SANTA CLARA ? Coach Mike Singletary did not find many answers Friday night in the 49ers? ongoing battles for starting jobs.
Only one key competitor for an offensive starting role stood out, Singletary said, one day after the 49ers? 17-16 victory over the Denver Broncos in the exhibition opener for both teams.
He was not a quarterback; and he was not a wide receiver. The competing player who caught Singletary?s eye was right tackle Adam Snyder.
?I really thought Adam Snyder did a nice job,? said Singletary, who said Snyder remains in competition with free-agent pickup Marvel Smith for the starting job.
Neither Shaun Hill nor Alex Smith distinguished himself in the quarterback competition. The onus seems to be on Smith to make his mark during the exhibition season because Hill has started 10 games for the 49ers since Smith last took the field in a regular-season game.
?I think Hill is less of a mystery,? Singletary said.
That might explain why Hill had a short night of work, completing both pass attempts during his only series. Smith played considerably longer, completing five of seven passes. Both quarterbacks held the ball too long on sacks.
?I thought both quarterbacks did a decent job,? Singletary said. ?I don?t see any separation. We?ll continue to evaluate, watch the film, continue to look at all the little things and go from there.?
There is also plenty of competition at the wide receiver positions. Veteran Isaac Bruce was held out of the game. Micheal Spurlock and Josh Morgan were the team?s leading pass catchers among the wideouts. Spurlock and Morgan caught two passes apiece for 24 and 23 yards, respectively.
Running back Thomas Clayton sustained major ligament damage to his right knee, a source close to Clayton said. Fullback Zak Keasey?s season is also in jeopardy after he suffered a broken right forearm in the first quarter.
Singletary did not confirm earlier reports that Clayton sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He said he would wait until the club sees the results of an MRI examination before making an announcement.
Singletary said the 49ers will discuss the likelihood of adding a running back and fullback to the team?s 80-man roster.
?We?ll just talk through it and see what our options are and look at the MRI when it comes back, and do what?s best for the team going forward,? Singletary said.
Rookie running back Glen Coffee and tight end Vernon Davis also caught Singletary?s eye. Singletary said he is excited about Coffee?s role as Frank Gore?s backup. And he said Davis? two catches for 41 yards on the first drive of the game is exactly what he expects from Davis.
Linebacker-turned-fullback Brit Miller, a rookie from Illinois, caught two touchdown passes. But that was not all he did well on Friday, Singletary said.
?He did OK,? Singletary said when asked about his blocking. ?He?s still trying to learn how to be a fullback and he?s just continuing to work at it.?
The 49ers play the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec.20 ? more than four months from now. But Singletary was still asked about the possibility of playing against freshly signed Michael Vick.
?Right now, I?m trying to think about game-planning (Larry) Fitzgerald and (Kurt) Warner (in the 49ers? regular-season opener against the Arizona Cardinals),? Singletary said. ?That?s about all I can think about right now. That (facing Vick) is way out there.?