Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday at team headquarters following his team's 27-13 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 14.
How did the rookies who made their debuts yesterday, how did they perform from an assignment standpoint?
“Assignment standpoint, really well. Both [RB] LaMichael [James] and [WR] A.J. [Jenkins] did good in that regard. LaMichael got those touches and thought he made a real, real good contribution both in the kickoff return game and offensively. A.J. probably was in there eight or nine snaps and had a real nice block on [RB] Frank [Gore]’s draw play that nearly scored. Ran a route, didn’t get the ball, but ran right past his man, which was positive. And assignment wise, very well.”
What do you think of the way the schedule plays out now that the NFL announced today that you’re going to be flexed with Seattle in playing back-to-back Sunday night games?
“Yeah. That’s the way it’ll be.”
You guys have been undefeated so far in primetime games. So, obviously it doesn’t adversely affect you guys. But, do you notice anything differently from your team when you’re playing these primetime games?
“No. Somebody else mentioned that, that we’ve been pretty darn good on those types of games. So, just locked in on this one here going to New England. Putting together a really good plan. And a week of practice, travel, preparations, all those things that’ll go into playing this big game.”
Will it affect your travel plans at all going to Seattle later in the day?
Do you know Patriots head Coach Bill Belichick at all? Do you have much of a relationship with him?
“Professional. I’ve met him a few times and talked to him.”
What would you consider the whole mark of going up against a Belichick team?
“They’re always consistently good. Everything they do scheme wise is very tough to prepare for because you don’t know what they’re going to do. And just very well coached. Very top shelf for the National Football League on the field.”
He’s got a reputation for being really tough scheming against young quarterbacks. Do you see this as a particular challenge for QB
“Yeah, sure, particular great challenge for us. Great challenge for our entire football team.”
You mention in the timeouts with the play clock running down, the plays weren’t getting in the huddle fast enough. So, were they getting to Colin fast enough, or was it maybe an issue in the huddle with him?
“Yeah, I think it was happening after the play got in. The plays were in quick in a timely fashion, felt like. Now, there’s been some times when that hasn’t been the case. But, I thought in this game they were. I thought the personnel substitutions were made in a timely fashion. It looked slow on those particular plays, the calling of it in the huddle and then the breaking of it. Getting up to the line of scrimmage. From the Pop Warner days, coaches have been on you about, ‘get up to the line of scrimmage, get set.’ Sharp, crisp, the way you break the huddle and get lined up and shift motion. And that was a little slower.”
Was that his responsibility?
“No. Well, it’s his responsibility. It’s everybody’s responsibility, yeah. The tempo of how you operate needs to be better. It was all part of a 17-play drive. Did that have something to do with it? We need to be better at that. And that’s happened before and we just have to, just like your Pop Warner coach would tell you. Call the play, break the huddle, get up to the line of scrimmage, get set.”
Do you take the play clock out of the equation for him? Because it looked like, he wasn’t even really looking at it. You were the guy on the sideline who made the decision on the timeouts?
“Yeah, that’s true. Helped managing that part of it.”
Do you just tell him, do what you’re doing, I’ll handle the rest?
“No, he needs to be aware of that and operate it and run it.”
And so with that said, now four starts, I’m sure that’s one area you’d like to see him get better. Where have you seen him grow in these four starts, in areas we might not be able to see just by watching the games?
“In a lot of areas, I think he’s throwing the ball on time. I think he’s throwing it with really good accuracy. He’s operating the offense. Getting us in the right plays. And getting us in and out of the huddle. Executing. And I think for a guy who’s only started four games now, I think he’s doing it at a pretty darn high level.”
It seemed like at the game there was just one pass he threw that would be determined off target, the one where WR
“Shape route, yeah.”
Is that accurate to you? Were his other throws were pretty much on the money?
“Right, yeah. Missed on that one by maybe a yard or so. But, yeah there were a lot of throws that have been on point.”
That one to TE
“Yeah, that was pretty well covered. That was pretty well covered. That third-and-long situation. Even if you complete it, you’re only going to gain three or four yards. But, he was under some duress.”
“Yeah, that would have been a—it was a great throw. And he had some adversity trying to make that catch. There was some adversity involved there.”
Do you watch this evening’s game? Is there much to be gained from watching the game broadcast, or will you wait for other tape stuff?
“Yeah, we can’t get the tape until the game’s over. But, we’ll probably spend some time watching their other games. And then take a look at it. Probably have the T.V. going and the tape machine playing as well.”
“I really don’t have a comment on that for you. No comment.”
Have you spoken to him about his comments?
Is he still a part of the team?
“I’m going to quote the Fifth Amendment. No comment about that.”
Let me ask you this, he had some of these same issues in New York. When you acquired him, do you acquire a guy knowing that this is part of who he is?
“Yeah just at this time, this hour, I choose to have no comment on that.”
Three of the leading candidates for Defensive Player of the Year are your LB
“No, I can’t recall that. What I make of it is, three outstanding players, all doing a tremendous job very early in their NFL careers.”
What are the attributes that Aldon has that makes him a really good pass rusher?
“His ability to both have speed and power is the biggest one. To be able to go from speed rush to power and make that transfer. That’s unique, that’s rare. He’s got exceptional strength and athleticism that allow him to do that.”
We’ve all looked at this New England game and Seattle game back-to-back as maybe the two most important games, or the most interesting games on the schedule. Have you looked at these – and I know you look week-to-week, you don’t look ahead but when the schedule came out or even when the season started, were you looking at these two games and saying this is when you need to be at your best?
“No doubt they’re big games. I can’t recall thinking that. I really think when the schedule came out it was really about Green Bay and getting ready for the Packers. And like you said, it’s been the mentality of - our next game is the most important game on the schedule. Recall seeing that and understanding that this time would come, but was always focused on the next game. As we are now.”
Prime time games against playoff opponents. Will you look at these games as playoff-like games and as a test for how QB Colin Kaepernick does in a playoff type atmosphere?
“I really believe it’s just about this game, about this next game. We don’t take anything for granted. Nothing is secured until it’s secured, in terms of being in the playoffs. We’ll give this game the respect that it deserves and prepare for it like it’s the most important game on the schedule.”
What did you like most about Michael Crabtree’s play against Miami and his development as a go-to receiver for you guys?
“The most impressive thing, the way he’s catching the ball and the yards that he’s getting after the catch.”
Patriots QB Tom Brady is obviously a Michigan guy, a Bay Area guy. Do you have any set feel for him, an affinity for him since there are some similarities in the background there?
“I have great respect for him. His career, his ability, his competiveness, all of his unique attributes that make him the great football player that he is.”
Do you remember him from Michigan? Did you follow him?
“Sure, yeah, followed him. We weren’t there at the same time [laughs]. I’m a little bit older, by about 15 years maybe.”
Anything on TE/DT
“We’ll know more when the MRI comes back. We’ll see.”
“That’s one thing, one take. I think for the most part it’s the same offense. I don’t think it’s dramatically different. I’d concur with Frank.”
You mentioned yesterday he’s been throwing that out pattern, the deep out really nicely. Do you see defenses playing that a little bit more because he’s hitting it so much?
“Yeah, those windows are starting to tighten. And he’ll continue to do a good job of seeing what defenses are trying to take away and go through his reads, go through his film study. That will all be part of his progression.”
How is he doing that in the last few weeks?
“Good. Good. He’s really good at that. I think what you see is what he is and who he is. He is a very focused guy, very locked in. I would call him a man of enough words. Just kind of the facts. You talk about things, you ask questions, he gives you the details and the pertinent information, but there’s no fluff. He’s really about football when he’s here with us.”
With Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, he runs read-option so much and he takes a lot of hits and he got hurt, maybe not exactly on that play. Do you tell Colin or do you scheme, you don’t want him to take that many hits? Maybe, don’t run the ball that much because he’s somebody you don’t want to get hurt obviously.
“I think those kind of guys are unique guys. I mean they’ve got a little bit more callus built up. Like a big toe would have, a foot would have that runs a lot. A lot of callus on the bottom of that foot. Or a guy who works with his hands a lot. RGIII, Colin, they’ve got a pretty good callus of running the ball and knowing how to run the ball.”
You used the full-house pistol formation about 17 times yesterday. What do you like about that particular formation with three players in the backfield, next to Colin?
“Well, we thought in this particular game, that it was a way for us to get a hat on a hat. A way to balance off Miami’s defense and what they had shown to do. Because it is a balanced formation, it allows you to go in any direction and throw the ball. It was a good, basic, base formation for us in this game.”
Often times you’ll have a jumbo, and you’ll bring in C
“Absolutely, anything is possible off of that. And we did get stopped on the third-and-one. We just didn’t have all 11 guys –we had 10, 10 guys doing exactly what they should have been. We didn’t get one more down block that we needed. You don’t like to see that happen.”