Jim Harbaugh wrapped up Jets prep week with media chat in Ohio before the team headed off to New York. It was a quick discussion and Coach Harbaugh kept things close to the vest with injuries.
Harbaugh was asked about the team's ability to bounce back from losses last season. The 49ers toughest stretch last year (aside from losing the last game of the year) was losing two of three in November and December. They lost 16-6 on Thanksgiving to the Ravens, beat the Rams at home the next week and lost 21-19 to the Cardinals the following week. They bounced back from that stretch by winning three straight games.
This game is a pretty big deal for this 49ers team. I am generally loathe to call games must-win in September, but given last week's loss, maybe this is one such must-win game. How do you view this game as the 49ers wrap up the first quarter of the season?
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - September 28, 2012
San Francisco 49ers
How was the week of preparation? Was it very similar to a year ago?
"Yeah, very good and very similar. And we have a lot of people to thank, people of Youngstown. The great staff here at the Holiday Inn and [Head Coach] Eric Wolford and his staff over at Youngstown State. Everybody couldn't have been nicer and more accommodating. Felt very welcomed here. And as always, good concentration, good focus by our team. And very good work."
Were you happy that you got in a couple of practices in the rain, just to kind to get used to playing in those conditions?
"Yes. We don't get that opportunity very often. And we all thought it was very helpful."
Do you have a sense of whether you'll have RB Brandon Jacobs and WR Ted Ginn Jr. available on Sunday?
"Yeah, we have a pretty good sense. And they've both come along very well. But, again we'll list them both as questionable for the game, because it still is."
And at this point is it probably no NT Isaac Sopoaga?
"Questionable as well."
What about LB Patrick Willis and P Andy Lee?
"They should be good to go."
Looking back on last season, why do you think you guys were able to rebound so well after losses?
"I think our football team prepares very well. Good football team. Confident team. And it's very important to them. Performing well, winning, is something that's very important to this team."
Obviously, you won't be asked about the replacement refs anymore, but I will ask you about the regular refs. Is that kind of a relief for you that that thing has been settled and you can just move forward?
"The same approach for us as we prepare. I think, yes, it's a good thing. And our team's preparation hasn't changed a bit."
I understand that the high school team from Warren, OH, came and watched the practice today. Did you meet with them? And can you talk about what that meant for WR Mario Manningham, who obviously played there?
"A lot of that was Mario's doing. They contacted Mario and asked if they could come on over, and it was a pleasure having them at the practice. They didn't stay for the whole practice, or really get the opportunity to visit with the team, but it was a classy bunch. I thought that was a good thing. And I think it's been for a lot of our Mid-West players, our Ohio players, Cleveland guys, having their parents there, their children there at some of these practices. A real positive thing for our Mid-West and East coast guys."
When Ted Ginn Jr. returns, will he assume the kickoff and punt return duties?
"Well, that's something that we'll assess, and won't reveal until it actually happens."
It seems like the last couple weeks in particular, WR Michael Crabtree and QB Alex Smith have really locked in, especially on third downs. With their situation at cornerback, do you expect that the Jets will really hone in on Michael more than they might otherwise might?
"I heard that as the Jets honing in on Michael Crabtree. Was that the question?"
"It's a possibility. We're sure they won't reveal that until game time, through the course of the game. But, it's possible."