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Greg Roman talks Rams, option pitches, Dolphins

We take a look at Greg Roman's comments about the Dolphins, the Rams and the 49ers use of the triple option


Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Press Conference - December 6, 2012
San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Statement:

"Good afternoon. Got a good Miami team coming in here, their defense playing at a high level. When we turn the film on and, you watched them last week, they played New England. We generally, really put about six games into our scouting report for everybody and then we all really look at the whole season to examine the whole body of work. They're playing a really high level of defense. Excited to get back to the Stick and compete against the Dolphins. Guys are working hard, locked in and know what's at stake. Any questions?"

Do you expect the Dolphins and every other team you play from this point forward to mimic what the Rams did, especially taking away the deep route, forcing QB Colin Kaepernick to go to the shorter game?

"I think a lot of teams this year have chosen to do that. They've taken away the deep throws and tried to force the underneath stuff. At times we've been very, very efficient taking advantage of that. It's something we've got to continue to do. You can't control what the other team does, so if they're going to take away something, you want to work somewhere else and our guys have done a pretty good job of that so far."

Does it help that not everyone has a defensive line like the Rams? I guess what I'm getting at is, what made them successful against you guys is in part, talent, not just scheme.

"They've got good players, everybody's got good players. The Dolphins have an extremely talented defensive line. I think they're ranked seventh against stopping the run and that's pretty hard to do. They've got a really good defensive line and our guys, they're getting ready. They're watching film. They're studying their matchup and have a lot of respect for what the Dolphins are doing."

After the game and Monday and yesterday, head coach Jim Harbaugh talked a lot about the playcalls toward the end. How much second guessing do you do of yourself for those calls, the pitch in particular and just in the way that was handled before the Akers field goal at the end of regulation?

"You go back and you look at every call and you judge your intent relative to who you're asking to do what. You assess that decision and one thing is, when plays work, you generally say that was a good decision. When their not executed or they don't work for whatever reason, hey maybe we should have done something else. In that case, there was too many moving parts for that situation, certainly when it was called the result was not what we expected. It's just something you measure, you try to learn from and you move on, if it doesn't work."

Looking back on it, the pitch, what are your thoughts on that particular play call and the risk-reward at that point in the game?

"I'm not going to get into the X's and O's aspects of it, I'll just say the result was not the intent of the play call. I always look back and say, did it work or didn't it work? Why, why not? And then move on from there."

How do you assess your overall play calling against the Rams?

"If we win the game, I generally think it's good. If we don't, it's got to be better. That's just how I look at it."

How have the penalties complicated the play calling?

"It's not about play calling. It's about execution, ultimately, on the field. That's something that we've got to get a lasso around real quick. 49er football is smart, tough, opportunistic football and penalties certainly don't fit into that equation. We just had too many of them, some of them we personally didn't agree with and are just looking for some explanation on and hopefully we can learn from that and move on."

Have you been impressed with G/T Alex Boone's development and in particular his ability to pull and use his athleticism for a 6'7" guy?

"Yeah Alex, I though, had one of his best games, if not his best game last week. Technically, from an assignment standpoint, everything he did last game was really well. He's come along really well, he's learning every week. You see a lot of different styles of defender, a lot of different styles of defense and Alex is the kind of guy we want, a guy that's pushing to get better every week. So he's doing a great job. When he gets out in space, he can get rolling, a bit like an 18-wheeler going down a hill. He did a great job last week on a couple of our perimeter plays."

RB Frank Gore has had a season-high 23 carries last week. Kendall always provided a nice change of pace for him. Given that, is there a possibility to see RB LaMichael James Sunday and how much that would help Frank?

"Whatever back we have in there to compliment Frank we feel good about. It's definitely something we don't want to overload Frank with over the length of a long season. Really believe we gave him a few too many plays last week. Whatever back we put in there, we feel really good about and anybody that's on the active roster could possibly play. LaMichael's a guy that's been working hard and it's very possible he could be playing this week."

How is that call made when you take Frank out of the game? Is that a sideline decision?

"There's a couple different ways it happens. There's times when he'll pull himself out, which is good, we feel good about, where he needs a blow or what not. There's times when we'll try to get another guy in there to spell him. So, it can happen either way."

Would you make a specific, this is a RB Brandon Jacobs play call? Get in there 45.

"There's times when that happens. There's definitely times when that happens. But also, he's earned the right to spell himself and we want to make sure he's fresh."

Again, if James does play, would it be more of a specific, he's in here for this package of plays?

"Whoever's active has got to be ready to handle everything. Certainly, when you have one specific guy in with a specific skill set, you're probably going to lean to what he's really good at. That's what we try to do. However, you can't just say, ‘This guy's in so we can only do this.' That's got a short shelf life."

How's LaMichael developing in pass blocking?

"He's coming along. It's not until you get out there. It's been since the preseason since he's actually pass blocked. He works hard with [running backs] coach [Tom] Rathman in drills, but you never truly find out until you get out in the game on Sunday afternoon."

I'm sure you want another pitch question. Since you've been here, in part because the way that play turned out, I don't think that any single play call has gotten so much scrutiny, criticism and what not. Do you look at that as just part of the hazards of your job?

"Yeah, I mean any play you call, bad things can happen. And good things can happen, great things can happen. You see the gamut of them as you do what we do. We take a lot of pride in putting our players in a position to succeed and when they don't work out, for whatever reason, criticism comes with it. We love our fans, want to give them wins and one of the reasons why the NFL is so popular is because everybody's got an opinion, everybody's got passion for it and it's one of the great reasons you're part of the NFL."

The next day in Washington, the Redskins used the option quite a bit against the Giants on national television, very effectively. Do you see that being part of the future of the NFL, sort of this ability to do lots of things, including the option?

"I do. Felt that way for a while and I do think it does have a role relative to who you're playing with. I can remember Pittsburgh ran an option play against the Packers in the Super Bowl a couple years ago. It's in a lot of peoples play books. Some people feature it more than others, but those kinds of plays put a lot of pressure on a defense. Again, it all comes down to execution."