Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Wednesday following his team's 32-7 win vs. the Chicago Bears on "Monday Night Football."
How are you doing?
“I’m doing good, thank you. How are you guys doing?”
How are you doing health wise? And what was the visit yesterday? Was it just a routine evaluation?
“Yeah, yesterday went and saw my doctors. Got an evaluation and believe we got that one licked. So, feel good about that.”
Are you close to a decision on the quarterback right now?
“Yeah, we’ll let it play out. I wouldn’t expect an announcement today or any timeline on that. But, we’ll get that to you.
“I think it’s a matter of time. I think it’s a matter of time before he is. He’s going to practice again today in the [black, no contact] jersey.”
Are they competing now, or is it kind of a practice-to-practice thing with these two guys?
“No, that’s the thing. I know that everybody took the opportunity after the big win the other night to talk nonstop about the quarterback situation, and very little about the great team victory that we had, both offensively, defensively, special teams. And the way we view it right now is we’ve got two quarterbacks that we’re confident in that have won for us and we believe in. And to me it’s the opposite of a controversy, where controversy is argument between opposing points of view. This is a decision that’ll be made from a team aspect, coming from the same direction. Did you have something that you wanted to add?”
Well, no I was going to say that I think the reason a lot of people are talking about it, myself included, is because every time you’ve been asked you’ve said, Alex is our guy. And Monday you didn’t say that.
“Alex, all these guys are our guys. All of them are our significant players.”
Specifically about the starting quarterback.
“Yeah, there’s not going to be an announcement of the starting job. I think most of the people that really want to know and really care, don’t really care whether we win or lose, to be honest with you. And I don’t know if it’s in our best interest to make a snap decision on that. We’ll get all the factors weighed out. And we’ll talk about it. And we’ll come to the best decision for our team.”
Given how things played out last week with Alex, what makes you confident that he’s going to be cleared at some point this week?
“Well, it’s a good question. It’s a good question. Again, on one hand I’ve said I’m not a doctor, on the other hand I’m pretty confident that it’s going to play out and he’s going to be cleared. And that’s talking to the doctors and talking to Alex. But, I can’t definitively say.”
When Alex has been practicing, how have they been compared? Can you say that they’ve been comparable all the way through training camp and these practices up until last week? Are they comparable in the classroom, on the practice field, all those situations, those two guys?
“They’ve both done outstanding. And when you look at how they’ve played on the field, their ability to win. Alex has done that over a long stretch, 25-game stretch. [QB
Could you have two quarterbacks? Just kind of go into every week having two quarterbacks and you pick one of them and you switch them?
“I think it’s a unique situation. We have two really good guys, two really good players, two guys we really believe in. So could you? Yes. You could.”
Even within a game?
Steve Young said on ESPN yesterday that you might be complicating the locker room by not naming Alex Smith your starter. The unquestioned starter going forward. How do you respond to that?
“Again, I believe that, we in here, that’s for us to make those decisions. And I think there is a lot of … people are probably drooling all over themselves because they’ve got something to talk about. They can fill three or four hours of talk radio and get people to call in and everybody can share their opinion. But, I think the people who really care whether we win or lose or not, don’t need to demand that announcement.”
Have you informed the quarterbacks themselves, Alex and Colin, what their roles will be Sunday?
“We’re playing that out as it goes. And I don’t talk about any kind of private conversations. So, I think you’ve got enough. Can we move on to the game in four days, the Saints? No?”
Alex has always said that you’ve been straight up with him. You have never lied to him, you’ve never misled him. Have you told him maybe recently that this is a possibility? Alex, that he might not be guaranteed to be the starter?
“I don’t remember that conversation.”
Have you talked to him?
“No, I have not. Have not said that. No, no and we’re not going over the, did you say this? Could you say this? Would you say that? Because we could be here for hours. My conversations with those guys will be my conversations with those guys. Everybody understands the competitive nature of the National Football League. And we’ll make the best decision for our team. I don’t know any more ways to elaborate on it than that.”
Does Alex’s success last year against New Orleans factor into this at all?
“All those things factor in. A lot of things factor in.”
Are you clear to say that even if Alex is healthy, you don’t know who the quarterback is for Sunday? Or you’re not ready to announce who the quarterback is?
“That there won’t be an announcement today, no.”
How much does Alex’s health factor in? Or are you just looking at it who is the best quarterback for us going forward? Or for this week does Alex’s health play a role?
“I think both those things factor in. All those things factor in.”
You were a quarterback.
“Yeah, were, long time ago.”
OK. You understand, it’s the most important position on the team. The guy is handling the offense, the leader. People look up to him and if things are going wrong they blame him. If things are going right they give him credit. So, you could understand the “interest” on us and the fans already have their favorite. Hey, we want Kaepernick instead of so. I mean, these questions seem to be justified.
“And I’m answering them. Now, we’re a team over here. We’re not going to allow to come in and be divided by outside forces. We’ll make the decision based on what’s best for us. How many more ways can I keep saying that?”
When you went over the film with Kaepernick’s performance, what did you see? Anything extra you might have seen? Anything else you’d like to point out about it?
“It was A-plus, plus. He did a great job. Decision making. Everything he did was in the high 90s, A-plus. In terms of how he executed and operated, same things we talked about after the game.”
What kind of feedback did you get from some of the receivers and linemen on how Colin did?
“I think everyone was excited about it.”
He learned about it Sunday night. What was his demeanor like at that point and Monday? Was he excited or was he calm? What was he like going into his first ever start on Monday Night Football?
"He had the same demeanor that he always has, very focused. Kind of got an intense demeanor. A focus and a coolness. Focused and loose at the same time. And it didn’t really change.”
Do you remember what yours was on your first Monday Night start, your first ever start?
“No, not really. What was my demeanor like?”
Yeah. You don’t remember?
“I really don’t. I really don’t remember. I knew it didn’t go near as good for me on my first start as it did for Colin.”
What do you remember though from that game?
“That we got beat 20 something to 3 something. Something like that. Might have been in the 30’s. A couple interceptions, I remember that.”
Was it the speed of the game? Did you just have trouble keeping up? What was it like in your first ever start?
“Would have liked to have done better.”
Obviously, you watched a lot of the offensive film. Did you go back and watch some of the defensive film to see what LB
“Yes, thank you. Great performance by Aldon. Just really excited for him. And we gave three game balls. One to Aldon, who was a shining star in the game. And I’m not just going to say the sacks, but the sacks were spectacular. And used a lot of different moves to make those sacks, a bull rush, great athleticism, great balance. Used his arm one time as a leg to stay up. It was really awesome to see. [DT]
Did you give offensive game balls as well?
“Yeah, we did. Gave one to Colin Kaepernick and a game ball to [TE]
What makes Saints QB Drew Brees so effective? He’s playing out of his mind.
“He’s just a football player. Let’s just say that. And that encompasses just about everything. Great leader, great poise, great player, great accuracy, great talent. Everything is A-plus, plus with Drew.”
“We didn’t watch the film as a group after this game because we just felt like we needed to get on to New Orleans. So, the guys have watched it individually, but we didn’t watch it as a group. It would have drawn a big reaction though.”
What was your, I guess initial reaction when you saw that?
"Wow. Yeah, ooh [laughs]. He does that a lot. Frank’s a guy like, he’s a football player himself, in all sense of the world. He amazes us all the time.”
What areas are you seeing LB
“He’s like Pat. He’s that good. He’s a five tool linebacker himself in ability to run and hit and blitz and his timing, his tempo and his coverage. And he does it on special teams as well. So, football player.”
Any reservations about having him play special teams? Or is he able to chase down WR Devin Hester? Is that just the tackling you like to have in critical moments of the game?
“Yeah, our guys take pride in being on the punt team. And I think anybody in football does. You put your best 11 out there on the punt team. I’ve heard many coaches say if you’re not on the punt team, you’re not one of our best 11. And it was a great performance by those players the other night, containing Hester, making big plays. One of the greatest returners of all time.”
You coached against former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford for four years. He kind of was the standard up here. What are your thoughts about him being fired yesterday?
“I think he’s a great guy and a great coach. And did a phenomenal job building that program to what it is. And I think it’s a mistake. Who do you go out and find that’s better than Jeff Tedford. That’s as good a coach as you’re ever going to have.”
Speaking of that though, offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s name has come up. Would you recommend him for that job?
“Again, you know what I think of Greg Roman. And any team or program would be lucky to have Greg Roman as a head coach.”
Now that you have had this procedure, will you have to have routine doctor’s visits? Or you said you think this is now?
“I think we’ve got it licked.”
Is that how the doctor put it? Or is that your?
“I put it that way.”
Do you drink a lot of energy drinks?
OK, you talked about caffeine last week. I was just wanting to follow up on that.
“I think Leonard really gets, like all of our guys do, they get a lot of stimulation from the different packages and finding themselves lined up in different spots. And able to do different types of things than they’re used to. It’s stimulating.”
How are his hands?
How are Leonard Davis’ hands?
“You may find out. You may find out at some point. Pretty good.”