The 49ers wrapped up another practice yesterday, and it sounds like the offense had a very solid day (reports linked below). Alex Smith was connecting with his receivers on a lot of routes, while Colin Kaepernick had a great connection with Michael Crabtree on a 12-yard touchdown pass. It would be nice to see this kind of stuff in preseason games, but strong practices are a step in the right direction.
From an injury standpoint, it sounds like Ian Williams after missing most of Monday's practice after a tough hit. Issac Sopoaga, Delanie Walker, Nate Byham, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith all sat out practice. It will be interesting to see how the starting outside linebackers are looking this Saturday. Aldon Smith was expected to sit out, but Brooks seemed fine entering the week. If he is unable to practice, we could see a pairing of Parys Haralson and either Eric Bakhtiari or Kourtnei Brown. While this is not ideal in an actual game situation, I love the idea of seeing what Bakhtiari and Brown can do with starter type reps.
Coach Harbaugh also spoke with the media. I've posted his transcript after the jump. He discussed how Colin Kaepernick has started to emerge as the number two quarterback.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - August 14, 2012
San Francisco 49ers
As you look at your quarterback situation, is it at all possible that you would keep four quarterbacks?
"Anything is possible. We'll do what's best for our football team. What we feel like helps us be a better team and helps us win games. This is one of those things that was foreseen, that we have four very good quarterbacks. These are four quarterbacks that will all play a very long time in this league. Knew that it would be very competitive in the offseason and in training camp. It's been of great value, in that we don't take a bad rep in practice because of the quarterback not knowing what to do or not having the ability to make any of the particular throws, etcetera. It's also played out as we had foreseen. This competition, it moves. It's fluid. It goes up, it goes down, it goes sideways, and it's still playing out."
Are you foreseeing a very difficult decision on who the two and three guys are going to be?
"There are things that are taking shape. These games are very important, as we knew they would be. Thought that it would come down to some of these games and how they play in practice and also the games, as being equally as important."
You had said early on that there was a three-way tie for the number two spot. Is that still three guys for that spot or has QB Colin Kaepernick sort of emerged as the number two?
"I would say Colin has emerged there. It's been very good. Nothing is set in stone in that regard, but there has been some emergence. Really, all that can be said about that has been said. The rest we watch play out."
That being said, have you developed your game plan as far as how much each guy is going to play, or the order that they will play, on Saturday versus the Texans?
All four will play?
"Yeah, all four will play."
WR Brian Tyms seems to really enjoy playing football. It sort of comes out of him. Do you see that and how's he progressing?
"I see that in our football team. I've commented on that before. There's just been days. There's been consistently, a team that likes football, but also days where you know it - our team likes football. We've mentioned that before here. I see those qualities in all of our guys and in Brian as well."
You guys signed a couple tight ends yesterday. Do you expect TE Delaine Walker and TE Nate Byham out for an extended period?
"We'll see. I thought I've told you really all I could tell you on Delanie. I think he's going to be fine. It won't be a long absence."
He'll be available for the regular season opener?
"I would think so. Yes, I think he would be. Don't have a crystal ball though, on any of this. That's why we're always hesitant to talk about, he'll be back a specific day or it's a certain specific injury. We tend not to talk too much about those things."
We're looking for generalities. Is it weeks? Is it months? But, the fact that you think that he's going to be available for September 9th gives a good...
"As a generality, I don't think he'll be out very long."
Let me ask you about one of your backup tight ends, TE Konrad Reuland. Last year he said that when he came in, he felt like he needed to gain strength and become a better blocker. What have you seen in that area from him this summer?
"It's been real positive. Konrad is very much on track and doing an excellent job. Improving in all phases."
He seems to have a knack for always coming up with the football no matter where the ball is thrown. Ugly throws over the middle, he always comes up with it. Is that something you saw from him at Stanford as well?
"Yes. He can make the big catch. He can make the tough catch, the challenge catch. Konrad is just one of those guys that will do anything in his power to help the team."
Getting back to Tyms. What does he bring specifically?
"We're still watching that unfold. Been pleased. Some size, speed attributes, a good physical player. Tell me what you need. We'll save ourselves a lot of time [laughing], what do you need me to say?"
That's good. Well, maybe, what kind of style he is? Is he a good route runner? Does he rely on his size? Is he a leaper? That kind of thing.
"All these guys are good. That's the thing about pro football, you chuckle about it, but there are no bad players that are here. These guys are all good. It plays out. You're looking for better, for best. Those things unfold on the practice field."
Were you able to see QB Andrew Luck's debut at all?
"Some of the highlights. Looked good."
What do you think about LB Eric Bakhtiari as a player and where do you see him fit into this team?
"I think a lot of him as a football player, as a person, and a guy. Very talented, hard working guy, who you can count on. He's a count-on-me guy. Great to see him get in the ball game and have some real success and open eyes. That's an important thing now to come back and put an exclamation on that for Eric Bakhtiari, this week in practice and in games. Really happy for the way he's playing and competing. Where he fits in, he's got his competing like Brian Tyms, like those quarterbacks that you mentioned. They're playing, they're competing, they're working and hopefully not worrying and things will take care of themselves."
How is that right guard competition playing out with Alex Boone? Is he seizing that position now?
"He's doing it. There's been no change there, and continues to get better."
How has TE Demarcus Dobbs' experience working at tight end last week helped his development?
"I think it can help a player's development, especially a young player's development, in a lot of ways. In how much they can contribute to the football team, but also defensive end, tight end. You learn a lot about the defensive end because you know what the tight ends are doing. You know more as a tight end because you know what the defensive ends are trying to get accomplished. So there's a real carry over there. As it relates to special teams as well. There's a lot of carry over to offense and defense, but directly one side of the ball offense to defense, tight end to defensive end, defensive end to tight end. Those two positions are playing across from each other quite a bit of the time."
Is Dobbs far enough along at tight end that he could be the number three this year?
"He's definitely far enough along. We still don't know what that ceiling is yet. So, I don't think that ceiling is in site for Demarcus."
Do you think the play at TE has helped him? Has it helped him at the defensive end?
"That's what I'm saying. That's what I'm proposing. That's what I'm making an argument, stating a case that that does help. That does help and there's evidence to back that up that defensive end-to-tight end, tight end-to-defensive end, those are two competing positions. Not saying how much, but there's a number there, a percentage that it helps you as it relates to the other side of the ball, knowing what the person right across from you is trying to get accomplished and technique that they're using."
Is Exhibit A to your argument what happened Friday night, how Dobbs played defensive end Friday night?
"It'd probably be Exhibit B. Yeah. Owen Marecic at Stanford, the way the fullback-to-middle linebacker, might be Exhibit A. There's a lot of rewards there. There's a lot of rewards. Understand the risks and you make decisions and hope you hit on the rewards and not the risks, but understand what they are."
Do you expect to play Dobbs more on both side of the ball since TE Delanie Walker is hurt?
"Everybody wants a piece of Dobbs right now, on both sides of the ball and special teams. He is a popular guy with our coaching staff. It's something that's being, to the best of our ability, thought out and planned and utilized, that he's not overused, overstrained and we don't get diminishing returns. We want to hit on the rewards and high returns in that area."
How did the radio communication go on Friday? Was it better than last year?
"During the game it was fine. Yes."
You listen in on the calls, right?
"Yeah. Both sides of the ball."
Could you tell that there was a crisper, a better feed than in previous years?
"I can't say that I noticed that it was crisper or what degree it was better. But didn't have any problems, had no feedback issues with the quarterbacks."