The 49ers wrapped up their practice earlier this afternoon and offensive coordinator Greg Roman was the man behind the post-practice microphone. Naturally the first question was about blitz pickup and then the media hit on all the popular topics: offensive line play, Daunte Culpepper news, Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards, Kaepernick's performance thus far.
We'll have plenty more about his comments but I at least wanted to get this posted for now.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Press Conference - August 15, 2011
San Francisco 49ers
"How's it going? Good. Just had a great practice, got a lot done today. Guys are really working hard. We are challenging them with a lot of things. We've got a plan, long-term plan. We are installing a lot of things on them right now and they're working really hard, working through it and getting better every day. So, I'll throw it out to you all."
On whether they are doing more blitz pick up for protection purposes based on the Saints game:
"I wouldn't say we are doing more. We do a lot all the time, every day blitz pick up is a part of what we do, and our protection the other night was well below what we need. I think we are well aware of that. I think with the amount they blitzed us, I think it was really, really positive for us to be able to coach off that and use it as a mechanism to get better. So, there were a lot of great examples there for us in that preseason game."
On why the team wasn't prepared for the volume and variety of blitzes:
"Well, I think in the NFL, you are either prepared or you're not and if you don't get it done, you're not prepared. We didn't get it done on the field, and therefore we weren't prepared. I think a lot of it stems from little things, a little thing here, a little thing there. That's very correctible and that's the encouraging part about it. We had a chance to sit down with the offense the other day and really take it apart with a fine-tooth comb and point out some very important things that happen to be little things, but very important things."
On whether he recalls ever being in a preseason game where he was hit with blitzes as often as they were against the Saints:
"I think I can actually one time, and I can't remember what year it was but I think I can actually remember that. Blitz, play coverage, man zone, fire zone, drop everybody, it doesn't matter, it's all out there. You've got to be prepared for everything and you have to be prepared to execute under any circumstance."
On how WR Braylon Edwards is coming along:
"I think Braylon's doing a really good job thus far of picking things up and I really think his attitude has been phenomenal. His work ethic's been great. I think he's got a good base of football knowledge and understands the game. I think if he keeps progressing he's going to be a real asset for us."
On how important it is to see WR Michael Crabtree on the field:
"Well, we'll have to see. Right now he's still in the healing process. I think he's doing everything he can at this point to get right physically, and we are looking forward to when he's healthy. You can't rush these things though. It is what it is and he's working really diligently to get back out there. I think he's really on top of everything mentally, which is a credit to him."
On how he knows Crabtree is on top of everything mentally:
"Our meetings are very interactive, and he's very much a part of those meetings. John Morton, our receivers coach, is very, very thorough. Whether you're injured, hurt, first team, third team, he always gets these guys prepared. So, I think Michael is right where he needs to be mentally."
On how QB Daunte Culpepper looked today in his workout:
"Well Daunte Culpepper has been a very successful quarterback. I've seen it up close with my own eyes and we've all seen it. Any time you get a chance to see just why he might have been such a successful quarterback and what he brings to the table, I think it's an opportunity. I got to meet with Daunte and I very much enjoyed it. I think the early 2000's, he was really hot and he had it rolling there in Minnesota, so we got a chance to talk some football. He's a successful player and any successful player is worth talking to."
On what a veteran quarterback would do for the offense:
"I think that's a little bit hypothetical, not really sure. If he can play at a high level and compete, he could bring that aspect to the competition. I believe that a guy like Daunte, that's been around and seeing everything he's seen, then certainly he can offer the other quarterbacks a unique perspective on it. Whether it be coverage, how to read a certain pass play, protections, what not, he's got a lot of skins on his belt, so he would be an interesting guy."
On why the 49ers started considering a veteran quarterback this late in training camp:
"I think very simply we're trying to get better as a team all the time. That will never stop. I think [general manager] Trent Baalke and our scouting staff do a great job of really, with a fine-tooth comb, assessing who might be available and if they would, in fact, make our team stronger. I think that's an ongoing process."
On whether there is a repetition consideration that might be hard to juggle between the three quarterbacks:
"I think that's something that you have to discuss on a daily basis as a coaching staff. I think that's a very good point. That's something that we would definitely discuss and we do discuss daily in terms of how the reps get divided."
On the number of repetitions QB Alex Smith had with the first team:
"I think the reps are pretty even actually. I think they're divvied out pretty even throughout practice. I think they're both doing a really good job."
On whether he believes they are going to look at other quarterback possibilities in the coming days:
"I think you have a decision to make, do you carry two quarterbacks or three? And that's something that we'll have to change as the roster changes. If X-Y-Z happens to happen, then it might free up a third quarterback spot and we'd want to be ready to strike at that point. If X-Y-Z doesn't happen, and R-S-T happens, then we would keep two. You have to be ready for all of those different scenarios."
On what he sees from WR Kyle Williams:
"Kyle Williams has done a great job of picking up what we've installed, and he had a couple great blocks the other night. He's a guy that once he gets a ball in his hands, can make plays. He's really working hard to be a complete player."
On whether he wants to see physical things from Williams:
"We want to see all our players practice every day and be healthy. If a guy is out there practicing, then he's not fragile."
On whether he is worried about C Adam Snyder struggling with shotgun snaps during camp:
"The number one thing that has to happen on any offensive football play is your center-quarterback exchange. I don't care if you're in pee-wee football, high school, college, pro, or flag football for that matter. Yes, any time there are problems with the snap. That is something we work on all the time and never ever really feel like we've arrived at. Coach Harbaugh is, I would call, a guru on the quarterback-center exchange. He, more than anybody I've ever been around, can break down the quarterback-center exchange, whether it be under center, in the shotgun, as well as anybody. There are a lot of little fine points to it, and it's something we're getting better at all the time and that's encouraging. When you really look back to our first two practices compared to now, I think it's fair to say we've made some progress there."
On whether he senses WR Braylon Edwards appreciates a fresh start:
"I can't speak for Braylon on that. All I can say is that I like the feeling I get when I'm around him on the field. He's got some competiveness to him that you can feel on the field. I can hear him interacting with people talking about the finer points of what they need to do. He's mentoring some people there as well, with his experience. That's what I was referring to there. He's been a really good pro and is really bringing something to the team."
On whether there are any open positions on the offensive line:
"I'll tell you what, the best five will play. That's all I can say and in order to establish who the best five are, you need to give guys reps at different positions if you're truly going to let that unfold. That's what we're doing really. Also, if guys were to get injured, you can't throw a guy in a position he hasn't practiced at it before. So, I think that's just contingency planning really, and a natural residue of competition."
On whether he has determined who the best five offensive linemen are:
"That's a good question. I don't think we've built the combinations of seven or eight guys that could really give us a true picture. In other words, I don't think everybody has had a fair opportunity to play together at this point. I think that will be ongoing through the preseason."
On seeing eight linemen suite up:
"Yes. Sometimes you suite up eight, but not real often."
On whether he expects to see WR Michael Crabtree play for the opener:
"I think you would have to ask [head coach] Jim [Harbaugh] that and our medical staff. I don't know exactly when he's going to be back ready, but I know he's making a lot of progress and is working really hard at it."
On whether he would consider carrying two quarterbacks:
"[QB] Colin [Kaepernick] is doing a great job. One of the things you look for in a quarterback is the ability to manage those little situations that you can't really coach, teach and define. He's done a great job. Some guys have those instincts and he's shown to have those instincts. He's getting better every day. Makes some mistakes and then puts them behind him, and that's the key. It's hard to tell how that's all going to unfold, we'll just have to wait and see."
On how long it takes to develop chemistry between a quarterback and wide receiver:
"Well, building up chemistry is something that is in the eye of the beholder. To truly build up a great chemistry, that takes time, right? That takes a lot of time. But to do your job effectively, I don't know if that falls in the chemistry standpoint, to be able to do your job effectively. We'll have to wait and see how long that takes. That's all we really ask our players, is to do their job effectively down-in and down-out, and to be as consistent as possible."