Jim Harbaugh addressed the media prior to Sunday's training camp session.
How has TE
“Good, looking really good.”
When he got here in, he was drafted in 2006, he was very muscular, very almost muscle bound. Have you seen an evolution in him just physically how he looks and how he’s able to perform on the field, especially with those deep passes? It looks so natural nowadays.
“I think we’ve seen a lot of improvement in just his ability as a football player, route running, looks a little leaner, too, like I said. Fair observation. Looks really good. Prime of his career.”
Do you look at it from a sense of, who has to pick up the slack with WR
“We did lose a great player for a period of time. I think all players on that particular unit feel it, and feel that they have to be better.”
You mentioned WR
“The way he competes, his knowledge of the system, smart guy that right now is already able to play multiple receiving positions. He’s made plays. He’s had some eye-catching, eye-popping type of plays and has been consistent as well. So, he’s been consistently good.”
What’s his health status?
“Got a little jam, middle finger.”
Does that blue jersey, does that mean no passes come his way?
“Yeah, just don’t want to aggravate that worse.”
“I don’t know whose it was.”
Speaking of Kaepernick passes, yesterday showed some nice touch on a couple screen passes. Is that an area that he’s spent a considerable time really honing in on and working on?
“He spends a considerable amount of time on every phase of the game, his training, his film study, meeting habits and always looking for things on the field to improve on. But, he did have some very nice touch throws yesterday. Made a corner throw that had great anticipation. I thought it was his best throw of the offseason, of the mini-camp sort of camp yesterday to [TE Vance] McDonald on the left, throwing a high angle corner to him. Just standing behind him I could see the anticipation that he had. He threw it before, two steps before Vance made his break and determined his angle. It was the perfect amount of loft and perfect location on the ball. That one got me fired up. That was the best one right there, and there have been other real good ones. Just things you see improvement in from a year ago or during the season or two years ago, progress has been real good and steady. It’s encouraging.”
Just for the game over in London, it’s the first time that you’ll be going over, but the team’s gone over twice. Just wondering how you’ll approach it?
“Like any other game.”
Are you looking forward to a certain part?
“Doing everything you can to win the next game, that’s the approach. The most important game is the next game. Right now for us that’s the Green Bay Packers. But, God willing and the creek don’t rise we’ll get to that one.”
You love talking about DL
“It was good. He was a little bit nervous before practice, being in uncharted waters, never had football equipment on and the pads. It was impressive that he got the pads put all in the right slots. So, he was off to a good start. I think the most noticeable thing is he seems to be a better player in pads, which I know it wasn’t going to be my first thought that how good is he going to be in pads. But, his arm length really shows up in the pads. He’s wearing pads, other guys are wearing pads and now the arm length, just being able to put his hands on somebody and lock them out was noticeable. So, we were all in uncharted waters and he looked better in pads.”
You mentioned he was a little nervous before practice, did you speak to him or how did you get a sense of--?
“Just sought him out and asked him how he was doing. Thought that would be an interesting guy to talk to before the first padded practice. Never been in pads before. I remember my first padded practice, Pee Wee football, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1973. So excited to put the gear on and slept with it all around my bed that night. I did put the thigh pads in wrong. Had the top part of the thigh pads were sticking down and the narrow part were sticking up.”
What was the name of your first team?
“The Ann Arbor Junior Packers.”
Okoye just said, ‘Hey coach, you know, I’m feeling a little nervous,” or?
“Yeah, that’s what he said. A bit nervous, yeah. But, he acquitted himself, like we said, very well.”
“The arm length that he has, that really stands out in the pads more than it did when we were not in the pads.”
His arms are the same length in the pads and out of the pads, right? So, it’s just the drills you do while you’re wearing the pads that emphasize that?
“Yeah, and there’s more contact and you’re [makes smacking motion], hitting into each other, you’re locking out. Jarring fillings that you’re not doing when the pads aren’t on. It’s more contact.”
“Yeah, on the field it has been very good. That’s, you feel. He got hit by, that’s a real torpedo. But, he’s been very professional. And the thing I think for all of us is finding the solution. There’s a solution there. And soon that we all put our minds together and come up with the right plan, this will hopefully get to the point where you laugh about that and chuckle about that. That’s the way I’d like to see it go.”
Did your heart sink when you heard about it?
“Yeah, yeah most definitely. That’s a tough situation.”
Could this be an opportunity to work out an extension with Tarell?
“Well, don’t want to break a long-standing policy and that’s not to discuss contracts in the media. I don’t think it’s anybody’s best interest to do that. But, this is maybe an exception to the rule. And just think that there’s a solution there. Don’t know that it’s any one particular thing. But, I think we’ll explore all those options and find the solution. It’s there. You’ve just got to do some thinking and do some work and get it done. But, we’re very motivated to do that because he deserves it. He’s earned it. I don’t want to see him playing for the minimum when he’s a starting top-end player.”
Are you comfortable with the way that the organization upstairs handled it?
“Yes. Comfortable is not one of those words, it’s kind of confusing, so.”
How would you term it?
“I just think it was an unfortunate situation. I feel confident knowing that the people that were involved, had they known anything, then they would have brought that to attention. Same thing with everybody involved. Unfortunately, nobody caught it and that led to a real torpedo that nobody really wanted to see happen. And now let’s get the solution and solve the problem.”
Would you want to be a part of helping find the solution?
“Again, not going to talk about it. The talk’s over. Yeah, I’d like to be a part of the solution, absolutely. I don’t think I break my policy by saying that. All right, thanks.”