As this is a MNF game, we'll have the final practice report tomorrow instead of today. No major changes in the practice reports for either team. After the jump, enjoy the meanderings of OC Jimmy Raye and DC Greg Manusky.
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
CB Nate Clements (shoulder)
Did not Participate in Practice
WR Isaac Bruce (ankle)
DT Aubrayo Franklin (not injury related)
LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring)
Limited Participation in Practice
OT Joe Staley (knee)
Full Participation in Practice
SS Michael Lewis (quadricep)
WR Brandon Jones (thumb)
Out (Definitely Will Not Play
LB Will Davis (knee)
Did not Participate in Practice
LB Bert Berry (illness)
Limited Participation in Practice
DT Alan Branch (ankle)
P Ben Graham (left groin)
RB Tim Hightower (thumb)
DE Kenny Iwebema (thumb)
RB Dan Kreider (thigh)
K Neil Rackers (right groin)
RB Jason Wright (illness)
TE Stephen Spach (knee)
Full Participation in Practice
OT Mike Gandy (pelvis)
Jimmy Raye and Greg Manusky transcripts after the jump...
Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky
Post Walk-Thru - December 11, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
On how he evaluates the play of the trio of LB Manny Lawson, LB Parys Haralson and LB Ahmad Brooks:
"I think it's going well. The last couple of weeks, it has been good with the rotation that we've had. You need a couple of pass rushers, and I think those three guys are doing a pretty good job of getting to the quarterback. It's always nice. The more you have, the better of you're going to be."
On whether it's harder to set up the opponent and get into a rhythm as a pass rusher when you're rotating in and out:
"It's not so much a harder situation. Trying to set them up, yes, I think at times you try to. But, you've got to take what the guy gives you, and that have lately. So, it's been good."
On how he intends to defend WR Larry Fitzgerald without CB Nate Clements:
"Yes, he's always played him well. We don't have him right now, but we'll make adjustments and we've got other guys who have got to step up their game and go out there and play to the best of their abilities and do the job."
On whether it will be one defender or different defenders guarding Fitzgerald:
"It will probably be a little mixed from what we've got going in."
On how Arizona's offense has changed from the first week to now:
"A little bit cleaner, a little bit smoother. I think the offense is playing together, with the quarterback the way he is, he brings them all together. They're healthier than they were the first game with the receivers and stuff. They're just getting used to one another like what normally happens in the 12th or 13th game of the year."
On whether he can ask a defender who is not normally physical to be physical with Arizona's receivers:
"I think you've got to do what - you know what to do, especially with the veteran players out there playing against them. We're teaching being physical on the receivers in your hands. Of course you always try to do that when you're playing man-to-man situations. Some of are give and take, depending upon who's playing and who they're matched up on."
On how CB Shawntae Spencer has been playing:
"He's been playing well the last couple of weeks. We're expecting him to do the same thing he's been doing."
On why there wasn't a lot of action going Spencer's way during the Seattle game:
"I don't know. Maybe he was playing lights out. I'm not on the offensive side of it."
On whether he was playing lights out last week:
"He was playing pretty well. He's had a couple of good games. Hopefully he'll continue doing that."
On the growth of Arizona's running game:
"Yes, they've got two hard runners, good sight lines, good vision. The offensive line is doing a good job with Russ Grimm coaching them. He's doing a pretty good job. He was a run-type guy when he was playing. So, they're doing well."
On the risk, reward factor in blitzing Cardinals QB Kurt Warner:
"I think with all those veteran quarterbacks who have played in the league a number of years, and the quality that he's played at, you've got to give and take at times. I think at times you should pressure him, and then other times lay back off. Just like I said, with all the good quarterbacks, they've seen all the looks. They know what they're looking at. Hopefully we'll get pressure on him as much as we can. That's the veteran quarterbacks that you face nowadays in the league. They know exactly what they're looking at. They watch tape and they understand the coverage that they have to beat. They know where they're going with the ball. You've got to play a little cat and mouse with them."
On whether he played with Russ Grimm:
On whether that was in Washington:
"Yes, in Washington."
On whether he's surprised that a Russ Grimm offense passes as much as the Cardinals do:
"It's not his offense. It's [Ken Whisenhunt's] offense. He's the head coach."
On how he would evaluate DT Kentwan Balmer's growth:
"There's always need for improvement across the board, whenever you play, especially for young players. I think he played adequately throughout the whole season. Can he get better? Yes. I think every day that you're out on the practice field, I think he did get better and kept on learning and kept on getting better each and every practice and each and every game. So, it was a disappointment to see that he went on IR because we could always use him, but in this business that happens. So, somebody else has got to pick up the slack."
On whether DT Baraka Atkins is likely to be active against the Cardinals:
"It does not look like it."
On where he envisions Atkins fitting in:
"Atkins? Somewhere inside. We're going to look at him. It's kind of hard around the 13th or 12th game of the season to see a guy without any pads on and actually going through practice. So, it's kind of a tough evaluation on trying to get the most out of a guy and see exactly what he is. He seemed pretty good yesterday, had some good movement. We'll see where it goes from there."
On whether he's more of a quick player:
"Yes. In a pass rush situation, what I've seen so far, he looked pretty good."
On whether anything changes in preparing for QB Kurt Waner:
"You've got to cat and mouse him, I think, is the most important thing. There's such a good veteran, wiley quarterbacks that they know where they're going with the ball, they know what coverage they're looking at. You've got to sometimes trick them a little bit and disguise a little bit better. We talk about that each and every week, about the disguise."
On whether he wants to see DT Ricky Jean-Francois on the field before the season ends:
"Yes, definitely. Rick has made improvement throughout the whole year. I always tell you, the hardest position to play, I think, is the defensive line because there's so much technique involved in a short space and time, but he's improved well. Hopefully he can get a couple of reps in there and see what he's got."
On whether he would be on the left side taking over for Balmer:
"Actually, he would be both."
On what kind of coach LB Jeff Ulbrich would make:
"A good coach. He's a student of the game. He understands defenses and his personality and his type are pretty dang good. He'll make a great coach in the league."
Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Raye
Post-Walk Thru - December 11, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
On whether he wants more balance in the offense:
"I look for a lot more balance. I will amend that by saying it does depend on the flow of the game, but balance will be necessary. It is a two-fold reason. One, we need it to create some momentum in the fourth quarter, and making first downs allows us to stay on the field and keep their offense on the sideline. We are evolving towards more balance as we go and hopefully we can get a good mix going in this game."
On whether TE Vernon Davis has been the most consistent player this season:
"Yeah, I would say if you look at it over the full body of work since we started and evolved and keep traveling toward wherever we are going right now, I would say he has been the one constant in the offense. But, as I said back in August and July when we started, we are tight end friendly so I would expect his level of play to keep escalating and his performance to keep going forward."
On whether it is easier for a quarterback to avoid sacks in the shotgun:
"Yes and no. Some of it, obviously, is by design, but he is quicker from the release standpoint. He is already set at five so he has an advantage in being able to see the rush, plus the types of things we are throwing out of the gun, it doesn't require the footwork coordination. That helps when the ball comes out. We have been better that way in terms of the amount of hits he has taken since he started playing and the number of sacks we have given up."
On whether sacks were a factor in going to the shotgun:
"Well to be honest with you, I never really planned to go to the gun. The gun was a part of our offense, the base part of our offense, and as things have evolved, and you can start with personnel first, injury and the addition of personnel and the change of quarterback, there has been a lot of water that has run under the bridge that has caused us to be where we are at this point. Where we are presently is a product of those things in our attempt to win football games and be a competitive offensive football team."
On whether he was referring to the offensive line's injuries:
"Yeah, it has been the line. It has been the back. It has been a number of things. But you do what you have to do and just keep on keeping on."
On whether the offensive line is playing better as a unit:
"Yeah, I think their coordination has gotten better. The other thing that you have to factor into that, since [T] Joe Staley has been hurt, that same five guys have played together since his injury. There hasn't been another change. The biggest thing with us has been continuity - a lack of continuity - and changing of people. The familiarity with the guy in front, or next to, or behind you, that has been since Staley's injury on the second play of the game up in Indianapolis, we have been okay in that unit. Then we lose [RB] Michael Robinson in Green Bay. That one unit has so far been a constant, and I think that has something to do with the players."
On whether he is concerned that Staley's return will disrupt that continuity:
"Yeah, if he comes back we are back again to change. The one thing I told them Wednesday was the only thing that is constant about the NFL is change. There is no other consistent factor in it. We have to adjust to the change and manage that. If he comes back we have to put on our hard hat and try to get our communication back to where it was when he was the left tackle for all those weeks and see if we can get him and [G] Dave [Baas] and [C] Eric [Heitmann] back and grooved as quickly as possible and go."
On how Smith's mechanics have improved:
"When I got here, it seems like a long time ago, he was coming off of an injury so we were monitoring the number of throws he had and we were careful to avoid a setback with him injury-wise. Basically what we worked on was his drops and footwork. We didn't do very much gun stuff because we weren't at that point. But the fundamental mechanics of playing the position were easier to do with him then because of the relative number of throws he was held to. It was more about footwork technique fundamentals as his shoulder mended. He seemed to grasp the teaching of the drops okay. We have tried, and we continue to try, to get him to play compact and he does a pretty good job of that."
On what he meant by playing compact:
"At the end of the drop, not feeling the rush and getting your feet spread out and anticipating the rush and not having a self-conscious tendency to flight or to run or to move. Just stay within the core, the pocket, and stay compact and play quarterback and still remain a passer. He has embraced that and he has done pretty well with it."
On whether making throws right before getting hit is part of staying compact:
"I think that is part of it, yes. I think that is part of maturity because a couple of those throws he made, I can remember one in particular, the color flashed and the instincts, where if you were watching the rush you would bolt, particularly if it is inside. Most guys can handle the edge-rush pressure if it is clean in the A gaps, but if it flashes inside, your natural tendency is to take your eyes from downfield. He has shown that he has no fear knowing he is going to get a full shot, like he did Sunday in Seattle, and staying compact and deliver the ball."