Hope everybody is having a good Thanksgiving. We've got our Thanksgiving open thread if you want to chat about any of today's games. I wanted to get this posted before the food coma completely overwhelmed me. We've got the injury report here, followed by OC Jimmy Raye's post-practice press conference transcript.
We had some interesting comments from Jimmy Raye, including the fact that Isaac Bruce will not be active Sunday and Brandon Jones will be. Jones will be backing up Crabtree at the X position, but will also be the spot guy when Morgan comes off the field. Also, the third question addresses the shotgun statistics. I'm curious what people will have to say about that.
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
CB Nate Clements (shoulder)
OT Joe Staley (knee)
Did not Participate in Practice
WR Arnaz Battle (ankle)
WR Isaac Bruce (ankle)
DT Aubrayo Franklin (not injury related)
S Michael Lewis (quadricep)
RB Michael Robinson (shoulder)
LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring)
Limited Participation in Practice
CB Marcus Hudson (back)
Full Participation in Practice
G David Baas (ankle)
CB Tarell Brown (knee)
S Reggie Smith (abdomen)
OT Adam Snyder (shoulder)
LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)
S Curtis Taylor (knee)
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
CB Rashean Mathis (groin)
Full Participation in Practice
RB Maurice Jones-Drew (knee)
WR Mike Sims-Walker (knee)
OC Jimmy Raye's press conference transcript after the jump...
Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Raye
Post-Practice - November 26, 2009
San Francisco 49ers
On which receivers play where with Isaac Bruce down:
"Basically, it gives Josh Morgan a transition when we go three-wide and that would bring Brandon Jones as the spot player. He would back up X. Jason Hill would be the back up Z. [Michael] Crabtree would stay at X. So, we would get the addition of Brandon Jones."
On who starts where:
"[Michael] Crabtree starts at X, [Josh] Morgan starts at Z. Jason Hill backs up Z. Brandon Jones backs up X. Then three wides, Josh transitions from Z to X and Jason Hill becomes the Z."
On why the statistics are better from the quarterback in the shotgun:
"I don't think that it is a coincidence. I know the time we did it, the score was 23-3. The quantity of the yards and quality of the yards has to be measured by the score and the time in the game. I don't think the formation per se had a whole lot to do with it. The fact that we were in a semi-rally mode because we were down by four scores had something to do with it. We converted third downs, which meant we got more plays. After the first drive in the game, we went three-and-out three straight times, and when we looked up, the score was 20-3, which totally changed the complexion of the game and the thought process and plan of the game. Then, the play prior to the two-minute warning, we could have kept them off the field on 3rd-and-7 and we didn't convert. Then they went back and got another score to make it 23-3. So, there wasn't really any reason to be in ‘21' personnel and having the quarterback operating from under center. So, the score of the game and flavor of the game kind of dictated that. If you recall in that game, the first drive in that game, we were 3rd and less than one in a position to score, and none of those plays were out of the gun. We missed and opted to kick the field goal to make the score 3-3. From that point on, offensively, it was downhill."
On whether the offense is in transition:
"I think this offense has been in transition since I've been here. You name a week that we haven't been in transition, from an injury standpoint, from a runner standpoint, a receiver standpoint, an offensive line standpoint. The thing we have been is in transition. I don't know what exactly your question is, in terms of this offense being in transition, but in terms of continuity and players, it's been a constant flow of transition."
On Alex's next step:
"I think Alex so far, his maturation in the 14 quarters, has been very good. I would anticipate going forward that as we improve in other areas of our play offensively, his growth will continue. He's become a little more assertive. You've got to remember that as he and the offense become more compatible and friendly, I think the less anxiety he'll have as he anticipates and knows the players he's playing with, and not thinking about the calls he makes, but he has internalized that. I am hopeful his growth and maturation will be something that will be very good."
On what he means by Alex being assertive and whether he tells him what he likes:
"I don't think that's a measure of assertion. He [Alex] plays and we coach. He has the opportunity to ‘red line' his wish list. The quarterbacks get a wish list at the beginning of every week. They get to list in priority the things they like and the things they don't like. They get to red line things they don't want or don't feel comfortable with, or they can suggest things they'd rather have. As I tell them and all of the players, it's democratic, but it's not 50-50 because they don't spend as much time looking at it or preparing as we do. So, their suggestions are all listened to, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll all be used. That's not just him, but that's all of the offensive players. His mannerisms and assertion, in terms of his leadership with the players he's in the huddle with, and his presence in the meeting room and film sessions, all of that has been a win-win. Alex is a very bright individual. As he gains confidence, the more his intelligence plays to his physical ability. I hope that is what we're witnessing. Only winning and time will tell that."
On the percentage of plays Alex red lines during the week:
"It varies. There are some things that are lengthy call-wise or protection-wise that may be a little queasy that when we worked them in practice, he didn't get the look that we had shown him or he anticipated or he didn't feel as good about dialing them in the game, as he does some other things. It's not a vast change. It's nothing like John Brodie, where he was going to run what he wanted to run and the hell with the plan because he called his own plays back then. It's enough to know and have a feel for what calms the anxiety in certain calls and where he feels most comfortable with things. We try not to have a whole lot of variance of new things so he doesn't have the anxiety of that."
On whether he can recognize body language from his viewpoint during the game:
"Sure. I'm learning him. I know this having coached long enough and called plays enough to know when you go 1-to-1 pass, you're an accident waiting to happen. So, if any play caller, even with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, you start dialing the pass repetitively, 1-to-1, something is going to happen. You have to try to sense the protection and sense the spacing in the passing game I'm speaking of. Whether he's getting hit because getting hit is more difficult for a quarterback than getting sacked. So, you have to gauge the protection, and if he's getting hit, you have gauge the coverage element and how much pressure you're getting by down and distance and how close you are to 1-and-1 and try to keep him out of a situation where something bad could happen, as far as turning the ball over. So, yeah, I can sense that."
On when things will click for Alex and the team waiting for the quarterback for everything to come together:
"I think if the team is waiting on the quarterback, then they have missed the boat. If they're waiting on the quarterback, then we're way off whack. The quarterback play has been very good, and at times, has even tilted towards being outstanding. So, if that is what the team is waiting on, the quarterback, then we're going down the wrong road. The team, as we're going forward in this drive and in this run to win the game this Sunday, the team needs to do the best that they can individually and the pieces will fit if we execute, and it won't be because of the quarterback."
On Alex Smith showing signs that he can be good player in the NFL:
"I think that he has demonstrated that. What you have to understand, if you go back and look at the development of some of the outstanding quarterbacks in this league, he's in his fourth or fifth year with a two-year hiatus where he didn't play at all. He's had four or five different systems, but he demonstrates in portions of games. You don't find many quarterbacks that throw three touchdown passes in second halves of games, be it behind or be it in the league. Once you do that, you do it. It has nothing to do with the score or the team or the opponent or if they're playing bend don't break or any of that. Once you do that, you do it and he has demonstrated on several occasions that he is capable of scoring points with the ball and that's the function of the position and throwing it. So, I would say that yeah, he's well on his way if his maturity and all of the other things that it takes to play the position - he's tough enough, he has escapabilty, he can ad-lib a play, he kept a play alive in the third quarter- got a first down with his feet and legs running the ball - so he has those things. It's his confidence that we're continuing to expand to let him be the best that he can be. Now, whether that will be good or in the upper echelon of the NFL, I don't know, but he certainly has a chance to be good enough."
On his observation of Smith's performance against Green Bay defense in the second half:
"Well, I think that they were trying not to give up the strike over the top ball, but became vulnerable to the deep ball with the style of secondary coverage that they were playing. Then they had to shift gears and try to pressure him and see if they could get the ball to come out quicker to negate [TE] Vernon Davis' speed and [WR Michael] Crabtree's verticalness up the field, so they tried to pressure him. When they tried to pressure him, he hit them. When they tried to defend, he hit them. So, then they got to a point where they mixed the pressure and mixed the coverage and he was still able to move the ball and I think that the last score that we went in on, there was 5:48 left in the game and they were in a different mode on their boundary - totally different, because they hadn't figured out a way to curtail what he was doing."