25-22 defeat to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Singletary: "It's one thing as a coach to continue to talk about the things you talk about in training camp and before the first game. But I think at some point in time, the players get it. You can talk to them and say things, but there has to be some point in time where they get it and they take it and they understand it. And I think last night that transpired."

  • What could the 49ers "get" from a disappointing defeat? Singletary: "When you have a game like that and guys realize you have four turnovers in the game and you come to the end of the game and you still have a chance to win it, I think it creates a mindset. You begin to put two and two together. I just think this team is a young team and they are learning some very valuable things early on in the season and I believe they will capitalize and pick up and it will serve us well going forward."

  • Singletary differentiated between the turnovers. The passes that were tipped for interceptions were not egregious turnovers, Singletary said. They were tough breaks as much as anything. The fumble by Delanie Walker and the muffed punt were in another category.

  • Quarterback Alex Smith and the 49ers' offensive line played their best game since Singletary arrived as an assistant coach in 2005, according to Singletary.

  • Chilo Rachal will return to the lineup at right guard when healthy, but the team isn't sure whether Eric Heitmann will reclaim his job at center, in part because Heitmann has been out longer.

  • The 49ers used a 40-second play clock during practices to make sure they had no more troubles communicating plays to Smith during games. It worked, but the team now faces a trip to Arrowhead Stadium, where execution will be more difficult.

OK, going to put together the next item, featuring Singletary's thoughts on his approach to coaching.