49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Tuesday as the 49ers are wrapping up their final week of OTAs. The team will host a mandatory minicamp next week, and Harbaugh is likely to speak then as well. That will be about it then for the next five or six weeks before training camp gets going in late July. Soak it in people!
Coach Harbaugh opened up by saying he did not see Darius Fleming injure his knee. He followed that with some discussion about offensive
coordinator consultant Eric Mangini. He confirmed that Mangini would work with the offense by breaking down opposing defenses. Mangini told the media he signed a two-year contract, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
After that, Coach Harbaugh got into some discussion about players. He had a few comments about Lawrence Okoye, then Eric Reid, followed by discussion of the 49ers two special teams additions in Raymond "Bubba" Ventrone and Kassim Osgood.
Naturally he was asked about Judge Judy, and he indicated he would be inviting her to a game. Maybe we'll get to see Judge Judy breaking down the team after a win. I eagerly await that on 49ers post-game video!
How's LB Darius Fleming?
"How is he?"
Yeah, we saw him go down with an apparent knee injury out there.
"Didn't see that."
OK. Well, tell us about 49ers senior offensive consultant Eric Mangini then and-
"Are you sure it wasn't [WR] Kassim [Osgood], when Kassim went down?"
No, Fleming definitely went down.
"OK, yeah. OK, no I didn't see that."
OK. Eric Mangini, can you shed a little light on what his role will be with the team?
"Yeah, it'll be consulting on offense. Feel like we added a really talented, knowledgeable coach. You look at how defenses are going prepare for us, and where we can attack defenses. That's what his role will be, helping game planning and overall offensive scheme."
Will he have any on-field coaching responsibilities?
"Eventually that's possible. But, right now just getting indoctrinated in things."
Where will he be on game day? Up in the booth, or on the sideline?
"Haven't made that decision yet."
Is that kind of consistent with your philosophy? You've always said you like strong assistants who could potentially be head coaches elsewhere. Is that consistent with your philosophy?
"Absolutely, absolutely. The idea that you're either getting better or you're getting worse, but you're never staying the same. What ways can we get better? We're trying to chase that and see if we can't get a mile an hour faster."
It's a newly-created position though. What led to you bringing him on in a newly-created position and the need for that?
"I was watching him on TV and he's got a great reputation. There are other coaches on the staff who've coached with him. And I called Eric up and asked him if he'd be interested, described the role. Came out and visited for about three days, maybe two weeks ago. And we've been in conversation since then. And explained where I thought he could really help us. I think he'll be a great addition. I think it makes us better."
Can you talk a little about DL Lawrence Okoye and your initial thoughts about him and then how he's been progressing?
"Doing a fine job. There are a lot of things that are new. But, working very hard at it and doing it with a very good attitude. Showing up, he's working hard and he's listening. And think good things will happen when you do that."
You've had a couple weeks to see S Eric Reid on the field. Is there anything you've seen that you didn't know about him before you guys drafted him, good, bad or otherwise? Or is he pretty much the package that you saw?
"I don't know about all that. So, I guess nothing comes to mind."
What's the biggest hurdle for him right now? Is it really just learning the defense?
"I think everybody's doing the same thing out here. Showing up, working hard, listening. Trying to get better each day. And every guy's working on something in their game. Whether it's a technique, or learning an assignment, mproving at a technique, or improving an assignment. Getting in great condition and getting strong. So, everybody's in that same process right now."
What about adding S Raymond Ventrone yesterday, and Osgood today?
"Bubba [Ventrone]? Yeah, Bubba. Everybody calls him Bubba."
Is that about the special teams and trying to strengthen that?
"Obviously, the same thing. Either you're getting better or you're getting worse. You're never staying the same. And we are taking a special teams unit that's been very good, very productive, and seeing if we can't get even better."
What's Osgood's strength on special teams? Obviously we know he's an All-Pro. But, what grabs you on film about him?
"I like the way he runs down and covers kicks. But, there's a lot more to his game. Very good tackler. Even in 10 years he's been in the league. You watch him, he's first or second every time running down on kickoffs. Also, does a good job blocking as a wide receiver. Physical player and a strong player. It's part of the competition. It's part of the mix. I think the way it's been assembled right now, the guys that are on the punt team and the kickoff team in particular on our team, will have shown a great desire to be on those teams because they're going to be very competitive. I think those teams have the chance to be elite."
Going back to Eric Mangini, did you know him much before that three-day trip out here that you spent with him?
"Talked to him in Youngstown. The times that we visited Youngstown. Coach came out to practice a few times in both years. And met him through [asst. head coach/special teams coordinator] Brad Seely. But, yeah more those conversations and also by reputation and what the coaches on our staff have said about him."
Who was in charge of breaking down defenses last year mostly for the offense? Was that offensive coordinator Greg Roman or one of his assistants?
"Everybody does a share of that."
And WR Anquan Boldin, why was he not here today? We didn't see him.
"Why was he not here?"
Well, he said he wasn't going to the White House. So, we were wondering if he changed his mind, or if you knew. So, to be blunt, do you know?
"No. He's got something he's doing."
You guys came really close last year. Do you sense that when you come this close guys come back and they have a little bit more of a drive, or an energy, or maybe a little bit of a chip to want to get back to where they got to last year? Do you sense any of that just in terms of eagerness to get back to work?
"Yeah, I've sensed a very eager bunch out here right from the start, from day one. So, progressing well."
How about the staff? Is that something you really want to hurry up and get back to work?
"Eager, yeah, good word."
LB Dan Skuta, do you guys see him as an outside linebacker?
And is that what he's played in the past? I seem to remember him playing inside backer.
"He's played inside also. Yeah, he's got some good versatility outside and inside. But, right now mainly working as an outside linebacker. But, he has the ability to go inside as well."
Were you happy with how the case of the roommates with benefits was adjudicated on Judge Judy?
"I've never seen her adjudicate one improperly. She is so smart. She is so good. I can sit there and watch those cases all day. I really could. It's fun to watch just somebody that does their job well. And I could watch Judge Judy do cases all day. I could watch people play football that do their job really well. People that direct traffic. I get a real kick out of watching people that are good at directing traffic do it. I've done it for hours, watched it. But, I like football the most. But, Judge Judy's right up there. I love watching her do her job. She's just the best."
Did you get to meet with her after the show?
"Yes. Before and after. Had a nice lunch with her, my dad and myself and [Bailiff Petri Hawkins] ‘Byrd'. If you watch the show, you know who Byrd is. And some of the other people, producers, etc. That was great. Played some cards with her. She won. No surprise there. And then after the show also visited."
When did you film the show?
"A month and a half ago."
Is she a football fan?
"It's interesting. She said she hasn't been a big football fan. Her father was a dentist. And used to warn against Judy's kids playing football because he saw a lot of kids come in with teeth kicked in. So, she didn't let her kids play football."
Where was this, in LA? Or, where did you guys go?
"She's from New York."
I know, but the show?
"Yes. It was filmed in Los Angeles."
Is she coming up for a game?
"We're going to invite her. We're definitely going to invite her."
Did you talk about football? Did she watch the Super Bowl? Did she have any football questions?
"No, we were doing most of the questioning. We were asking her stuff. But, we had a good talk about sports and different places, her career, her family, her husband, her life. Me and my dad were really interested."
They didn't have this kind of OTA stuff when you were playing, right? Or was it this elaborate when you were playing to have this many OTAs?
"Not this many, I don't think."
So, for dumb people like me, why does this make football better to have it set up this way versus when you were playing?
"I don't have a good answer for you."
Well, you enjoy it right?
"I love it, yeah."
So, this makes the team better, doing it this way?
In your opinion, versus doing it the old way?
"I don't have an opinion, this way or the old way. I'm in favor of this way. I can't say if it makes it better, or if it makes the product better, or not. But, I prefer it this way."
When you were playing you probably would have liked it this way, right?
That's where I was going.
"Well, when we were playing everybody worked out all year long, all year round anyway. And just the way to have it structured is very good. And there are good rules in place as well that limit the amount of hours in the day for the players. And I think those are good rules. So, we just go by the structure that's in place and we enjoy as much football as we can get."
Until today, C Jonathan Goodwin has stayed away and CB Tarell Brown has stayed away.
"They've been here other days."
OK, well when they're not here every day practicing, what are those guys missing?
"Just really coach the guys that are here. I think Jonathan has a lot of knowledge in the system. So does Tarell Brown. So, the guys that are here those are the ones that you coach, and get ready to put them in the position to make the team. And fight for spots. So, that's really where the focus is. So, can't say that I've thought much about how much that would affect someone that's not here."
You had a little two-minute drill at the end of practice today. What part of that aspect do you want to see your team get better at?
"We were good. I'd like to be better. It's pretty much general statement you could say about every part of our team. You're always looking to try and improve."
How well did QB Colin Kaepernick perform in that aspect last season?
"Good. Good. Two minute before the half, two minute at the end of the game. I'd say above average. See if we can't try to get better. What's better than above average? Excellent?"
"Yeah, we'll strive for that. We'll strive for superior."
What have you seen from TE Vance McDonald in his third week, about his growth from the first week and when he first started, and to where he is now?
"I think it's good. You could really say this, the guys that came in here and now they're here. Vance and all the rookies that have come in and participated. So, I think they would say the same thing. The amount of concepts that they've absorbed and then gone out and executed and continued to absorb. It's boded well for them to show up to work hard and to listen. And it's good for our football team."
What are your impressions of QB Colt McCoy since his arrival? And is it too early to name the backup quarterback at this point?
"Well, yeah probably to name one. But, that's the role that he's been in since he's got here. He's doing very well, picking up the system. And a guy that is really serious and focused on being good and doing a good job. He's got a lot of things that motivate him to work hard. And he's worked extra hard, too. He's doing well."
Did you say he's been working in the number two spot?
"Yeah, yeah. He's been in that role since he got here."