The 49ers officially signed David Carr earlier today, and officially completed the expected trade of Shaun Hill to the Detroit Lions. Since Carr is officially a member of the 49ers, he met with the media...finally! Many of you remember the epic press conference nine days ago. Well, we finally had it.
There were obviously a lot of intriguing questions to be answered. After the jump I've posted the answers to all those questions. Among other things, we get his thoughts on Patrick Willis' Twitter comments (quite possibly the only man who will ever get an apology from Bamm Bamm). Naturally he spoke about the issue of playing time and a QB competition, as well as his own status as a draft bust. All in all, it's a fairly intriguing and informative Q&A.
"Those were all good options, good football teams, good opportunities, but in reality this was close to home. We watched a lot of film through the season as quarterbacks, me and [New York Giants QB] Eli [Manning], we'd watch other guys, watch a lot of teams and kind of be prognosticators a little bit to see who was on the rise and who was a good football team. He was trying to find me a job too. This was a good spot. This team has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. We used to talk about what defense we didn't want to face and these guys always came up. We used to talk about the young talent with [WR Michael] Crabtree and [TE] Vernon [Davis] and it seems like they have enormous talent on the team. As a quarterback that's always fun, to have options, when you are out there throwing the ball around. It was very intriguing to me, and just to have them feel the same way about me that I felt about them coming out, I wanted to make it my first trip because, honestly, I got the best feeling about them of all the teams. There was definitely interest from both sides from all the teams that we mentioned, but San Francisco never wavered, never varied. There was never any lack of confidence in me from them. As a player, that's what you always want, just a group to believe in. They did from the very first person I met here, all the way up to the owners. They were really cool. Coach [Mike] Singletary in particular, has a great plan for this team and his heart's in the right place. He seems like a great guy and a man of faith. It's something that I believe in strongly, too. I feel like I'm in this position for a reason and I think that he does too. Hopefully, it can work out."
On what Coach Singletary has told him about playing time:
"Honestly, that was one of the first things that I asked him when I came out here. I didn't word it that way. The way I worded it was, ‘Are my actions on the field going to matter?' The last two years being with Eli, he's been entrenched since the Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP. We had a good time, but it felt like sometimes when I'd go out to practice, it didn't really matter what I did because it was going to help the team, me being out there and us learning off of each other, sharpening each other was great, being around the guys was good, but I kind of wanted to feel in my next stop, hopefully my last stop, I want my actions to matter. For me, I got the right answer from him. ‘You go out there and compete and yes we are going to pay attention to what you do.' That was good. That's all I needed to hear. Now it's just all hard work."
On whether he sees this is a quarterback competition or whether the burden is on him as the backup to win the job:
"You know, it's funny. I felt like I was going out every day to try and play as a starter and prepare as a starter even though there was really no question that I was going to be out there. So, for me it's more of a mindset deal. It might sound funny, but I don't see either one of us as a starter or a backup or anything. I just see us as all trying to get better and make the team better. It worked out for me in New York. I played well when I went in and I was always prepared when I went in. I didn't say, ‘Well, I'm the backup and I'm going to do what I can the help the starter.' No, I prepared as the starter. Some games I'd go in, some games I played a half, some games I played no snaps. For me mentally, it was the easiest way for me to get through it."
On whether he's met or talked with QB Alex Smith:
"Yes, I worked out with him this morning. I think I've met him once or twice before, just in passing, maybe at a Super Bowl event or something else. We had a great workout. It was fun to try to push each other, but he seems like a good guy. Like I said, I've only worked out with for about an hour."
On the similar backgrounds that he and Alex have:
"Yes, being the first pick. Some of the coaches - it was funny, he was telling me a story when he was coming out of high school. It was my last year in Fresno [State] and he really wanted to go there, but he ended up choosing Utah. We know some of the same guys, but it was kind of neat to talk about some of the coaches that we had. We need to catch up."
On whether he has any other connections with his new teammates now:
"Yes, [FB] Moran Norris and I played together. That guy is awesome. I like Moran a lot. He seems like he's entrenched himself here. Guys get along with him. Some of the guys that I've played against in the WAC, some guys I played against their older brothers. I'm starting to feel like that guy, where I was the young before, now I'm the 30-year-old quarterback that's out here. I've played with everybody. With everyone, I probably have a connection somehow, with a team or with their older brother, maybe even their dad."
On the 49ers bringing in G Chester Pitts:
"Yes, I called Chester. I think it's awesome. He's a great football player. I know when we were in Houston, a lot of those guys got a bad rap for giving up so many sacks and just struggling. In reality, they were moving around so much, Chester was the one guy that stayed at his position and played every snap up until maybe last year. I think he got hurt this last year, I'm not sure. He was solid. He's a really good football player. He'd be a great addition to these guys and he's a great guy to have in the locker room too."
On how he's a different player than he was his final year with the Texans:
"Experience and confidence. When I first came out, I didn't know what I was doing. I could throw all the throws and I still believe that I can. That stuff has never been a problem for me. The stuff that has been a problem for me is, ‘Can I do this?' My first experience, it was just such a rough year. I struggled with that. Once I realized I could do this, I'm going into my ninth year, I know that I can play the game. Now, it's just getting guys around you. I really didn't realize how important the team was and how important having good coaching and guys that believe in you. That's what I go back to with the 49ers believing in me and wanting me here. That stuff's important as a player. It's not going to help you throw a quick out or a post, but it helps you just carrying yourself in the locker room because as a quarterback you have to carry yourself the right way or guys aren't going to believe in you. If you don't believe in the play that's called, if you don't believe in yourself - I've seen too many times, you just have bad experiences. Yes, with a lot of things it's confidence, but I feel so much better now. I went through the year in Carolina which was tough when I left there. I was kind of just wondering, I've said it before, if this is really what I wanted to do. It wasn't fun anymore. I could always play, but the excitement was never there the last year. When I went to New York, I got around some awesome guys, awesome coaches that believed in me. They never showed a lack of confidence in me. That's why, when we went on the field, we had success. That stuff is important, but those last two years were great. I recharged my battery for my career and now I feel like my talent level, my experience level are right next to each other. Hopefully, that can transcend into helping the team win."
On whether he's been told that he'll get to compete for the starting job:
"Specifically, those words haven't been said, but they have said that competition is what they love around here. It makes you feel better. One of Singletary's things is, ‘Iron sharpens iron.' The thing that I wanted to hear, from all those guys, was I'll have a chance to be on the field if I play the way I know I can play and they said yes. Once I get on the field, I feel confident that we are going to play well."
On the last time he competed for a starting job:
"Junior high maybe. I don't know. It's been awhile. I think you compete everyday, really. Just coming in here today doesn't change what I've done. I've been working out since the end of the season and I'm going to stay with the same routine that I have, but I think if you start changing because you are in a ‘competition,' it might mess with your head a little bit. I'll just go out and work as hard as I can and hopefully does the same thing. This isn't just about me and Alex and the quarterbacks, this is about the whole team getting better. They ended the season pretty well. They ended the season strong and they probably feel like they can beat anybody. I kind of want to fit into that role. They probably want to see how good I am, but I want to see how good they are too. So, it will be interesting."
On whether he's looked at the offensive playbook yet and how it compares to the offenses that he's run:
"Plays are plays. I learned that about three or four years ago. I kind of got it through my head that coordinators, they all have the same plays and you can't do too much. They have their own styles and that's what you kind of have to get a feel for. Jimmy Raye, what does he do on Sunday? How does he want to call a game? Because as a quarterback you have to get in tune with that. You have to understand why he's calling those plays. What is he trying to do? What is the defense trying to do to you? Then you go from there, but play-wise, I'll pick up the lingo in a couple of weeks. It will probably be a little rough at first because it is a system that I haven't verbally communicated, but I'll figure it out."
On the system that he's familiar with:
"There's a couple. There's a lot of different ones. I've been in a West Coast system. I've been in a run and shoot system. I've been in all of them. This is probably more similar to what I did in New York, I would say. Definitely want to run the football, build off of that with the guys that we have. That's the one thing, I think we have matchup deals that we can exploit with other teams that I don't think a lot of the teams around the league have. We might be one of five teams that can put guys like [TE] Vernon [Davis]. I mean, who's going to cover him? He can block as good as an offensive lineman. There's definitely some things we can do that they've started to do that I think is going to help the team a lot."
On whether he's used the digit terminology before:
"I had it in college. The number system. I did it with Jeff Tedford, who's at Cal-Berkeley, but yes I've done the number system and the route tree. It's actually a pretty smooth system once you get used to spitting it out, so I'll pick it up."
On how important it was to him to come to San Francisco with his family in Bakersfield:
"Honestly, I was pretty determined to get it done in Arizona or here, I wanted it to work out. Those were the two teams I targeted, playing-wise way back when. Not taking anything away from Cleveland, but it's out there. I'm a big family guy. I have a lot of family that would love to see me play that haven't had a chance to see me play, some people that I went to high school with that honestly can't afford to come out and watch a game in Houston or New York. It's just hard for them. You can't even get it on TV. They don't have money to pay for Sunday Ticket or do whatever. It was big for me to get back here. I have a lot of friends around here too."
On his reaction to LB Patrick Willis's comments on Twitter:
"He's definitely passionate. I got that from him, the moment he called me. I was actually sitting in [GM] Scot [McCloughan's] office and he called my phone and I took it and walked out on the patio. We had a great talk. We've played against each other before. We've talked trash against each other and I understand he's definitely passionate about winning and he's protecting his teammates. For a guy to play that well and to have that much energy, for him not to respond a certain way, I think that would be a little strange. He said what he said and we had a great talk. We've texted back and forth and I just told him I want to win. That's all I want to do. The past is the past and I'm a much better player than I was when we played each other four or five years ago. But I've got a lot to prove. I think that he does. He wants to win and prove that he can carry a team and carry a defense and I think he's more than capable of doing that, but at the same time I think that together we could be pretty good."
On whether there was any offense taken to Willis's comments:
"Of course, initially you say, ‘Well, I can play.' As a player, you wouldn't be human if you didn't, but after talking to him, he was very apologetic and I told him, ‘You don't have to apologize for anything. You said what you said and you believe that and that's fine. It's my job to change your opinion of me,' and that starts from day one working out here and getting around those guys and showing them that I can play the game and I want to help you guys win."
On how much it means to him to stop talking about him as a first overall pick and a bust:
"For me, that was the biggest thing. When I left New York, I could have easily went back there, sat there for the next 7 or 8 years and been a backup and got paid fine and my family would have lived in New York half the year and California half the year. It's a great life for my kids. For me, I was in such a good place with my experience and my playing ability that it was time to go out and push myself a little bit. I wanted to see what was out there. Thankfully, the Arizona and San Francisco deals, even the Cleveland deal, those opportunities were out there for me, so I could go get them. So I'm super excited to come out and do this."