Jim Harbaugh discusses Aldon Smith, injuries, 49ers loss

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Monday and faced plenty of questions about Aldon Smith's rehab, the 49ers offensive issues, and injury news. We have the transcript for you.

Is there a roster move involving LB Aldon Smith that takes place today?

"At the appropriate time, you'll be apprised of that situation with an official announcement."

How are you planning on filling his role on the field? What players are you looking at, candidates and what roles?

"We got a pretty good idea of what we're gonna do and we'll make that announcement."

Is that going to be a one person job or do you see one guy in base and one guy in pass rush situations?

"Well, I think you know [LB] Dan Skuta, [LB] Ahmad Brooks, [LB] Corey Lemonier. I have confidence in those guys and know they'll do a good job."

TE/DT Demarcus Dobbs wouldn't fit into that role?

"You know the guys we got. Especially in nickel downs he'll play a role."

What do you guys need to do to get more out of your receiving game and just get more production and efficiency out of the receivers?

"Well, you never lay it on one spot. If we're talking offensively, I thought the effort was very good by our offensive unit. Precision needs to be better and that falls under everybody's purview. So, we'll try one more thing. As always, there's another thing to try and you go back to work and see if you can't improve and fix."

Are receivers getting open though? It seems like there's a lot of hesitation by QB Colin Kaepernick when he's back there.

"Again, I'm not going to put it on one spot. Precision offensively needs to improve. We'll all have a hand in working on improving that."

Is WR Jon Baldwin up to speed yet in this offense where he might get a look this week?

"Yeah, that's possible. He's doing a good job. Had a real good week of practice last week. We're all coming back today, back to work, working on fixing."

Last week you said Colin might have been one of the best things on the offense, something like that, in the Seattle game. Would you say the same thing about him in this game?

"Just going to say the same thing I just said. We're working on our precision. I think that's the area that needs improvement and we all come under that. Players, coaches, everybody that has a hand in the offense. We're not going to hang our heads. We're going to keep working and we'll try again."

I know you don't like comparing years, but you did make a quarterback switch in the middle of last year. Is maybe some of this just the kind of residual, you are still adjusting to a new quarterback? Has the offense changed in any dramatic way just generally with Kaepernick versus what you had with QB Alex Smith?

"Yeah. It's evolving. Is there changes? Yes."

Can some of the struggles be attributed to that?

"Football's not easy. There are struggles. That's one of the things you enjoy about the game, that there are struggles. We've got some adversity, there's no question about it. And we'll also have the rare opportunity of staring adversity in the face and whipping it. That's our goal."

You rely heavily on three older players; RB Frank Gore, WR Anquan Boldin and DT Justin Smith. Is it a mistake to rely so much on three older guys?

"They're pretty darn good guys to rely on."

So it's not a mistake?

"No."

Is there an update on Patrick Willis?

"He's getting evaluated this morning."

Last week you talked so much about, a little bit about, focusing some efforts on the penalties. What's the step you take now, there were still some costly penalties yesterday that led to first downs?

"Yeah there were. There were first downs by penalty. And, again, in a game that we were really a touchdown away at 13-7, up until seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, and there was a key drive there. I think our defense, that's not something we want to be about. We don't want to be giving first downs by penalty and we'll keep working at it."

Was there a reason, a physical reason, RB Frank Gore only carried three times in the second half?

"No."

Why didn't he carry more? He had three carries right off the bat, didn't touch the ball again in the run game.

"Three carries?"

At the start of the second half after gouging them in the first half. Why didn't he carry the ball more?

"It's a discussion we've had in the past. Why throw and not run? Why more runs in the first half than the second? Those were the plays that were called."

A day later, how do you feel about those decisions?

"You're analyzing everything. We all have our fingerprints on it and you all work to improve the precision. That's where we're at."

This team has not run a lot of read option much at all this season. Is that because of what defenses are doing or are you just saying it's not something that you were going to employ very much this year, at least to start?

"Well, not a lot. We've run it. It's part of our offense and will continue to be."

Are defenses playing it differently?

"Yeah, I mean there's different looks each game, but the precision in that part of the game, as well, needs improving."

Is it a good thing you guys have a short week?

"It's what we have. It's when the game is scheduled and coaches, players, everybody is back working."

What did you do last night?

"We came in, we're working."

Have you been home since the game?

"Took my wife home and then came in here, yeah."

Do you have Frank Gore on like a pitch count, that he only touches the ball X-number of times as a runner in a game?

"No."

It could be open-ended?

"Yes."

You spoke about it specifically yesterday, but can you speak broadly what your confidence is that LB Aldon Smith is going to make it back and that he will beat this and become a stronger person and player on this team?

"It was addressed last night after the ballgame and we're very supportive of Aldon, as we are of all our players, all of our coaches, our personnel. Always supportive in-house."

Did he let you down? Did he let the team down?

"We've hashed through it. Now we're taking steps to, and Aldon's taking steps. We support him in that."

Would you expect him back playing this year?

"There's a process. We're going to respect that process."

Will he stay here in the Bay Area or will he go home to Missouri to be with one of his parents? Can you say?

"There will be some official statements forthcoming on that."

How do you think him being out is going to affect the team and their performance going forward?

"Well, like I mentioned, there's adversity. There's an opportunity to stare it in the face and whip it. That's our approach."

There are reports that he's already on his way to a rehabilitation program. Can you confirm or comment on that at all?

"There will be official statements, reports shortly that will address that."

How's TE Vernon Davis' hamstring?

"We'll see."

Is he getting evaluated today?

"Yes."

Did CB Nnamdi Asomugha suffer a knee injury at the end of that game making a tackle on Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw?

"Nnamdi's also getting an MRI."

Was RB LaMichael James healthy enough to play yesterday?

"He's getting back. He's getting back."

When he's fully healthy, will he be suiting up for games?

"We will make that evaluation."

You and the organization took a fair amount of criticism allowing Aldon to play Sunday. Do you have any regrets about that decision?

"Not going to rehash the decision. We went over it last night. We did what we thought was in the best interest of the team and the best interest of the player long-term."

I know LB Patrick Willis is getting evaluated. What's your thought initially whether he can be ready in a couple of days?

"We'll leave that to the evaluation and the treatment of the doctors and trainers."

Is he having an MRI as well?

"Yes."

This is a feelings question here. Do you feel like QB Colin Kaepernick is playing as confidently now as he did last year?

"I feel very confident in Colin, yes."

Do you feel like he's playing confident?

"Yes, I do."

How does he feel about his level of play? Colin is a perfectionist and he's hard on himself, but--?

"Yeah. We all want the precision to be better. We all strive for that and I'm confident we'll get that done."

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