49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Sunday, and he had a chance to discuss a broad range of topics. I've posted the transcript below, and while Harbaugh does like to dance around some questions, I felt like we got some interesting info from him today.
The most notable piece of information is that Patrick Willis will sit out Thursday's preseason game. That is not a surprise given the fracture in his hand, but it's still worth noting. Coach Harbaugh does think Willis will be back for Week 1 of the regular season, but I doubt we see much of Bamm Bamm in the preseason. Maybe the last game just to get rid of any rust, but even that would be a bit of a surprise.
Coach Harbaugh also had some fun comments about the team's use of iPads. The 49ers switched from paper playbooks to iPad playbooks. The biggest advantage as Coach Harbaugh sees it is the ability to check out practice film and game film wherever they might be. We've seen some reports of players watching film during lunch, and it gives them a chance to watch film at night after practice. Not having to be at the facility to watch film is a pretty big deal.
The best line might have been when he said he likes to pull out the iPad to watch film, and that was how he chilled now.
You got four receivers back and added two on Friday. Why add two receivers to the mix when you were already going to be getting all those guys back today?
"Well, we were hoping that we would get guys back today and that it would kind of flip a little bit. The numbers were so low on Friday, down to like four guys that were practicing. And we were hopeful that we'd get some more guys back today. We brought the guys in for a workout, it was really good and we decided to sign them."
Is it tough to get all those guys reps when you have I think 12 guys are out there today or whatever that number was, 11 today full practice?
"Yeah, 11 full practice."
Is it tough to get those reps for all of them to really get a good look at them?
"Well, we did have a lot of reps and we spread them around the best we can."
WR A.J. Jenkins returned to the field today. What did you see out of A.J. and how is he coming along?
"Well, he was slowed by not practicing. And he needs reps. We're looking forward to him getting those this week, and in the ball game as well. He needs time. He needs play time."
Do you guys have a rule that if you're not practicing the week of the preseason game you're not going to play in that game?
"I'm not aware of that rule."
He seemed to suggest that he needed to get back today if he wanted to play on Thursday.
"Well, he does. He needs the reps. But, I'm not aware of any rule like that, no."
With WR Austin Collie and WR Lavelle Hawkins, they have NFL experience. Was that I guess a bonus for them, a plus for them, because you look at a lot of the receivers and they don't have tons of game experience?
"Yeah, I would say that's a bonus for them."
When you saw them in the workout, what jumped out about them to you?
"First was the way they were catching the ball. All three of the guys were really doing a good job catching the ball from three of our quarterbacks were out there throwing, including [QB Colin] Kap [Kaepernick]. So, it was good."
How will you determine who will play how much and how will that process play out this week?
"How do we determine it? We think about it, and then determine it."
Do you know that today? Or will you work on that this week? Or will the coaches decide on Wednesday? Or when will you start, I guess hardening that plan for Thursday?
"Yeah, we've already started to talk about it."
Do you know if there are any vets who will definitely be out this preseason and won't play at all?
"Yeah, I anticipate they'll be a few."
You don't want to say who those are yet?
"Not at this time. [LB] Patrick Willis. There you go. Patrick won't be playing on Thursday. I'm not going to go through the whole list though."
"The organization or myself?"
"I believe so."
What is the plan with him? Have you had an opportunity to have him come in for a physical?
"We're assessing. There's a process. Won't really lay out the plan right now."
Do you see him in the team's future?
"Again, don't have the crystal ball. But, there's a process."
How much further along is RB LaMichael James in this training camp as opposed to a year ago when he was a rookie?
"Great improvement. Vast improvement from one year to the next. You talk about it, and you say that usually players from the end of their first year to the start of their second year have the chance to make the greatest amount of gains that they'll ever have in their career. Just like college players who are freshman that go from their freshman year to their sophomore year. LaMichael's a real, living example, current example of that. And it's noticeable in all areas."
He said he's added 10 pounds from last year to this year. Where has that 10 pounds, where have you seen that on the field in his game?
"I'm not sure that I specifically see the 10 pounds."
Like in the way he's running through the tackles, or the way he's pass protecting? Those types of things?
"Yeah, those have been improvements. He's improved his technique, his base, in terms of pass protection. His knowledge of the scheme. I think I said technique. But, yeah there's been a great improvement there. Great improvement in his vertical running, his insert between the tackle. Running, his returning, the way he catches punts and kickoffs now, you look at him as a trusted agent back there to field punts and kickoffs. That's been a lot of time on the jugs. A lot of time catching balls from punters. There was a time there when him and [asst. head coach/special teams coordinator] coach [Brad] Seely and [special teams asst.] Tracy Smith were doing 20-30 minutes of jugs after practice. And that's where I see the improvement. I wouldn't ring it up to 10 pounds as much as I would that day-in and day-out work ethic that he's shown."
Will he get the first crack at punt returns on Thursday?
"Yeah, I would anticipate that."
I noticed that during offensive drills you very often go into the huddle before the play happens. What do you do in the huddle?
"Give the play to the quarterback."
So, you tell them what play they'd be running at that time, as if you were on the headset at a game, that kind of thing?
I have a kicker question. K Phil Dawson talked about obviously he's played in a lot of inclement weather during his career in Cleveland. Is that appealing, obviously he's just very good. But, was it appealing to you guys that he's had that experience and is not going to be too daunted by Candlestick?
"Yeah, that and his whole body of work through his career and he's been a consistent high 80s in terms of percentage making field goals. And he looks very, very good all through camp. Coach Seely feels he's the same guy that he coached in Cleveland. So, feel really good about that."
When newcomers come into the squad like a rookie or undrafted free agent and they see Pro Bowler or All-Pro guys ahead of them on the depth chart. What do you say to them to try to get them going for the exhibition season to win a spot on the roster?
"I don't say much to get them going. They're self-motivated guys. I think everybody understands that this is, less than 2,000 people make an NFL roster, a final cut down roster, what's at stake and what it's going to take taking another man's job away from them.."
How's your adjustment to the iPad playbooks gone?
Have you had experience with those before?
What's the advantage of having them that way as opposed to the binder stuffed with paper?
"Not to get into an argument about binders, or paper or Ipads but, the biggest thing is video. You get the video on the Ipads. These guys can walk around and download today's practice and be watching it wherever they are. Back at the hotel or sitting in the cafeteria eating or in the training room. They can watch video more often than they would otherwise. That's huge."
No drag time right?
"It cuts drag, sure. It gives the opportunity to, if they find some time off and they just want to chill, get the iPad out and start watching some football video. It's really good. It really creates an around the clock ability to be in football."
Did you have to be convinced at all to change?
"Now I could see that was happiness. I could see how happy that would be to be able to watch football all the time. We do a lot of practicing, a lot of meetings. But, this gives the more opportunity for football."
What were your impressions of S Eric Reid today--?
"Sometimes guys complain about, ‘what do I do with my down time. I have nothing to do. I'm just sitting here staring at the four walls. Where do I go, what do I do?' Get out the iPad and start watching video. That's how I chill now. Sit on the couch and watch the Ipad."
At home or?
"At home, at the office. It's really good."
What were your impressions of Eric Reid today working with the first team?
"Good. There's been rotations in there. [S] C.J. [Spillman], Eric, [S] Craig [Dahl] have all gotten a chance to be with the first team. It's come around to Eric to be in there and get him in more and get him reps. So that's taking place now."
Any early impressions of CB Carlos Rogers this camp so far?
"Good, good, good. Same guy, doing well."
What are your expectations for him this season? How important of a guy is he for that defense?