49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh chatted with the media yesterday and had plenty of pearls of general wisdom to share. Of course he was excited about the birth of his baby boy. The comment of the day had to be when asked if it was tough for him to get back to work so quickly. Coach Harbaugh said, "No, no. Jack Jr. will understand in 20 years. He wants to win, too. We talked about it."
I can't be the only one who pictures him holding Jack in his arms and having this conversation with him. During these press conferences, we get a lot of generic cliches and fairly bland answers. Picturing certain humanizing moments in his life is kind of entertaining.
But back to football. One of the more interesting questions was about if the offensive coaching staff would talk to DC Vic Fangio about the Packers defense. The Packers defense is run by Dom Capers, who hired Fangio as his defensive coordinator in Carolina from 1995-98 and in Houston from 2002-05. Coach Harbaugh simply say the team uses all its resources to help the team win. I think it is safe to say there have been a few discussions about Dom Capers' defense since the schedule was release in April.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - September 5, 2012
San Francisco 49ers
You're looking alive. Did you have enough sleep last night? Everything good?
"Yes, everything's scary good. Word's out. Jack Jr. reported for duty yesterday at 1:27 p.m. He was 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Came 10 days early, which is to be expected. The good ones like to come in early. And also I think it bodes well for the 49ers. I think it's a sign of good luck to come, perhaps. Jack Jr. being born on the fourth day of the ninth month of this year."
Did your dad know you were going to name him after him?
"Yeah, we had told him. We had told him a few months ago when we found out. But, yeah, named after Jack Harbaugh, my father."
He would have been a big boy had he stayed in 10 more days. Already a big boy, but...
"Yeah, he looks pretty big. But yeah, he said he probably would have been a 10-pounder. But for my wife, Sarah, great job, gold medal for timing. And glad he's here with us."
Is it tough to get back to work?
"No, no. Jack Jr. will understand in 20 years. He wants to win, too. We talked about it."
He came 10 days early. Were you worried those last couple exhibition trips that she might go into labor while you were out of town?
"Yes, yes. And with the upcoming game in Green Bay. And again, my wife would have understood, too. She wants us to win, too. And young Jack wants to win. They would understand. But it was great to be there for the birth."
What's the emergency situation if you had to go off, does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio come in and handle the head coaching duties for the day, or who gets that job? Have you talked about it?
"No, no. What, in case we would have missed a game? Wild horses couldn't have dragged us away from this game coming up this Sunday. Irrelevant, hypothetical [laughs]."
What do you guys face in this game Sunday?
"We face, first, a daunting challenge. This is a great Green Bay Packer team. And it's going to take, first and foremost, a phenomenal week of preparation by all of us, coaches, players. Understand this team the best that we can. Mentally prepare, physically prepare ourselves. And then get ready and be motivated to play in this game."
When the schedule came out in April, I guess you obviously knew you'd be playing them. At what point do you start watching things on film preparing to play these guys? From the outset right there?
"In some form or fashion, you can't help it, this is the next game."
Green Bay Packers head Coach Mike McCarthy said that they spent two days during training camp practicing for the game. Did you do that as well?
"Well, we did what we did. And we'll continue that process of getting ready for this team the best way that we know how."
You spoke yesterday on the radio that Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was playing on a historically high level for an NFL quarterback. Can you expand on what you see out of him as a quarterback?
"Like I said yesterday, he'd be really fun to watch. He'd be something to watch if you didn't have to play against him. But just that. I think that sums it up in a pretty tidy box. I don't know of anybody that's ever played the quarterback position at the level he's playing at now, and has been playing at. Just phenomenal, phenomenal."
From your experience going into Lambeau Field as many as you did. What kind of additional element does that bring in terms of difficulty for a visiting team going into that place?
"Well, the same that it always does. You go in with your roster and your coaches. And there could be a few smattering of your own fans there. But, it's basically just us against a lot of them. But when you're on the field, it's 11 against 11. So, the thing we believe in the most is that the hard work, the preparation, will put us in the most advantageous position to win in Lambeau Field against the Packers, or any other venue that we might play."
Coach McCarthy just said your vertical passing game has improved, just when you step off the bus. Are you eager to see your guys step out on the field and see what this passing game looks like with WR Randy Moss and WR Mario Manningham at last in a real game?
"Well, real excited to watch our guys compete. That's the biggest thing when it comes to game day that I most anticipate. And it'll take really being on it for us in all facets. To be tough to beat, to be competitive. To be in a position to win this game. So, I think execution. But first and foremost, the preparation and the work needs to be put in this week and get ready for this ball game."
Your depth chart yesterday listed WR Randy Moss as the starter. Is that going to be accurate? He'll run out in two-wide receiver sets?
"Again, we've talked about this before. The depth chart significance, especially on today, what we're going to do, what we will do, could be something that can't be foreseen and predicted today. Generally, I like to stay away from those kind of questions. How much is a guy going to be used? How he's going to be used? And, what form or fashion is he going to be used? That's about all there really is to say about that."
As far WR Mario Manningham being away for the extended period of time that he's been away, is he able to step right back in as if he weren't away?
"Mario was back here on the off days, getting re-acclimated and familiar with everything. And again, it's an important week of preparation. We'll feel good day-by-day. We'll feel good as we do the work that'll give us the confidence that will make us competitive. That's just how we feel about it. That's a personal thing. My dad used to tell me an old [former Marquette University basketball coach] Al McGuire quote that, ‘marriages are optional, but funerals are mandatory.' That's time that Mario needed and we support him."
How representative was the preseason, what we saw from the 49ers as to what we will likely be seeing when the games really count. How much do we put stock in what we saw then as opposed to what we're going to now?
"I don't know that you can. I don't know how much you can put into that. It's very difficult to quantitate."
The fact that in the preseason you were able to run the read-option with QB Colin Kaepernick was obviously very effective, and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy noted is that is something they have to be prepare for? Is that a nice thing that it worked so well that's oviously taking away some time away from them to game plan for some other stuff?
"Could be. It's a possibility that we can do that or get to do that. And they get to do whatever they want to do. And they get to prepare however they want to prepare. So, I don't know how much it is a good thing or a bad thing."
You've got a guy on staff in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio that's very familiar with Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Did you sit down with Vic and go over the Green Bay defense, what can work against that defense, what it's good at, that sort of stuff?
"I don't talk a lot about scheme. I've said this before that our mentors are our guys on this staff. We use all resources to help our team win, if we felt that would give us an advantage."
Do you get a sense whether RB Brandon Jacobs will be available on Sunday?
"Not for sure."
WR Ted Ginn Jr.?
One of the big question marks in the offseason was, ‘Is WR Randy Moss back to his previous form?' Going into the regular season will you give a summation of what you've seen from Randy Moss? Where he is in terms of ability?
"I could. I don't know if I'd be the best person to give that summation, how accurate it would be. I wasn't on the same team with Randy at any time before this year. But it's been good. Been very pleased to have Randy on our team and look forward to a great week of preparation with Randy and all the guys. I think that's the most relevant thing."
For a lot of people, I think there is just an intriguing element of unknown, what Randy Moss is going to offer. Is there some element of that with you and with the team, a sense of excitement of, ‘Okay, when the games count, what Randy Moss can do?'
"I don't know. To measure that, I couldn't give you the what it is that you're after. I really don't. It'll all play out, as it's been playing out and will continue playing out now that we start the real games. I think just leave it at that, unless there's something you want me to say that could help so we don't have to ask any more."
Have you seen everything on the field in a camp setting that shows you that he's still the dynamic guy he's always been?
"He's good. He's darn good. We feel great about him. He's on our team. We're ready to go to battle with Randy and all the guys."