Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday at 49ers headquarters as his team prepares for its Week 13 home game against the St. Louis Rams.
How are you guys treating the extra day this week? Another game planning day for the Rams?
"Yes. Players will be in today lifting and getting treatment. Coaches (are) game planning. We'll view the Ravens game and preview the Rams."
The fact that you can clinch on Sunday, does that affect the way you think about anything? Do you just want to clinch as fast as possible? Is that part of this thinking at all for you?
"We want to win. Definitely, we're going to be aware of what winning does for us. Yes, we'd like to clinch this Sunday."
You said you'd think about what happens after December, you want see when you get there. If you do clinch early, let's say this week or next week, do you have some plans about resting some guys? Would you be in that mode of trying to back some guys off of the wear and tear in the later dates of the season?
"Again, what I said was when we get to December, you see how many you need and how many you have. Though it's not December yet, I think we can think about that and know we're still going to need quite a few. This game, the next five, will all be critical. We'll see. We're not in any resting mindset though."
We just spoke with WR Braylon Edwards who said he has been dealing with a nagging shoulder issue the last three weeks. Have you seen that affect him on the field with his aggressiveness or any aspect of his game?
"I'm aware that he's got some soreness in the shoulder."
Has it affected how he plays?
Has it affected how you've used him the past three weeks as far as the number of snaps he took in the game?
"Yes. He's been working through some things, not just that. There's been limited practice time, a pitch count with him, and same in the games."
He mentioned his focus now is just to be ready for the playoffs and you've talked a lot about saving for the future. Is that your focus, too, for him? To look ahead and make sure he gets right for when he's needed the most, when the single elimination type situation begins for you guys?
"Braylon hasn't said that to me. That's something I can discuss with Braylon."
Any takeaways from last Thursday after having the weekend to look at the whole thing?
"Yes. A lot of takeaways. We have some problems from the game, just like when we win a game. You go back and look at what you can fix, where you can get better and this game is no different in that regard."
How did it feel to have a weekend off in the middle of the season?
"I don't know if it felt that way. It didn't feel that way to me."
After the Cardinals game, you had said that Braylon was getting close to 100 percent. Were you referencing his knee or just his knee, his shoulder?
"Yeah, he's been working through some things."
Do you feel like he's now at this point at 100 percent?
"I wouldn't put a percentage on it. I don't know that I ever really did. If I did, I might have misspoke because I don't see how I could possibly put a percentage on somebody else on where they're at physically. Just because you said I did, I don't remember saying that. If I did, that's why I try to avoid putting percentages on people."
How important is what Braylon can do to this offense moving forward and possibly in to January?
"All our guys are important. There's not room for anybody on the roster to not be contributing, not be important. He's very important."
Is there a specific need for a game-breaking wide receiver? A guy who can stretch the defense a little bit on the outside?
"Is there a need for that? Yes. We have that."
Without him you have that?
"I think we have that with him. I think we have that without him."
RB Frank Gore has caught a lot of passes in his career here but he hasn't been catching that many this season. Is there a reason why that hasn't worked out as much?
"There might be some reasons schematically that we're looking at in that area."
When you broke down the generally the sacks you said some on the line, some on coverage, some on Alex. When you say Alex, would you like him to run? Would you have liked him to run on some of those, take down it and go, or did you want him to throw it away? What specifically would have been better for him to do?
"In Alex's case, there's a couple times that he could have gotten the ball out earlier and beaten the rush with the throw."
How much of that is related to a short week and just the type of quarterback that he is. He's a very meticulous type of guy. He likes to know exactly what he's seeing. Did a short week sort of affect his confidence in what he was seeing?
"No, I don't think a short week affected his confidence and what he was seeing."
Do you expect FB Bruce Miller to be back and to resume the starting spot?
"We'll see. I can't give a definitive on that right now."
Has he been medically cleared?
"He's been in the progression, yes."
How do you think FB Moran Norris played on Thursday?
"Well, I don't think any of us played a perfect game. We all had things we would have liked to have done better. Did good at times, could have done better at other times. Pretty much go down the roster and say that. Pretty much you could say that every game. Like I said at the beginning, we'll address issues and problems and attempt to get those fixed."
Has C/G Adam Snyder's hamstring progressed okay or is it worse?
"Is it worse?"
How is it? You didn't think it was that serious after the game, so has anything changed in the last few days?
"He's working through something. I'm not going to comment on if it's better or if it's worse. What percent it's going to be by tomorrow or Saturday or Sunday. Teams would love to know that information and you just can't expect us to hand it out."
What have you seen on the practice field the last 11, 12 weeks from QB Colin Kaepernick? What is he doing out there? What is he doing in meeting rooms? How is he progressing?
"He's progressing well. What is he doing? He's preparing himself to play each and every week. Every week's a sprint for him as well."
Is he getting reps with the offense or is it pretty much just scout team stuff?
"He's getting both."
Where has he made, without actually having seen him in a game, where has he made the biggest strides that you can tell?
"He's made strides in just about every area."
Every week you see backup quarterbacks being called upon. How would you feel about having to send him out there in a situation?
"I'd be confident in him."
You mentioned you saw some things over the weekend taking a look at things. What are your biggest concerns at this point moving ahead the next five weeks? What keeps you up late at night? If anything keeps you up late at night about this team at this point?
"This ball game. The Rams coming in here. Preparing ourselves with a great game plan."
"Yes, very specific. Getting ready for this game. It's the biggest game of the year. It's the biggest concern. It is paramount to all of our focus is this football game."
Understood, I guess I'm saying the thing about your team that you think most needs improvement at this point, let me phrase it that way, is there anything that's specific?
"Yes there are definitely specific things that we're going to look at, we're going to address with our football (team) —like we do every single week. And it's for me to tell our football team and get their feedback, and not to come in here and categorize what we need to do. And a lot of things we talk to them about they need to understand, that we all need to address together. They don't necessarily have to read about it as well."
Jim, what's your take on celebrations and given what happened with Bills WR Stevie Johnson in the Bills game. Do you have a message for your guys on… I'm sure you want them to be emotional and celebrate when they have a big play, but there's maybe a fine line when you can take it too far. Do you have an opinion?
"Well specifically I didn't see the play that you're asking about."
What's your general take on a guy celebrating a big play, or a touchdown? It's a spontaneous thing I guess for some.
"I think all wins should be celebrated. Now, there are obviously protocols and I think the best thing to do is celebrate with your teammates."
Is winning the NFC West a big deal. Will it be talked about this week, or is it just another step on where you guys want to get?
"Both, both. It's a big deal. It's a step. We may be ahead on the chip count, but we don't have a seat at the final table. We need to focus on this game. We need to do everything we can to physically, mentally, emotionally prepare for this game because we know that the St. Louis Rams will be doing the same thing. All teams put a lot into their preparation, not only what's come before this week, but this weekend. They put a lot into it; therefore, it's very important to everybody that's playing in these games. We know what this team is capable of doing, the Rams, and we'll have to prepare to be our best like we do every single week. But, it's very, very important."
How important is that No. 2 seed where you sit right now, to hold onto that?
"It's very important."
From your experience as a coach, is it easier to get your players' attention in the film room after a loss than after a win?
"Is it easier? I don't know if it is, or not."
I mean, do they respond differently at all?
"They've been professionals in both cases. I don't know that I've seen a difference to be honest with you."
Just talking to C Jonathan Goodwin a couple of minutes ago. He said some of the maybe breakdowns on the offensive line are easily-correctable, technique-type things. He's confident that that can be fixed in a matter of a week. Do you see it that way, and just a few things that didn't go right?
"Oh, I'm always confident that we identify things to fix and we've got professionals. We've got smart guys, we've got committed guys. And we'll come up with the answers together. I'm very confident in that."
There were some interesting calls in that game Thursday, I'm not going to ask you to comment those, but would you ever want to be on the NFL Competition Committee to talk about how rules are enforced, made, and whether pass interference penalty should be spot, or 15 yards. Do you think about that stuff. Would you like to be part of that competition committee process some?
"Well, we are as head coaches part of that process. In terms of the title you're referring to or not, as head coaches you're in those discussions."
Specifically, do you think pass interference penalty is too severe a spot instead of yardage-wise, how do you feel about that?
"I just have no comment on that right at this time. But I think you know where our head's at and what we're most concerned with, and what we're trying to accomplish here. Right now that's really irrelevant because no matter what our discussion here is about it's not going to change this week."
Maybe for the offseason then?
"Could be, yeah, could be for the offseason. Maybe at that time we'll get into a long, lengthy discussion about it and I would love to hear your thoughts about it."