Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat passes along thoughts from 49ers coach Mike Singletary regarding perceptions Singletary slammed Alex Smith's leadership recently. Branch: "Singletary suggests his lack-of-offensive-leadership comment was misconstrued. Last week, he was asked about his lack-of-leadership comment and didn't say it was misconstrued. ... Last week, in other words, he was more direct in implying that Alex Smith wasn't the type of take-charge, in-your-face leader he preferred. This week, on the heels of Alex Smith's pointed response, he is saying the exact same thing but couching it much more politely. After some verbal bouquets, he says Alex Smith's 'idea of leadership' is to lead by example. He won't order his teammates around, but will invite them to watch film. In contrast, Troy Smith's idea of leadership is to take charge and get in the faces of Mr. Crabtree and Mr. Davis if they start squawking too much in the huddle. In your face. Or inviting the whole gang to study film. Which sounds more like Singletary?" Production is what matters. Alex Smith can have whatever leadership style he wants if he's a good quarterback. He hasn't been good enough to this point in the season.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers think Thaddeus Gibson has long-term potential.
Also from Maiocco: thoughts on why Dashon Goldson hasn't had a great season so far.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says he found it strange for Troy Smith to spend the bye week at home in Ohio instead of studying at 49ers headquarters. I had the same thought. Shouldn't a new quarterback be doing everything possible to maximize a rare opportunity?
More from Barrows: The Miami Dolphins signed offensive lineman Matt Kopa from the 49ers' practice squad.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News reviews Singletary's role in a series of coaching videos released this week. I've seen the videos advertised on TV. They were obviously in production before the 49ers lost six of their first eight games.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Singletary has good things to say about Alex Smith, but the coach would not name him his starting quarterback.
Also from White: a look ahead to the 49ers' game against the Rams. White: "Remember all that Niners talk about how quarterbacks taken No. 1 overall need two seasons in the same system to flourish? Umm, never mind. Rookie Sam Bradford is 4-4 with a Rams team that lost 24 of 25 before he arrived." Having two high draft choices at tackle and millions invested in the guard and center positions helps, too.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers a chat transcript featuring these thoughts on the Rams' mindset under coach Steve Spagnuolo: "I think Spags doesn't mind the team being aware of the big picture. After all, their goal has always been to win the West. But I don't think he wants them to dwell too much on that. He wants them to focus on the task at hand, which is San Francisco. One practice, one day, one week at a time. That's the Spags way, and it's really not much different than most football coaches. After all, it's impossible to get to, say, nine victories until you get to five victories first. This is the team's most important game since at least the '06 season, maybe even earlier than that. Fitting isn't it, that it's against the Rams' old West Coast rivals, the 49ers."
Also from Thomas: Eric Dickerson offers favorable reviews for Steven Jackson. The Hall of Famer does expect Jackson to pay off a longstanding bet, however.
More from Thomas: Tight end Eric Schouman paid a free-agent visit to Rams Park.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers thoughts on every NFC West team.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders whether the Rams will run the ball effectively against the 49ers. San Francisco has occasionally been vulnerable to runners with the quickness to stretch the perimeter. The Rams have more of a power running game.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Lawyer Milloy remains productive as his 37th birthday approaches Sunday. Coach Pete Carroll: "He’s a joy to coach. He loves the game so much. He’s so tough. And he’s adding to the fire of what we’re all about, but he’s adding to it scheme-wise, too."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times has this to say about Charlie Whitehurst during a Seahawks chat: "His accuracy is a problem, though. That combined with the fact that he was the 3rd-string quarterback for four seasons in San Diego is enough to make me think that it's premature to turn over the offense to him and say, 'Well, let's see what we got.' Especially if the team is 4-4 like the Seahawks are and tied for first place in the NFC West."
Also from O'Neil: priorities for the Seahawks heading into the second half of the season.
Gerry Spratt of seattlepi.com links to a Wall Street Journal piece describing the NFC West as the worst division in sports.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune posts Brian McIntyre's offensive personnel stats for the Seahawks through the first half of the season. Center Chris Spencer was the only offensive player to play every snap. That makes Spencer the most durable offensive lineman on the roster.
Also from Williams: a C-minus grade for Seattle's quarterbacks to this point in the season.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the Seahawks have done "very little" on offense to this point in the season.
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says a weak NFC West gives the Cardinals a good opportunity. Bickley: "The nauseating loss at Minnesota cancels out the gift from Sebastian Janikowski and the Raiders. The standings paint an accurate picture. The Cardinals deserve to be 3-5. They have an inferior quarterback, a puzzling defense and an enigmatic running game. And yet someone in this awful division is going to host a playoff game."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic has more nice things to say about the NFC West: "Through the first half of the season, the NFC West has been the NFL's equivalent of a YMCA youth league in which scores and records aren't kept. All four teams finished feeling pretty darn optimistic about the future. All that was missing were the postgame treats of Capri Sun and Rice Krispies squares." Whose mom is bringing the snacks again this week?
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals placed defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema of injured reserve, a blow to Arizona on special teams.
Also from McManaman: a conversation with Cardinals underdog receiver Max Komar.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com goes out on a limb by saying an argument could be made that NFC West play qualifies as "less than stellar" to this point in the season.