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Jim Harbaugh discusses being a "connoisseur of quarterbacks"

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media and discussed a variety of topics as the team prepares for Sunday's game with the Green Bay Packers. We take a look at the transcript.

Harry How

Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Wednesday, and as usual he rolled through a variety of topics. The most notable topic touched on the talk we've heard about defensive players looking to hit read option quarterbacks. Coach Harbaugh emphasized that he would discuss this with the officials before Sunday's game to get some clarity.

Harbaugh was in usual Harbaugh form when it came to answering a question about the kick returner position. On Tuesday, Kyle Williams confirmed he would handle punt return work, but there was no specific word on kick returns. Harbaugh would not provide any further detail, simply saying the team had a good idea of the situation but was looking to "solidify" some things. Take that however you want. My guess is Kyle Williams will get the duties, but we'll just have to wait until Sunday.

How difficult is it to kind of project how different of a team you're going to be facing Sunday as opposed to the one you faced in January a year ago?

"Probably could be difficult as much as it could not be difficult. I think we're both similar teams to what we were, and definitely tweaks are made changes are made and anytime you go into a first ballgame I think you have those kinds of questions and lack of full understanding. So, a bit of uncharted waters so I think both sides, and any side, going into a first game."

When you released QB Scott Tolzien, was there a question in the organization that hey he could end up on the Packers or one of our other opponents? Had that thought gone through your mind and was that something that you had to weigh at all?

"Scott's a good player. There's the potential that he could be picked up by another ball club."

Do you think that knowing who he is and what he knows about this team that that can be a danger for your club?

"Our plan is, remains the same. Danger is not the word I would use."

Maybe that's a bad word, but are you concerned that he's on a different club now and can kind of give inside secrets?

"There's things he knows. We'll see how that plays out."

How far has K Phil Dawson come in camp? He said he had a long to-do list to get acclimated to everything - -?

"Did you say Dawson?"


"OK, Phil."

How do you feel like his camp went and how he's ready to go for the regular season?

"Good, I feel good. He's kicked extremely well. He's fully acclimated onto the team and respected by everybody in the organization, and I can't wait to watch him kick."

By my unofficial count I think you've got 18 guys who are on the roster this year that weren't on the Super Bowl team last year. How do you think this team going in compares to what you had to within a whisker of winning it all?

"That's a good question. That's a question I ask myself at various parts of the offseason and the start of training camp and certainly now, are we a better team than we were last year at this time going in. I feel good about our team and we're ready to play our first game and prepare for it with a great Wednesdaypractice. That's where we're at."

As a connoisseur of quarterbacks, what makes QB Aaron Rodgers so tough?

"What are you saying?"

I'm saying you're a connoisseur.

"I thought that you were going to explain that to me. Connoisseur?"


"Am I?"

I would think, you played the position.

"I've never been called a connoisseur of anything."

There's a first for everything. I'm trying to get better every day.

"It's obvious. He's, many think, the best quarterback in the league. He's a spectacular quarterback. Not to compare him to anybody else, but certainly if you're talking about who the best is, Aaron Rodgers is going to be in that conversation. He's a spectacular football player in every single way the quarterback can be. We have great respect for him."

Is LB Patrick Willis going to be ready to go on Sunday?

"I think so."

Any cast on his hand?


Who's going to be your kick returner?

"We kind of feel like we have a pretty good idea of that and the coming days will solidify that."

WR Kyle Williams will be punts?

"We'll see, we'll see. Again, still solidifying some things."

Did you need to talk to LB Aldon Smith at all about the lawsuit that named him or is the team handling that or how is the team handling that?

"The team is handling it."

Did you have to talk with him at all yesterday at all?

"The team is handling it."

As far as bringing in QB John Skelton for a workout, I know you won't talk about that specifically, but do you look at the backup quarterback situation and still think it could be upgraded?

"As always, we just don't talk about people that aren't' on the team. When it comes to possibilities or when it comes to workouts, with the endless amount of specifics you could get into there, it's just something that we don't do."

Any insight from your dad this week? I saw him around yesterday.

"Yeah, daily."

Anything that you want to share?

"I can't think of an example right now, but it's always good."

When you look at your receiving corps without WR Randy Moss, who would kind of fill that role that Moss was in last year for you? Is that something that WR Quinton Patton or WR Marlon Moore would do?

"What role are you talking about?"

However you guys used Randy Moss last year. Do you see Patton or Moore kind of filling that spot?

"I don't think it's, either, any of our receivers are attempting to fill shoes or be exactly like Randy Moss. Randy did a great job here and we never compare players or talk about filling shoes. They're their own players and we're excited to watch them play. I think they're going to do a great job."

WR Chris Harper said he heard the name TE Delanie Walker quite a bit when he got on the practice field yesterday and the day before. How do you envision developing or what did you see in this guy to make you think he could develop into that kind of Swiss Army Knife kind of player?

"First of all he's a real smart guy. Watching tape, looking at his measurables, started thinking that that was a possibility. And now that we have a chance to have him on the team we'll just see if that is a possibility. I think, again, you don't try to make a player be another player or any set specific role. He can come in and he's his own player, talents, gifts and we'll see where it goes. But, I think we've got some high hopes there. Excited about him."

When you say started thinking about him, was that pre-draft?


What's your assessment of the Packers secondary?

"Good. Good ball-skills. Veteran group. Very athletic. They understand zone concepts. They're athletic and can use speed and ball-skills to play man coverage. Physical presence. It's a very good group."

There's been talk about when the referees came by in training camp one of the rules they discussed obviously was when a quarterback is handing off for example on a read option, as he's carrying out his fake he is not afforded the protections of being a passer, being the quarterback he can get hit. Is that a concern for you with QB Colin Kaepernick and is it any different than what they explained to you last year?

"We're still doing some talking there to fully understand what they're saying."

Is there kind of a grey area- -?

"I think so. There's a bit of a grey area."

Defensive players have said that they're going to take advantage of that grey area and hit your quarterback. Do you agree that the quarterback is hittable in those instances?

"What my opinion is when the quarterback's, before he's declared being a runner, then he should be afforded the protection that all quarterbacks are afforded, until he declares and gets out of the pocket and starts running with the ball or running an option or carrying out a bootleg and attempting a run or pass when he's outside of the pocket. But, while he's in the pocket I believe that he's a quarterback until he declares that he's a runner. I think that those are the conversations right now. I haven't gotten final clarification on what it's going to be."

Do you think that everything that was done by the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl, that that's being used as a template for how teams might guard or defend Kaepernick? Do you think everything that was done in the Super Bowl was legal, on the up and up?


You're in contact with the league?


Just wanted to clarify that. Do you think you'll have any sort of resolution before Sunday afternoon?

"Probably not."

Is that something that you will be monitoring closely Sunday afternoon?


Any discussion with the referees?

"Yeah, I'll probably have a discussion with the referees prior to the game. You're hearing a lot of tough talk right now. You're hearing some intimidating type of talk. Kind of things that, the same thing we were hearing a couple of years ago. It sounds a lot like targeting a specific player. You definitely start to wonder. A man will usually tell you his bad intentions, if you just listen. And you wonder what's being discussed publicly. I mean, you know what's being said publicly, not what's being said privately. You hope that their intent isn't going to be anything that's not within the rules."