The offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers shared several noteworthy updates before the club travels to face the Chicago Bears in Week 13.
Here's what stood out from Geep Chryst's comments to the media on Thursday.
Facing a Vic Fangio-coached Defense
(on what stands out about the former 49ers coordinator's scheme): "I think the story there as we've watched the tape is that Vic continues to run what he runs and (John Fox), being an involved head coach, is not overly involved in the defense. And I'm sure that's pretty hard for him from week-to-week because he wants to have his fingerprint all over the team. But I see them improving, and it's I'm sure a nice relationship between Foxy and Vic but it looks like Vic's got the autonomy. And again, Chicago's going from a four-down world, Foxy's going from a four-down world to a three-down world that Vic's been involved in."
(on Fangio's ability to predict offensive tendencies): "Vic was over the years has been known within the coaching circles as something called, 'The Vic Report' of which he's got no problem referring to himself in the third person there. But he's done a nice job. I think that his confidence stems from the fact that he's doing his homework. So if you're going against someone that has done a lot of homework, and he knows the personalities and the natures of a lot of the people on our offense side. So it's going to be a great challenge and a game within a game as we see what Vic chooses to do. ... Again, full credit to Vic for all the homework that he does. I've sat next to him on the plane, and he's doing a lot of homework."
Analysis on Third-down Results vs. Arizona Cardinals
(on San Francisco's recent third-down struggles): "What's the standard narrative for anyone that goes into a game? Well, we've got to do well on third down so we're going to get to first down conservative, second down conservative, third down manageable. We kind of flipped the script on that and we became aggressive and we were rewarded for some of that aggressive nature. Coming into the game, Arizona's a good defense. I think they're third overall. They're number one in allowing the fewest number of passes over 15-yards. So, we felt like we had to attack them on first and second down. And we were very successful doing that. We ended up with eight passes over 15-yards. The downside to that is what? If you attack them on first and second down, you might be at third-and-10 with two incompletions or third-and-12 or third-and-eight or third-and-seven.
"... We did have three consecutive scoring drives where we never really had to get to third down, where we felt like we could get stuff accomplished on first and second down. It's a choice you make and you live with the third-and-longers as part of it, which lowers your chance to get it. So that being said, I don't think that we were inept on offense, but we went 0-for-9 on third downs. That's just the way it is."
Looking at the Recent Roles of Tight Ends and Wide Receivers
(on how the offense accounted for the loss of Garrett Celek to a first-quarter ankle injury): "First off, thanks for bringing up Garrett because what a great year he's had and we leaned on him a lot, especially with Blaine (Gabbert) at quarterback. And when he got hurt on the second series, you kind of have to reengineer some of your call sheet. Bruce Miller picked up some of the slack there. Blake Bell, who had a nice game, picked up some of the slack there. We were reengineering some of the other packages with some of the other players so that you didn't lose stuff from the call sheet. But, we like all of our tight ends and that window to use all three tight ends together, like we did against Minnesota, fell right off. But, fortunately for Garrett it's not a serious injury, but it's going to be a race to get healthy before the season's over with a high ankle. ... It's a shame that he got hurt, but guys picked up the slack and we're proud of guys like Blake Bell that made some plays when he was out."
(on how the wideouts can be more involved in the passing game): "Take a couple of the third down throws. We tried to hit Quinton Patton on a shallow cross route. There's another example, wide receivers trying to come through traffic and didn't come through traffic a man. So you've just got to continue to play through the contact, play through traffic. We did try to give some one-on-one balls. We had one to Quinton Patton in a one-on-one go situation. That's just football. You've got to give it a chance. And again, like we've talked about, if it's first down or second down and you take your chance and you don't convert that opportunity, now you're back against the sticks a little bit, you're behind in the count. But you know, they've worked hard, they've had a good week. In terms of matchups, we look at the matchups this week and try to get better. That's all we can do. Same thing with Bruce Ellington. (He) had some opportunities in the Seattle game. You try to create those opportunities and see what guys can do. And you don't know until the play plays out what the result's going to be."
Early Reviews on a Rookie Wideout
(on the early practice assessment of DeAndre Smelter): "He's a hard-working kid with a nice demeanor, but you're part of a team but you're not really a part of the team because you've got to go rehab and you've got to go through all that. But first off, his body type is unique. It's different than probably some of the other receivers. He's a little bigger, he's got a little longer arms, bigger hands, but his demeanor is such that I think he's going to be just fine on some of those shallow cross routes, catches in traffic. Trying to find out then in practice, is he an outside receiver, does he have slot capabilities? But what we've found out is I think we're excited to have him on the team. I think he's a hard worker. I think he's excited to be practicing, and I'm really excited about his future."
(on if Smelter can be activated off of the Non-Football Injury List this week): "I would defer to (vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson), you know what I mean by that, because he is coming off of a major injury, a little bit like we've treated (Daniel Kilgore), for example. We would love to throw him out there. We'd love to dress 65 guys and throw him out there and have success with him because I think he's going to have success. But we defer back to the medical people. I think he's made great strides. He looks pretty good out there in practice. That's what's great about preseason games. It's probably fair for 'Kilgy,' it's probably fair for DeAndre to give him some preseason games to ramp up into it instead of just throwing them in the mix because you want to have growth and you want to feel like the strides that he's making are real positive."
Commentary on QB Mechanics and Decision-making
(on if Blaine Gabbert's accuracy correlates to his lowered velocity): "Blaine's done a phenomenal job, and I think he'll continue to improve with that rhythm that he has. And so, I look forward to seeing him as he gets into these games week after week after week, there's usually a rhythm and a pace that he plays the game with. And I think we've seen it in the context of during games, you see him get hot and there's a nice window of time. But I know he wants to be hot from the moment you get off the bus to the moment you get back on the bus and I think his rhythm continues to improve every week."
(on if Gabbert needs to be more aggressive): "As we continue to improve with the chemistry of each other, again, things don't happen overnight. We'd love to have it happen in one week time or two-week time. I think he'll have that innate feel without thinking about it. 'Hey, I've got to hold on to it. Hey, I've got to get rid of it.' And so, we're starting to see that on the practice field, that he's using the full pattern itself as opposed to just picking one guy, holding on and throwing it. So we're excited about where he's going with it, but there's no doubt that sometimes he's taking first available, which is good too, but there might be some other opportunities emerging a little bit deeper into the pattern."
Will 'Kilgy' Return in 2015?
(on if Kilgore will be activated off of the Physicall Unable to Perform List in 2015): "How do you try to get a guy like 'Kilgy,' without just throwing him in the mix? And that's really hard because your desire is there, but it's a hard, physical sport. And to be playing at game speed, that's what you use that whole preseason for, was to get ramped up. And it's just hard. 'Kilgy's' still young in some areas as a player. It's not like he's a 35-year-old veteran. And so, the timing of things, the timing of the hitting and the timing of the snap and all that, love to get him out there. But, you probably have to be judicious with that so that he continues to feel success without kind of being overused."