49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman chatted with the media on Friday and he managed to get in a nice little one-liner of sorts.
Do you expect [Brandon Jacobs] to get some touches Monday night?
"That remains to be seen. Ninety minutes before the game we shall release our inactives."
Well, he was active last game.
"Yes. Yes he was...."
I think that was probably a little bit funnier when I was actually watching it, as opposed to reading. There was a sort of smart-ass vibe to it, although he wasn't really trying to be a dick about it.
Brandon Jacobs has not appeared on the injury report this week, but it remains to be seen whether he will be active. Jacobs went on the field once last week against the Seahawks, but came off when the play was changed. He was the only active player to not receive a snap. Mario Manningham is likely to be active this week, which means somebody has to be deactivated. Jacobs would appear to be the odds-on-favorite, with Clark Haggans behind him on that short list.
Any predictions on how the 49ers handle their inactives with Manningham likely back in play?
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Press Conference - October 26, 2012
San Francisco 49ers
"Good afternoon. Getting ready to play Arizona, back in the division. I believe they're statistically giving up the seventh, or they're ranked seventh in the NFL on defense. Very good defense, young, aggressive, fast. I think they're third in the NFL in sacks. Very good pass rushing team. I think that's the first thing that jumps out at you, is they want to be aggressive. They've got multiple pressure schemes and they're very good at it. They're a very good pressure team. Two inside linebackers are extremely good pass rushers. Outside linebackers are good rushers. They're a good movement, 3-4 defense. Any questions?"
You're averaging 5.9 yards a carry, how do you keep that up when a lot of teams know that they have to kind of focus on stopping the run first? Is it because you have a more diversity in your offense now? Where do you see that stat coming from?
"I think it comes from a lot of things. It's a very good average. I don't know where it ranks at this point in the season, relative to the history of the game. It's just a credit to our players and our position coaches, [offensive line coach] Mike Solari, [offensive line coach] Tim Drevno, [running backs coach] Tom Rathman, [tight ends coach] Reggie Davis, [wide receivers coach] Johnnie Morton, [quarterbacks coach] Geep Chryst. Really everybody has bought into our system and really, really works hard at it and are very involved in the process. I think it starts there and then by the time it gets to the players, I think we've got really good players. I'll tell you what, who really had I think the best game since I've been here is [G] Mike Iupati last week. He had an incredible week of preparation. It was on a short week. He was the first guy to be answering all of the questions in our review meeting the day before the game and he just played lights out. It's really good to see Mike coming on and playing at that consistent level, a really, really high level. It's a credit to him. And [RB] Frank [Gore]'s a special back. [RB] Kendall [Hunter], we love our backs and we like it when any of them are in there. It's been a good trend and one that we want to keep developing. It's not easy. But, we see a lot of eight man fronts, we have since day one though."
What did you see from Mike during the game that makes you say that about him?
"I think Mike, from an assignment standpoint, was playing very fast. You can tell when a guy is playing fast. He's off on the count, there's no indecision. If the defense does something a little bit different, there's not that moment of hesitation. He's playing extremely fast and just dominating people physically. He's got some physical tools that are rare and they were on display."
When you run as many trap plays as you did on Thursday, is that necessary from your guard to play fast like that, in order for those specific plays to work?
"Without question. The trap play is the fastest hitting run you can have other than a quarterback sneak. Those guys, he and [G/T Alex] Boone were playing extremely fast, the inside three. But really, it involves the entire O-line and the backs got to hit it just right, like the third bowl of porridge. They all did that, so that was great."
Educate me a little, I understand Iupati's favorite play is power.
"Oh yeah, to the right."
Is that one specific run play? Is it a series of run plays? What is his assignment on those?
"He's pulling for the front side linebacker spot and he loves it. He's done it a lot. He's gotten really, really good at it, at adjusting to all the different looks that he can see. We can run it a million different ways. For Mike, he's the backside guard, so he pulls around and what you're essentially doing is creating an extra gap on the play side. But it involves him just reading things on the run, adjusting inside or outside, or ending up trapping the end man on the line. He enjoys it. He's an athletic, explosive guy. So, he'll always be begging for power going to the right."
I understand that he begs for it on obvious passing situations.
"Yeah, third and seventeen, "Hey let's run power." "Come on, let's run power." And then if we run it to the left, that means he and [T] Joe [Staley] are double-teaming somebody most of the time and they're the two finest in the NFL at that, hands down."
You talked about, in your opening statement, about the linebacker and pass rush. What about the secondary guys, Cardinals S Kerry Rhodes and Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson? What have you seen in those two?
"They're playing at a high level. They play a lot of single-high coverage, which is cover-1 or 3. So, they're basically isolated outside, Peterson, that is. Peterson is a very athletic, big, strong, very good ball skills, is getting a really good feel for the game, mixing up his techniques. He's just a very talented athlete who competes. And Rhodes, it sounds like he's going to play in the game. Very heady safety, always in the right spot, really good football player. The combination of those two safeties, they're pretty darn good. Then the big fella, [Cardinals S Adrian Wilson] 24, he's a hammer. They use him a lot of different ways. He's a very intelligent football player, all over the field. Plays multiple positions, could be down in the box, could be covering [TE] Vernon [Davis], could be back in the middle. He does it all. Then [Cardinals CB] William Gay, who's a very experienced corner as well. They're playing at a high level."
Going back to Iupati for a second, you said that in the review that he was speaking out. Is that something unique? Does he do that often?
"We've got a lot of guys that want to be the first guy with the answer, but he was hitting the buzzer first. That's very impressive. Some of the older, more veteran guys will be the first guy to spit it out and he was the first guy hitting the buzzer. It was one of those things where you just saw it on a short week, you're putting in some new stuff. You're not sure how it's going to go over. Are they going to get it? Is this too much? Is it not enough, etc.?. My confidence felt a lot better when those guys were spitting that stuff out. It was very, very impressive on Mike's part."
Many people consider Vernon Davis the best tight end in the NFL, but he doesn't catch the most passes in this offense, in fact he's 3rd in targets this season. Why is that?
"I think Vernon Davis, he gets my vote for the best in the NFL. I think physically, you're not going to find a better tight end. Vernon has evolved into a great team leader. He's out catching balls, he does it every day, all the different things that you want from a leader. It doesn't matter the situation, if he's getting a lot of balls, if he's not. He has just got a great team attitude. That's another guy that last week, people talk about catches and he was one of the main reasons, he blocked that 330 pound defensive end all day. I think he was pretty much 100 percent. Pass or run, Vernon Davis is in my opinion the best all-around tight end in the league. And I know there are some really good ones out there and I'm not taking anything away from them, but I have no bias. Why he hasn't caught more balls than everybody is we run it more than some teams. Some teams they are just going to come in and chuck it around and we try to create some more balance. The different coverage looks we were getting last week were very unique and it was just a situation where his number was dialed a few times, but coverage we put the ball somewhere else."
WR Michael Crabtree was targeted 25 percent of the passes last year, he's been targeted 25 percent this year. Davis' percentage has dropped from 21 to 17, that's why I was asking. On pass plays why isn't he catching those passes?
"It depends what the defense does and I'm not going to get too technical here, but teams have made some different adjustments, three teams in particular, that just do different things. They come into the game saying ‘Hey, Vernon Davis will not beat us,' and they've done that. Now the onus goes onto the other players. We're very cognizant of it. As coaches, before the game you're saying, ‘Are they going to do this, are they going to do that, are they going to mix it, what's it going to be?' And then once the game starts you get the feel on what they're trying to minimize. Some teams have taken drastic measures to make sure Vernon doesn't get after them down the field or across the field. And that puts the onus on everybody else."
Final Vernon question, yesterday on KNBR Greg Cosell said he only runs three or four routes in this offense. Why don't you design more plays for Vernon?
"I don't know who made those comments or what he's referencing, so I really can't speak about that. I will say that he does run more than three or four routes. I don't know what's going on there."
You mentioned that other teams were saying Vernon Davis will not beat you. Do you at some point have to be a little bit more stubborn and say, ‘If that's still the design of your defense, we're going to force the issue and make sure Vernon Davis does beat you if you want him to or not?
"That's a very general question and I don't know that I can answer that because if he's triple-covered, I don't think you do that. I think everybody else, everybody's got to do their job on the offense. And I think when we're our best, the ball's being distributed evenly. A lot we're doing on some different things. We're keeping a good balance going. There are times, though, that we will design very specific plays for Vernon and they are kind of, ‘It's Vernon or it might be read No. 2,' but that's it. But I don't think you want to make a living on that. I don't think anybody does. When people try to take away something to go to extreme measures, I think you want to go do something else."
And you feel those three teams you mentioned have gone through extreme measures?
As compared to last year, RB Frank Gore's getting fewer carries at this point than he did last year. He's doing more with it. It seems like a higher output. Is that because you're maximizing his carries? Or because he's fresher? Or is there a reason for that?
"I think he came into this season healthier and in a little bit better shape. Coming into last season, he had that hip injury he was dealing with. I think we challenged him to be in the best shape of his life coming into training camp this year. I think he answered the challenge, came in in great shape. I think he's seeing things. I think we're learning more about him. We've learned more about him and it's a credit to the players on the field. Bottom line. Guys getting it done on the field, on the field of battle, the blocking, his will, strength of will on the field. It's just God-given ability as a running back to see things and run hard."
He's got 103 carries, which is fewer than this point last year. Is that on purpose? Did you guys want to add fewer...
"No, I think his average is probably better. But, no, there's no design there. It's just how things have gone."
Before your last series, RB Brandon Jacobs ran out to the huddle and was on the field and then RB Kendall Hunter replaced him. Why not keep Brandon Jacobs on the field?
"I changed the play, I believe. Just I don't think was fair to have Brandon in that situation running a play that he hadn't had, necessary, as much work on. That's it. Brandon's doing a great job. Brandon's doing a great job."
Do you expect him to get some touches Monday night?
"That remains to be seen. Ninety minutes before the game we shall release our inactives."
Well, he was active last game.
"Yes. Yes he was. You know what, when somebody has the hot hand, you keep going, don't you? And Frank's been running pretty darn well. We've been very effective. I think we've had 43 runs of over 10 yards at this point in the season. He and Kendall are doing a great job and we believe in all our backs and at some point they will all impact our team."