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Coach's Notebook: Oct. 14

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday.


Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday.

Were there a few more people getting treatment today after having such a physical game yesterday?
“It was normal, a normal day.”

Did it seem like a more physical game than usual?
“It was very physical.”

On the 18-play drive in the fourth quarter, how well-executed were the blocking assignments all across the board, lineman, tight ends, receivers, fullbacks?
“There was some good, a lot of good. The highlighted one would be the touchdown run by [RB] Kendall [Hunter], block by [TE] Vernon Davis and [T] Anthony Davis was textbook. That was something to really be admired and highlighted.”

Do you have an update on DL Glenn Dorsey at all?
“You know, I personally stopped by the doctors in the training room before coming to the press conference here. They’re still working through the information and their data. So, I don’t have anything to report to you yet.”

Is there a possibility that NT Mike Purcell could be elevated to the 53-man?
“Really wouldn’t talk about the possibilities right now. Let’s kind of wait and see where we’re at. But, Mike’s doing a good job.”

Have there been any moves made to elevate some of those reserve list guys to practice? Does that have to be made?
“Sure. We’re looking at that. And every roster position and thinking through all of the possibilities. But, as far as it pertains to [DT] Quinton Dial and [DT] Tank Carradine and [CB] Eric Wright, [WR] Mario Manningham, they can start practicing this week and we anticipate that.”

So that would start tomorrow, the clock, that 21-day clock would start tomorrow?
“Yeah, we’ll anticipate that tomorrow.”

Do you expect a number of those guys to be ready after 21 days or is this just a diagnostic thing just when they practice to see how they’re doing?
“Yeah. Well, I mean, the way it works for everybody, and every guy’s different, but pretty much the way it works is a guy that’s coming off of injury in some form or fashion, especially guy’s that are coming off of a serious injury, I mean, they go through a period of grueling rehab until they’re healed and medically cleared by the doctors to participate in practice. And then, it’s where they come back at. Where they come back football shape, football playing ability. Is that 100 percent of what they were? Is it better than what they were? Is it 95, 90, 85, 80? How long is it to go from, maybe they come back at 60. Then it’s 70, then it’s 80, then it’s 90. There’s a process there once they come back to being ready and to compete in games. And then, the final step is, they’ve got to be better than somebody? Are they going to be better than somebody that’s at their position? So, you know, I think there’s been a lot of discussion in the past about players that come back from injury. Do they still have their job, etc.? It really kind of just falls back into that process. You come back cleared by the doctors. What percent are you of what you were? And then, are you better than somebody else? That’s the final piece. When that process is complete, then people are either back in there playing or somebody else is in there playing.”

There’s trade deadlines coming up. There’s always speculation about what receiver’s out there. It seems like whenever names come up the 49ers are always talked about. With Manningham and WR Michael Crabtree, with their returns in the future, what do you feel about the 49ers wide receiver position?
“Well, just general practice again, there’s always possibilities out there and you can go on endless speculation if you commented every time somebody speculates about something, which we just choose not to do. I wouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

Some of it, but not all of it?
“I wouldn’t believe everything. Or you can take the approach of it’s on the internet it must be true. So, since I see there’s a group of people that do that too, you know. It’s on the internet, it must be true. But, our receivers are coming. I thought, a lot of good things in the game, some big-time plays made by those guys. It’s not always just the low hanging fruit that you say, ‘OK, how may catches did they have? How many yards did they have?’ Quite a few other things that will really be highlighted. The 4th-n-1 play that [FB] Bruce [Miller] picked up, the play with a great cutoff block by [WR] Anquan Boldin. I was very excited to see [WR] Kyle Williams make the big third down conversion along with [QB] Colin [Kaepernick]. Another textbook route by Anquan to pick up the third down earlier in that 18-play drive.”

That drive had a little bit of everything didn’t it?
“It did. It was a great drive. And it was setup by a great play by [LB] Patrick Willis. Causing the turnover and [S] Eric Reid recovered the fumble. That was outstanding. [LB] Corey Lemonier caused a fumble and [LB] NaVorro Bowman was able to recover that. Eric Reid got an interception for us. [CB] Carlos Rogers got an interception. Corey Lemonier got a sack that resulted in a safety. Those plays were huge in turning the game in our favor and credit those guys that made those plays.”

Could you address kind of the conflicting emotions of, you know, you’ve got a jacked-up crowd and then you potentially have a guy that’s down on the field and he’s hurt and it’s a serious injury and they’re doing the wave and guys are trying to say this isn’t the right time? It’s kind of conflicting emotions going on at that particular time.
“I think everybody that was playing in the game, their emotions were with [Cardinals DE] Calais Campbell. They were praying and they were supporting him and they were excited when they saw the hands moving and the thumb go up. So, I don’t think anybody was conflicted down there. Everybody was together on that, both sides, all players on each team.”

Is there a right way to kind of address the crowd and say hey this isn’t the right time and place for the wave?
“I don’t tell people what to do. But, I think people know that if the cart’s coming out on the field that signifies a pretty serious injury. And the best thing to do is silence, let the doctors do their work and collective prayer would be much appreciated.”

Where is RB LaMichael James in his development and what does, I guess, he have to do to get more playing time?
“His development’s been fine. He’ll be back playing. I know the talk about ‘insurance’, etc., and it’s no slight to LaMichael. LaMichael’s a very good player and he is a very valuable member of our team. We’ve had a situation where we’ve dressed three running backs on certain games and in certain games we’ve dressed four. But, you know, I definitely, we definitely all value and look at LaMichael as a backup running back, like a two. And, there’s going to come time where he is a, like last year, where he’s fully in the mix and depended on and that time will come again. But, he’s doing a good job. I know he wants to play, he wants to be contributing, and when he is dressed he is contributing and doing that.”

Will this be a week-to-week thing as far as three of four running backs?
“Yes. When all the running backs are healthy and playing, yeah there’s, there’ll be a week-to-week thing whether we go three or four.”

Is he, obviously, is he an option to spark the punt return game? Because it doesn’t seem like you guys have gotten much productivity out of that so far.
“Yes. No, we’ve had some good ones too now. We had a 22-yard return two weeks ago. So, but I mean, he’s definitely an option in the return game.”

Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is, Kyle has a lot of fair catches. I think he has twice as many fair catches as returns. Is that fine with you or is it, would you like to see him take a little bit more risk?
“We were singling up the gunners in the game. There was another instance where we called, we doubled the wrong side and tried to make an adjustment late in the snap and didn’t get it done. That’s not, those fair catches aren’t all on Kyle. I mean, he does a good job. He does a good job whether to fair catch or catch and return.”

In talking about LaMichael, you referenced insurance, which got some play.
“Yeah, I saw that get some play and some banter.”

Did you have a discussion with him that, I don’t know if clear the air is the right term, but about that?
“Always. Always communicating and have conversations every day with guys. But yeah, just to let LaMichael know he’s a valued guy around here and has a big role for our football team.”

Obviously the circumstances aren’t what you would like, but Corey Lemonier has stepped in for LB Aldon Smith. How can this experience help him going forward with his development now and later in the season?
“Obvious answer is it helps a lot. Get better at football by playing football. He’s doing some very good things.”

All the takeaways, eight takeaways that have led to scoring opportunities and points for you the last two weeks. How encouraging is that and what do you see in terms of your secondary and some of the plays there?
“Well, it’s been good. Very opportunistic. You love seeing your defense generate turnovers, be opportunistic. And the safety play, when they’re getting involved in the turnovers, that’s been something in the past has been very good for us. The evidence the amount of times [S] Donte Whitner, [former 49ers S] Dashon Goldson were involved in turnovers, stripping, causing, recovering, intercepting the football, and I think it’s very encouraging that Eric Reid is getting in on that, recovering, causing or intercepting. Something that’s been very good for our defense.”

Reid was saying last night that watching Donte, being around Donte every day has taught him how to be a football player, how to work. Have you seen that progression of Donte taking that mentor role and sort of Reid growing in that?
“Yes. I mean seeing it for, good evidence for three years now, going on three years. And talked about it last week, highlighted the secondary and how well they’ve played in the game against the Texans. Donte Whitner being the catalyst of the communication and getting things orchestrated back, on the back end. So, yes have seen that.”

DT Ray McDonald was saying after the game that he didn’t feel like he had his full strength in his right arm. What is the belief moving forward that he’ll adjust to that or that will improve as the weeks go on?
“The feeling?”

Yeah, the strength of the arm.
“Yeah, I don’t know what the feeling is on that from the doctors.”

Is that something that if he doesn’t feel like he’s got enough strength in that arm, you feel like you have to make adjustments at that position?
“I really don’t speculate without knowing exactly what I’m talking about.”

Any early reads on your opponent this week?
“Yeah, good football team. Watching them now. Got started watching them a little bit later in the week last week, but diving into it right now.”

You guys have been to Youngstown a couple years, last year in the Super Bowl. Does this week before a week-long road trip, does it change at all for you? Do you have to do stuff to get prepared for the extended stay away from the facility?
“This week, no. This would be a week like we’ve had before we play an East Coast game.”

All the London stuff, do you just not get involved in that stuff?
“Some of the logistics, but the major logistics will be handled our staff, our front office staff and [manager, team logistics] Steve Risser does an excellent job of that and our security team. They’ll carry the water on that one. They’ll have the heavy burden of that. Coaches and players will be concentrating on the ballgame and the preparation this week.”

You weren’t here the last time this happened. The team went to Carolina, lost the game, and then there was some speculation about getting the passports together and packing and everything playing some effect on that. Do you have to address that? I’m guessing you probably don’t have to worry about packing too much, but just the extra stuff.
“No, you’re exactly right. Pretty much, I’ll just go with the clothes on my back. I’ll pack my playbook, a toothbrush and a great attitude and we’ll see if we can’t encourage the rest of the guys to do the same. Most of the passports, we’ve got those taken care of.”

Is that a lot of work?
“Been working on it. Been working on it for a while now. There were one or two hitches with the government shutdown, but we’re working through it.”

When you look at the game video from yesterday and how obviously the defense gave the ball in the red zone twice in the first quarter. In those first four drives for the 49ers, what did the offense struggle with overall? What caught your eye?
“Struggled getting a first down. There were different reasons for different plays and different possessions, but yeah we weren’t picking up first downs. And the two in the red zone, we didn’t put the ball in the end zone. And yeah, there’s reasons for that. Different reasons. Not going to go into all of them, but we didn’t get a fast start in terms of moving the football offensively.”

We’ve heard a few of your defenders the last week or two say they had their identity back. They maybe feel like they didn’t have that ball-hawking identity for a couple games. What’s your take on that?
“They’re definitely doing a great job. You looked at this game, the game before, the game before that, really, really outstanding in a lot of areas. This past game against Arizona, there’s so much good and then there’s two big, explosive plays that you give Arizona credit for. But, yeah overall doing some very good things defensively and encouraged by that. Same offensively. Made plays when the team had to. Like we talked about, that game could have gone either way yesterday and some opportunistic plays, some good play. Anthony Davis, thought he had one of his best games, certainly this year. Did an outstanding job. Vernon doesn’t want a game ball he said, but he had a career day and made some great plays. We talked about the one corner route on the sideline and it was even better watching tape of it. The adjustment that he made on the ball was outstanding. And Colin played extremely well too. I thought his decision making, timing, location of his passes was outstanding. Maybe a poor decision here, a one missed location ball, but those are high percentage. I mean, that’s A-plus kind of stuff from the quarterback. There’s good things, there’s encouraging things and we’ll keep striving to get better.”

When Vernon turns down a game ball, does he get the option to hand that game ball to somebody else or is that your decision? He wanted to give it to Colin.
“He could. He could bequeath it to somebody else.”

OK. That’s allowed?
“That’s allowed.”

Colin’s interception was tipped, the ball was tipped. I mean, was that a questionable decision or was that because of the tip that it was intercepted?
“You know, I thought it was, I really thought it was going to be a questionable decision or a poor located throw. But, he really, really the ball was going to be offset just perfectly. Kind of like the one he offset to Anquan Boldin in the, on part of the 18-play drive. It really would have been, it would have been a touchdown throw. In a split-second decision that would have been the right decision. Unfortunately, it got tipped.”