Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday following his team's 45-3 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Just looking back on last night and yesterday’s game, did things go pretty much to script how you guys wanted them to go?
“A lot of things went really well. Very, very good play, to highlight. Fortunate, had some good luck go our way. And, yeah, just consistently good play. Overcame some things. And able to control the game, that was the most encouraging thing.”
Do you dissect game film less after a game like that and want to get started on a tough opponent in the middle of the New York Giants than maybe you normally would?
“I don’t think any less or any more.”
Have you started looking at the Giants yet?
“Yes. Yes. We’re already seeing the obvious things. The outstanding team that they are. Explosive offense. Very balanced. Exceptionally balanced. They do everything well offensively. And defensively, the same. Great up front. Just all-around top team in the league.”
We talked to offensive coordinator Greg Roman yesterday. He noted that it was obvious early on that QB
“Yeah, and really great credit to Greg Roman. And just the game that he called, the plan that he had for our team. We all have just tremendous confidence in Greg. And he is a shining light. He is a real, real superstar. And the same for [defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio, [asst. head coach/special teams coordinator] Brad Seely. Great, great games for both their resumes. Exceptional, exceptional job by all those men. Alex definitely had a great game. Alex had a tremendous game. Playmakers, Michael Crabtree and [WR]
On the hurry by Anthony Davis, you had talked about the one that Alex went to the ground on, hurt his hand. Any update on that? And is that a concern when your starting quarterback has an injured digit on his throwing hand?
“Yes. That’s very much a concern if that happens. And we’ll see how it is. Alex is well documented how tough he is. He talks about it not being a big deal. So, we’ll see.”
You’ve mentioned, last year you talked about the coordinators. Are you surprised after the season you had, the season they had, that they’re back this season?
“No.” (misunderstood the question at first)
Meaning that they didn’t get a head coaching job somewhere else?
“I got you. Yeah, I think that will take care of itself as it goes forward. But, tremendous, tremendous coaches.”
With 556 rushing yards in the last two games and averaging 6.1 yards per carry, has the addition of guys like Manningham and Moss help to open things up in the running game? I’m sure there are various reasons for that, but is that one of them?
“Yeah, I think that goes both ways. It helps open up the running game as [RB] Frank [Gore] noted. That’s an obvious thing. Those guys are doing a great job. And then the running game helps the passing game as well. But, protection was really good. The route running was exceptional and throws were exceptional.”
How tough is it for a quarterback to throw a pass that’s not designed to be thrown the way it was, such as for the ball that Alex threw to Kyle Williams?
“Pretty tough, pretty exceptional. To make that kind of snap decision without the muscle memory of really practicing it on that particular play. That’s something that’s not the intent on that play. But, Kyle made an adjustment and a cool-headed decision by Alex. And they were both in sync and executed it flawlessly. So, I think that speaks volumes for both those guys.”
What have you seen out of your pass defense that’s allowing the second fewest yards in the league, and just how well they’ve played through five weeks?
“Again, for the second week in a row I think you can really say that everybody played well defensively. Nobody played bad. And everybody played good. Pass defense has been outstanding and some guys to highlight would be [LB]
Maybe neither of the teams you’ve played is a Super Bowl contender, but to hold two NFL teams combined to three points in two games must mean something. Obviously, everybody in the NFL is pretty good and they score once in awhile, how do you judge that, just fantastic defense by your club?
“Yes, yes. There’s talent and skill of the players, outstanding scheme by Vic and really good coaching by our defensive coaches. They’re playing really well together.”
In terms of the personnel that you guys have now and just the way you’ve been able to evolve the playbook in your second year, how different is this offense than the one that ended last season in the NFC Championship game?
“Different in some ways and similar in most of the ways. They’ve been consistently good with their attitude, their approach. Talent level I think has been upgraded and guys are playing really well. Playing really well together. Again, talk about just a good attitude amongst the offensive players. Whatever they can do to help the team move and score points and pick up first downs, etcetera, they’re doing it very much as a group and as a team. And to a man, you could highlight every one of them. Delanie Walker, again, everything that he does for our offense, without the statistics that most people look at. Randy Moss has been just great. A lot of people talk about the past or whatever, I’ve seen nothing other than a guy that just works hard and wants to contribute and practices, just says and does all the right things. If there was something in the past it’d be like that etch-a-sketch you have a as a kid and you lift that piece of paper up. It’s been nothing but great, nothing but good. Same with Alex Smith. To a man, our line, everybody.”
How is Randy on the field, on Sundays? What’s been great about his play?
“Assignment, route-running, speed’s been there. Just a matter of time before you get the big catch day that everybody seems to only pin their evaluation on. But, he’s been excellent.”
I know there’s a lot of talk about how smart he is about the game of football. Does he communicate with you, or some of the assistants during the game, as far as what he sees out there?
“If not daily it’s weekly. Most days, Randy’s got an enthusiastic suggestion for what we can do or try. The neat thing about it is, it’s never a self-centered thing. It’s never how to get him more balls. It’s how it would help the team or help the group or the unit.”
You have said before that talent is often underrated. With the talent that you have on this offense, how much flexibility does it give you and Greg to bring novel plays to this plan, this year’s offense that maybe you didn’t consider last year? What kind of flexibility does that give you as coaches?
“Well, that’s where the greatest share lies, in the talent and skill of the players. We have a lot of guys that are proven and proving that they are playmakers. So it does, it gives you a lot of flexibility.”
Getting back to Randy, he seems to be the single wide receiver in a lot of times when you have your running personnel out there. Is that because defenses need to respect him and he’s taking two guys away from what could be a running play?
“Yeah, in some cases that’s definitely been happening.”
And the long play to – I forget the yardage, to Vernon Davis, I think it was 53 yards. It seemed like Randy was part and parcel with that is that right?
“Yeah. It definitely can – and I wouldn’t say just Randy. There are a lot of players that are proving that you’ve got to respect their presence, their ability. Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Randy Moss, Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker,
It was about 2 years ago where Alex Smith had the game where the fans were screaming for QB David Carr…Did you have some kind of similar experience in Chicago? Sometimes you had some rough years in Chicago. Can you relate to that experience you went through, of a low point in your career?
“I just would say this. Can’t tell you how much respect I have for him. That he has played so well, handles himself, does all the things that kind of look back and say, ‘man I wish I would have done as good a job as he has done.’ On and off the field, in everything that he does and his approach to the game, I think it’s a real, real example.”
The similarities, you saw in the 1993 season and then last year with Alex. The way he’s playing with his confidence, are there any parallels to you in 1995?
Why do you say that?
“He just is. He’s a better player.”
“He’s carved out a real niche for himself on this ball club. A physical presence, both offensively and defensively and special teams. He is a guy that we know we can count on. He’s a count on me guy. To be filling as many roles as he is, it’s really impressive. I think first and foremost, the physical presence that he brings. He’s big and strong and athletic. Big man that’s very physical. He’s a big man who’s fast. It’s been positive for us.”
“Once we went through the whole week, he’s still not quite there.”
When you look at your division, week in and week out, NFC West teams are winning, and winning records. In your time here how has this division gotten better, it was one of the worst a couple of years ago in the league and now it seems to be getting better?
“As I look at the other teams? Winning games. Better football, redoubled their efforts, better.”
Does it help your team at all to keep the eye on the prize and focus? Whereas last year you guys were running away with this division and this year it seems to look like it’s going to be a tight race.
“Yeah, it is going to be. It helps. It’s every team you play, everybody’s strong, everybody wants to play their best and yeah it keeps us on our toes, keeps us playing strong.”
“Today or tomorrow we’ll make that decision. By one o’clock tomorrow.”