49ers vs. Bengals: Getting Backup Quarterbacks Ready?

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh chatted with the media yesterday before practice and discussed many issues, including the fact that Colin Kaepernick received more snaps this week than he did last week. Given Alex Smith's concussion, it will be interesting to see how the team handles their QB situation.

Colin Kaepernick did get some work, but do they activate Scott Tolzien this week just to be safe? Does it really matter given the lack of a veteran backup? This was the kind of situation many considered when the 49ers elected to go with Alex Smith and two rookies. Of course, the injury occurred last week and we're onto a whole separate game.

Outside of the possibility that the concussion (the first reported concussion of Smith's NFL career) could make it easier for future concussions (I have no idea how that works medically), is it simply a whole new set of circumstances with the chances based on the new defense he faces rather than based on his own history? Some QBs have gotten concussions more frequently than any others, but I don't whether that's based on how they play or based on the build-up of previous concussions.

The 49ers seemed to make it through training camp in relatively good shape, although in reality Michael Crabtree, Dashon Goldson, Reggie Smith and Shawntae Spencer were all dealing with injuries. They've carried over and now the 49ers are adding some more with the likes of Braylon Edwards, Moran Norris and Alex Smith to a lesser extent. The 49ers depth is a question mark at this point and if they're going to remain in the NFC West hunt they need to get healthy soon.

Head after the jump to check out Coach Harbaugh's press conference transcript.

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - September 23, 2011
San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center 

With all these points, yards, and stuff going around the league, are you ever tempted to get three receivers in shot gun and just chuck it around the yard?

"Yeah, that's part of our plan. We want to be good at that. And we have done that, gotten in three wide receivers." 

Well typically it's just on third down though, it doesn't seem like you do it other than third and five or less.

"Part of the scheme. It's what we're working on. We've got the ability to do it. Yes." 

Are you expecting to see Bengals WR Ryan Whalen on Sunday?

"Don't know. He was inactive the first two weeks. There's a chance he might be playing this week." 

What kind of receiver was he at Stanford?

"Very, very good receiver. Very disciplined, route running, get to the spot. Very good blocker. He would be good on special teams. Very trustworthy receiver. Very good football player." 

What's impressed you so far from what you've seen of Bengals QB Andy Dalton?

"Playing with good poise. Throwing the ball with accuracy. Very good timing. He's getting it out of his hand very well. He's managing the game extremely well. Playing with a cool head, making good decisions." 

You had mentioned QB Alex Smith on Wednesday as a tough son of a gun, how much of your opinion was formed after knowing that he did take a shot to the head Sunday and continued to play?

"Well, definitely, I saw the shot to the head on tape and some of the other ones where he stood in there in the face of the rusher. Great courage and stood in there and made the throw. Those were the kind of things that I was referring too off of what I saw on tape." 

Now, was it that first play of the second quarter where he took that blow to the head?

"Yes." 

Just from his standpoint, have you addressed, I think he probably felt something during the game, but didn't talk about it until after the game when he went to the trainers. Have you talked to him about that process of knowing your body, and knowing when to say something and when not to?

"It's definitely something that we want our players communicating to the medical staff and to our trainers. And our guys do a great job of that in our opinion. Alex is a pro, knows his body. And like all of our players, still has to do a great job of consulting with the physicians and the trainers." 

Do you, just asking from your own experience, you have to know what it's like to you want to tell people something, but not tell them too much to have you taken out of the game. Does that play into the process of a quarterback and competitor trying to stay on the field?

"It plays into the process, but when you're talking about the head, the heart, the spine, the back, the brain, those are things that you encourage your players not to try and gut out." 

So in retrospect, did Alex play it the right way?

"It's hard to really say. I wasn't in his body. He felt like he did. So, that's about as much as I can really intelligently comment on it." 

Jim, with Bengals QB Cedric Benson off to a good start, what kind of test do you expect this to be for your number one rushing defense?

"This will be a big test. He's extremely good, especially on the edge. Has a great knack of when to put the foot in the ground and take it up field, and set up the blocks and make them right. Runs with a lot of authority and speed. He's a very good back. Big, big test for us." 

Has QB Colin Kaepernick gotten more reps this week in case Alex won't be able to play, or if he has any setbacks on Sunday?

"Colin did get more reps this week than last." 

What are your impressions of his work so far?

"It was good. He's doing a good job. But, I said it many, many times, like a lot of our guys, we're not where we want to be yet. But, we're working to get there. And he's working on a lot of the finer points in the game. But, he's doing a very good job at it." 

What will you have Michael Crabtree listed as, as far as the availability for the game?

"I would say we'll probably list him as probable." 

So that means in all likelihood he will be on the field and able to contribute?

"I think that's what, 25 percent-75 percent chance he's going to play? 

And how, do you just sort of figure out how to use him depending on how he holds up early in the game?

"Well, we've got a game plan, and he's part of it." 

Do you need to look ahead to the Philly game, in respect to Michael Crabtree and say, "Gee if we play him ‘X' amount of snaps against Cincinnati, we might not be able to have him against Philadelphia?"

"No, I don't want to get into how much, what the plan is with him or what our thinking is or how he'll be used in the game. How many plays is he going to be in, what specific routes he's going to be running, how that affects next week. This week is the game, we're playing to win this one and Michael's part of the game plan, and very likely and probable that he'll play. Not much more information I can give you there." 

Jim, did Colin get more action this week just in response to Alex having a concussion or was it something else?

"It was part in response to the concussion and he got a little bit more work this week." 

Will you have any lineup changes, defensively in the secondary?

"We'll see. Yeah, we'll see." 

You're leaving today for a 10-day, 9-day road trip. Anything different that you do, that you do, before taking off? Next time you come home you will have played two games. Anything different logistically for you personally?

"There's video that we are taking. A lot more of our video infrastructure that will be traveling with us on this game." 

That's the main thing?

"That's the main thing. Yes, that's the main difference, extra equipment. The biggest is the, make sure we have our video needs covered while we're on the road." 

Your team hotel will basically turn in into 4949 Centennial?

"Yes. Yes, along with the Youngstown practice facility. We can get into that next week. Everybody's really just kind of honed in on this game right now. But that's, to answer your question, we'll take more video infrastructure." 

You will take your practice squad on the road with you?

"Yes."

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