Happy Friday night everybody! It is kind of a quiet evening here in the Bay Area. Well, for 49ers fans at least. Things are getting crazy for the rest of Bay Area sports (Warriors getting started/talking to SF about arena, A's trade Cahill/dealing with stadium nonsense, Luck getting read for Heisman ceremony tomorrow), but for 49ers fans, things have sort of settled down heading into Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Given that it is kind of quiet, I thought I'd open up an open thread for any random discussion y'all wanted to have tonight. We have a community thread every so often, but consider this a Friday night community thread that can be about whatever. I went with a picture of Brian Jennings as he is getting some recognition these days as the only current 49ers player that was on the last playoff roster. Congrats to Brian!
Now that college football is over until the bowl season, Saturdays open up considerably for some of us. I've got college basketball if things get quiet and will be catching some of tomorrow's UNLV-Wisconsin game. Other than that, it will be kind of nice to be able to do kick back and relax a bit in advance of coming 49ers games. This month is filled with important games, but the stress of the games takes a step up next month. A relaxing Saturday might be incredibly necessary.
If you can't think of anything to discuss, we've always got Coach Harbaugh's Friday press conference transcript. Enjoy.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - December 9, 2011
San Francisco 49ers
Do you have an official status for LB Patrick Willis for the game?
"Yes, he'll be questionable."
Everybody else is probable?
"Most everybody else is probable. Did you have anybody specific that you had in mind?"
Like CB Tarell Brown, and CB Carlos Rogers and WR Braylon Edwards?
"All three of those will be questionable as well."
Jim, these streaks you've been putting together of allowing 100-yard rushers and rushing touchdowns, they're getting to be rather significant, what do you think that they mean to your team and your players and how key have they been in the success you've had this year?
"Well, the two you mentioned I think have been very big for us in our success, especially from the defensive standpoint. And I think it means quite a bit to our defense. I think they take pride in the unit playing well. And some of those other statistics are team statistics, the turnover margin, takeaways, giveaways. And that's a neat one because that's a team statistic. I think our guys are aware of them and understand, in terms of situational football, what those standards can do to help your football team."
Does it seem like a pretty good barometer for success too? I mean, teams that do what you're doing are going to be successful because it's a pretty good barometer for that? You haven't allowed a rushing touchdown, teams getting into the endzone.
"Yeah, I think it's good. It's been part of our success, yes. A contributor to our success, yes."
What kind of advice did you give your players this week in terms of just watching their tempers, considering the last time you guys faced Arizona it got a little fracas there in the fourth quarter?
"Well, kind of what we talk about as a team is what we talk about as a team."
But it's something that you needed to address this week more than usual?
"I don't think I'll address how I addressed it."
Coming in here, did you sense that hey, this is a rivalry, I mean this is something that I can tell that these teams there's something here?
"Yes and our players understand that. They in some ways more than I do going through this for the first time, playing a team twice in the same year as a coach. But, I understand from our players that they understand how tough this game will be. We all understand how good this opponent is. Defensively, I feel like they're coming into their own. They're playing outstanding football evidenced by the fact that they've won four out of their last five games. Offensively, same. I think they think they're hitting their stride. You see that on tape. They're just playing very, very good team football. Special teams, they are an outstanding special teams unit. [CB] Patrick Peterson is fast. He's a fast, fast man. And we understand every time we kick him the ball that we really have to cover him. We have to play within the framework of the coverage units. And understand everything that he's capable of, everything that he does, and how we leverage him at all times because he's capable of taking anything back to the end zone."
We learned yesterday that you extended T Alex Boone for four years, can you just talk about what he's meant for this team, I know you've referred to him as a de facto starter on the line, just why extend him at this point?
"He's a good, young football player who has done everything we've asked. A very talented football player. A team guy all the way. And we wanted him back. He wanted to be back, and we were able to get a contract done. Very excited about it."
You had spoken a couple months ago about extending WR Joshua Morgan as well. Anything to report on that? How have those talks gone?
"I know there have been a conversation. I wouldn't say talks. Josh and other guys on our team that are going to be up or possibly have extensions on them. We'd like to get as many guys back as possible."
Do you have any thoughts on the Heisman race? Would you be surprised if Stanford QB Andrew Luck doesn't win it?
"I would be surprised if Andrew doesn't win it. But then you never know. There are so many people that vote on those things that are probably just as biased as I am, who watched [Baylor QB] Robert Griffin or [Wisconsin RB Montee] Ball or any of the other guys like we've watched Andrew. I don't know. There are a lot of deserving candidates. It's an individual award in a team sport that I don't think is going to change Andrew's life one way or the other. He's certainly had a tremendous career and certainly is worthy of winning individual awards and the Heisman trophy is one of them."
How disappointed would you be personally if he didn't win?
"I wouldn't be... I know Andrew. I know that he wouldn't be that disappointed. He understands it's a team game. Individual awards, the spotlight isn't something that is all-encompassing or even very important to Andrew Luck."
I know, I'm just wondering how disappointed you would be.
"Like I said, individual awards in a team sport don't mean that much to me as well. I don't think it's going to change his life one way or the other. I don't think it does really do that much to affect anybody's life whether they win it or not. It's a very hyped-up thing. Probably way overhyped. Ridiculously overhyped."
There are some reports out of Arizona that Jim Leavitt is up for the Arizona State job. Have they contacted you at all about him?
"I don't talk about any other jobs but my own. I certainly wouldn't talk about another man's job on our staff. Talk about the one we got."
What was the picture of the week in your meeting room?
"What was the picture of the week?"
Yeah, what is the picture this week? I thought it might be the Gatorade shot.
"No, that one didn't make it. Usually, they're action shots of the game, players in the game. Have a picture of [RB] Frank [Gore] and (it is) labeled on there, his breaking the record of career rushing yards. There's a picture of [S] Dashon Goldson's interception, a picture of [WR] Kyle Williams' touchdown run. [WR] Michael Crabtree, have a beautiful picture of Michael just as he was catching his touchdown pass. Got a nice picture of the offensive line blocking for [QB] Alex [Smith]. Had a really nice picture of [DT] Ray McDonald rushing the passer. Had a great shot of [LB] Aldon Smith making a sack. Had a great shot of [LB] Larry Grant just after his helmet had popped up, the helmet was a foot over his head. Captured some nice shots. Special teams tackle by [LB] Tavares Gooden. I think those were all of them. First time that question's come up all year."
You purposely didn't want to have the Gatorade picture in there?
"No, like I said, the pictures are the game shots, the action photos."
It was during the game and there was some action.
"The actual plays on the field is what we usually go with."