Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Friday, and the 49ers head coach was asked plenty of questions about the 49ers quarterback situation. This was Harbaugh's first press conference since the team signed Seneca Wallace, and the media got in there share of questions about who would play when. Harbaugh expects all five quarterbacks to play on Sunday. He said Scott Tolzien was working through something all week, but the 49ers beat writers indicated Tolzien was practicing on Friday.
Jim Harbaugh also confirmed that Marcus Lattimore would start the 2013 season on the Non-Football Injury List. He is rehabbing his college knee injury, and this move is not at all unexpected. The move does give the 49ers some flexibility over injured reserve if they decide to activate him during the season. I would be surprised if it happened, but why waste the flexibility?
Tell us about the addition of QB Seneca Wallace? How do you see him fitting in here over the next, whatever it is, several weeks of the exhibition season?
"I think he hit the ground running. Professional, he's played in the league, experienced guy. So, going over a lot of things that he is familiar with, has done in other systems. So, we'll just incorporate it into ours and I think he'll be able to get right out there and start playing."
What kind of feedback did you get from senior offensive consultant Eric Mangini when you were thinking about Seneca?
"Good feedback. I felt like he could do a lot of the things that a quarterback that can move could do in our system. Thought it would be something worth exploring."
When you say ‘get right out there,' do you mean, could he be out there for Sunday's game?
"I think so. I think he really can yeah. Again, there's numerous plays in our system that he's done before. Whether in Cleveland or Seattle, so, it's just a matter of learning how we call them, and getting familiar with the quarterback-center exchange. Timing with the receivers may not be precise and exact, but to be able to get out and play and compete, I feel that he can do that."
With five QB's now - -?
"And he's been playing. He's been playing in New Orleans all of Training Camp."
With five quarterbacks and 55-60 snaps in a game, does that put a little bit more heat on you guys to figure out who plays, who doesn't or if everybody plays just a little bit?
"Yeah, you split it up, you split it up five ways."
So QB Colin Kaepernick's still going to play? Colin will still start?
"Yes. That has not changed, nor will it."
And all five guys could play or will play?
"Yes. I anticipate that. We'll see how [QB] Scott [Tolzien] does today in practice after an off day. He had something that he was working through and wasn't able to, wasn't at full speed Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday or since the ballgame in Kansas City. We'll see where he's at today, and if he's good to go and at 100 percent or close to it then we'll split it up after Kap four ways."
Is the plan still to have QB Colt McCoy go second?
Did the backup's performance in the first two preseason games prompt the signing of Wallace? Did you go into this training camp thinking you might add another quarterback or did you, look at first two preseason games and say hey we might need to make a move?
"The fact that you could get an experienced quarterback like Seneca Wallace at this stage when you have seven-to-ten days ‘til there's a final cut down to the final roster then a chance to bring him in to do more than just a workout. You get a chance to actually practice and play in a preseason game or two. So, I felt like there was no downside to doing that."
How important is it to have at least one backup that's had some NFL starts, experience under his belt?
"How important is it? Just like anything I think it's preferable to have game experience at any position. That's certainly not always the case and whoever the best player it is that gives us the best chance at winning the game as a backup quarterback, then that's who we want on your roster. That's who you want going in. Whether he has game experience or not."
When you look around the league you have a bunch of defenses that have spent a lot of their offseason trying to basically stop what you guys do and what Seattle does and some of those looks. Do you feel like you guys as an offense sort of have to counteract that? Or, will you be adding wrinkles this year different from kind of what they've seen?
"I don't talk about scheme, but it's always evolving. That's one thing that seems like a constant in football, that you must evolve. You have a plan, the opposition has a plan, those two plans meet and then you have to adjust. That's every game. That's every season. So, with the advent of the quarterback who can run, extremely athletic and fast, and has the ability to throw the football at a NFL-quarterback level, the NFL hasn't seen that type of player in so much abundance as it does now. When you look at [QB] Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, [QB] Robert Griffin, [QB] Russell Wilson, and there's others that are fitting that mold. [QB] Ryan Tannehill. And they're big, and they're fast, and they can throw the ball very effectively. So, there's a new wave of quarterbacks like that. I don't think that's any revelation, but teams are studying how to defend these players and I think that everybody's finding out that that's a pretty good combination to be able to be really athletic and to be able to throw the ball as well as these guys do."
Do you expect the practice reps will still be even among the guys, the backups that aren't Colin Kaepernick?
"Yeah, like I said see how Scott does out there, but yeah I want to get them all in the mix as much as possible. But, Colin's going to get his practice reps and then after that, they get divvied up."
Are you still able to have kind of two practices going on simultaneously?
"It's been lessened. Whenever you get this far into camp, it gets a lot harder because sometimes one position group is lower on numbers and makes it impossible to do it for the whole entire group. So, linebacker, inside-backer has been one of those positions."
RB Frank Gore got two carries last game. Is he going to see more action or is he going to sit on the bench this game?
"We'll have a feel for it. Pretty much the way we've done it is we go into the preseason games and kind of treat it the same, in terms of how much the starters play each game. So that's a pretty good gauge. You've seen how we've done it, how we've managed it with Frank. Every preseason game that question gets asked, and pretty much every preseason game, you see Frank about the same involvement in the game. So I think you can predict it will be somewhat similar to what you've seen every other preseason game we've been with Frank. Maybe a carry or two."
Have you guys decided if RB Marcus Lattimore is going to start the year on NFI?
"He's starting the year on [NFI], where he started, and will continue to be on [NFI]."
Quick question for you about your third corner. It's been three weeks I guess since CB Chris Culliver got injured. That third corner, is it sorting itself out? Do you have a pretty good idea as far as competition and where that stands?
How is LS Brian Jennings doing? Obviously he's in a competition for the job. Do you expect just him to - -?
"It's very, very even. [LS] Kevin McDermott and Brian Jennings are high-caliber snappers and they've competed and it's been, it's very close."