49ers vs. Packers: Mike Johnson Press Conference Inferences

Yesterday, 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson spoke with the media today and seemed to reveal a little bit more about what we might see from the offense on Sunday. He didn't come right and say they were going to run this play or that play, or the team would suddenly switch to some exotic formations. Clearly they won't be going so far as to change what has sometimes worked for them (and often times failed given that they're 4-7). However, there are a few interesting comments that provide some insight into what we might see on Sunday.

On whether he has made changes to the offensive game plan with RB Frank Gore on injured reserve:

"Well, we have to adapt a little bit. You know Frank is a big part of our offense and we have to make a couple adjustments, use two backs on first and second down, and we'll make some necessary changes to get that done."

The 49ers haven't used a whole lot of two running back sets, preferring to go with a fullback or no second back in the backfield. Although Coach Singletary has indicated the team won't change things up all that much, this would be an interesting switch for once. Keep an eye out for Westbrook and Dixon getting mixed in together on early downs.

On how much the Packers move around LB Clay Matthews:

"He's all over the place. He's a guy that they want to get free in a nickel pass rush situations, and he's a good player. And we have to know where he is at all times."

On whether T Anthony Davis is ready to line up on the left side against Matthews:

"Well, we'll have to be ready as a protection group. So it's not going to be solely on Anthony Davis. It's going to be a group effort to try to make sure that we get these guys blocked in a passing situation."

The 49ers will be keeping a close eye on sack leader Clay Matthews (shocking, I know). More importantly, it looks like we'll see him potentially double-teamed. Westbrook and Dixon haven't had a lot of opportunities to work on pas protection during games so if and when they do get some opportunities in this aspect of the game, cross your fingers and pray.

On how he would describe RB DeShawn Wynn:

"Well, I don't know much about him. He's here and he's helping us out right now, but the guys that I'm focusing on right now are Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon."

If DeShawn Wynn is active and sees the field outside of special teams, something bad has probably happened. To quote Mike Ditka, NEXT!

One final note on Coach Singletary's post-practice press conference today (transcript after Mike Johnson's after the jump). Singletary indicated that Baas was a probable for Sunday's game. He's listed as questionable on the injury report so I'm guessing this means he's closer to probable, which would be a very good thing.

Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson
December 2, 2010
San Francisco 49ers 

Listen to Audio I Media Center

On whether he has made changes to the offensive game plan with RB Frank Gore on injured reserve:

"Well, we have to adapt a little bit. You know Frank is a big part of our offense and we have to make a couple adjustments, use two backs on first and second down, and we'll make some necessary changes to get that done."

On whether he made mid-game changes after Gore was out against Arizona:

"Well, I called the game based on what I was seeing upstairs. I mean, all of those guys are capable backs no matter what we run, so it's based on what I was seeing upstairs and I called the game accordingly. It didn't really factor in if Frank's there or not. We know that [RB] Brian Westbrook is a capable guy, and we got a young guy in [RB] Anthony Dixon that we think is going to be a good back for us. So I called the game based on feel."

On whether Gore's absence will affect the passing game:

"No. I don't think so. I think all those guys are up to speed now and now they'll be forced to do some things that Frank did for us, but I think they're ready, they're capable, and they'll do a good job for us."

On how he has seen Dixon evolve throughout the season:

"Well, it's hard to say that because he hasn't had a lot of reps with the first group. But, he is a guy that at the end of training camp, he had come along and he, I think he's going to get better now that he continues to get more reps. So, get him back in the groove again and get him going."

On how he would describe RB DeShawn Wynn:

"Well, I don't know much about him. He's here and he's helping us out right now, but the guys that I'm focusing on right now are Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon."

On whether he looked at last year's film against Green Bay to see what they did to stop them on defense:

"Well, they're a little bit different than they were last year. They're doing a couple different things, but we'll take a look at it, just as a reference point. But it's a new year, they're doing some new things, we're doing a couple new things, so it will be a new game."

On how much the Packers move around LB Clay Matthews:

"He's all over the place. He's a guy that they want to get free in a nickel pass rush situations, and he's a good player. And we have to know where he is at all times."

On whether T Anthony Davis is ready to line up on the left side against Matthews:

"Well, we'll have to be ready as a protection group. So it's not going to be solely on Anthony Davis. It's going to be a group effort to try to make sure that we get these guys blocked in a passing situation."

On Davis' progress this season:

"Well, I know the offensive line played real well last game, so that's the one that we have to go on and go forward with, and I think as a group last week they did a great job, so I assume he played pretty well."

On whether he expects C David Baas to be medically cleared to play against Green Bay:

"That's not my decision, that's Fergie's [head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson]. Fergie has to let us know whether he's going to be cleared or not, and we trust whatever decision he gives us."

On whether Baas being able or not able to play will impact the complexity of what they are able to do up front:

"Well, it will definitely be something that we'll have to adjust to, but we have a guy, [offensive line coach] Mike Solari, who does a great job with the offensive line and he prepares the group. So if one guy goes down and someone else steps in, I'm sure that he'll have - whoever that guy may be, [G] Tony Wragge or whoever it is playing center, he'll be ready to go if he has to go in there and step in for David Baas."

On how valuable Wragge is since he is able to play left tackle, guard, and possibly center:

"Yeah, as you know in this league, the more you can do, the better your chances are of staying around. So we consider that to be a valuable commodity for us."

On whether he knows if he will use Westbrook or Dixon in third-and-long and third-and-short situations:

"Well I mean, we'll tailor our game plan to try to put those guys in the best situations to do what they do best. And we're still trying to do some of those things. Today is the nickel day. But we'll get those guys in the best positions that we feel will help us win the game."

On his call during the Arizona game on third-and-15 and what he saw that made him decide to run the ball with Gore:

"Well, it's something that we always say. When we're in third down situations, it doesn't necessarily mean pass all the time. I know, you get past ten plus, the percentages of you getting a first down, they go down considerably, and it was a run that we saw based on some things that they had shown on tape that we had a chance to get somewhere between 10 and 15 yards, and everybody did their job correctly, we executed well as a group on that play, and we picked up, I think 16 yards."

On whether he got satisfaction out of that outcome, since if it hadn't worked people would have questioned his decision:

"Yeah, but my job is to make sure that I put the team in the best possible situations that I can put them in, and I consider all factors when I do that. Sometimes, you do those things to play field position. You don't always take risk if you have a lead, or you're in a backed up situation. You may do some things like that in order to play field position and let our defense play and then come back the next drive. Because I think one of those times we had a third-and-eight, and we were backed up maybe at the 20 yard line, and then the next time we got the ball we were at the 40 or 50. And those are the types of things that you may do on occasion to try to change the field and let your defense play."

On whether playing Green Bay will be a good measuring stick versus Monday's game against Arizona to see the progress of the offensive line:

"Well, not necessarily, because we played last week against Tampa Bay, and they were 31st in the league against the run and we didn't do a very good job. So this is the NFL, and each week you play a capable opponent. So I don't want to diminish what our offensive line did last week and say that they're going to face a challenge this week. We know Green Bay is a good football team, and we're going to have to go into Lambeau Field and play well to win this game. And we know that. But, you know, we'll be up for the challenge and we'll be there Sunday."

On whether the potential for a weather game at Lambeau Field changes the approach of how he calls the game or his expectations from the offense:

"Well, we'll structure the game plan to handle all situations, and then once you get there and things happen, you'll call the game as such. You know, some games require more passes, some games require more runs. And it depends on what you're doing, and how you're doing, and what they're doing to you, and then you just call it by feel and then you try to put yourself in the best situation to win the game."

On whether he will structure the game plan with more varied runs because he will have two different-style backs:

"Well, we're structured with varied runs every week. And you call them based on what the defense is doing to you and how you're doing up front and how you're doing maybe at the fullback position. So I mean, it varies from week to week, but each game plan has runs that are diversified to get in different areas of the field."


Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post - Practice - December 3, 2010
San Francisco 49ers

On C David Baas back at practice:

"Probable."

On anybody else who might be injured - CB Shawntae Spencer, LB Parys Haralson:

"Those guys are probable, questionable. I would say Parys is questionable, Shawntae is probable."

On anybody else:

"No sir, not that I can think of."

On what happened with K Joe Nedney and the optimism that he could be ready for this week's game:

"Well he came out to kick and it got a little tight on him. He didn't feel comfortable with it, and of course we told him ‘you know just be honest with us, and let us know where you are,' and he did. So we just felt that we did not want to rush him. We know that he's been around awhile. He knows his body, so just giving him a chance to get healthy."

On whether K Jeff Reed will have a chance to kick before pregame warm-ups:

"I don't think so, but I talked to coach Schottenheimer earlier. He may kick a little bit today, I'm not sure where we left it on that. I'll have to check back with him."

On whether you were interested in Reed a couple weeks ago when you were first talking about kickers:

"We talked about it, but he wanted to take a week off and get his mind right and think about what he wanted to do. So we respected that."

On what the ritual is prior to a game to determine how far the kicker can kick that day:

"Well I'm out there as well looking at them kick. You try and get a feel for it before the game, but you also know there's a risk factor and how he's going to respond when there's a rush coming. I think in all honesty, most kickers look great before the game. It's like anything else, but when the real deal starts and when the pressure is on, that's when you find out where they are and what you have as a kicker."

On the short week this week and whether you scaled back on any preparation in order to keep the players fresh:

"We did. I sat down and we talked as a staff and really tried to cut back as much as we possibly could, have some walk thru's and try to mix it up. Have some things that we really needed to see full speed, do them full speed. The other things that we really didn't, so let's have walk thru's. So I think it worked out really well. I think the players have had time to get their feet underneath them and be ready to go on Sunday."

On whether it matters to you that this is a division where nobody is playing well:

"I look at it like this, whoever gets to the playoffs, I don't think anybody is going to ask you what your record is or anything like that. I think the bottom line is you come out of this division, whoever you play next, you get ready to play. Right now all we're thinking about is Green Bay."

On whether CB Nate Clements has more ability to line up where he would like:

"No. You know our defense is such that everybody has a job to do. We really don't have guys that will just go where they want to go, do what they want to do. Everybody's a part of that 11 man process and when the ball is snapped we have to be where we need to be. Maybe sometimes it looks that way, we have certain defenses where guys can move around a bit, but they have to be where they need to be at the right time."

On how much more creative you need to be on offense without RB Frank Gore:

"Not anymore creative."

On whether you have to do different things due the fact that Frank was the ‘Bell-Cow':

"Well it's like this, Frank is the Bell Cow, Frank was the Bell Cow. Obviously he's hurt now, but that's why we have [RB] [Brian] Westbrook, that's why we have [RB] [Anthony] Dixon. They can step in the same plays that Frank has been executing since training camp, those are the same plays that these guys are familiar with and they can run those plays. So it's not like we're going to change what we're doing. The people that are doing it, their style is going to change, but it's not going to change the plays."

On whether this is the type of game where having similar pieces at one position comes in handy:

"I think what we want to accomplish in this game on the defensive side is just really disguise as much as we can and not give away things. We want [QB] Aaron Rodgers to work as hard as he possibly can to try and figure out what we're doing and frustrate him enough that he has to hold the ball a little bit longer than normal and try and get our hands on him."

On whether you waived the 24-hour rule after the win in Arizona as to speed up the preparation process:

"I think after the game the guys understood where we were and what we need to do and it's just a matter of going to Arizona on Monday night and playing well enough to win, but it's not like we had a lot of time. That 24-hour day is gone, and when we get back on the plane, we have to start thinking about Green Bay and all of the challenges that you are going to have there and get ready to play."

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